What Lies Ahead

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What Lies Ahead

Postby Spearhead Research » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:20 pm

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Spearhead Analysis - 19.04.11

What Lies Ahead

Pakistan’s intelligence chief visited Washington to interact with his counterpart. What should have been accepted as routine consultation between allies has become the subject of intense media debate, speculation and even questions and answers in Parliament. One writer has come up with the ‘slap and kick’ idea implying that the March 17 Drone attack in Datta Khel that killed innocent civilians was a celebratory slap by the CIA after they got Davis back and that the Drone attack immediately after the ISI boss left Washington was a deliberate kick. It may be pertinent to recall what Pakistan’s Foreign Office had said while calling for revisiting the fundamentals of the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship—‘It was for the White House and the State Department to hold back those who have been trying to veer the Pakistan-US relationship away from the track—‘. This may be the time to act jointly and methodically to rein in those who have their own agendas and make sure that no one is fighting their own private war-- and this applies not just to the US and Pakistan but to those across Pakistan’s eastern and western borders.

The problem, like all problems has a background. Drone attacks were being grudgingly tolerated as an irritant till they became blatant in-your-face frequent violations of sovereignty with a callous disregard for civilian casualties that included women and children. CIA covert operations and Special Forces actions were little known except for occasional disregard for local laws that created situations. The Davis incident was just too much---two Pakistanis gunned down in broad daylight on a crowded street with the killer exiting his vehicle to deliver the coup de grace and a third Pakistani crushed to death by a US diplomatic vehicle in the frantic rush from the scene. What followed simply made matters worse—the demand for diplomatic immunity with the heaviest US artillery trotted out to ensure compliance right at the outset. That the incident was resolved through a court under Pakistani law did help but failure to address what it exposed and the public outrage it created has led to problems. Just when it seemed that Pakistan’s concerns were being understood and the Secretary of State had indicated future directions the US-Pakistan relationship is again mired in mistrust. Strategic interests cannot totally disregard the mutual respect and understanding that must underpin relationships. It is time to step back, review the strategic relationship, cast aside the ambiguities of the past and evolve a ‘status agreement’ that clearly defines future covert presence and operations as well as drone operations. That the host country’s intelligence agency must have primacy within its country goes without saying—even in a trilateral CIA-MI6-ISI collaborative operational framework.

The fact that the Army and Intelligence Chiefs accompanied the Prime Minister to Kabul signifies the military’s support of the elected government and its push for a strategy that reduces threats to create space for economic and internal security policies. The military is helping in many ways—quietly and without making waves. Till civilian administration can take over in FATA it is executing developmental work there. The decision to open a central corridor to Kabul from Bannu through Mir Ali and North Waziristan is a strategic step that will have far reaching impact on the entire area. In Baluchistan several recent actions need to be noted—the significantly enhanced recruitment quotas, the education city and cadet college, enhanced enrollment in Army run schools and colleges, the support for a ‘marble city’ with all facilities in the area where marble is mined, the response to the Baluch demand for the military to return to Cantonments and the establishment of a vocational training institute in Gwadar to train locals in port related and other job skills. All these ventures are the result of civil military collaboration. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has clearly stated that there is no space for military interventions killing the rumor mills that were working overtime. Much more needs to be done in the economic and social sphere throughout the country. Aid can only keep the country afloat. It is steps that open up markets, bring in investment and boost local industry that will create employment and transform the economy to generate funds for infrastructure development and social sector reforms. This is where Pakistan needs fast and furious support.

The Afghanistan situation is enormously important for Pakistan. Pakistan has unambiguously committed itself to help bring about a stable and peaceful Afghanistan leaving it to the Afghan government to determine the bilateral relationship it wants. The end state desired in Afghanistan will dictate Pakistan’s policy. By now it is clear that the promised July 2011 withdrawal will be a token pullout of 3 to 4000 personnel—mostly non-combat people. The 2011—2014 period will be the time for reconciliation and capacity building of Afghan security forces---both areas that have not shown the required progress. Much will depend on actions that bring all stake holders, and more importantly the people, on board and not alienate them. Inevitably the focus will shift to the post 2014 agreement between the US and Afghan governments to determine the dimensions of the US presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. This has consequences for all stake holders as well as those being targeted for reconciliation. The post 2014 environment has to be such that it is within the built up capacity of the Afghan security forces and this means interaction with neighbors and others with interests in Afghanistan as well as balance within the country’s institutions.

Finally two issues that keep think tanks well funded---radicalization and Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Pakistan does not want to be radicalized—it is committed to being a moderate Islamic country and it is committed to democracy, social reform and to being part of the global world order. It is battling the consequences of policies that create hatred and motivation for radicalization as others pursue their own interests. Pakistan’s efforts can become significantly meaningful once the violence across its western border and in its own border areas ends. It is then that the groups that thrive on this violence will be neutralized. Pakistan has repeatedly asserted that it has excellent custodial control and security measures for its nuclear assets—so far except for vague fears and doomsday scenarios no real lapse has been identified. Recent attempts to focus attention on proliferation and ongoing developmental work are not warranted and only fuel the speculation that these assets are the ‘real target’. Faced with a growing conventional force imbalance Pakistan has to ensure credible deterrence. It is the normalization of relations between India and Pakistan and the resolution of disputes that holds the key to moving towards collaborative nuclear security and control measures. The ongoing composite dialogue between India and Pakistan is therefore extremely timely and important not just for them but for the region and the world.

(Spearhead analyses are a collaborative effort and not attributable to an individual)

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Postby atif_aslam74 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:53 pm

I see long and scary period of gloom and darkness!

Lets say this current government completes its tenure. Pakistan is left bankrupt, inflation has reached all time high, industry has come to a standstill and poverty and hunger has forced people to either commit suicides or take law into their own hands. Murders, kidnappings, dacoities and sectarian and political assassinations are even more common. All major organizations and institutes like PIA, Steel Mills, Railways have virtually shut down.

Pakistan Army itself has become obsolete with run down and broken weaponry. Lack of budget has forced it to cut down its size and those who still are employed seldom get paid. For them the only incentive to stay with the armed forces is to steal and sell remaining weapons and military hardware.

Components of nukes have mostly been destroyed by US Forces or stolen by militants. India has found a huge underground black-market to sell their goods to hungry and depraved Pakistanis. Afghans and other Al Qaeda members freely move all across the country and have become a dominant segment of the society controlling police. Army also tries to stay out of their way. Fuel is not sold at fuel pumps but rather on roadside stalls. This fuel is smuggled in from Iran, its expensive but its the only way for households and small businesses to generate electricity as WAPDA no longer exists.

US troops have pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq and have little or no interest in the region anymore. Military and civilian aid stopped when the last democratically elected government in Pakistan ordered the armed forces to shoot down US armed drone to gain public support for the next elections. Actually that was the point when US sent ground forces into Pakistani territory and directly engaged Pakistani troops in to a full blown battle. Militants also took advantage of the situation and fought against the Pakistan army after getting assurance from the US of a complete pullout. After suffering heavy casualties, Pakistan Army retreated and pulled out of the North and South Waziristan. US forces also pulled out of the Pakistani territory. A semi-serious pact between the US and the Taliban forces was signed as a face saving tactic for US to finally exit the region, leaving Taliban in control with a promise not to attack USA and its other Western Allies.

From time to time China airdrops food and medicines as a gesture of friendship. Gwadar port has become a safe-haven for drug smugglers, pirates and other criminals involved in human trafficking. Stolen cargo from passing ships is found scattered in the coastal areas of Balochistan. Karachi has become an independent state protected by India. MQM is the ruling force there. Rest of the Sindh province is in a bad state just like rest of the Pakistan.

After this there were no elections... most of the bigwigs of politics left the country with a promise to the nation that they will return to Pakistan soon... that day never came.

Frightening.. isn't it? but this is exactly where we are heading.

The only way out for Pakistan is to understand its true standing in terms of economics, military strength and internal and external security threats. Pakistanis must be informed by their political government that the country has reached a point where it has become impossible to survive in isolation. People from all walks of life need to understand that the size of Pakistan's population has exceeded its existing resources, with over 97% population not paying taxes, it is impossible for any government (honest or corrupt) to provide health care and education to the masses. Al Qaeda, Taliban and all other extremist outfits are anti-Pakistan. Unless people of Pakistan stop supporting these organizations it will not be possible to rid the country of terrorism. Pakistan needs USA for its own survival.

It is time to settle all issues with USA, accept drones as a reality and tell the people that these drone attacks are not without the knowledge of Pakistan Government, Army and Intelligence Agencies. Its time to accept the fact that Pakistan is fighting its toughest battle ever for its survival. Its time to give hard and brutal facts to the entire Pakistani nation that America is keeping us alive with their military and civilian aid. So instead of foolishly and emotionally shouting anti-America and anti-West slogans, we need to think factually and realistically.

Instead of deceiving the public, Pakistani Government and Pakistani Military need to come out with the truth, accept the problem areas, sit down with the US and draft a pact or policy or whatever we may want to call it. This pact should address all the problem areas in US - Pak relations and both sides should decide how they want to move forward. But stop lying to the public, this only spreads confusion and frustration. It helps no one but the militants.
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