Interview with Dr Shahid Qureshi Political analyst on Press TV
Program: News Analysis 27th September 2011- 7.30 GMT
Last week, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen said the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was supporting the Taliban-allied Haqqani network of militants that is blamed by Washington for recent attacks on the US embassy and the US-led military alliance of NATO’s headquarters in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
On Monday, the US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Washington had to consider military action against Pakistan in the event of, what he called, Islamabad’s continued support for militant attacks against the US troops in Afghanistan.
Islamabad has stiffly rejected the accusations and Pakistani people staged anti-US rallies across the country on Tuesday to protest at American officials’ recent threats and accusations against Islamabad.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Shahid Qureshi, a political analyst in London, to discuss the issue more.
two additional guests: Gareth Porter and Syed Ali Wasif
Below is the text of the interview:
Press TV: I’d like to see if you agree with that remark made there by Gareth Porter [another guest of this program] that in fact Washington has known about this link between the Haqqani network and the ISI, but it has chosen this specific time to make this allegation because, as the Pakistani foreign minister was saying this is a policy decision. What is your take on that?
Dr Qureshi: Well keeping in view the US policy in the past 60 years that it creates friends for few years then the same friends become enemies and then the Americans fight with them. I think it is a repeat of what happened with Saddam. Saddam was America’s friend, Saddam fought with Iran and then the Americans fought with Saddam and in the end Saddam was killed by the Americans themselves. This is the same kind of strategy with the Americans. They kill their friends more frequently than they kill their enemies.
And the American enemies mostly lie in the Wall Street who have robbed the US government and the US people billions and trillions of dollars and the US is looking for those petty people with AK-47 and four by four in some mountains.
They [the US] are thinking they [the militants] are their biggest enemies. Their biggest enemies are in the Wall Street. If the Americans are really, really serious about stopping this war, then they need to stop in Afghanistan which is costing them about seven billion dollars a month.
Press TV: Gareth Porter just mentioned that the attacks from the Haqqani network on Pakistan have been increasing and that the US has been facing now this public embarrassment to increase the pressure again on Pakistan to fight these militants.
Now what do you think about this? Do you think that the Pakistani government is for political or negotiated kind of deal with these militants in North Waziristan? Why is it not putting that extra pressure or launching that offensive against these militants? What is the purpose for that?
Dr Qureshi: Well, let me put the things in perspective, the numbers in perspective. The total number of US and the allies soldiers killed in the bordering region of Pakistan about three hundred and twelve or something and the total number of people who have been killed inside Afghanistan by the Afghan militants is over twelve hundred.
So that argument that the Pakistanis are sending their troops or their militants to fight with the US forces from this side of the border is not valid because there are about one hundred forty thousand troops and more than one thousand posts on this side. What the Americans got on the other side? None. What the Americans got on the other side, they have emptied Pakistan’s terrorist networks operating against Pakistani soil in Baluchistan. Inside Pakistan, they are promoting the Indian sponsored terrorist camps inside Afghanistan which are sponsored by the US government of course and the allies.
Now this kind of mistrust is going on and, as I said earlier on, this Haqqani network was in the picture for a while and we were just waiting for the time for the US to make it more visible for it [the US] to put more pressure on Pakistan. The real problem is the occupation of Afghanistan and the Americans must understand this; they need to leave the battle and at the same time neither parties should underestimate each other, the US and the Pakistanis should not underestimate each other that if the Americans attack Pakistan or the Pakistanis respond or retaliate. Pakistan is not Iraq, Pakistan is not Afghanistan.
So if the US is facing, if they think that they are going to bomb the cities of Pakistan and all the insulations and they are going to have a happy life everywhere, that is not going to happen.
Press TV: I just like to ask you do you think that, if we say that the US is not after war with Pakistan, it is not even after cutting relations with Pakistan, Pakistan, however, is prepared to do that it has now reached that stage that there would part ways with Washington. Do you think that is now a possibility from the side of Pakistan?
Dr Qureshi: First of all I respond to the gentleman in Washington. I do not think the gentleman in Washington really knows what goes on in Afghanistan, where the US … soldiers are paying to the Taliban to keep peace in most provinces and that was proved by the even Italians who left the area and the French took over and it was a big story that how they are paying, paying in money to keep the peace with the local Talibans. So that will show how bravely the US soldiers are fighting.
And let’s not go down that road and who is not; we are talking about the people of Pakistan and the people in Afghanistan, especially if the links between the regional friends like Iran, Pakistan, Turkey could be strengthened then that can create further dialogue between the people and the other powers, specially the US who is on its way out, costing seven billion dollars a month.
And also I would like to mention to my friend in Washington, the injured soldiers, the wounded soldiers, the killed soldiers who arrived in the middle of the night in the US, not to show to the US public is demoraliz[ing], also taking away all those destroyed weaponry, destroyed tanks and the armored APCs back to US in the containers, that is to do with the morals of the US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.
Let’s save the lives of all sides, the Afghanis and the US, by moving out of this mess and sooner you move out of this mess, the better instead of blaming your friend. That is what the Americans did in Iraq, that is what the Americans did in Vietnam, blaming Iran, blaming other countries that they are doing this.
The real problem is the occupation. This is an illegal occupation in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. And my friend in Washington must understand that the real enemies of your country where you are sitting now or your adopted country are the bankers in the Wall Street where the people have been conned in the broad daylight.