Boots on the ground
05 May, 2011
By Amjad Malik
You believe or not, and you do not even need to allow them, as the fact of the matter is that ‘the boots are on the ground’ in Pakistan. Now either you are incompetent or an accomplice, choice is yours. In both the situations it’s a national embarrassment and devastation to state of Pakistan which is already surrounded by a series of internal security & political stability issues. Bin laden has been hunted down in a sensitive area of Pakistan on 2 May 2011 is an international news and a joy for millions around the globe who hope that escalation on the name of war on terror may end here but it left many questions unanswered.
Pakistan as a state has weakened further due to a very fragile state of affairs and the mockery with which the leaders are operating in a land of opportunities. They are untruthful to themselves and to the nation. Either we were involved in this operation which will be a right step, or we shared intelligence a lesser evil, but one thing is pretty clear that no operation may be conducted in the Pakistani territories without the permission of Pakistan. Denying participation is the worst crime than the ignorance. Raymond Davis seems a rehearsal to gauge the public mood, reaction of state infrastructure and powers of its high powered premier intelligence agency to combat any operation of that kind and superpower succeeded in not only hunting down a high value target, a prized gift for their nation but also leaving the leaders of 170 million souls in a catch twenty two whether to admit it or deny it at all. It’s a situation like a lizard in their mouth, they can neither swallow nor spit it out. And net result is that United States is taking credit by default unilaterally. Pakistan is left alone in a scattered state of affairs on question of ‘terror networks’ ‘trust deficit’ and ‘safe heavens.’ I think we are far away from truth and Pakistani high ups are expert in not telling it but one day from archives or autobiographies of those involved, we may learn of it but later.
Leadership civil or military must grapple the question of Binladen’s presence in Pakistani areas and why it was hidden or if not known why such an intelligence failure at the hands of Security Services. Active participation in hunting him down jointly could have led to wash away Pakistan’s hand from accomplice questions with terror net works. If the ‘head money’ is going to individuals then Americans are right about Pakistanis, but all these questions need to be probed. For once I have no doubt in my mind that either it was carefully constructed ‘operation Geronimo’to achieve some tangible targets or the Intel was sold to Americans to save face, but without knowledge of ISI is beyond my imagination. If we did not know of this four hours operation at all, then it’s an utter failure of the whole security apparatus and those in surge of extensions must resign and let the fresh faces turn new leaves as it begs the question of security of Pakistani nuclear armament and our weaker response capability to Indian strikes at ‘Muredke’. Pakistan needs to come up with its calculated answers to its Parliament, Media and outer world, and its nation very fast before psychological damage is done. It is no longer a virgin by any international standards, as first unilateral missile attack at Bajur & Damadola, later series of drone strikes inside its territory, and in 2011 Raymond Dvais’s release and now Osama’s presence and Obama’s operation to hunt and kill apparently alone has left them and their people in a shell shock.
Having said that there is no doubt, that 9/11 was the most tragic incident which brought so much hatred; and vengeance along with it, which brought the ancient civilisations to a flash point where tolerance and forbearance was lost during its process. Along with it came the new drive of a war against terrorism where enemy was unseen and it was a myth and ‘religious terrorism’ was invented prejudging the billions of people of one faith linking to intolerance and radicalisation. Pakistan too was asked to submit to the mighty or was asked to face the consequences and be ready to go to the caves. Unlike Turkey who rejected over 35 billion aid package in exchange of allowing the mighty to use its territory to turn Iraq into rubble, Pakistani rulers devoid of legality in its newly installed regime caved in easily without any honourable settlement of their outstanding debts or without guaranteeing and addressing any threat to their national security in the form of retaliatory attacks or territorial integrity. Now we are bearing the brunt, we are left where we started in 2001 with a bleak economy, more debt, vast destruction and countless casualties and internal security issues with an even weaker civil infrastructure and the USA swiftly bags the ‘hunting’ credit of their most wanted criminal whose head money was nearly a billion.
Sovereign states seldom plunge their soldiers into a war whose results and risks are not calculated. Pakistani army has lost over three thousand soldiers as a result of their active participation in the north of their country. In a civilised countries issues pertaining to country’s sovereignty and integrity are presented in the parliament for approval however same countries support weaker regimes in order to avoid a parliamentary and judicial oversight over sensitive matters. Pakistan is one of those unfortunate states where rule of law is weak and judicial writ is even weaker and Parliamentary oversight is extinct on national security matters. Politicians must see eye to eye to the challenges the country is facing removing trust deficits without losing its allies in the West but saying ‘no’ to their old masters where it deems necessary. They must bring judiciary to a reasonable standard where justice is seen to be done and people are happy of the verdict they get from the courts and run the system of civil administration smoothly addressing all the threats to it from within. Pakistani ruling elite will have to start being honest with themselves and with their people as double standards may suit but double crossing may cost lives and if reliance on aid packages is not switched to the ‘trade activity’ then I am afraid ‘national honour’ is compromised too, and then we must forget about country’s territorial integrity as beggars cannot be choosy.