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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pakistan will remain driven by Army and America

Sep 29, 2011

Both can’t afford any break now
By Tarun Vijay

US-Pakistan relations are a perfect example of need-based opportunism. Neither trusts the other, and there is hardly any societal or civilisational affinity, yet they know they have to live with a love-hate relationship, till finally Pakistan as a country withers away, as some US-based analysts predict.

Currently, though Islamabad-Washington ties look like plunging to a new low following the US straight talk about the ISI encouraging and aiding terror attacks on international forces in Afghanistan, no substantial change will occur in their relationship. Such tides matter between equal partners. Can anyone in Pakistan simply afford to turn his back on the Islamic Republic’s real masters on Capitol Hill? Often described as the 51st state of the US, and its leaders getting insulting references in the US media (remember Washington Post cartoon depicting Pervez Musharraf as a dog of White House during his heyday?), it will be hilarious to take seriously Pakistan’s cosmetic angst against the Obama regime.

Just one brief statement by a US official made Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani call a special meeting of his top commanders on a Sunday and a midway return of their foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik had the cheek to say that the Haqqani network was a product of the CIA. And perhaps in lighter vein added, “We are cooperating with US. We will cooperate with every country of the world who is fighting against terrorism.” But pray who cares what a minister Rahman or a Prime Minister Gilani speaks in Islamabad? The only factor that matters for Pakistan is either a White House spokesperson or Gen. Kayani’s men. Pakistan is the only country that is a bedfellow to the two powers, the US and China, who are poles apart in every respect.

The way the US treated Pakistan during the Osama killing and the later statements of Hillary Clinton, first placating the angry serfs and then warning them to behave, show the kind of relationship the two have.

The US state department always knew about Pakistan’s role in fomenting terrorism the world over, especially in India, but till their immediate interests were being served they kept silent and never helped India. Now Washington will have to reap what it sowed. Till they realise and recognise that Pakistan is the main source of terrorism globally and come forward as a democratic country to be a partner with India in ending terrorism, the US will continue to deal with the Haqqanis and the Headleys. They will also have to live with Islamabad getting too close to Beijing, thus unbalancing the power equation in the region. Post the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington may rethink its Pakistan policy, and there might be a little tightening of the leash, but overall the generals of Islamabad will continue to serve the US with loyalty, proving the efficacy of the Allah, Army and America formulation dominating Islamabad once again.

The writer is Rajya Sabha MP and member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs

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