Is ISI the problem?

By:Ahmed Quraishi   

It is if you believe the reasoning that Admiral Mike Mullen offered as he barged into Pakistan with a daring move, attacking our premier spy service on our home turf. This signifies two problems. One is that our high tolerance level emboldens our antagonists. Adm Mullen feels he can raise the stakes and do something he never did before because he knows there won’t be any public consequence strong enough to deter him. Someone in Islamabad or Rawalpindi should have told him, ‘If you feel this is the way to negotiate differences, by embarrassing us in front of our own people, then that’s the wrong way of doing it’, followed by a cancellation of his official engagements here until he retracts.

The second problem with his statement – that the ISI maintains links to Afghan Taliban factions – is that he is putting the ISI at the centre of the Pakistan-US dispute. That’s factually incorrect. But instead of correcting Mr Mullen, the responses from the Pakistani side are defensive in nature – ‘the Haqqani network are our adversaries too’ or ‘we’re too busy right now to take action against them’ or ‘it’s just a matter of time before we take action’.

The fact is: It is not the ISI but the deliberate American damage to vital Pakistani interests over a decade that is at the core of the current Pak-US dispute. The drone issue or the Raymond Davis affair is just an offshoot. Mr Mullen’s diagnosis is self-serving. The question is: why is he getting away with it without being challenged?

To be fair, the Pakistani Army chief did decry the ‘negative propaganda’ that the United States is waging against Pakistan. It’s the first time any Pakistani official used these two words together to describe the behaviour of our friends in Washington. But it’s not enough because our duplicitous ally is still scoring points in the battle for perceptions.

It is time we wiggled out of the commitments made by two presidents, Mr Musharraf and Mr Zardari, to America’s Afghan war. President Zardari is likely to support this policy change. The United States failed to live up to the post-2002 commitments to its Pakistani ally. The Americans almost turned Afghanistan into an Indian outpost, created conditions for insurgencies in Balochistan and FATA, and caused us up to $80 billion in direct and indirect losses and millions of displaced, killed and injured Pakistanis. The Pakistani military should commission a policy review that concludes with a recommendation to the government to formally exit America’s war. The notion that the United States would retaliate militarily to a sovereign Pakistani policy decision is exaggerated. Washington is in no position to do that.

Pakistan’s issues with domestic religious extremism can and will be resolved domestically. Any future Pakistani assistance to the US war effort in Afghanistan can be negotiated under new terms. The Americans are trying to create an impression that their interference in Pakistan is important to help Pakistan defeat extremism. For example, Adm Mullen came here last week emphasising, ‘the long-term US commitment to supporting Pakistan in its fight against violent extremists’. It is amazing how Washington has been redefining the mission and moving the goal posts over the past decade with no questions asked from our side of course.

The strength and ability of terror groups such as TTP and BLA to resupply will end when CIA ends its grand strategic project in Afghanistan.

We should tell Washington that we will maintain ties to legitimate Afghan parties, including the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban. American demands to cut off ties to any one of them are misplaced. If an Afghan group that Pakistan maintains links with is killing US soldiers in Afghanistan, this is not necessarily Pakistan’s design or responsibility. It is the result of flawed US policies in Afghanistan over the last decade, and a result of ignoring Pakistani advice.

It is also time to loudly question CIA ‘assessments’ about the number of al-Qaeda remnants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. We know the figure is insignificant to pose any threat to anyone. The US military and CIA inflate these assessments to justify prolonging the Afghan war and, more importantly, to justify meddling in Pakistan. The US is also pandering to its Indian ally by telling another lie, that the pro-Kashmir Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which is opposed to Indian military presence in Kashmir, has somehow metamorphosed into a ‘global threat.’ This is political propaganda.

NOTE: The writer is a known journalist & TV Anchor person.

This is a cross post from THE NEWS.

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  • Pagal  On April 25, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Well full marks on wt shud be done but i dnt think isi is strong enough to protect whoever takes those decisions from the american backlash.

    • Salim Ullah  On April 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Pagal a made me speechless, totally agree..

  • K. Bajwa  On April 25, 2011 at 2:39 am

    A non-ambiguous, well researched and to-the-point article without fat.

  • siddiqui my  On April 25, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Qureshi sb is a young man full of fire but he is not in the hot seat; it is easy to say things but difficult to implement them ! One must be realistic and know well one’s strength and weaknesses………in bare essense Qureshi is right but the real world is a different ball game ?
    A people who are as yet not a unified nation; who are poorly led and cannot even wisely choose their leadership, majority are uneducated and vast majority hardly can afford a meal a day……………it therefore does not behove Qureshi sb to ask them to take on one of the super powers of the as yet History !!
    I do not disagree with him in principle but we have to first grow up, be strong enough and united enough to bear the burdens of the real world..He is a young man with high spirits and surely highly talented, should direct his energies and talents to forge a NATION rather than merely pontficate
    Nation building is a hard and ardous task; economic and political satbility is even more hard…….yes conditions are frustrating but that is where the young people like Qureshi should take up the task of nation building; there are many role models to emulate….there is no wisdom in bashing one’s head against a “granite’ wall… is there??????
    I wish him all the best in life

    • RAZA MUHAMMAD  On April 26, 2011 at 4:20 am

      The Nation is here, united ! Its the scheming jaffar’s & sadiq’s method to confuse side track & mislead their people from adopting correct course. We must show solidarity & will to take an ideological stand, WHICH IS ALSO CALLED JEHAD.
      To people like Siddique Sahib I will quote IQBAL;

      Mufahamat na sikha jabar-e-narawa say mujhe
      Maen to sar ba qaf hun larade kise bala say mujhe !

  • RAZA MUHAMMAD  On April 25, 2011 at 7:46 am

    It’s heartening to read young people understanding the ‘Great Game” & correctly postulating their responses.

  • Ayaz  On April 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Very nice indeed. But who is to bell the cat? Zardari?, Gillani?, Anyone?

  • Munir Ahmad  On April 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    AOA,,,,,,,,Ahmed Quraishi is a wonderful writer but credit goes to you as well for providing us excellent material.

  • A Malik  On April 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    ” The fellow is on ISI role and would be on RAW role if Indians take over the country”
    He would be following ur footsteps. For after all u know every thing that is happenning on this mother earth. If the ISI feed this man well CIA does it like wise to u double well. As we have come to know that ur actual name is Ghasi Ram and u r hiding under a fake muslim name.

    • RAZA MUHAMMAD  On April 26, 2011 at 4:29 am

      Malik, ISI & PAKARMY is PAKISTAN, whose side YOU are on. Its a common practice for Journalists the world over to get a brief / view point from intelligence agencies.
      Would you please prove your allegation against Qurashi’s origin ?

  • siddiqui my  On April 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Raza,
    I am really surprised (& amused too ): you say we are a united nation..are we really ? we are still a tribal society…punjabis, sindhis,pathans,Mohajirs and Baluchis….show me a Pakistani nation ? Who really cares for Pakistan ?
    Iqbl’s quote belongs to the time when the Indian Muslims were striving for their identity; it does not refer to the type of situation we face today…Suleh Hudabia is a better example in the present state of affairs….we have to be a united and determined peoples and then emulate the Shaheen !!
    Presently we have Jaffers and Sadiqs a glore !! Name me One Tippu Sultan ?? In fact this is the tragedy of the entire Ummah for the past over a century…..One must not live in fools paradise…today our children hardly know and practice Islam, hardly know our mother tongue and do not follow our culture and values….what nation are we ? American? Brits?Indians??
    Raza sb Please define what is JIHAD ??? suicide attacks, killing innocent people, destablising the system; burning and looting? calling fellow muslims Kafir ??? We have even forgotten the Quran’s definition of “SHAHEED”…… even a dacoit/ruffian or smuggler is SHAHEED !!

    Perhaps I am over stating but do tell me what values of life and what culture are we following and why our young are running away from this land or why are WE sending them away ?? Searching for knowledge is most laudable but how many willingly come back and instead prefer to be slaves on the Wall Sreet !!!!!!!

    Show me one Siddique, one Farooq, one Ghani and one Bab ul Ilm ….one al Biruni,one Ghazali……..from atlantic to pacific today ? God gifted us with Jinnah, he was not a devout muslim in strict sense…he was not a Hafiz, he was not a Mufti and Aalim; did not perform hajj……….but he was honest and truthful…show me one today who can surpass or even equal him in character ??
    Miracles do not happen, dear Raza….we have to work and strive sincerely to creat miracles !!
    I am sure you have read Iqbal’s “SHIKWA & JAWAB…….” ? It answers all your concerns

  • RAZA MUHAMMAD  On April 27, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Honorable Siddique Sahib,
    Thank you for responding & sharing your thoughts. Sir, you will no longer be amused or surprised if you be a frequenter to the country side, live among them, the majority. If you travel on a rickshaw tanga or walk with the daily wager’s coming to your big town’s, listen to their thoughts/ talks, their wishes, prayers & curses. I do it very often. They curse their exploiters, i.e. employers & state minions who in turn curse their superiors right upto the top man / men – Now, how do the “Top Men” get there ? Who has selected them & sponsored them to be there, you know it well; who slotted- in NRO ? An event as old as human social history. Why do US Presidential campaigners forget their high sounding claims after they get briefed on US State Policy! I have rarely heard GOD fearing people of known religions curse the “Nation of Islam”, Pakistan. Except Zionists & Hindu!
    Who are rising only in the so called 3rd world, parochial slogans you have mentioned? What is their motive? Have you heard such slogans in the 1st World or China? What is the Great Game or the design of Greater Israel? I have lived in remote areas & travelled on 3rd class transport (of majority usage) from Chitral, Kalat, Mirpur Khas, Tamewali & Bagh, fellow travelers always said they are from so & so place & not from KPK, Baluchistan, Sind, Punjab or AK.
    Iqbal has interpreted the timeless Quran & addresses Ummah, Shireen Mazari asked me where is this Ummah ? I said, get out of your posh dwellings, you will find it.
    What was the origins of Haider Ali father of TIPO, why was he named so ? Nearer, what is the back ground of Ahmad denajad ? Who founded Islamic party in modern Turkey & how did this party get to rule Turkey? Who is Dr Qadeer, what are his origins ? What is his motivation? By whom & how was he beaten into silence? Who is Dr Samarmand? GOD has gifted us with many Jinnah’s; CJP Akram, COAS Kiani & Edhi are few examples & they are not devout Muslims. There are many more average people doing GOD’s work.
    Creation & existence of Pakistan is a Miracle, many more happen daily, you got to have faith & they will be visible to you too. I am from a generation who were given to read Iqbal & Naseem Hijazi in 6th class, although I studied in a Convent School. There were very few bearded boys in high schools & defense forces & hajab females as we see now, why?
    Dear Sir, just limit the US & UK Embassies to Embassy Enclave in Islamabad, their puppets will wither away!

  • Zubair Ahmed  On April 30, 2011 at 9:24 am

    So Real, evident, absolutely true and precisely the belief of all patriotic Pakistanis.

    P.S….I don’t consider our politicians and Generals as patriotic Pakistanis, they have always played games for their vested interests.

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