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Pakistan’s Sovereignty And Future Of War Against Terror – OpEd


The Osama Bin Laden episode has raised serious questions on the credibility of Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agencies. Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI-Dte) and Armed forces are facing tremendous US pressure after the Bin Laden’s incident. This article aims at few pertinent issues; first, violation of Pakistan sovereignty, second, sequential propaganda against Pakistan army and ISI-Dte, third, goals and objectives behind such misinformation against ISI-Dte, fourth, Pakistan army’s role and sacrifices in the war against terror, Al-Qaeda & Taliban, and lastly, a possible way out from this deadlock.

The US covert operation in Abbotabad is a breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a grave threat to the national security of Pakistan. This is the time for Pakistan military and civilian leadership to wake up and take effective measures against the violation of Pakistani dominion. America should have consulted and coordinated such an operation with Pakistan, because it was Pakistan’s lead which helped America to kill Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan has been a sincere partner in the war against terror, it has captured hundreds of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders and suffered thousands of civilian and military causalities – but despite that Americans doubt Pakistan’s intentions.

Pakistan has to revisit its policies vis-à-vis America. Now every Pakistani citizen asks the question how long will Pakistanis suffer unilateral CIA’s drone strikes, Raymond Davis type secrete operatives and Abbotabad sort of covert operations inside Pakistan? There must be an end to such malpractices by the US in Pakistan.

It is imperative for Pakistan to re-examine its security apparatus and come up with a foolproof plan to counter such malpractices in the future. If we don’t take concrete steps today, tomorrow other countries like India or Afghanistan may also carry out such strikes inside Pakistan against alleged LeT camps in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or in Quetta against an alleged presence of Taliban leadership. To avoid such eventualities in the future our armed forces and intelligence agencies must revamp their plan of action and come up with an adequate response, only then they can repair their tarnished image after the bin Laden incident and restore the morale of the Pakistani nation.

Another important issue is the sequential propaganda against Pakistan’s prime intelligence agency, the ISI-Dte. According to the latest Wikileaks report, a secret US list, dated 2007, of “terrorist and terrorist support entities” have listed the ISI as a terrorist group, along with 70 other groups, including Iranian intelligence and the Taliban.

Such allegations are unfortunate and based on false notions. These reports are based on a US narrative which has one-sided truth. No professional intelligence agency in the world leaves any inkling behind. If, this is the case then why is the United States still seeking Pakistan ISI-Dte’s help in the war against terror. The US has acknowledged Pakistan’s role in the war against terror. According to Hilary Clinton, “the United States has no stronger partner than Pakistan when it comes to counterterrorism efforts against extremists who threaten us both. We recognize the many sacrifices Pakistani people have made in the war against insurgents”.

But the dual policy of the US has weakened the ties between both countries. In his recent remarks Admiral Mike Mullen said that Pakistan’s intelligence agency has ties to a Taliban faction, which is fighting in Afghanistan. Such allegations are based on presumed notions. There are many groups other than Haqqani network who are fighting against Americans in Afghanistan, including Taliban, Hekmatyar Group, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan- (IMU), Chechens, Tajiks, Arabs, War lords, Drug Mafia, factions from Lashkar-I-Jhangvi, Lashkar-I-Tayyba, and Hizb-I-Jihad etc. One Haqqani group alone cannot make any difference against 150,000 US led alliance and Afghan forces. In reality America is losing ground in Afghanistan; they want a decent way out. The US wants to put their failures on Pakistan. That’s why time and again they allege that Pakistan’s ISI-Dte is supporting militants. America must increase its check posts close to the border with Pakistan and keep constant vigilance by surveillance drones on the movement of the insurgents.In addition to that, instead of blaming Pakistan, US led alliance must do more in Afghanistan against other warring groups.

Another regrettable development was an assessment presented to Congress by the White House, in which the White House noted that the Taliban had gained strength in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and that there was “no clear path” toward defeating insurgents who hide out in Pakistan, beyond the reach of U.S. and NATO troops. This report is contradiction to the ground realities. Pakistan has deployed almost 150,000 troops in the tribal areas. It is fighting militancy in Orakzai agency, Bajaur agency, Mohmand agency, South Wazirstan agency, Khyber agency, and Kurrum agency. Pakistan army has lost almost 3,500 soldiers and hundreds of officers in the war against terror. It has also installed almost 850 check posts close to the border with Afghanistan.

If we compare it with the US, Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan, then we can say that most of the operations in the recent past in Afghanistan have been failures. There are not more than 200 check posts by the US led alliance on the border with Pakistan, giving enough room to insurgents to enter into Pakistani tribal areas and roam freely at the Pak-Afghan border area. Pakistan’s efforts for counterterrorism can never be forgotten, such reports are not at all helping either party in the war against terror. In reality the US has no clear path in Afghanistan. The US and its allies in Afghanistan are in hurry and want to exit from Afghanistan as soon as possible.

Latest Pentagon report affirms their intentions. According to Pentagon U.S. and allied forces had made “tangible progress” against the Taliban over the past six months and those conditions were right to withdraw at least some U.S. troops this summer. In fact US led alliance had been failed to control Afghanistan. Most of the Southern parts of Afghanistan are under strong Taliban control and they are gaining momentum in the Eastern parts. Opium production and Drug trade is still intact and being trafficked to Russia, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, Europe and other parts of the world. Suicide attacks, assassinations, rising crime, drug mafia and war lords are still intact. “Tangible progress” claimed by Pentagon is in fact a “Tangible failure” and just a fantasy. Purpose of such claims is to get support of the people back home and to start pull out from Afghanistan in July 2011.

After the Osama Bin Laden incident there had been vicious allegations by the US senators, Afghan government and India that Pakistan may have been involved in protecting the Al-Qaeda chief. Same stories of possible Pakistan’s involvement in this case have been published in the foreign print and electronic media. Main purpose of such blame game is to pressurize Pakistan Army and ISI-Dte to take action against North Waziristan tribes. They might also assume that under pressure Pakistan will not oppose more US drone strikes even in settled areas and this pressure tactic will also allow more CIA covert operations inside Pakistan, possibly in major cities like Quetta, Karachi, and Peshawar.

CIA’s ingress would increase inside Pakistan after bin laden episode to track, locate and eliminate Taliban leadership and deal with mid level and low level commanders to get safe and respectable exit from Afghanistan. There had been reports in the US print media that Gen David Patreus will fight his third war in Pakistan. There would be dramatic increase in the US drone strikes and covert operations to hunt down Al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership.

It is necessary for the international community to support Pakistan after this incident. Al-Qaeda and TTP will target Pakistan now to establish their credibility. Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terror. If Pakistan is not supported now and blame game continues then it would benefit Al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Pakistan army and ISI-Dte is committed in the war against terror, it can never support those people who killed 30 thousand Pakistani civilian and military personnel. Unjust allegations and propaganda against Pakistan’s ISI-Dte will not benefit either party.

There is a need to bridge gap between both countries to stem out militancy from the region. War in Afghanistan cannot be won without the support of Pakistan, sidelining Pakistan would further deteriorate situation in Afghanistan. Sincere efforts are required from Pakistan, US and Afghanistan for the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan’s sovereignty should be respected and protected at any cost, to avoid any possible clash in future there must be close coordination and cooperation between CIA and ISI-Dte; only then they can effectively stem out militancy from the region and ensure long term viable peace at the regional and global level.

Originally published in Weekly pulse English magazine Islamabad.

Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak

Mr. Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak is working at the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) Islamabad as Research Fellow. He did his M.Phil in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad. His major research areas are Nuclear Deterrence in South Asia, Terrorism, Non-Proliferation issues, FATA, Afghanistan and Regional Security issues. Mr. Khattak is author of a book, US War on Terrorism: Implications for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which has been published by German Publishers, Lap Lambert Academic Publishing on 31st August, 2010. Mr. Khattak has also written a Research Paper on “Indian Military’s Cold Start Doctrine: Capabilities, Limitations and Possible Response from Pakistan” - 2011, published by SASSI. He has organised/presented in scores of international conferences/workshops. Email: [email protected]

8 thoughts on “Pakistan’s Sovereignty And Future Of War Against Terror – OpEd

  • May 14, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Poor analysis, sounds like writer presenting patriotic views rather unbiased thinking.
    there are many aspect untouched by writer that go against Pakistan. his write-up something like, dog ate my homework.

  • May 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Pakistan’s sovereignty was placed in the cold storage in 1958 when the Army chief on behest of Uncle Sam removed the President who strongly
    opposed establishment of US bases,despite being
    member of CENTO and SEATO.Gary Power and his U2
    flight from Peshawar started the Mulberry Tree
    rhyme for Pakistan.The separation of East wing of Pakistan was initiated by US Consul General
    in Dhaka in 1960 by arranging meetings at his residence.It took more than a year for Ministry
    of Foreign Affairs to declare him Persona non grata.From there the dough was baked by India and shared with Moscow! Since 1958 we stand in the corridors of WhiteHouse to be blessed for our Viceroys who remain in power until their use is no more viable.

  • May 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Are you working for PAK ISI? Seems like it. Worst come worst USA will involve Indian army directly in afghanistan , so USA can reduce their troops.

    World is under umbrella of USA. if you guys refuse to accept , that is Pakistan’s fault. USA is not go anywhere. Only reason pakistan exists still because nukes. Pakistan blackmailing USA has its lmits. Sooner or later USA will start bombing Pakistan and no one will come to help. Chinese won’t directly fight USA. May be supply weapons to prolong WAR to weaken USA. But USA lives on war culture. USA military complex likes WAR. And many powerful people in USA likes to reduce world population through WAR. They won’t mind pak-india nuke war. Only losers are india and pakistan. Period.

    When pakistan abandon taqqiya and kitman tactics and start telling the truth , then world will trust them. At present Pakistan is lying cheating decieving wife.

    PAK ISI is playing double game killing their own citizens so world will pity on them. World will no longer buy these pakistan is victim of terror when they house World most wanted terrorist in middle of army cantonment so USA won’t dare to attack. OOPS.

    Pakistan and PAK ISI playing high flying game and lost.

    Yes USA politicians will say pakistan is friend blah blah…if pakistan can play double game , why not USA?. Politicians will say politically correct things to cool off stuff. It is not TRUTH. Musharraf openly lie every time he opens his mouth.

    Pakistan needs to change tactics. India is enemy is ok. Every country to need some goals and enemy for their internal growth. Its a must. Terrorsim will won’t work nowadays. It only hurt the country that is doing this. Because if there is a war , Nuke war will happen both country will be destroyed. WEST will laugh at brown monkeys.

    • May 15, 2011 at 8:04 am

      Mr Alex. lets talk about facts instead of making foolish statements that US will bomb Pakistan..We are not Afghanistan or Iraq. whatsoever is happening in Pakistan whether drone strikes, covert operations etc are because of tacit agreement between our corrupt leadership and the US.

      – We have lost more than 40,000 civilians and 5,000 soldiers from 2001-2011. As compare to 2,400 US-NATO military casualties collectively, despite that there is suspicion in the US that Pakistan is not sincere in the war against terror. Pakistan Army and ISI have captured and killed hundreds of ALQ and Taliban members in the 10 years. At that time you guys praised Pakistan’s role but now criticizing, WHY ?

      – As far as bombing of Pakistan is concerned, it is a dream and will remain a dream forever. We have seen US failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Your coward army was failed to establish its writ in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost 7000 US solders dead in Iraq and 1500 dead in Afghanistan. If you can’t win against few thousand Taliban or other insurgent groups in Iraq how will you face an organized army of 600,000 men.

      – American people are really very innocent, from last 10 years they are giving their hard earned money to fight fruitless wars. Just imagine 1,121 Billion dollars have been allocated for Afghan-IRAQ and other military spendings for the FY-2011. US economy is going down, unemployment is rising. and still you are talking of another war.
      – Let the time come and you will come to know who you are facing.

  • May 15, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Mr Ravi, Your comments shows Old Indian Mindset..We can’t help it..if u have any valid argument i am here to answer. otherwise take good care and stay blessed.

  • May 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    “War in Afghanistan cannot be won without the support of Pakistan, sidelining Pakistan would further deteriorate situation in Afghanistan. Sincere efforts are required from Pakistan, US and Afghanistan for the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan.” So says the author. If he feels that US and Afghanistan will acqueise to the altered balance of power structure achieved by Pakistan, when the attention of US and the western powers was riveted on Iraq, post the fall of the Najibullah government, the he is sadly mistaken.Pakistan will only be allowed the influence it had before the advent of Najibullah government. It cannot get the disputed status of the Durand Line altered by arm-twisting Afghanistan when it is weak today.

  • May 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    after strugling for 10 years america could not win war in afghanistan against talbans who have no millitary,no weapons except riffles and even no how can america initiate a war against pakistan that have 1.5 million organized army,air force and navy,and lot of arms,missiles,fighter air crafts and nukes.that war if initiated will probably take more than 100 years.

  • June 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    This is how the devil pays its servants. The Pakistani oligarchy allowed Pakistan to be the region’s bully at the service of the West. The ISI and the Army were branches of the empire`s power all thru the Cold War, the Afghan war against the soviets, and today against the region´s antiimperialist governments and movements. Only the Pakistani people can save Pakistan, by recovering their country for themselves.


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