Pakistan at the crossroads – Guest post by Qudrat Ullah

No other nation in the world has so badly faced the consequences of 9/11 as did Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan is the only victim of this complex imbroglio which has hitherto incurred cumulative losses of more than 38 billion dollars with little respite to shoulder the gasping economy. On the other hand, Indo-Israeli no so covert support to Taliban terrorists operating in Pakistani territories is adding to our miseries and ruining economy.

An intricate great game is being played most furtively in our contiguous west, called war against terror since September 11, 2001, when the haughty symbol of American economic might- the twin towers of World Trade Centre, were brought down, ostensibly by the Al-Qaida terrorists. The fall of twin towers has provided much needed ruse to the trio of India, Israel and America to accelerate their anti-Pakistan complot while entangling us in the terroristic snare of Talibanization. Since 2001, this malevolence trio is clandestinely working to destabilize and balkanize Pakistan in many parts. Pak balkanization is in the direct interest of India for achieving its goal of Greater India; it will help Israel and the U.S. to destroy nuclear arsenal of world’s only Muslim state with atomic power and the rich untamed resources of Balochistan would be an added bounty for the multinational companies.

This game plan called ‘war against terror’ is being fervently played in and around Pakistani borders, especially in the last eight years, not by conventional armies, but by the world’s most qualified strategists and military experts who have never gone to war zone to practically take part in it; rather they take a seat in their well equipped libraries or research centers to expound desired results. These strategists and military experts are employed by spy agencies or by the armed forces to design and manage this ‘protracted war’ and give it a desired direction. In this complex situation, conventional armies are but an extended tool to hold national goals and help their Establishments to achieve their respective policy interests.

It is interesting to note that few years back, RAND Corporation conducted a secret study on how to defeat worldwide Islamic movements and the rise of political Islam. One of the main ways to defeat Islam, the study recommended, was to promote mystical and apolitical Sufism among Muslim youth to refrain them from global jihad. To advance this agenda in Pakistan, a Sufi Council of Pakistan was set up during the regime of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf, under Chaudhry Shujat Hussain- the crafty man for all seasons.

Meanwhile, the Taliban dilemma is a special case to deal with. Their sporadic rise and hereafter terroristic threatening shows negligence of our security and policy planning organizations who have miserably failed to devise an effective strategy to deal with this Frankenstein monster. We should try to comprehend as to how and why our enemies succeeded in winning our people having strong Islamic faith and our failure in preventing it. Why the reported presence of an Indian army major general in Kandhar, for supervising sabotage operations in Pakistan, through their undercover agents, is continuously ignored by Islamabad as heavy cache of Indian weapons are being recovered by Pak forces fighting in South Waziristan? Why don’t we learn from Israel which has effectively clamped down Hamas led suicide attacks with its indigenous technological perfection and setting up well a designed network of security check posts across Israel? Perhaps what we lack is political will, R&D and strong leadership which could counterfoil enemy designs with its headwork.

Our policy planners have also failed to benefit from research institutions in universities. They should utilize research institutions, think tanks. And, universities’ area study centers should be hired to study enemy designs and their weaknesses along with responsive counter strategy. The need is to develop their close linkage with policy planning.

Pakistan should also increase its spending of R&D and military establishment should strive to keep an eye on Indo-Israel cooperation in defence and space exploration because any cooperation between our antagonists will directly hamper Pakistan and other Gulf countries. American multipart dominance and political hegemony in world affairs is because of its huge spending on R&D and higher education. Unlike Pakistan, American universities are the real source of strength for their nation. American technology stems from universities. US universities also act as premiere research institutions and their research is well coordinated with national policy institutes and think-tanks which are either funded by the Congress or by any other federal body.

Recently, President Obama has set an ambitious goal to spend more on scientific research and development than it did at the height of space race in 1964. The latest creation of an advanced research projects agency by U.S. President would fund the development of internet and other stealth technology to spy the whole world. Likewise, European Union has shown intention to increase their R&D costs to 3 percent by 2010 while China is enhancing its R&D spending in 2009 to $25.7 billion, a hefty 25.6% increase over 2008. With this increase, China is rapidly closing the science funding gap with Japan, which this year, has allotted $37.1 billion for R&D. This shows how developed nations are working day and night to keep their hegemony in world affairs.

Meanwhile, we should take care of our own weak points as well. Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a parliamentary federation; with all its four units asymmetrical in size & resources and mostly wary of each other. Punjab is blamed mostly by other units as politically hegemonic while Balochistan, despite being the largest of all federating units with respect to its mostly barren and dry geographical size and rising poverty, is more backward than any other part because it gets fewer resources to overcome multiple economic crises like trifling law & order, terrorism, negligible poverty alleviation plans, lack of infrastructural development and bad governance. Punjab, on the other hand, is the most populate and rich province with majority of the national assembly seats and its larger presence in federal bureaucracy makes it even more dominating. Pakistani ethnic divide is complex and unequal; five major ethnic nationalities are divided among dominant Punjabis in Punjab, Pashtoons in NWFP & Balochistan, Mohajirs in urban Sindh, Balochis in Balochistan; and Punjabis are further sub-divided by Seraikis in southern Punjab. However, these sub-nationalities are embroiled in complex realpolitik in which civil-military bureaucracy often dominates the resource allocation and utilization. Due to this, Establishment fails in composite development and distribution of resources among all federating units which benefit centrifugal sentiments in smaller provinces. And, 32 years dictatorship has hastened this process. This is the trickiest situation in which Pakistan’s policy planners should be very calculative and take steps with an eye on the situation to win-out this all-out conflict.

The extent of American military spending in Afghan war and the likely ramifications for Pakistan should be a concern for us as it is the Afghan battle ground which will finally decide the course of history and the fate of neighboring Pakistan. We should also be well responsive to conspiracies of our perennial enemy India, which despite presence of 114 movements, is capable of pulling the shots. Indian politicians’ leadership ability stems from their commitment to democracy and sheer patriotism which our leadership lacks.

It is, therefore, the right moment that our leadership should spurn their differences and unites the whole nation. But for that, they will have to rise above petty gains.

Is there anybody listening?

Lahore Cantt., Pakistan