By Dr Shahid Qureshi : –
“A friend in need is a friend indeed”, is a very well known saying. Only friends can stop each other from greater harms and would give an honest advice. Majority in the Muslim World including Pakistan don’t have any problems with the people of the US but with current policies. People say that a tiny minority of Washington residents and their policies have hijacked not only 270 million US Citizens, made them a target Worldwide, paranoid, cagey, phobic and fearful at home but also made other people’s lives hell abroad. Analysts believe that the American people are being indoctrinated with the false propaganda through controlled media? Many analysts agree that this war on terror is a biggest fraud of this century? One should look who are the beneficiaries of war on terror? Millions have been killed and displaced in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of what?
International politics is a game of interests and those who do not understand this basic formula not only suffer themselves but also made other suffer too. As time go by countries do develop friendly relationships based on mutual understanding and respect. Well if one analyse Pakistan’s hot and cold bumpy rides with the US one can easily detect that Pakistan is treated like a half way house. But the irony is the compromised and corrupt elite of Pakistan joined the foreign elements in abusing Pakistan themselves?
What could be the best friendly advice one can offer to the occupiers in Afghanistan and Iraq? (a) The best advice would be cut your losses and move out because people don’t want to be occupied (b) don’t repeat the same mistake again like leaving Afghanistan in a mess after Soviet withdrawal (c) start reconstruction and rehabilitation process in Afghanistan and Iraq (d) hearts and minds could be won with love not bombs, food not threats (e) fundamental change in the US foreign policy (f) Unnecessary, unfair and too much support of Israel has made lives of US citizens risky and open to hostility? (h) It seems US need to fight and win a war of liberation within from selfish blackmailers, opportunists and hijackers of the very fundamentals of the US society and constitution? (i) Efforts must be made to save innocent lives (j) safe return of more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees from Pakistan, which could be a breading ground of angry men against the US occupation.
People in the know are very well aware with the Indian game in Afghanistan, one cannot be a partner, a friend and an enemy at the same time? Yes it is important that one should have friendly terms with all the neighbours but at what cost? One wonders if friends of Pakistan are part of the problem or part of the solution?
‘Your excellency, which country Indian has best relationship, three wars with Pakistan, border dispute with Bangladesh, hostile towards Bhutan and Nepal one war and border dispute with China which country India has best relationship apart from Mauritius? I asked H.E Renandra Sen High Commissioner of India to United Kingdom few years ago in a fully packed London School of Economics hall after his lecture on ‘India as emerging power’. His reply was ‘it is not a fair question’. I reassured him later that it was not meant to undermine his lecture. The current trip of the Indian PM to China is significant and reflection of China’s policy of having good relations with its neighbours. One senior Chinese journalist told me few days ago that ‘Pakistan and China are all weathers friends and engagement of people is necessary’. .
Critics say one should look after its own interests because if you don’t nobody else would? President Musharaf rushed to into joining an illegal and dodgy war on terror and than dragged Pakistan to the extent that it reached the cities of Pakistan. What for? The Indian played double bluff on the one hand they started a meaningless and fruitless process of talks with zero outcome? On the other hand Indians never stopped conspiring against Pakistan? Are they alone in conspiring? There are reports of Indian funding to terrorist groups in Pakistan and presence of Indian troops in Afghanistan.
“Two Indian Soldiers killed in Afghanistan”, reported Times of India on 4 Jan 2008. At least two Indians, believed to be personnel of the Indo -Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), were killed and six others injured in a suicide attack on a convoy of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in Southwestern Afghanistan. “We understand that at least two of our security personnel have been killed and some others injured. A number of Afghan security personnel have also been killed,” said the external affairs ministry spokesperson.
Preliminary reports indicated that the two Indians who were killed in the suicide attack belonged to ITBP, the paramilitary force which has deployed its personnel in Afghanistan to provide security to BRO personnel. One of the deceased has been identified as inspector Manoj Kumar. The condition of five of the injured is stated to be critical. As per the reports received here, six Afghan policemen were also killed in the attack when a bomb hidden in a motorbike parked at roadside exploded in Khoshrood district of Nimroz province. Just a few minutes after the initial blast, a man strapped with explosives apparently blew himself up near the convoy. This is yet another instance of the concerted Taliban attacks taking place against the personnel as well as the equipment of BRO — apparently at the behest of Pakistan — which is engaged in construction of the 218-km Zaranj-Delaram road project as part of India’s effort to help in rebuilding of war-ravaged Afghanistan.”
So what did Pakistan got out of War on terror? An unfriendly and hostile regime in Afghanistan whose President expect more than 100,000 Pakistani security forces to protect the Afghan side too while he would enjoy with the incomes of his many restaurants in the US? We have made our borders and cities unsafe, created our own enemies, killed our people for friends who consider us not more than paid cheap mercenaries? Well one private security guard (mostly ex military) is getting paid £300 – £500 (Rs. 36900- Rs. 61500) a day in Iraq according to press reports. Have Pakistan sold its services too cheap? Pakistan’s economic and human losses are far more than any one else at what cost?
History tells ‘people of this region don’t forget their revenge’ and we have to come out of this vicious circle of violence. One analyst said, ‘Pakistan should advise its friends to end this un-winnable war, save human lives and start rebuilding and reconstruction of the affected areas for our future generations’. Hearts and minds could be won with love, care and generosity, not bombings and soldering.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior award wining investigative journalist and writer on security, foreign policy, and terrorism based in London)