By Dan Lieberman
If Pakistan were Homo sapiens, it would have gone bonkers a long time ago. No nation suffers from adversity as much as Pakistan – externally, internally and from the space above. Since Pakistan is vital in the War on Terrorism, why don’t the United States administrations learn to understand and handle Pakistan so it is an effective ally rather than a confused state.
It began when Hair Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, wanting to keep his mostly Muslim states independent, delayed resolving the issue of joining himself to either India or Pakistan. Fearing the Maharaja would join to India, the kingdom’s Muslims, with support from the Pakistani Army, attacked Kashmir in October 1947, and tried to occupy it. India responded to Hair Sign’s request for assistance with an ultimatum: “No help unless Kashmir joined India,” to which the Maharaja agreed. Sixty four fighting years later, “India claims the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir Jammu, but is able to govern only 43% of the region. Pakistan controls the area of Abad Kashmir and two northern sections, giving it 37%.” Who controls the remaining 20% of Kashmir? China controls Aksai Chin, which it occupied following its brief 1962 war with India, and the Shaksam Valley, ceded by Pakistan in 1963. The struggle for Kashmir shapes as an eternal struggle.The continuous clash with India made Pakistan more dependent upon the United States; U.S. support of India would quickly imperil any Pakistani government. Drawn into the Soviet/Afghan war by CIA insistence and its own tendencies, Pakistan had no quarrel with Osama bin Laden’s arrival in Pakistan during the 1980’s. Blessed by the U.S. and Saudi interests, bin Laden disbursed Saudi funds to the Mujahideen and provided training camps in Pakistan for foreign fighters. The soon-to-be international terrorist eventually moved his operations to the Taliban controlled land, which temporarily relieved Pakistan from its problems with the emerging Al Qaeda. More on this later. More now on Pakistan.
How many nations have Pakistan’s problems – a nation with a multitude of nationalities, languages, political Parties, and refugees?
Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhajirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%.
Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%.
Awami National Party, Balochistan National Party; Balochistan National Party-Hayee Group, Jamhoori Watan Party, Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Fazl-ur Rehman, Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Sami-ul HAQ, Jamiat Ulema-i Pakistan, Muttahida Majlis-e Amal, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, National Alliance, National Peoples Party, Pakhtun Khwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan Awami Tehrik, Pakistan Muslim League, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Muslim League, Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, Pakistan Peoples Party-SHERPAO, Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf, Tehrik-i Islami.
Which brings us back to bin-Laden and Al Qaeda, both of whom are essentially reactions to their previous benefactors, United States and Saudi Arabia?
While being situated in Taliban land, neither Al Qaeda nor its master terrorist posed any problem for Pakistan. Bin Laden’s railings developed into the massive 9/11 terrorist action and soon brought the U.S. military to Afghanistan. The invasion chased Al Qaeda to the tribal areas of Pakistan and kept bin Laden on the run for several years until he finally left Afghanistan and, in 2003, located himself and his family somewhere in Pakistan. The United States transferred its problems with terrorists to Pakistan.
The year 2003 coincides with the Taliban conflict with Al Qaeda and Pakistan forces interceding in the tribal areas to resolve the conflict. Pakistan military forced much of Al Qaeda to leave – to where? The U.S. attack on Iraq provided Al Qaeda with a new home and a new battleground.
Although, the events are not known, conjecture leads to a possibility that Pakistani intelligence, who originally had no problem with bin-Laden and were now faced with his presence and a disbursed Al Qaeda organization, might have preferred to neutralize bin-Laden, get him out of the way, and reduce his participation in world terrorism rather than pursue him to death. A dilemma – Pakistan could not kill, imprison, or hand bin-Laden to others without severe retribution from terrorists. From its perspective, why should Pakistanis suffer because of America’s problems with the world’s leading terrorist? The CIA could have figured it out. Since his family was not apparent, where else could the master conspirator be residing than under the care off Pakistani interests – maybe not in the company of a government that heard no evil, but guarded by some influential persons who didn’t disfavor bin-Laden and didn’t want his activities to disturb them.
Surveillance from a CIA ‘safe house’ located near his compound, must have ascertained that the reduced flow of persons indicated not too may individuals in the house, and the arch-terrorist couldn’t be doing much terrorist planning. Interceptions of communications indicated there were no messages. Bin-Laden the terrorist had been isolated.
Although, the dispatching of bin-Laden to another world succeeded, the strategy to capture him contained military personnel problems, possible unwanted disclosures of equipment and operations, strained relations with Pakistan, and a relatively low percentage of success. Wouldn’t a more preferred method have been to silently send in Special Forces with black clothes from the ‘safe house’ or from another secret location and dispatch bin-Laden without identifying the attackers? Escape could have been facilitated with trucks to the U.S. embassy or to a helicopter pickup area. Leave them guessing, just as the Mossad does in its operations. The overly aggressive attack created problems for the Pakistanis and they are suffering again from severe attacks against their installations and population.
Why was the operation performed in the complicated manner? Evidently, the U.S. administration wanted to gain election votes; what other reason?
No question that Osama bin-Laden had to go – to meet his ultimate fate. The U.S. administration convinced its public that, despite initially assisting bin-Laden and not preventing him from committing two decades of mayhem, it struck a strong blow in the War on Terrorism. The method of assassination casts doubts that President Osama advanced the war to a more positive stage and unlikely he convinced the international terrorists they suffered an unsustainable loss. Unstable Pakistan is prominent in the battle, and the effects on Pakistan should have dominated the situation. Somewhere in its vast territory are nuclear bombs, which Al Qaeda is thirsting to obtain. Each demeaning of Pakistan and confrontation with its extremists brings the Radical Islamists closer to the bomb.
Doesn’t Pakistan have a right to be angry? It had no problem with Al Qaeda and bin- Laden until the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and routed the number one terrorist organization into Pakistan’s tribal areas. The assassination of the sidetracked terrorist has provoked attacks against its military and civilians. They, and not Americans, are suffering from the action. Pakistan has its failures, huge failures; even more reason to understand and learn how to handle Pakistan.
Dan Lieberman is the editor of Alternative Insight, a monthly web based newsletter. His website’s articles have been read in more than 150 nations, while articles written for other websites have appeared or been linked in online journals throughout the world (B 92, Al Jazeera, Gulf News, Huffington Post, Silobreaker, World News, Times of India, The Hindu, Indymedia, Occupation Magazine, Pravda, Scoop, Emirates Tribune, Gulf times, Khaleej Times, Al-ahram weekly, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Middle East online, Global Comment, Daily news-EU, Dissident Voice, Care2 News Network, Lebanon wire, Slash news, and many others) and include translations into French, German and Spanish. Dan can be reached at [email protected]