By Rana Athar Javed
Today the West is not faced with a hostile balance of power. Forming coalitions with highly efficient armies is presented as a policy of countering ideological challenge to Western societies, and thus producing further conflicts in strategically crucial regions of the world. Application of different rationalities to destabilize the balance of power and energy resources in their favor, the US and other European countries predict the collapse of major Muslim countries, especially Pakistan, if the so-called beliefs of these terrorists are not effectively couched according to the socio-national interests of the developed world.
Furthermore, how the countries should form their future trade and economic ties with other neighbors is considered as innovative friendly measures where risk perspectives is not applied to manage the threat, but to achieve perfect security system for the national interests of major powers.
Actually, it may be a logically correct thinking, but strategic is not the only intention; the theme that is practically tarnishing the image of balanced international security policy is: “who are these terrorists and why they are targeting specifically resourceful regions of Baluchistan and Karachi”. Vital security installations, especially air weapons systems/reconnaissance entities of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had also been the prime target of coordinated terrorist attacks? One simple explanation is that the enemy/non-friendly countries in the region are willfully creating, brainwashing, aiding and equipping new assembly-line of terrorists.
In addition, transition from separatist movement to an ethnically-driven terrorism changes the course of terrorists’ strategy, thus partly indicating that depopulation of different sections of society on numerous grounds would ultimately create an open battle space of pressing against Pakistan’s future energy needs.
A large number of IDPs is also a source of political embarrassment at national/international levels for a sustainable period of time, and hence opening up another opportunity for anti-Pakistan ventures to malign its state institutions. Evidently, the time to fully confront with the fact is arrived, that is, a systematic and planned propaganda is underway to accuse Pak-military and ISI by the international media and lobby groups. All such aspersions against the prime institutions should be tackled with a full reply, a technique that would encourage those who are fighting at the frontlines against the international terrorists and their sponsors.
Too many US/Western think tanks, journalists, and policy-makers have grinded and recreated intelligence assessment for decades that Pakistan’s future is no longer secure; despite its possession of nuclear weapons and missile technology. This risk framework carries an inherent presupposition of disbanding every risk society that could become an important mean of not providing physical and territorial support to the Western national interests for a longer period of time.
First, the US and NATO cannot just impose another operational script in the post-2014 Afghanistan. Second, defeating concrete terrorist threats in the region needs serious cooperation from the side of Afghanistan, and hence a sincere effort to withdraw all hostile entities from the Pakistani soil., namely; the foreign sponsored terrorist networks, who are waging a low-intensity war against Pakistani people, military and security services
Answering the question, what really West wants from Pakistan is equally problematic – because the US and West also asks why the Muslims, especially Pakistanis do not like them? Unpacking these questions cannot be framed only into an intellectual discourse. More needs to be done; especially clarifying the post-2014 objectives of the US in Afghanistan, as an unclear policy on war on terror is fiercely contributing to the present problem of comprehending the composition of terrorist entities in the region.
The confrontation with terrorism in Pakistan has practically bruised every Pakistani’s soul. The killing of small children, women, professionals belonging to Shia community on daily basis and attacking state institutions to an extent that warfare becomes tightly within Pakistani society, is a dangerous policy of “hit & stay” by the terrorists. Drone attacks too are causing civilian deaths and hence resentment against the state/people of Pakistan.
This tragic situation has raised very serious questions – ordinary citizens, politicians, military, and most importantly the young generation are suspecting that foreign hands [also Indians] in a joint venture with domestic terrorist organizations are writing the tales of innocent deaths, destruction, mistrust and ethnic cleansing of an important segment of Pakistani society. In the modern history, no country would ever prefer to be affected by the menace of social chaos, let alone breed such situations for its own society.
In this atmosphere of despair and anticipation, the peace in Afghanistan is still desirable, but, the politicization of coalition politics is so distinct that public opinion about Pakistan’s extraordinary role in war on terror barely receives strong backing of the Western, especially the US press. The right to seek peace for Pakistan too is central for Afghanistan and India. In any shape and form, the opposition to primary peace, energy and stability requirements of Pakistan would just enhance the anti-American sentiments among Pakistanis.
To be concluded, the US/NATO should not ignore the political implication of its Afghan policy for the broader South Asia because if continuing drone attacks is a clear national security priority for the US, then, Pakistan too should propose its own preventive security doctrines, which emphasizes the need for interpreting Pakistan’s own security requirements.
The right to seek less expensive energy/gas resources and self-reliance could become dividends of peace for Pakistan and India. Realistically, the US should consider concessions not sanctions, a fruitful policy shift that will substantively change the course of attention from conflict to economy building environment in the wider Asian region. Failure is not an option!