Pakistan has been in a state of undeclared, multi-pronged war. It is something of a pincer movement, with one flank being external to the country, while the other is internal but commanded by certain regional as also extra-regional powers.
There is no convincing reason to believe that the May 2 raid conducted by the United States at a residential place in Abbottabad did take out Osama Bin Laden or that the same was conducted without the prior knowledge or approval of Pakistan. All that has come out so far suggests otherwise.
The unfolding narrative has necessarily to be seen in the perspective of the divorce made by Islamabad consequent to the capture of CIA operative Raymond Davis in Lahore on Jan. 27 and his interrogation at the hands of the notorious Punjab police about which many South Asians share a joke.
That has to do with how a certain stolen donkey of a village influential was “recovered” by cops from this force in the form of a poor elephant shouting all the way on top of his voice from the wilderness to the habitation: “I am that same donkey.”
So this particular White elephant of ours sang like a canary after being feted by studsat the dingy Old Anarkali Police Station overnight. He compromised in the process not only his own mission; which was but one string of the covert war launched by the CIA to destabilize Pakistan; but also numerous cells of fifth columnists spread all over the country.
That turned the tables on both America and its quislings within Pakistani political and diplomatic echelons. All strategic decisions came under the firm grip of the military leadership. It still suited the latter to let the democratic circus go on.
Having ended the marriage of inconvenience with Uncle Sam that it had been coerced into at gunpoint following 9/11, Islamabad effectively broke off whatever little cooperation it had been obliged to extend to the pathological sex offender. It was time for the ugly American to pack his bags and go back to where he had come from.
The United States was for once desperate. It still beseeched a less than dishonorable exit (of most but not all of its military presence) from Afghanistan. Pakistan obliged with the caveat that Washington would utilize it strategic partnership with New Delhi to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
Kashmir, with Pakistan’s water lifeline of the Indus River System emanating overwhelmingly from the territory of the former Princely State under India’s illegitimate control, has become a concern of the state’s survival.
India has persistently, albeit not surprisingly, been eating up Pakistan’s share as the lower riparian recipient of the Indus Water System allocated by the 1960 Treaty brokered by the United States. The large number of new projects it is currently working on upstream pose a real and present threat to Pakistan.
If these schemes are made operable now, India would be in a position to remove the only physical obstacle in the way of launching a military assault to have a handle on Pakistani Punjab’s narrow waist: it could dry up the canals; most crucially, the Bambanwala Ravi Bedian (BRB) Link Canal to expose Lahore; this summer by storing more water in its planned reservoirs upstream.
Pakistan has delivered on its word to the United States; it has let Uncle Sam take the purported trophy of Osama’s head so that the former’s espoused “graceful” exit can be materialized. “We had gone to war in Afghanistan to take out the big bad guys; we have achieved the mission. Time for our brave soldiers to be reunited with their families!” Obama would declare triumphantly. Loud applause all across the United States.
Obama’s popularity graph has already started going up. Upcoming mid-term Congressional elections are finally not such a big problem for the Democratic Party; the president’s re-election next year also appears a less formidable challenge.
What of India? New Delhi is squirming. Deliver it must. It would not be easy for the bloated self-image of ‘Shining’ India that cannot feed well over its billion-plus population to come to terms with the changed geo-strategic realties.
Then came the attack on the Karachi naval-cum-army base of Mehran on May 22, crippling Pakistan’s naval surveillance arm by destroying two P-3C Orion aircraft; India and India alone has the motive for the cowardly crime. But then, what else is new in New Delhi?
Meanwhile, China has, taking a break from its long-held policy of not going public on diplomatic messages to India, clearly sounded an unmistakable warning for India to keep its hands off Pakistan.
The obvious dimension of this internal war in Pakistan is the daily death toll, on both sides, of the country’s security forces personnel together with innocent children, women and men on the one hand; and the faceless terrorists who are conveniently clubbed together as belonging to the notorious Al Qaeda network, not to forget the so-called Taliban of course.
However, the real battle is for the soul of the nation.
The Americans; apt as they are at coining ever new phraseologies to insinuate their desired connotations to concept, ideas, the mindsets of humanity at large in the global village they have crafted out of the debris of the bipolar world three decades ago; have attempted to give a half clever twist to what was once known as propaganda pure and simple.
They now call it ‘strategic communication’, a discipline accorded legitimacy through its admittance as an academic subject to be employed for the achievement of what President Bush famously described the predominance of ‘American values’ in the world subsequent to 9/11.
To that end, the U.S. has allocated fifty million dollars this year to buy and utilise as many media channels, print and electronic, ‘journalists’, ‘academics’, the flourishing breed of ‘civil society’ arm chair warriors, et el, as can dance to Uncle Sam’s tune.
Starting with the Raymond Davis (if that was his real name) incident of late January this year – when CIA was caught with its pants down in a busy Lahore locality – this tribe has apparently been has been told that it is pay back time; and paying back they are day and night to haunt the nation and make it lose hope in the State’s viability.
The onslaught has become so pervasive that, barring just a couple of exceptions, the entire electronic media space of Pakistan is barking their Master’s Voice. A la CNN and Fox News, they have employed half-literate, attractive young females to keep male viewers glued to the screens.
Some of the news channels launched initially in Pakistan have been on the pay roll of America. To cite one major example, there is this one that has for long years allocated three half-half slots each day for U.S. strategic communicators to reach out to the Pakistani TV channel’s large Urdu viewership.
Flashy new dailies have been launched, some unabashedly in collaboration with the most despicable of U.S. corporate media outlets. On the face of it, somebody half a world away from Islamabad in New York approves after editing the rubbish they are to spew in major cities of Pakistan the next day.
America has in the past year or so also taken control of one of the Karachi-based media groups that would pride itself at having been founded by the founder of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam (the great leader, as he has been fondly called in Urdu; Mohammad Ali Jinnah).
As if that was not enough, the same daily, let us call it Dusk instead of its actual name meaning otherwise, has latched on to that dubious source of disinformation, Wikileaks, and spreading all manner of lies about Pakistan’s armed forces and their high officials.
Special focus remains understandably on Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Only the other day, a senior and highly respected journalist went missing in Islamabad. Fingers were instantly pointed at the ISI without the slightest clue about who had picked him up, where, how – or other ‘unnecessary’ details.
That’s exactly how the almighty CNN had been brought into play on that fateful morning in Washington when the first ‘hijacked’ plane had hit the World Trade Centre Twin Towers.
As soon as the first footage of the still far from clear episode was shown on screen, the anchor stated most authoritatively that Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden sitting somewhere in the caves of Afghanistan were the terrorist responsible for the heinous act.
So, time for President Bush to announce the start of the global ‘crusade’ [his words] that now must be wrapped up because, among other things, Uncle Sam has gone broke.
Osama may well have been quick in condemning the 9/11 happpenings, but who was listening? Ten years later, America’s lackeys in Pakistan are not listening to anything that Uncle Sam may not like to hear.
– The writer is a senior journalist currently working as project consultant/editor at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI).
NOTE:THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM ARAB NEWS.