9/11 has changed the entire world apart from those who are responsible for running the affairs of state in the America. The change was not for better especially for Pakistan when the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York and Pentagon in Washington were hit by terrorists, it was the moment of wheels within wheels for Pakistan. Our General President told us that the Americans have threatened us to bomb us to “stone age”. American administration also informed the World that “either you are with us, or against us”. Without any serious hunting up, America held Osama Bin Laden responsible for this activity and decided to go after Taliban in Afghanistan who are associated with him.
After USSR’S departure from Afghanistan, once again Pakistan decided to side with America. and becomes the part of coalition which was constituted for fighting against terrorism. There was no democratic government in place who could resist this decision. But, there is no doubt that our rulers rarely dared to say “No” to Americans. So, once again we became the allies to fight another war.
History of Pakistan – USA relation is full of miseries. Pakistan always remained at receiving end. American alliance always has shaking ramifications upon the Pakistani Politics, economy and society. Professor Sajjad Naseer observes in the book “Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies” that
“Pakistan - U.S relations have enjoyed proximity and closeness yet, they remained distant and failed to develop a relationship of stability. There have been ups and downs in their level of understanding and cooperation but at critical moments, the government and the people of Pakistan experienced a sense of betrayal when the U.S changed her policies unilaterally. The 50s and early 60s period earned for Pakistan the title of “most allied ally” of the U.S. The 80s attracted the label of “frontline state” for Pakistan as she became the part of the ‘strategic consensuses as operationalized by the U.S”.
In the post- 9/11 engagements, Pakistan again became American ally in war on terrorism and started to play her role as frontline state. In return, Pakistan got financial aid for military purposes. It lost more, than what she gained. There is long list of negative implications of which Pakistan faced on assuming the status of American ally in this war.we would briefly discuss few of them in the impending space.
Firstly: Before 9/11, Pakistan was siding with Taliban. Infact, she was among those three states which had ratified Taliban regime. Pakistan took u-turn and overnight changed her Taliban and Afghanistan Policy. We did it under U.S pressure. It would have been better, if we could have adopted an independent policy. Our indigenous step might be same, but with less lethal effects. When war escalated, these Taliban took refuge in Tribal agencies of Pakistan. Now, these have become threat to the security of Pakistan. They are challenging the writ of the state. The authorities wanted to strike a peace deal in FATA and solve the issue peacefully but foreign hands do not let these deals work.
secondly: Pakistan became a part of such war which is endless. U.S might have forgotten that gun never leads to a solution. After terrorist attacks, U.S was going through paranoia. The reaction was marked with Zeal, not rational. This was the event which could bring the world closer. But the Americans policy and strategy to fight the terrorism polarized the world. One circle of scholars are of the view that some fanatics have given an excuse to the U.S for pursuing its agenda of global domination. Pakistan have become a tool of it, as she was used in past during Russian invasion of Afghanistan.
Thirdly: Modern status revolves around two poles; one is sovereignty of the state and other is liberty of the individuals. Pakistan lost both after being the ally of U.S. This is very dangerous outcome . In order to preserve unity, peace and progress, the state regulates their interests by means of law, customs and authority. Sovereignty means the supermacy of the will of the state, as expressed by its laws over all individuals and associations within its boundaries. This phenomenon shows that what is at stake for Pakistan. We are facing suicidal bomb attacks. The law and order situation is at its lowest ebb due to this war. NATO has bombed inside Pakistani territory and there is speculations regarding a major operation in Pakistan. On the other hand, we have a long list of missing persons. This issue has created anxiety in the society. And even people are of the view that this issue led to the judicial crisis in Pakistan.
Fourthly: This alliance had provided legitimacy to General Pervaiz Mushraf’s military rule in Pakistan. When Bill Clinton visited Pakistan, he stayed here for couple of hours. He posed that Americans are pro-democracy and do not shake hand with dictators. They have principles to follow. But the incident of 9/11 exposed the double standards of U.S. General Pervaiz Mushraf’s isolated position in the international arena was transformed with the Allied forces invasion of Afghanistan. He became the blue eye boy of U.S. Administration. History repeated itself. In the past; U.S has hugged General Zia when the Soviet Russia invaded the Afghanistan. Now, the civilized world must not be in any confusion regarding true character of American policy. For Washington, democracy is merely a subject for sermonic discussion and not a priority issue. The Americans strengthen the General’s rule in the Pakistan which is still prevailing. However, the period of transition has started with Feb 18,2008 election, but it has priced us the life of Benazir Bhutto. This has weakened the democracy further. This is one of the blessing of ‘war on terrorism’
Fifthly: We suffered economic losses as well. Our prosperity and progress is at risk. The investment and economic growth in Pakistan has suffered a blow due to uncertain conditions in the region and country. Pakistan did not get a great deal of aid and the aid which we got that was utilized for military purposes. Social sector was neglected. We paid more economic price as compare to what we get. So, the net result is economic backwardness.
Pakistan is in fix over U.S policy. Though, Pakistan became a frontline state in war against terrorism under the carrot and stick policy. But,We sacrificed over soldiers in the war as coalition partner. Our state and society falls between two stools. Sovereignty of Pakistan is under attack. The economy, political system, social fabric and survival had been gambled away. But U.S still demands to “do more”. What else they wanted from us. We have already done “Much more”. Pakistan has gone beyond its capacity and now facing negative upshots. NATO forces are hovering around Durand line and any (mis) adventure can lead to further worsening of situation.
U.S may have forgotten that once they have organized, financed, armed and sent the ‘Mujahedeen’ in Afghanistan for Jihad. But left them unattended when they become ‘useless’ for them. Now, these are same people against whom war is being fought. Pakistan became frontline state both times to secure herself. But “Pakistan raised the levels of risk to her security. Terrorist acts, sabotage, heroin peddling, Kalashnikov culture and three million refugees were the consequences of this confrontational posture”. This was the result of soviet invasion in Afghanistan but presently U.S. led invasion has put question mark on the integrity of Pakistan.
Pakistan even failed to get American cooperation in such areas which are very important for her like, nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, terrorism and Kashmir. They refused nuclear cooperation for even peaceful purposes. On terrorism, Pakistan still needs to do a lot more. On Kashmir, they advised to adopt bilateral approach as the only ‘way forward’. Pakistani administration should show bit courage, while the U.S should show morality. Its true that Justice prevails among equal but Pakistan have always suffered a lot in its partnership with U.S. Therefore U.S. should come up to the expectation of her ally. The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has given the guiding principles of our foreign policy in following words.
“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodness towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive design against any country on nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world”.
Our policy makers ignored these golden rules of foreign policy and become “most allied ally”. These alliances always betrayed Pakistan. Pakistan is facing the fruits of folly of its leaders. Our alliances must be driven by our ‘National Interest’ but not by the requirements of others. After Feb 18 election, we have parliament in Pakistan and it should draw the line of national interest in front of such alliances.