Henry Kassinger, Secretary of State, US, says in his book ”White House Years” that weapons embargo on India and Pakistan was just a hallucination, and the real purpose was to punish Pakistan.
Drone strikes in the areas neighboring Afghanistan have resulted in hundreds of dead bodies. This is the horrible scenario we are facing since the invasion of American troops in Afghanistan. Ironically, they have claimed Pakistan the best non-NATO ally. When there is any official visit from Washington to Islamabad, the only mantra which they chant is ”Do more”. This phrase has brought a chain of bloodshed and killings of thousands of army personnel, law enforcing agencies and civilians equally, hence providing fuel to the terrorist factions and destabilizing the internal social fabric. United Nations, a puppet of USA, just claims these drones illegal but never sought a result-oriented approach; Veto power is another tool to put the passing resolutions in the dustbin for e.g. they claimed Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction and attacked the country. In short, all these pains are gifted from an evil friendship and history is saturated with these grim tactics emanating from Washington D.C, if we trace back.
A cursory view on all the events of 14 August 1947 explains that it was an important date in political history of South Asia. A state emerged on ideological grounds, falsifying all people who wanted a Hindu-Muslim unity. No doubt the days after 3 June 1947 brought a murky message for Muslims and even words start to moan when describing the atrocities of Sikhs and Hindus. Youth were stabbed, old men were killed ruthlessly, women and girls were raped, minors slaughtered, property turned into ashes, arson and not to mention the blood tinged water of Ravi- it was in fact ‘genocide’. 1.5 million Humans were killed. When trains reached into Pakistan they were densely packed with dead bodies and even tears fell from cheeks of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This was the cost which our ancestors paid for a separate identity, i.e. a state based on Islamic principles. Soon after, a war erupted for accession of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947-48, hence precipitating the already volatile situation. Assets of every sort were divided according to population-the defense of Pakistan became so fragile. US remains one of the first countries to have established diplomatic ties with Pakistan. The relationship dates back to October 20, 1947, and it can be extrapolated that the relations have been based strictly on military and economic support. Despite all this trouble and fragile scenario, an American ambassador, Dullas, during his interview to journalist Walter said, “Look Walter! I have to get some real fighting men into South Asia (to counter Russia and China). The only Asians who can really fight are the Pakistanis and that is why we need them in the alliance ”.
After the Second World War, two blocks emerged on the face of the earth- USSR-led communist nations and US-led Capitalists and there was a “cold war” between them for hegemony and dominance. Young nations found them insecure and thought to join in any block and regional alliances were a common practice. The Capitalists were backed by US covertly forming North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance, which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium. As a counter-punch the communists formed Warsaw Pact, which was a mutual defense treaty between eight communist states of central and Eastern Europe in existence during the Cold War. The founding treaty was established under the initiative of the Soviet Union and signed on 14 May 1955, in Warsaw. Pakistan was feeling secure from USSR on ideological grounds (Communism strongly differs from Islam) and from India on territorial and communal disputes i.e. Kashmir, Sir Creek etc. So Pakistan joined the SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organization) in September 1954 for collective defense from the attack of the communists. US was not its part but covertly a guardian of this pact.
CENTO (Central Treaty Organization) or the Baghdad Pact was also of this sort, and was signed between a few states under the supervision of U.K. and an auspicious support of USA in 1955. US pressure and promises of military and economic aid were a key in the negotiations leading to the agreement, although the US could not initially participate. In 1958, the United States joined the military committee of the alliance. It is generally viewed as one of the least successful Cold War alliances. The organization’s headquarters were initially located in Baghdad, Iraq. In 1959 another mutual agreement was made between only Pakistan and US, which was stronger than SEATO and CENTO. The clauses transparently claimed that Pakistan would be supported morally and logistically, for e.g. sophisticated weapons would be provided in any sort of aggression from any state.
Hence Pakistani authorities due to all these aforementioned pacts, handed over a military base near Peshawar, Budhber, to US. U-2 incident then happens, in which an airplane conducting espionage activities was shot down, the pilot was arrested alive, and a secret mission was in the captions of media. Pakistan was further distanced from Russia due to its loyalty to US, instead of bridging the gap. Khurusheve said on this occasion ” Where is this place Peshawar? We have circled it in red on our maps.”
During the 1962 Sino-Indian war it was a high time for Pakistan to re-take her lost territory of Jammu and Kashmir. UK and US pressurized Pakistan to remain neutral in this time of crises. General Ayub was assured by John F Kennedy that India will not be supported militarily, if so, it would be discussed with Pakistan beforehand. But all these dealings proved to be a rubble as India was supported with sophisticated weaponry, by-passing all pacts. Neither the Kashmir dispute was solved nor was Pakistan dealt fairly by US, even though the Americans had assured that if India would attack Pakistan, US would support us. On top of that, Henry Kissinger , Secretary of State, USA at that time vilified and humiliated Pakistan and said to the US state department that we have shut down “Paki-Philia” ( Paki was used as a vilification ) and that now we should consider the Indian economic might. Furthermore, the American ambassador to Pakistan, Langlay, reported back to Washington in a secret document that the military size of Pakistan must not be increased.
In 1964 Lyndon B Johnson passed a bill financing India with 50 million dollars per annum which dismayed the long term ally, Pakistan. At the same time, blood kept flowing in the streets of Kashmir, so the second war took place in 1965 and all the promise was drowned in Pacific. The nations which helped us at that time of crises were Saudi Arabia and China. So the rulers of Pakistan were strongly criticized internally because of this failed foreign policy, and for not keeping in mind the geopolitical scenario of this region. The Americans banned the military weapons sale both to India and Pakistan. India managed as she had cordial relations with Russia and most of her weaponry was of Russian origin but Pakistan was greatly affected. Henry Kassinger, Secretary of State, US, says in his book ”White House Years” that weapons embargo on India and Pakistan was just a hallucination, and the real purpose was to punish Pakistan.
Effects of war on economy were very harsh and due to continuous failed foreign policy, Pakistan plunges into domestic furor. A biased approach while distributing the national resources led to the inconvenience in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In July, 1971 it was Pakistan which bridged the gap between US and China and helped to defuse the geopolitical tensions between these states. In 1970, elections were held which resulted in a friction between two winning parties of Peoples Party led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Awami League led by Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman. ”Agartala Conspiracy Case’ was devised by Indian Intelligence agency RAW to disrupt the air-communication between the East and West for PIA and military flights. March 1971, Indian assembly passed a resolution to help the separatist force in East Pakistan. Hence, it resulted in a domestic chaos and a civil war erupted which was greatly funded by India. So the fall of Dhaka happens. In May 1971, US had come to know the conspiracies which India had planned for East Pakistan but she remained still and numb. General Ayub clearly mentioned that India had got a green signal from the US for all this civil war and ultimately the birth of Bangladesh. In this way, the so-called friends deceived us again.
India managed to receive the parts and parcel elements to build its nukes from Canada, France and Germany soon after independence. It was all in the knowledge of American agencies but they remained silent. These countries wanted India to become the self-proclaimed guardian of South Asia and to counter-weight China and Russia as well. So on 8th May 1974, India exploded bombs on experimental grounds by the name of ”Smiling Buddha”. That’s why Bhutto decided to start our own nuclear program. In 1976 Bhutto made an agreement to purchase an Atomic Processing Plant with France but they succumbed to American pressure and annulled the agreement but this operation was kept running clandestinely. Finally, with the Help of Allah, Pakistan was a nuclear power in 1998. The experimental bombing took place at Chaghi. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was amended by the Symington Amendment in 1976. It banned US economic and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver, receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) regulations and inspections. Hence the so-called ally and friend once again proved to be against our national interests.
From 1979 to 1988 the arena is Afghanistan and the players are the US, USSR and Pakistan. Pakistan remained a frontline state against Communist ideology. Benefits were mutual but keeping history aside, Pakistan once again fulfilled American demands. Red army retreated with great humiliation. As the war finished, they left us with porous borders and bankruptcy. Even Afghanistan was without any smooth transfer of administration and strategy, leading to the civil war and bloodshed. During that era of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), American administration remained silent as its own interests were on stake. However, by the end of General Zia’s regime, Congress adopted the Pressler amendment. The amendment banned major military and economic aid to Pakistan unless the state was able to justify and provide sufficient evidence that these are not being used for nuclear proliferation.
However it is alleged that although Pakistan disclosed that it could enrich uranium and assemble a nuclear device in 1984 and 1987 respectively, the sanctions were not imposed till 1990. In 1990, US, under the Pressler amendment, imposed sanctions on Pakistan, as the country by definition had lost its strategic importance. In 1992 the relations between US and Pakistan plummeted further when US ambassador Nicholas Platt, warned Pakistan of being included into state sponsors of terrorism, through a continued support for Mujahideen, causing trouble for India.
In 1998 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif conducted the nuclear test in Baluchistan, in retaliation to similar tests conducted by India, which invited the wrath of Clinton’s administration on both the countries. President Clinton imposed sanctions under Glenn amendment on India as well as Pakistan. The phenomenon of sanctions repeats itself for the allies.
The new century watches another setback in the political relations of the world when 9/11 happens in the month of September 2001. After the 9/11 attacks and US’s invasion of various countries to eradicate militancy, Pakistan became one of the most important strategic ally for US. Initially, Pakistan tried to strike a negotiation deal with Taliban and al Qaeda members to handover Osama bin Laden to American authorities. However, when negotiations failed, Pakistan allowed American army to use its military bases for launching attacks on Afghan soil. The US refused to negotiate and launched Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 October, 2001 with the UK and Italy, later joined by Russia, France, Australia, Canada, Poland, Germany and other mainly Western allies, to attack the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in conjunction with the Northern Alliance.
The US and its allies quickly drove the Taliban from power and captured all major cities and towns in the country. Many Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders escaped to neighboring Pakistan or retreated to rural or remote mountainous regions. In December 2001, the UN Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Americans started to shut down the geopolitical influence of Pakistan in Afghanistan, which had a cordial relation before this episode happened. They proclaimed and geared the Indian role in Afghanistan, which ultimately resulted into construction of Indian consulates near the border, which are supplying ammunition and money to initiate and propagate separatist movements in Balochistan.
However, President Pervez Musharraf confessed that the country had no option but to support United States as it had threatened Pakistan of “bombing it into stone-age” if it did not join the fight against Al Qaeda. In other words, “stick and carrot” policy dominated our national interests. President George Bush officially declared Pakistan as a non-Nato ally. In the June of 2008, an air strike by the US Army killed 11 paramilitary soldiers of Pakistan Army Frontier Corps, along with eight Taliban fighters. The strike and deaths instigated a fierce reaction from Pakistani command calling the act to have shaken the foundations of mutual trust and cooperation.
The famous Kerry-Lugar Bill, which invited much controversy and criticism, was passed in the October of 2009. The bill entailed the approval of granting $7.5 billion of non-military aid, if the command of the country accepted certain conditions. The bill clearly showed US’s distrust in Pakistan’s military command and considered Pakistani Taliban more threatening than Afghan Taliban, amongst many other essential points. In the beginning of 2011, Raymond Davis, a CIA agent in Pakistan killed two Pakistani men in Lahore, claiming that they came to rob him. Davis was taken into custody for killing civilians, however, American officials claimed that he was entitled to diplomatic immunity and must be released immediately. And have we forgotten what happened at Salala check post when 24 Pakistani troops were killed, in addition to thousands killed in drone strikes? This is what our loyalty paid to us.
A paradigm shift in the foreign policy of Pakistan is the dire need of time. It is no more a mystery that US has proved more harmful than cordial to our nation. They are our foes, not friends.
General Ayub Khan writes in his book ”Friends, Not Masters” that we needed US as friends, not masters. He writes in another book that;
“I believe that the greatest harm to democracy in the emergent countries has been done by British and Americans by the name of democracy. They would not let us evolve our own system to suit our conditions. The only explanation I can think of is that they want us to remain unstable, weak and dependent. I believe their approach is political and thoroughly dishonest ”.
(Diaries of Ayub Khan; page 68).
Lastly, I leave you with an interesting Ayah from the Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Take not as protecting friends those who take your religion as a mockery and fun from among those who received the Scripture before you, nor from among the disbelievers; and have Taqwa of Allah if you indeed are true believers.” (Al-Qur’an 5:57)