Of False Prophets and their recipe for Disaster (Part I) – by Rusty Walker


 Even a basic understanding of the Jinnah Institute (JI) report and the related testimony to Congress by Moeed Yusuf of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) should make certain things very obvious to Pakistanis, Americans and the global community: the report is grossly misleading, and written by the False Prophets tasked with reinforcing the propaganda of Pakistan’s military establishment.  The fallout of continuing to grant credence to those who advocate acomodating the Taliban in a future Afghan government can be seen in the massacres  and terrorists attacks that continue to engulf both Pakistan and Afghanistan.  These include the massacres of Shia muslims in Mastung, innocent civilians in Karachi and Peshawar and the assasination of ex-Afghan President, Rabbani. 

All these acts were committed and then proudly admitted to by the Taliban and their partners like the LeJ-SSP.  Like the False Prophets who authored and developed the JI report, all these killings can be linked to the ISI.

It should be very clear that the self-anointed “foreign policy elite” is nothing more than a corollary of Pakistan’s military establishment. When the United States Congress and other US think tanks entertain the views of Messers Moeed Yusuf, Shuja Nawaz, Ejaz Haider and most of the other 53 contributors of the JI report, they are hearing the views of General Kayani, General Pasha and the high command of the Pakistan Army and ISI.  The military establishment has near control of the “intelligentsia” and Pakistani media which it is using to manufacture opinions that would allow it to sustain its control overPakistan and strengthen its policy of strategic depth in Afghanistan and Kashmir. It is tragic that the JI report is also sponsored by our tax dollars via USIP.

 The JI Report, “Pakistan  theUnited States and the End Game in Afghanistan”, while not mentioning “Strategic Depth” by name, exclusively presents views that square with the infamous “DeepState” strategy.  The report begins by declaring that the JI seeks to “articulate independent national security strategies for Pakistan,” and the tenor of the report is nothing short of an imperialist view of Afghanistan.  Evident from the start is the parental tone that makes clear that Pakistan is not only a stakeholder, but has firm expectations about who should be included in the futue  Afghanistan political arrangement as well as the structure of its security apparatus.

 Pakistan, the often proclaimed past victim of Russia,India and the U.S. is positioning itself, upon the NATO  troop drawdown, to continue its interference inAfghanistan. It will do so by utilizing its shadowy “Deep State” proxies that will now openly negotiate by light of day with the “Quetta Shura Taliban and the Haqqani network” in the reconciliation process. As the report goes on, “A reconciliation process that leaves out the Taliban…may confirm the Pakistani security establishment’s worst fears….Pakistani Pashtuns would also be resentful of the outcome and the TTP may use this sentiment to increase recruitment and justify continued attacks against the Pakistani state.”

 Let’s be clear about whom we are discussing in mild diplomatic language. The Taliban’s Quetta Shura is the primary leadership of the Afghan Taliban. This is the same group that at one point, the Pakistani security officials decided to treat the Taliban, Quetta Shura and Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) not as three organizations, but one, according to News International, 2010. Such a Quetta Shura/Haqqani network, would provide a dangerous power-base were it “to be part of the new political arrangement” as the report suggests. Such influence may very well broaden already established links with Tehrik-i-TalibanPakistan (TTP), and al Qaeda. Ultimately, the report legitimizes Taliban, but no less than Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State, on the U.S. administration’s encouragement, is also unfortunately negotiating with the Taliban.

 A recent suicide killing illustrates the Taliban insurgents’ style of peace negotiations.  September 20, 20011 marks the day that former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani was assassinated by a turbaned, Taliban suicide bomber. Also, wounded in the attack, was Karzai’s adviser Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai who is chief executive of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program, funded by the U.S.and its coalition allies ostensibly to bring mid-and lower-level Taliban back into the fold of Afghan society. Rabbani headed the Afghan government peace council set up to facilitate contacts with Taliban insurgents to work toward a political solution. Ethnic minorities have already begun to re-arm in the face of the on-going attempts at negotiations with the Taliban. Such tragic events will continue as long as the governments of the United States,Pakistan and Afghanistan are convinced it can appease the Taliban.

These friends of theDeep State, i.e., the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Sipah-e-SahabaPakistan, (SSP) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) are networking their murderous work in concert. In the last few days, a mother and child, amongst other innocent policemen were killed in a bombing inKarachi, and thirty Shiites, most of whom were Hazaras, were executed in Balochistan by the LeJ and SSP.  The marginalized Ahmadi, Barelvi, and Deobandi Muslims, together with Shiites, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians are all targets for the very jihadist combatants being supported by the ISI, and being left alone by thePakistan military. These are the very same cross-pollen operatives with whom the central governments insist on appeasing by negotiation. Further complicating civil societies understanding of the realities is the deceptive propaganda from the mainstream press, unfortunately gaining traction, that such violence is either “sectarian” or punishment for the most recent myth being perpetuated of an “Iranian fifth-column.”  Fortunately, Ahmadi and Shiite Muslims, among other brave progressives, are active on Social Networking, where they are speaking out. But, the military establishment, via its ever faithful Judiciary proxies,  has already cast Twitter and Facebook as a threat to national security in an apparent attempt to set the stage for banning it altogether.

 The Taliban is gaining favor, in the language of the JI report, apparently due to ethnic and symbiotic sentiments across the Durand Line formulating the erroneous and false equation that Pakhtuns = the Taliban.  There is no mention of the Pakhtun nationalists that are anti-Taliban and are represented by mainstream, quasi-secular political parties like ANP, PPP and PkMAP.  The JI report appears to gloss over any real distinction made between the two.  The JI report, if implemented, in fact is a thinly-veiled declaration of permanency for the infamous “Strategic Depth.”

 We know that the primary author, Moeed Yusuf agrees with the policy if we listen to his statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, only days after the killing of Osama bin Laden:

[ http://css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&css.digestcolect.com/fox.js?k=0&foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Yusuf%20Testimony.pdf ]

conducted, May 5, 2011.

 Moeed Yusuf’s message above, if spoken in plain language instead of diplomat doublespeak. could be interpreted as follows: “We as Pakistanis know we are “reviled” by the international community (actual term used); the Americans should continue funding us with billions more aid than promised, but do not tie it to combatting any terrorists, don’t have any expectations, and don’t expect our government to change current double-cross Pakistan policies.”  Yusuf gives no credibility to thePakistani elected government and indeed, does not even mention President Zardari by name.

 As he asks for more funding, and audaciously admits to the gullible Senator Kerry Committee, “Pakistan’s refusal to target Afghan insurgent sanctuaries inside its territory, explained partly by capacity constraints and partly by its concerns about an antagonistic Kabul, is actively raising Western costs inAfghanistan.” Yusuf follows that by noting “There is also an active effort to try and win the ‘hearts and minds’ of Pakistanis, which again is, an overly ambitious goal with unclear utility.”

A negative assertion indeed, meaning, don’t expect our hearts and minds aligned with the U.S.-so, drop the pretence of any mutual understanding – but, keep the millions coming. He implies in the presentation that there is always the threat that Pakistanwill be overtaken by terrorist who will use their nukes. This is an insidious, transparent threat that is more often used by the powerless to threaten the powerful. But, this is the thread running through his commentary.

 Yusuf asserts with pride that the Pakistan military is “relatively efficient,” suggesting the military is whom we should deal with; and yet also presents the argument that the reason for not doing anything with the Afghan Taliban is that the military would be spread too thin. Are they efficient or not? In fairness they have been the efficient helping with flood victims recently, but, the “efficiency” remark is debatable in light of excuses for lack of action in FATA.  Further, the notion that there is “nothing sacrosanct about a five-year term for a government in a parliamentary system,” leads one to believe that the elected government can be removed in a simple coup at any time as history has illustrated? This comment further unnecessarily degrades the elected PPP government; in fact, it appears to dismiss any nascent elected democratic setup in Pakistan.

 One hopes theU.S.congress is smart enough this time to see through this security establishment guise, and deal directly with the elected Pakistan government, and monitor where the money is diverted. Pakistan’s economy is in dire need of funding for building solid infrastructure. Yusuf prefers to let the billions flow in, with no monitoring by th eU.S.ostensibly because then it won’t be the “American’s fault” if funding accomplishes nothing. This is a ruse. It should be noted that billions were lost to Musharaf’s government and no one knows where it went. Yusuf’s presentation and the JI Report would have been better served focusing onPakistan’s president’s agenda.

 The elected government prefers its funding diverted towards internal needs- such as the marginalized Balochistan, KP and other provinces, education, energy sector and literacy, dire law and order needs in Karachi.  It needs funding and training for the local police, in an effort to show the Pakistani people the elected government is more important for security, than the Generals  that wave their clenched fists in the face of India while looking the other way as their Taliban assets run amok, killing not just 30,000 Pakistanis but more than 5,000 Pakistani soldiers.

 As I have always stated, thePakistan military is necessary for national defense, but it should be directed by the people of Pakistan through elected civil government. Elected politicians must answer to the people, militaries need to answer to and be funded by, those ranking members of the government.  Currently, Pakistan is hostage to its own military establishment.  The challenge for the United States and the Global community is to work under this limitation but first, the world must accept this glaring fact!

 Yusuf’s position aligns with the military establishment in the Senate Committee Hearing and in the JI report, but who else’s opinions are reflected in this document?

 The policy report proudly proclaimed that the “perceptions” are from “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite.” Actually, it is mostly “retired civilian and military officials, parliament, media experts and civil society practitioners.”   The contributors are the establishment, and I did not see “civil society” although I may be mistaken. I do not wish to denigrate their contributions. The body of contributors is formidable, including an old Pak military Brigadier friend of mine, I very much admire. But, couldn’t a case be made that there is an absence of voices from the grass roots community? Perhaps progressive leaders of the community, the average business entrepreneur, prominent corporate voices that give jobs to the unemployed, and the working class, in affect, the voting citizens of Pakistan.

 There is absolutely no mention of a prominent Pukhtun scholar and expert, Farhat Taj. It seems a deliberate effort was made to exclude dissenting opinions like hers and other Pakistani progressives who have written extensively about the blowback caused by supporting extremist Jihadi militias like the Taliban and its related Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammad etc.  All this in the name of an elusive policy of strategic depth, that has gained Pakistan nothing but death and destruction.

 These voices are not being heard, or at least not indicated by the list of attendees. Various political factions from the agencies the provinces have been represented, but most participants are the self-declared foreign policy elite. We can agree that they are educated, experienced and qualified to be the arbitrators of policy consensus. This is not disputed. The report is not declared to be a consensus, but the strongest voices clearly prevailed: those of the establishment/ “deep State” that intend to include the “Good” and “Bad” Taliban in Afghanistan’s future government, which means they are here to stay in Pakistan.  Are we to assume that all Pashtuns on both sides of the Durand Line agree with a Taliban presence in theAfghanistan government?

We know this is not true. Does this not portend a Taliban power-grab in the future resulting in continued violent sectarian and ethnic civil war of the type that has characterized much ofAfghanistan’s past? Pakistan should allow self-determination to occur in Afghanistan, and this goes for the United States as well, or trust will never be gained from this fragile nation as it prepares to lick its wounds and begin to heal itself from within.

 However, self-determination is clearly not the goal of this  imperialist report, as it asserts towards Afghanistan, “an “actionable policy,” the objectives of which “lead Pakistan to pursue three outcomes:”

 1. A degree of stability inAfghanistan: “best served by a relatively stable government inKabul lthat is not hostile towards Pakistan.” Taken at face value this is understandable, but how you impose “actionable policy” on a free and sovereign nation is not mentioned. 

2. An inclusive government in Kabul: “adequate Pashtun representation that is recognized by all ethnic and political stakeholders in Afghanistan.” Also, a “sustainable arrangement would necessarily require the main Taliban factions – particularly Mullah Omar’s “Quetta Shura” Taliban and the Haqqani network – to be part of the new political arrangement.” And thus, with no apparent assent from the current Afghan leaders, the enemy is apparently available for a seat at the governing table.

What is ignored by these assumptions is the will of the Afghan people. Any Afghan government seen influenced byPakistan, such as the Afghan Taliban, will be opposed by the majority of Afghans, including Pashtuns.Pakistan’s military and security apparatus cannot succeed in implanting a proxy regime inKabul. But, given Pakistan’s 184 million population, the deep state operatives have enough resources to fragment the 30 million or so population in Afghanistan. It certainly can use its ISI-supported insurgency to keep the region in perpetual conflict. This must not be tolerated by Pakistanis, the PPP government and President Zardari who favor trade agreements, good-neighbor policies, and support for the duly elected Afghanistan government.  Sadly, they are not the one’s empowered to do this and thirty-five years of bad foreign policy have ensured that the Pakistan army is calling the shots in favouring the Taliban.

3. Limiting Indian presence to development activities: “Pakistani foreign policy elite accept that India has a role to play inAfghanistan’s economic progress and prosperity. However, many participants perceived the present Indian engagement to be going beyond strictly development. They wish to see greater transparency on Indian actions and objectives.”Reading between the lines India could interpret this as the threat of the now uncontrollable LeT, for whom Pakistanis are never responsible, and allegedly does not even exist, despite of all evidence to the contrary.  In fact, the heart of “Strategic Depth” is the LeT  now  beyond the control of even the security establishment.  Furthermore, this report validates that contrary to the aspirations of Pakistan’s elected leaders, the military establishment feels that investing in bigotted and misogynist killing machines like the Taliban trumps infrastructural development.

 The most inflammatory areas of the report in fact are reserved forIndia and the United States. The “Views on U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan” the report goes on, are” inconsistent and counterproductive toPakistan’s interests.”  Here is a transparent assessment of Pakistan’s hatred of theU.S.presence: “scathing criticism was targeted at the political component of the strategy, which is largely seen to be subservient to the [U.S.] military surge.” The “policy elite” see the “end game in Afghanistan as bleak also because of the belief that theUnited States would want to retain some long-term security presence inAfghanistan, which will likely create unease among the Afghan Taliban and countries in the region, including Pakistan.”

And yet,nowhere in this report are there any suggestions and strategy for dealing with the presumed mutual US/Pakistan policy of a war against the terrorists in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Substantiating this failing of Pakistan’s responsibility, is the alarming statement that seems to assume general understanding: “participants believed that the United States would continue to push the Pakistan military to ‘do more’ to stamp out militant sanctuaries while Washington tries to open up direct channels for talks with the Taliban—with an eye on reducing reliance on Pakistan’s security establishment in the political reconciliation process.” Translation: The U.S.should NOT expect Pakistanto be pushed to do more to stamp out terrorists, if we expect to get negotiating leverage; and don’t expect to marginalize the ISI’s strategic depth agenda. If this is accurate it is obviously at cross purposes with U.S. policy, but in-line with strategic depth.

 Incredible as it may seem, in light of these irreconcilable differences the report goes on to state: “Regardless, there was no support for a breakdown of the Pakistan-U.S. relationship. While that is a conciliatory comment, are we to believe anything from such a misleading report from false prophets?



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