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Pak-US Relations At A Critical Point – Analysis

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By General Mirza Aslam Beg, Former Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan

Threat to our national security increased with the occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, and has reached dangerous proportions now, as the defeated forces are seeking the support of “a compliant regime and a military dictator in Pakistan, to provide the fall back position in Pakistan and a guarantee for safe exit from Afghanistan.” In the past it was easy to bring about the Regime Change, with the help of the Army, the judiciary and political parties but the mood is different now.

The deceitful action in Abbottabad and the terrorist raid on Mehran Naval Base, were meant to create condition for Regime Change, but conversely these actions invited very strong reactions from the people, the media, the parliament and the armed forces, which caused deep concern in Washington. Clinton and Mullen, came rushing to Pakistan to mend the damage caused to Pak-US strategic relationship. The critical issue is not the US-Pak relationship, but the targeting of the Pakistani Armed Forces, to malign them, through a well orchestrated media campaign, and to break their unity. A very dangerous move indeed, as Anatol Lieven, the author of the book “Pakistan: A Hard Country” warns: “How American folly could destroy Pakistan, by inducing mutiny in the Pakistan Army. Washington, grotesquely might contribute to the destruction of the state it is trying to save and a historic triumph for extremism. Pakistan’s tragedy would then become one of the entire world.”

The United States and their allies are in a desperate situation in Afghanistan, and need an early exit, which only Taliban can grant, under the condition that the ‘occupation forces must give a definite time-frame for withdrawal.’ It is not 1989, when Mujahideen provided safe exit to the Soviets. The Afghan Taliban now have no trust in Pakistan, or the Americans, who cheated them in 1990 at Geneva and again in 2002 at Bonn, on the matter of power-sharing and the efforts continue even now to keep them out of power. Therefore ‘no safe exit’ and ‘no soft-state’ in Pakistan. So where do the American proceed from here? and what are the choices for Pakistan?

Pakistan had enough of war on terror, and stands badly bruised and battered, fighting our own people. Pakistan has to find peace with the tribals. Approach them with open arms and an open mind. Do not repeat the deceitful act of killing Maulvi Nek Mohammad, after truce was reached. Go back to the historic 1947 decision of Quaid-e-Azam and hand over the responsibility of defense of our borders to them.
Find peace with the oppressed and the angry Baloch, and pre-empt the dangerous designs of our enemies, to foment revolt and cessation. The on-going process of pacification must be accelerated to achieve national integration.
Offer regrets and apology to the Afghans, for joining the American war in 2001, and create space for diplomacy to re-establish friendly relations and facilitate a safe-exit for the occupation forces.
Let the election process, throw-up new leadership and the democratic system finds its roots. Any attempt to rock the boat now, would be highly dangerous.
Let the supremacy of the law of the land prevail and punishment metted-out to those who break the law.
Tell the world that our nuclear assets are safe, as much as safety demands. They are well dispersed and known only to those “who need to know.” Even the users – the Army, Navy and Airforce do not know, where they are kept, but at the time of need, they will be delivered the war-heads, to be embedded with the delivery systems. Our command and control system is one of the best in the world, if not the best. By the Grace of God, ours is the only nuclear programme, in the world, which has never experienced a disaster or a mishap.

The ‘safety’ of nuclear assets as well as ‘deterrence’ are complementary. One relates to its credibility and the physical ability to keep them safe and the other relates to: “the will to use the capability to deter and defeat aggression”. The will to use this capability is ‘a function of command decision, of the person in authority’ as demonstrated in 1990, when CIA, Mossad and RAW had planned to attack our nuclear assets. We received very disturbing signals from own sources and friends in the Middle East. The then Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto – “the person in authority”, called an urgent meeting of the Nuclear Command Authority, and after due deliberations took following decisions:

Sent the foreign minister to Delhi, with the message, that if attacked, Pakistan would retaliate against India, no matter, where the attack came from.

(I.A. Gujral, the former Prime Minister of India, mentions in his book “Matters of Discretion” about our Foreign Minister’s visit on 23 January 1990 and the message delivered, but cleverly relates it to the tension on the cease-fire line, whereas, our army had put the Indians on the defensive there. Ask former GOC 12 Division, Major General Safdar, SJ, to know the facts. Later-on, when Benazir Bhutto visited India, Gujral asked her, whether, she had sent Sahibzada Sahib with the message. She replied, ‘No’. That was politics.)

A squadron of F-16 fully armed with nuclear weapons was ordered to be ready to strike targets deep in the South, at Trombay. These activities were soon picked-up by the American satellites and Robert Gates came rushing to Pakistan to pacify our leaders. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan cooled him down, and never again the Nexus, attempted to challenge Pakistan.

It is “the man, behind the gun that matters” – Benazir Bhutto was “the person in authority” behind our nuclear capability and had the courage to take such a bold decision to deter aggression. (I hope our man, Zardari is listening). Then, we had only the F-16s and now we have the submarines, missiles and guns, which can deliver conventional as well as nuclear war heads of one KT to twenty KT yield, upto a range of 30 KMs to 3000 KMs. And this capability is all in all, India specific.

On the night of 1/2 May attack in Abbottabad, two of our F-16s scrambled, but chose not to challenge the American aircrafts providing air cover from across the borders. Rightly so. Our superiority is on ground – the men and missiles and the conventional weapons support. Our men belong to one of the best fighting machine of the world, and the hard core freedom fighters come from our border region and remain undefeated. Based on Men and Missile, we do have a ‘war plan’ to deter and defeat aggression. Let there be no ambiguity about it.

Whether Osama was killed in 2009 or 2011, is immaterial. Sure, he is dead, for whom, the Americans invaded Afghanistan. It is no more necessary therefore to “jointly chase the shadows.” Turn the page, and negotiate peace with the Afghans, who are fighting for their freedom for the last thirty years and have suffered over two and a half million dead and colossal destruction. Guarantee for safe exit and lasting peace is possible only if the invaders and the aggressors such as, Russia, America, European Union, India and Pakistan, agree to pay the War Damages and find a place in the hearts of the Afghans, through massive reconstruction and rehabilitation works. That is the stark reality, to determine the correct level of Pak-Afghan-US relationship, particularly now when the US war machine is stuck in the hard-rocky sands of Afghanistan. Admiral Patreaus did cry- out after experiencing this hardness: “The reality about Afghanistan is, it is all hard, at all times.”

General Aslam Beg is at authoritative analyst on Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected]

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4 thoughts on “Pak-US Relations At A Critical Point – Analysis

  • June 4, 2011 at 11:57 am
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    Dear Mirza Aslam Beg would you like to tell us which war Pakistan has won against India and what is the need of the piles of atomic weapons in that country where every successive government either led by military generals or politically elected regime has failed to deliver to the masses. It is the blatant error of the founders of Pakistan to convert the nascent state into security state. With bundle of excuses, it is Pakistan which invaded Kashmir in 1948 and got its partial territory with the blessing of the then British government.
    Why are you not ready to realize that religious extremism which flourished during your own tenure in the army is the real enemy of Pakistan and why it is necessary that every child being born in Pakistan is brought up with the hatred against India. Can you imagine atomic destruction is total annihilation of the region and why we find every solution in the use of our atomic weapons. Would you like to tell me why being the army chief of Pakistan you personally did any thing to free the army from the clutches of American’s pentagon.

    Reply
    • June 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm
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      Dear Mr Sial,You have very vivid imagination about people of Pakistan.The creation of our nationhood hurt the ego of Akhund Baharat and
      your leadership thought and looked forward to the total collapse of Pakistan within days after the death of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.Even the
      most corrupt bureaucrat did not respond to Your
      overtures.In 1973 Israel threatend US that she
      would use her nuclear arsenal against Amman,
      Cairo and Damascus.If US did not help her gain
      strategic advantage in Yom kippur war.US admin buckled knowing that the zionist were capable of going to any extreme.India is no different from Israel when it comes to extremism and your
      history before the establishment of Muslim rule
      in Delhi has many examples.The Maurya dynasty
      decided to adopt Buddhism to avoid extremism and the Ghandhara Period proves that.You won the war in 1971 riding the shoulders of Russia
      combined by the extremism launched through your
      Mukti Bahini the majority influx from India and
      since US and her close EU allies had given the
      Green Signal to ensure the separation.If we had
      the nuclear deterent You would not have taken the venture of 1971,And to stop us from making any solid move your government exploded nuclear
      device three years later, given a time period in which we were tending to our wounds.Mr Sial
      even today you look forward to breakup of my country to your vested interest.I also know that here we have many think tanks inside and outside our media who feel General Aslam Beg and others live on conspiracy theories and India would never harm Pakistan!

      Reply
      • June 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm
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        With due respect Khalid Rahim, Akhund Baharat slogan was nothing to do with the division of the sub-continent as political realities were different at that time even now this concept is a trite phrase.History is replete with atrocities of Muslim rulers also. This is also not a debate. The debate is how to save Pakistan from collapsing or retrieve it from a fail state. Pakistan’s biggest challenge is religious extremism and bad blot to its face is a holy war which has been waged by these extremists even their faith followers. The President of Pakistan General Ziaul Haq while talking to editors in October 1979 said ,”Pakistan’s present political edifice is based on the secular democratic system of the west which has no place in Islam.
        A treatise on Pakistani constitution published in 2009 by Ayman-al-Zawahiri, argues that Pakistan state is illegitimate and must be destroyed. This tract is widely read in the madrasses from which the terrorist groups draw their recruits.
        Unfortunately religious organizations did not bother to condemn this kind of religious extremism since on the other hand Qazi Hussain Ahmed argues that Pakistan’s failure to adopt an Islamic constitution,”has given the Taliban and such extremist elements a pretext; they say the government will not bow to demands made by democratic means, so they are resorting to violence.
        Similar views were once expressed by Mawdudi as he also advocated waging jihad against faithless and unethical Muslims as a means toward achieving an Islamic society as he conceived it.
        Brother,I am also Muslim but I am not ready to accept the version of their Islam and it is a thing of great astonishment that since the creation of Pakistan, Islam is not included in its constitution,but on what Islamic version its constitution would be made. This is unending war which will be fought between intra-faith sects.
        General Aslam Beg is also advocate of extremists and part of that bloody game which was played at the name of Islam during Zia regime sponsored by Safari club.

        Reply
  • June 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm
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    The article has revealed the extent to which the Pakistani army has hijacked the nation’s agenda. The Pakistani generals raise the bogey of Indian threat to corner a disproportionate share of Pakistan’s resources.The Pakistani generals need to know two basic things. 1) They can never defeat India militarily. 2) The Frankenstein monster of terrorism raised to defeat India has now started devouring its own creators. India is too big a country to be brought down by a few terrorists.

    The only way Pakistan can save itself from collapse is free itself from the madness of religious bigotry. Religion will not feed hungry mouths. Nor will religion defeat Pakistan’s imaginary enemies.

    Reply

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