Beware of Americans — bearing gifts

By Shaukat Qadir                                   

I am sure everyone knows this but merely to ensure we are on the same grid, a policy has one or more aims to be achieved in a specified period and spells out how the said aims will be achieved. While I have no intention of fleshing out a policy in this article, I will merely seek to emphasise the need for one and suggest what it should be aiming at. Pakistan has been without any policy since Ayub Khan’s decline in 1964!

Let us start by looking at what every ordinary citizen of any country, including Pakistan, wants. First and foremost is security: Not just security of life and limb or security from neighbouring enemies, but also food security, water security, job security, economic security, energy security etc. The list is long, and he/she wants to live in peace, so as to have the right to ‘pursue happiness’.

If this is all what we need, do we have any of these? Quite right, we have none! Why not? Because, apart from the rampant corruption at all levels of those in authority, we are engaged in a war that is sapping all our resources! Make no mistake, this is our war; the ‘enemy within’ poses an existential threat, greater than any external power does.

But why did this war begin? Why did the once loyal Mehsud, Afridi, and Mohmand turn against us?

If we hark back in time, in 2001, the Pakistani Pashtun and all Afghans were celebrating US intervention in Afghanistan. It would liberate them from Taliban oppression. Within a year, American arrogance, their suspicion of all Afghans, their utter disregard for local customs and culture, could result in only one thing: Another Afghan freedom struggle from an oppressive foreign force. The US called it a resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda! In time it did become that, because the US converted a legitimate struggle for freedom from an army of occupation into ‘Taliban linked to al Qaeda.’

To return to my question — as they did when Afghans sought their freedom from the Soviet occupation, the Pakistani Pashtuns bordering Afghanistan, girded their loins to assist their Afghan brethren. This time, Pakistan did not want them to. And in 2004, we decided to kill the most outspoken of those Pashtuns, a wazir called Nek Muhammad.

His murder was the watershed. We had a rebellion on our hands because we were preventing our tribal Pashtun from assisting their Afghan brethren in their freedom struggle against an army of occupation: The Americans, of course. So all Pakistan suddenly became American, kafirs, legitimate targets for religious fanatics to kill, and we are more vulnerable and accessible for them to target. So we are faced with an existentialist threat and we die. This was the first gift we got from the US.

Without tracing all the history, where do we stand today as far as the US is concerned? Anybody, who is anybody in the US, is baying for our blood. We are traitors to them and branded American-kafirs by our enemy within. Obama now tells us that when the Navy SEALs came to get Osama, they were “in sufficient numbers and prepared to retaliate to any response by the police or Pakistan’s security forces”.

They also gifted us Raymond Davis, hundreds of him. When we agreed to give him back, it was on the condition that all other Raymonds also leave. The CIA has not forgiven us and recent drone attacks are again killing more civilians than militants. If the Raymonds can no longer stoke unrest in Pakistan, the drones can!

As far as the promised financial aid is concerned, we receive a mere trickle, each time with another threat of severance if we fail to obey our Lords and Masters in DC. Even the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), intended to compensate a small portion of the expense incurred by the military in this war that has been forced on us by the US and Musharaf’s capitulation, is long overdue by well over a billion dollars.

The US has its own litany of complaints but we have ours. Isn’t it time to file for divorce?

But I also listed what our people want; how can we get there? To start with, if we divorce the US, we can no longer be clubbed with it and the raison d’etre for our internal strife ceases to exist and, if the US pulls out of Afghanistan, claiming victory after Osama’s execution, the entire cause disappears!

If the US does not pull out of Afghanistan, which is more than likely, we can make the US increasingly irrelevant in Afghanistan. Those who read my explanation of why US Vice President Joe Biden rushed to Pakistan might recall the series of events listed by me which led to the (Burhannuddin) Rabbani Initiative, which also received a nod from our army chief, to find an Afghan solution to Afghanistan’s future.

All this will take time, but our war will be approaching a conclusion. It will no longer be open-ended. If Afghanistan can find its own solution and make peace within, our western borders are safe. If we mend fences with Iran and reopen negotiations with Tehran for the stalled oil pipeline, we will have cheap energy, which China is also offering. If we bring peace to Balochistan, China will immediately commence work on expanding the Karakoram Highway and the stalled rail link from Urumqi to Havelian. If that happens, commerce alone will suffice to infuse fresh life into our tottering economy.

It all starts if we divorce the US, now!

Our problem is that our political leaders have convinced themselves that before they are elected in Pakistan, they have to be selected in DC. May I suggest, if you must be selected somewhere, get yourself selected in Beijing instead. The only capital that has, while you were cowering in your palaces or gallivanting overseas, issued a warning(unsolicited by us) to the US: “Don’t dream of repeating May 1 in Pakistan again”.

So, do it now. Before the people rise up, as they are doing in Arab countries, and shout, “Enough — kaafi ho gaee”!

(The writer is a retired Brigadier from Pakistan Army).

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  • Minhaj Qidwai  On May 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Respected Brig. Shaukat,
    What are the solutions? What action items need to be taken to avert the disintegration of the country?
    Pakistan is on a slippary slope, with an ocean at the end of the slope.

  • Salman Abbasy  On May 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    While I agree broadly with Brig (Retd) Shaukat Qadir’s analysis, I take issue with his attribution of the problem to the pro-American tendencies of Pakistan’s elected political readers. Actually it is his own institution, the Pakistan Army, which adheres to the belief that Washington is the first, the last and the only Qiblah of our national security republic.
    Beginning with General Ayub Khan, Pakistan’s army chiefs have never hesitated to mortgage their nation’s security, economy, diplomacy and democracy to the United States to achieve their own personal and institutional goals.
    Knowing the Qadir family’s devotion to books, I am sure Shaukat Qadir is familiar with Bruce Riedel’s book “Deadly Embrace” published earlier this year by the Brookings Institution. The author’s explores, in his own words, “why successive US administrations have undermined civil government in Pakistan, aided military dictators, and encouraged the rise of extremist Islamic movements that now threaten the United States at home and abroad.”
    So let us give credit to the Pakistan Army for this accomplishment. It has precious little else to crow about these days.

  • K. Bajwa  On May 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Brig. S. Qadar, I love your BOLD Expressions and Suggestions from Position of Strength, Honesty & Knowledge. Most writers just re-narrate the issues but you give SOLUTIONS too, like a good COMMANDER/LEADER. How about jumping in the Arena to fine tune the Nation and put it on the path, practically???

  • Parvez Amin  On May 13, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Madadgar Pakistan, a new political party, is well along the way to getting itself elected to do what you ask, only more, and systematically. Please get in touch for a long talk. Parvez Amin 0333 422 7751.

  • Syed Wajahat  On May 13, 2011 at 1:19 am

    These event occur when we allow them to. The problem with Pakistan is, it is hungry for money without having to work for it.
    At least that is the case with all of the administrators. The moment this attitude changes. The exploitation by out side
    will change accordingly. Just think, out of hundres of countries throught the world. Why is Pakistan in this pickle.

    There is a saying, when every thing is said and done, we all deserve what we get. Scrutinize ourselves before we
    blame any one else. Others are simply reacting to or actions and needs.

    Syed Wajahat Hussain

  • Faisal Imam  On May 13, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Shaukat Sahib has said things which are relevant and make a lot of sense.A few things i might add.
    What is the foremost thing a human wants ?Freedom!Freedom to think and act according to his desires.Security was provided under slavery as well. everything was provided for.All the basic amenities were taken care of.Food,water,job,energy, are secured quite amicably in prison as well.USSR kept people in prisons for generations and children were brought up in prison who knew no other life.I think the leadership of Pakistan has lost it.We have usurped our freedom under the garb of security.We have turned our homes and offices into prisons under the garb of security.we have guards at every doorstep.we have usurped the right of freedom in thinking,education,religion,travel,being Pakistanis by making provinces,etc.we have lost the concept of respecting each other’s freedom and freedom of the people.If people have to give up our freedoms for security please keep that security.
    Brigadier Sahib,the Taliban are a threat to my freedoms.i cannot educate my daughters,i cannot worship the way i want to,I dare not think the way i want to ,i cannot live the way i want the olden days your predecessors could do anything they wanted to do;they used to wear shorts to office,drink liquor whenever they felt like it;enjoy the children we used to travel alone to places like landikotal,khewra,karachi,Ziarat ,gilgit and enjoy the wonders of Nature.we could explore,try new things ;question with the why and wherefore.Today the Pakistani is no longer free.Our freedom has been usurped by first the Mullah followed by the Security forces.The truly free nations do not need Security;they are secure in their minds.Take the example of Buddhists,non-violence,respect for life,silent on the existence of Supreme Being;yet powerful enough to stand the test of time and pressures of other religions.Hinduism only overcame them by adopting the principles of Buddha.
    How can Americans hurt you?only if u are insecure within urselves.Americans tried to enslave the Red Indian but could not.the people of the sub-continent through history have never tolerated slavery and have shown grit.2/3 remained Hindu after 600 years of Islamic rule.Ideologies reign,no physical boundaries are required.Judaism survived without a country or homeland for thousands of years.They have got their homeland but they have lost their principles.Even today the concientous Jew is confronting the Zionist.Islam existed during the British Raj;it was never threatened.
    The Army’s war is on many fronts;they have enemies without and the people fighting for freedom within.They have a monster in the shape of taliban and negative organisations usurping the freedom of the people and subjugating them.Their Agencies have needled all our neighbours at one time or another;they have earned negative points with all the countries that matter including the Chinese.All of it has come home to roost.
    We usurped the rights of the Bengalis;they sacrificed a great deal to get rid of us;we will have to give a bigger sacrifice because the usurper of our rights is within us.I hope the battle for the Pakistani has not been lost because then like theProphet we may have to choose migration for gaining freedom.

    • Shaheen  On May 13, 2011 at 3:04 am


      First half excelent but then your old bias comes in front. You just cannot blame the Army ‘alone’ . agree that they should mind thier own ‘buisness’…but the the havoc we all committed……first being that we were quite to all the corruption around us, the bais of the tilyar & non-tilyar, going on to fatten the urban folks pushing back the rural majority. Playing havoc with Education…12 Polices, taking it on to a ‘job’ oppurtunity rather than building up the capacities of the majority. Tho only Province mature enough to keep politics away from Edu : is KP.
      The Feudal elemnt of N Sind & S Punjab more interested towards fiefdom’s rather than development. We have been mauled horibly by all the corrupt…both the army & the politicans …now we ‘must’ not look outwards for change or blame anyone…but start improving our own circles of influence……………..starting with local govts, sharing power with the People, which you had so capably led, going on to educating the adolecents………..but more than anything else collectivley rejecting all who have ‘dual passports’ & want to hold public office. We can ‘overcome’,,we we raise our voices…..lead on !

    • Humayun Raashid  On May 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Faisal: The freedom you are talking about is the ‘freedom’ which has doomed us. Freedom to do what we want. You must know that freedom without ‘responsibility’ is the ‘law of jungle’. Quaid -E-Azam was dot on target when he said that to be able to build a strong Pakistan, you will have to look after the poor. We were, however, fascinated by the Western style of living, which was most adequately stuffed into our psyche through the Western films and other social contacts. So, we became ‘grabby’. We pounced at and snatched everything which we could – within (or mostly out of) our reach and thus we became dishonest and corrupt. Now, the gap between the ‘HAVES’ and ‘HAVE-NOTS’ is increasing in ‘geometrical progression’, just because we have the ‘FREEDOM TO DO WHAT WE WANT’ and we are making the best of ‘THIS FREEDOM’. They say, ‘THIS MOTHER EARTH WILL DISINTGRATE IN THE YEAR 2014’. THAT WILL BE IT. This human animal will then be ‘FREE’ FOR ALL THE TIMES TO COME IN THIS UNIVERSE

  • Muhammed Iqbal  On May 13, 2011 at 1:31 am

    U r righ they are bull dogs

  • Nasim Hassan  On May 13, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Before we divorce the USA, we should elect or select honest leadership who can collect revenues and taxes. Without money nothing works in this world.

    Otherwise the US will twist and turn IMF, World bank, Asian Development bank and Saudi Arabia to kick Pakistan back into line.

    So why go through the excercise of eating 100 onions alongwith 100 Lashes.

    Alternative is a dynemic foreign minister who can mobilize Pakistanis around the World and point out the flaws of American policy to American and European people.

    Nasim Hassan

  • Javaid Haider  On May 13, 2011 at 1:33 am

    a very apt title.

  • Zia  On May 13, 2011 at 2:33 am

    We need to stop and think. NATO has not paid bills worth over a billion dollars for supplies provided by Pakistan to their military in Afghanistan. This amounts to the latter subsidising the US occupation of Afghanistan at a time when her own economy is in such bad shape. The media in any other country would be screaming from the rooftops at this high-handed dishonesty and deceit and drawing all kinds of conclusions from it.

    The subject is barely touched by the media in Pakistan. The only topics that hit the headlines are what matter most to the US — Pakistan’s inability to meet her expectations and how inept the military and ISI have been.

    The fact that internal intelligence is primarily the responsibility of FIA, IB, police and CID that work in close collaboration with CIA and FBI is never mentioned. If OBL was indeed in Pakistan, as claimed, it is these organisations and their foreign friends who should take the blame for not finding him and not ISI so much. Surely the gentlemen of the media must know this.

    You need the media on your side for what Brig. Shaukat Qadir hopes will happen. It is the indispensable tool for rallying public support. If all it is doing is to misinform, divide and demoralise people and make them lose faith and hope things will continue to get from bad to worse. Getting the media to act responsibly, constructively and patriotically has to be the first step if there is to be any hope.

  • ZAB  On May 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I am 100% in agreement with the writer, whom i believe to be writting from CHARSADA. good conclusion khan!

  • TMH  On May 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    They (US) have not only gifted us with hundreds on Raymond Davis. They also have the present ruling lot, in power and in opposition.
    Every one of them is the choicest traitors, one can find. They are trying to gift us with friendly Afghanistan and India, to top it all
    the gifts.


  • Rauf  On May 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Your analysis are absolutely right. It is totally our fault for accepting American as our
    Friends. Foolish of us. Americans are darn good in ditching their friends as and
    when required. OBL is a fine example of it. Saddam Hussain is another one.
    (That was when they wanted to punish the Iranians – for holding hostages) then
    Saddam was good. So was OBL in order to fight the Soviets.

    When there utility American make a friend. When utility is over either he is ditched.

    It is simple as that.

  • Faisal Imam  On May 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Agreed about my bias.The only thing i feel is hurt because an outstanding institution has lost direction .Pakistan was truly a progressive,free country till we started falling under the influence of the Maulvi and introduction of Maudoodiism in the Messes,in universities,colleges etc.The Army Mess was a treat to visit;the Mess Havaldar used to guide the young officers by teaching table ettiquette.Food was excellent and the conversation was shared between all the officer ranks.Decorum and respect was maintained.then quality was replaced by quantity and one saw a decline across the board.From a respectful institution it became more economy oriented and therefore more mercenary.Not required.
    Becoming a red-stripe officer should be enough reward;and crossed swords on the shoulders should be pretty unique;out of 180 million how many get this privilege?But if there are hundreds of them we lose the uniqueness of the ranks.How many Generals did we have in 1965?did we do a bad job then?
    One will never forget generals like Azam Khan who won the hearts of the east Pakistanis,the uprightness and correctness of General Atiqur-rehman,the pinzer attack of general Akhtar on the Akhnur Front,Air Marshals Asghar Khan and Nur Khan who gave outstanding institutions like P.A.F. and P.I.A…,
    Today it is a different story,why the interference in democracy to the point of changing resuts,manipulating family structures,abusing social environments and then backing MQMs,Fazalurrehman,SSs etc. not good.

  • Shaheen  On May 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Fasil, Let us see how can we bring ‘charcter’ to 1 institution & leave the rest un-touched. 2 events are serious,
    due to the in-security in the State of Pakistan, the huge’ brain -drain’ has sent the best out will lesser brains (mile myself ) remain ! Thus half -baked are ruling the roost.
    second , the voice’s of the people is missing. 74 % of those elected are rich land barons, who are completly myopic, egocentric , to see the least. We the so called elite do not have the ‘time’ to get heads to sit & think together. Yasmeen has set up this blog for the likes of us all to air our ‘hurt’…but should we not collect , dialouge & think of a way out !
    Why not start pressure on the Assemblies…to start (elect) the Local Govt system ! (improved form or what ever) . The democratic process today ..has – a head-(NA)- a trunk (MAP’s)…but no feet ! Must only the Army bring the Local Govt system, why should not the Civil Govt start it ! Should we not become mature (MNA’S & MPA’s) & on to the road of Local Govt ?
    But just by mumbling dis-pleasure…………change is not possible. Fasial…tkae the lead, be not ‘shy’

    Warm Regards

  • Salim Nawaz Gandapur  On May 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Brig Shaukat Qadir is spot on, as usual!
    Salim Gandapur

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