Taking full advantage of limitless freedom of action given by Gen Musharraf, CIA and FBI cultivated militant and criminal groups to fight Pak security forces.
As many as 7000 undesirable CIA agents under different guises managed to slip in and they gave rise to drone attacks, suicide bombings and terrorist attacks.
WAR on terror initiated by USA was a ruse to denigrate Islam and crush Jihadis and anti-American Muslims, redraw boundaries of Middle East and to plunder the resources of the Muslim world. The US and its real allies have succeeded in installing puppet regimes in Kabul, Baghdad and Tripoli and in destroying these countries. Although the US and its allies have made several parts of Pakistan restive with the help of their intelligence agencies, they have so far not been able to achieve its core objective of denuclearizing it and making it its vassal.
The four airbases handed over by Musharraf regime to the US air force were used for carrying out overt and covert operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Shamsi airbase was used for employment of drones, where Blackwater elements were employed as missile loaders. The airbases became dens for CIA to trigger Baloch insurgency and destabilize Balochistan. Arms for 60 Farari camps established in interior Balochistan by rebels belonging to Bugti, Marri, Mengal tribes were also provided by NATO containers in addition to supply routes from Afghanistan and India. It has now come to light that 3400 NATO containers containing weaponry went missing in Pakistan. Shamsi base supported Jundullah group made up of runaway Sunni Iranians based in Balochistan to destabilize Sistan province of Iran.
Taking full advantage of limitless freedom of action given by Gen Musharraf, CIA and FBI cultivated militant and criminal groups to fight Pak security forces. By 2007, these agencies helped by RAW, RAAM, MI-6, Mossad and BND succeeded in destabilizing FATA, large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and in embroiling sizeable strength of Army and paramilitary forces in war on terror. Indo-US-Western propaganda machinery continued to spew venom to malign Pakistan’s nuclear program and its premier institutions. The purpose was to declare nuclear program unsafe and ISI a rogue outfit.
On the cultural front, the west as well as India gained a lot from the enlightened moderation promoted by Musharraf to show soft face of Pakistan. It helped in demonizing Islamists and strengthening secularism and allowing Indian and western culture to seep into Pakistani society. Likewise, higher level of education in particular was secularized and school textbooks revised to dilute concept of Jihad. It sharpened secularists-Islamists divide and gave rise to obscenity as well as religious extremism.
Efforts of Pakistan’s detractors to weaken the ISI and to disable nuclear program received a setback in 2007 when Gen Musharraf graph started declining after he committed the mistake of sacking chief justice Iftikhar. 12 May incident in which the MQM thugs gunned down over 50 workers of different political parties in Karachi further discredited the military regime. Failing to defuse the lawyer’s movement, the ruling regime suffered another setback after it’s botched up Lal Masjid operation in July 2007.
In order to redress the situation, the plot makers hatched another plan and decided to install PPP government under Benazir that was popular among the masses and completely loyal to Washington. Gen Musharraf was forced to strike a power sharing deal with Benazir and infamous NRO was issued which paved the way for Benazir and later for Sharif brothers to return home and participate in elections.
When Benazir started to veer away from her commitments made to USA, she was murdered on 27 December 2007. As a consequence to manipulated elections in February 2008, all pro-American liberal political parties PPP-MQM-ANP together with dubious JUI-F succeeded in forming a coalition government, which turned out to be the most corrupt and thoroughly incompetent. When Musharraf lost his utility value, the US got him replaced by most controversial person Zardari in September 2008. Additionally, certain handpicked America’s puppets were awarded key appointments who helped the US in pursuing its agenda.
Notwithstanding the servility of new leadership to Washington’s commands, it became upsetting for the US to find their chosen President helpless to cut the ISI to size, open up nuclear arsenal and to settle Kashmir dispute as per India’s wishes. It was disconcerting for Obama administration and Pentagon to find that neither Zardari could rein in Gen Kayani and Lt Gen Pasha, nor GHQ or ISI was willing to play ball with USA. Irritated by their defiance, the US started twisting the arm of the government and Army in rotation and at times simultaneously. The US aided by our Ambassador Haqqani then used Kerry Lugar aid bill (KLB) worth $7.5 billion stretched over five years as an instrument to deprive Pakistan of its dignity and sovereignty. It was meant to yoke the military, ISI and nuclear program. While the government fell for it, the Army rightly expressed its serious reservations.
Expansion of the US Embassy in Islamabad was undertaken to accommodate 1000 Marines and greater number of staff and undercover operatives. Large numbers of private houses were hired in 2009 in Islamabad and provincial capitals to accommodate the assault brigade. In July 2010, visa policy was liberalized by the PM allowing US citizens to enter Pakistan without ISI and Foreign Office clearance. As a consequence, as many as 7000 undesirable CIA agents under different guises managed to slip in and they gave rise to drone attacks, suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. The US also stepped up pressure on Pakistan to launch a major operation in North Waziristan (NW), declared as the most dangerous place.
The year 2011 further accentuated the security situation and made Pak-US relations rocky. Arrest of Raymond was the first watershed which caused strains, but stealth helicopters assault in Abbottabad on 2 May severely impacted military and intelligence relations between the two allied countries. Resistance offered by Army and ISI and refusal to open another front in NW angered US-NATO so much that it gave vent to its pent up anger on 26 November by way of attacking Pak Army’s two border check posts and killing 24 soldiers. Salala incident has brought Pak-US relations to near breaking point but unified the otherwise divided nation.
The civil and military leaders in Pakistan have for the first time jointly taken pro-active measures to express their displeasure. Intelligence sharing had already discontinued after 2 May. CIA had been firmly asked to repatriate all it’s under cover agents. Activities of diplomats had been kept under strict watch. After 26/11, military liaison officers at joint coordination centres were called back; GHQ refused to be part of NATO’s inquest since NATO commander, Gen Allen and Gen Dempsey had categorically announced that the attack was unintentional; Bonn conference was boycotted; NATO supply line was stopped; all scheduled military visits to USA and western countries were cancelled; Shamsi airbase was got vacated by 11 December; air defence along western border was beefed up; troops deployed along the border were instructed to resist any future incursion with full force and to shoot down intruding drone. Pakistan has decided to revise terms of engagements with USA. In this connection a high level conference of our ambassadors held a meeting on 12 December. Anti-Americanism has scaled new heights and protest marches to condemn NATO’s brutal attack are continuing.
The US on its part is maintaining its arrogance and is refusing to offer an apology or to admit its fault. Gen Allan stated that he cannot guarantee if another Mohmand-like strike takes place. In the same breath, the US is pressing Pakistan to forget the incident and to recommence business as usual. It is surprised at the hard stance taken by Pakistan and cannot reconcile with it. Unless the US apologizes and agrees to reduce terms of engagement in writing, treat Pakistan as an ally rather than a target, stops its covert war and propaganda campaign, prevents India from this practice and grants Pakistan its due role in Afghanistan’s political settlement, Pakistan must stand firm and push back US pressure.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org