Monday, July 23, 2012
PAKISTAN AT THE CROSSROADS
By Qudrat Ullah
No other nation in the world has so badly faced the consequences of 9/11 as did Pakistan. In fact,
Pakistan is the only affectee of this imbroglio which has incurred cumulative losses of more than
60 billion dollars with little respite to shoulder the gasping economy. On the other hand, Indo-Israeli covert support to Taliban terrorists operating in Pakistani territories is adding to our
miseries and ruining economy. An intricate great game is being played most furtively in our
contiguous west, called war against terror since September 11, 2001, when the haughty symbol
of American economic might- the twin towers of World Trade Centre, were brought down,
ostensibly by the Al-Qaida terrorists. The fall of twin towers has provided much needed ruse to
the trio of India, Israel and America to accelerate their anti-Pakistan complot while entangling us
in the terroristic snare of Talibanization. Since 2001, this malevolence trio is fast working to
destabilize and balkanize Pakistan in many parts. Pak balkanization is in the direct interest of
India for achieving its agenda of Greater India; it will help Israel and the U.S. to destroy nuclear
arsenal of world’s only Muslim state with atomic power and the rich untamed resources of
Balochistan would be an added bounty for the multinational companies. This is the trickiest
situation in which Islamabad has to be very calculative and should take steps with an eye on the
situation to win out this all-out conflict.
This war against terror game plan is being fervently played in and around Pakistani borders,
especially in the last eight years, not by conventional armies, but by the world’s most qualified
strategists and military experts who have never gone to war zone to practically take part in it;
rather they take a seat in their well equipped libraries or research centers to expound desired
results. These strategists and military experts are employed by spy agencies or by the armed
forces to design and manage this ‘protracted war’ and give it a desired direction. In this complex
situation, conventional armies are but an extended tool to hold national goals and help their
establishments to achieve the policy interests.
It is interesting to note that few years back, RAND Corporation conducted a study on how to
defeat worldwide Islamic movements and the rise of political Islam. One of the main ways to
defeat Islam, the study recommended, was to promote mystical and apolitical Sufism among
Muslim youth to refrain them from global jihad. To advance this agenda, a sufi council was set
up in Pakistan during the regime of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf, under Chaudhry Shujat Hussain- the
crafty man for all seasons.
The Taliban dilemma is a special case to deal with. We should try to comprehend as to how and
why our enemies succeeded in winning our people having strong Islamic faith and our failure in
preventing it. Why the reported presence of an Indian army major general in Kandhar, for
supervising sabotage operations in Pakistan, through their undercover agents, is continuously
ignored by Islamabad? Why don’t we learn from Israel which has effectively clamped down
Hamas led suicide attacks with its indigenous technological perfection and setting up well designed network of security check posts across Israel? Perhaps what we lack is political will,
R&D and strong leadership which could counterfoil enemy designs with its headwork.
Our policy planners should also utilize research institutions, think tanks; universities’ area study
centers should be hired to study enemy designs and their weaknesses along with responsive
counter strategy. The need is to develop their close linkage with policy planning. Pakistan should
also increase its spending of R&D and military establishment should strive to keep an eye on
Indo-Israel cooperation in defence and space exploration because any cooperation between our
antagonists will directly hamper Pakistan and other Gulf countries. Unlike Pakistan, American
universities are the real source of strength for the nation. US universities also act as premiere
research institutions and their research is well coordinated with national policy institutes and
think-tanks which are either funded by the Congress or by any other federal body. American
multipart dominance and political hegemony in world affairs is because of its huge spending on
R&D and higher education. President Obama has set an ambitious goal to spend more on
scientific research and development than it did at the height of space race in 1964. The latest
creation of an advanced research projects agency by U.S. President would fund the development
of internet and other stealth technology to spy the whole world. Likewise, European Union has
shown intention to increase their R&D costs to 3 percent by 2010 while China is enhancing its
R&D spending in 2009 to $25.7 billion, a hefty 25.6% increase over 2008. With this increase,
China is rapidly closing the science funding gap with Japan, which this year, has allotted $37.1
billion for R&D. This shows how developed nations are working day and night to keep their
hegemony in world affairs.
Meanwhile, we should take care of our own weak points as well. Islamic Republic of Pakistan is
a parliamentary federation; with all its four units asymmetrical in size & resources and mostly
wary of each other. Punjab is blamed mostly by other units as politically hegemonic while
Balochistan, despite being the largest of all federating units with respect to its mostly barren and
dry geographical size and rising poverty, is more backward than any other part because it gets
fewer resources to overcome multiple economic crises like trifling law & order, terrorism,
negligible poverty alleviation plans, lack of infrastructural development and bad governance.
Punjab, on the other hand, is the most populate and rich province with majority of the national
assembly seats and its larger presence in federal bureaucracy makes it even more dominating.
Pakistani ethnic divide is complex and unequal; five major ethnic nationalities are divided
among dominant Punjabis in Punjab, Pashtoons in NWFP & Balochistan, Mohajirs in urban
Sindh, Balochis in Balochistan; and Punjabis are further sub-divided by Seraikis in southern
Punjab. However, these sub-nationalities are embroiled in complex realpolitik in which civilmilitary bureaucracy often dominates the resource allocation and utilization. Due to this,
establishment fails in composite development and distribution of resources among all federating
units which benefit centrifugal sentiments in smaller provinces. And, 32 years dictatorship has
hastened this process.
The extent of American military spending in Afghan war and the likely ramifications for
Pakistan should be a concern for us as it is the Afghan battle ground which will finally decide the
course of history and the fate of neighboring Pakistan. It is, therefore, the right moment that our leadership should spurn their differences and unites the
whole nation. But for that, they will have to rise above petty gains.
Is there anybody listening?