Pakistan and the US
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Pakistan is a major non NATO US ally. So says the US and so do we think because Pakistan wants a good constructive relationship with the US. A White House counter terrorism consultant David Kilcullen predicted the political collapse of Pakistan within six months. He made this prediction on April 13th. US Joint Forces Command stated that there is the risk of rapid and sudden collapse of Pakistan and added that the collapse of a state usually comes as a surprise. Top US leaders have publicly stated that they have doubts on the commitment of the Pakistan military and the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) to the war on terror. US think tank experts think that there is an ‘ideology problem’ within the military and that ‘motivation is conflicted’. Mr Holbrooke does not see anyone in the driving seat in Pakistan and says so to a correspondent. Pakistanis are expected to understand that the US is doing all this to help an ally. Pakistanis wonder why such matters cannot be discussed and resolved during the ‘strategic dialogues’ between the two allies. Pakistanis must be pardoned if they read sinister motives behind obviously orchestrated and abrasive statements.
Mrs Hillary Clinton went up several notches in Pakistani public opinion when she stated that past US policies had something to do with Pakistan’s present predicament. Pakistanis hope that her views will resonate with others. Especially those who rely for ‘expert advice’ on those Pakistanis who have made a career of running down Pakistan’s policies, its military and its intelligence apparatus. They are well known in Pakistan and despised for their despicable writings and utterances. The US needs to listen directly to the Pakistani street—they will not hear what they want to but they will hear what they should.
Pakistan is going through a process of political stabilization and evolving sustainable political, civil and military institutions. This is a difficult process especially when it has to develop a national response to the threat it faces from insurgents supported from the chaos in Afghanistan---chaos that thrives because of US policy and Coalition Forces presence in that anarchic opium infested country. Very little is being done to support, encourage and foster the process underway in Pakistan. If the US really wants to help turn its ally Pakistan into a stable country then this where it should act and help to bring governance and control. Anti-US public opinion will start changing.
Driven by its own fears and solely in pursuit of its own interests the US and its media are creating the sort of panic that can only be counter-productive. US ‘experts’ worry about a ‘coup within the military’---Pakistanis see no sign of this. They worry about a ‘radical take-over as the military crumbles and flees’---no one in Pakistan even considers such an eventuality. US experts seem to rely on individuals in charge of institutions---Pakistanis rely on the institutions and even resent such US patronage. In fact such patronized individuals become ‘suspect’ in Pakistani eyes. The US fears ‘a gradual bleeding of Pakistani authority and loss of control over ‘large parts’ of its territory---this is not the reality because Pakistan is battling an insurgency in which there are grey areas. Pakistan is also trying to forge a national plan to respond to the threat---this plan has to be home grown and not based on US fears.
Pakistanis need to be encouraged and supported in their endeavors---not made panicky and insecure. Pakistanis need to have confidence in their resilience and future. Now that the threat has unveiled its face Pakistanis need to forge the kind of unity that can defeat the power grabbing rabble that masquerades as reformers. Pakistanis must see their future within Pakistan and not anywhere else. This stiffening of resolve will send out the right signals---there is nothing to fear but much to do. Pakistanis should get on with doing what needs to be done.