Cat is out of the bag
Asif Haroon Raja
India had waged a war in 1947 to annex princely state of Kashmir and prevent it from acceding to Pakistan. But for valiant response action of Pak Army and Azad forces, India would have gobbled up whole of it. Indian forces invaded Pakistan in 1965 without formally declaring war so as to destroy Pak armed forces but could not do so. Within six years Pakistan was once again invaded but after sufficiently weakening it from within through subversion and signing a treaty with former Soviet Union. As a consequence, Pakistan was broken into two. Despite the 1971 disaster and despite India going nuclear in 1974 Pakistan could not be overawed by India owing to ZA Bhutto’s leadership qualities. India tried hard to browbeat Pakistan but each of its intended military assault got thwarted owing to Pakistan’s tenacious resolve to fight back.
Pakistan’s nuclear program which commenced in 1976 was meant to save itself from further truncation. It remained under heavy fire of Indo-US-western media campaign. It came under US scrutiny when it was in its infancy in 1979. Relentless efforts were made to restrain Pakistan from pursuing this program. Not only the author of the program ZA Bhutto was made a horrible example, Pakistan was put under sanctions by Jimmy Carter in 1979. USA and the west created a barrier around Pakistan to prevent it from obtaining fissile materials for its nuclear program from anywhere. Determined to preserve its sovereignty and integrity, Pakistan had to perforce make a cut on its other needs and procure its nuclear requirements from the international black market on exorbitant prices. But for Afghan war against the Soviets, it might have become exceedingly difficult for Pakistan under Gen Zia to make the program reach its logical end. Likewise, Pakistan’s missile program was also subjected to intense pressure and it was alleged that China and North Korea were secretly helping it in constructing ballistic missiles.
After becoming a strategic partner of USA and Israel in early 1990s, India has been trying hard to get Pakistan declared a failed and a terrorist state involved in cross border terrorism in Indian held Kashmir and in nuclear proliferation. Pakistan nuclear program was demonized and given the name of Islamic bomb. Fears were expressed that it may not be passed on to radical Arab states like Libya for use against Israel. Indian and Israeli air force jointly planned to destroy Kahuta Plant through a surprise surgical strike and on few occasions came close to it. Luckily there were no Mir Jafars within our ranks at that time and the whole nation was united behind the nuclear program and as such nefarious designs of our enemies couldn’t succeed. It was owing to nation’s unity which gave heart to Nawaz Sharif to give a tit for tat response to Indian nuclear tests in May 1998 despite heavy pressure from USA an UK. Pakistan was put under another set of sanctions which were withdrawn only when Pakistan under Gen Musharraf agreed to do as told to do in the aftermath of 9/11. With it, the era of erosion of Pakistan’s sovereignty commenced.
9/11 gave an opportunity of the century to India to use terrorism as a card to penalize Pakistan. In concert with other powers, India made use of Afghan soil to unleash biggest psychological operations and covert war against Pakistan in world’s history to weaken Pakistan from within. Twice the entire Indian military might came on Pakistan’s border to launch a decisive war.
In 2004-05, AQ Khan Network was demonized and Pakistan pressured to open up its nuclear sites for inspection by UN inspectors or IAEA. Hoax of this network was played up to present Pakistan as an irresponsible and nuclear proliferation state so as to deny civilian nuclear deal to Pakistan as was offered to India in 2006. Pakistan was not excused even when Dr AQ made an apology to the nation for passing deigns of obsolete P-5s to Iran and Libya and Pakistan took adequate measures to prevent such a recurrence.
The US then started drumming up safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear program alleging that security measures were inadequate and in the backdrop of increasing strength of militants, likelihood of nukes falling in wrong hands couldn’t be ruled out. The US think tanks and media kept playing the theme of ‘wrong hands’ despite Pakistan taking extraordinary measures to safeguard its nuclear sites and the IAEA as well as US inspecting teams expressing their satisfaction. Emphasis was on having Pak-US joint protection teams. The US media then came up with fanciful tales about the US Special Forces swooping in to take away the nukes just before they could be pinched by militants. Different scenarios were discussed and war gamed.
It was in this timeframe that Indian Army Chief Gen Kapoor came out with India’s Cold Start doctrine and tried to frighten Pakistan that a viable solution to Pakistan’s nuclear strength has been found which would render its deterrence valueless. Award of civilian nuclear deal to India by USA and allowing it free access to Nuclear Suppliers Groups was meant to bolster Indian nuclear capability and to weaken Pakistan’s deterrence.
146700 troops of Pak Army and paramilitary forces are deeply embroiled in fighting own people in troubled north-western regions since 2002. Pakistan has lost $68 billion in fighting US dictated war on terror and its economy has gone bankrupt. In terms of human losses, 3579 military persons and 33000 civilians have fallen victim to terrorism and yet there is no end in sight. In the aftermath of Raymond Davis incident followed by Operation Neptune Spear in Abbottabad, Pak-US relations have dipped low and Pakistan’s sacrifices gone down the drain.
Pakistan has been charge sheeted on several counts. 102500 US-NATO troops based in Afghanistan are looking for an opportunity to step into FATA under the plea of hot pursuit operations or to dismantle alleged sanctuaries of militants. In order to disable or steal Pak nukes, a huge network of CIA undercover operatives and Blackwater elements are secretly operating in Pakistan.
These elements in cahoots with anti-Pakistan militant groups will intensify terrorist attacks including group attacks for which training is imparted by US-Indian military trainers in Afghanistan. An impression will be built that these are reprisal acts to avenge Osama’s death. Sensitive installations including nuclear sites will be targeted to scare the world that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has become unsafe.
This fear had been drummed up in 2007-08 and reached a crescendo in first quarter of 2009 till such time Operation Rah-e-Rast was launched on 28 April and the hype was defused. The story lost its punch after highly successful operations in Bajaur, Buner, Dir and Swat and later in South Waziristan in October 2009 which broke the back of foreign aided militants. The spin doctors then started playing another story that sympathisers of Taliban working within nuclear facilities might steal nukes and hand them over to the militants.
The old tape has again been switched on in the aftermath of controversial death of OBL on 02 May. The first song has been sung after an interval of about two years by Sunday Express on 15 May 2011. It says the US troops will be deployed in Pakistan if the country’s nuclear installations are threatened by terrorists out to avenge the killing of OBL. It says the plan will be activated without President Zardari’s consent. Obama would order troops to parachute in to protect key nuclear missile sites which would include Sargodha having an airbase and battery of 80 missiles. The newspaper claims that the plan has been approved by Obama. Alex Neill has stated that the US trust in Pakistan’s abilities is extremely low. He added if Obama can persuade the Congress that placing US troops at the installations is necessary to protect US citizens from possible nuclear attack, then that’s what he will do. The US leaders repeatedly lied that they have no ill-designs against Pakistan’s nuclear program. They have at last come out in the open and the cat is out of the bag.
The world had heard President Barack Obama addressing his nation eight hours after the raid in Pakistan on 2 May, 2011 about the death of most wanted man OBL. Imagine next time Obama walking up to the podium in White House in a exhilarating mood and triumphantly announcing, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby proudly announce that our valiant forces have last night added another feather in their caps by way of successfully disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program which had become a danger to world security’. Amidst thunderous applause from the audience, he would go on, ‘Extremist militants in Pakistan were on the verge of stealing the nukes from the nuclear arsenal but before they could lay their dirty hands upon them and threaten our troops in Afghanistan and the world, all the nukes were swooped away in a jiffy by our Special Forces’. ‘These are now in our safe custody’.
‘This bold act fraught with extreme hazards has made the world including Pakistan safe from a nuclear catastrophe’. ‘I commend the brave hearts for accomplishing this feat with admirable precision and without any loss of human life and I also hasten to extend my appreciation to Pakistan’s political leadership for its intimate cooperation since without their support, this achievement may not have been possible’. ‘I am sure, Pakistan will today be feeling much lighter, safer and secure and will from now on behave in a more responsible and mature manner in its relationship with India which has emerged as an economic and military power of South Asia and an upcoming global power’. ‘It will be in interest of Pakistan to accept India’s ascendancy and live in peace and harmony as a compliant state’. ‘With all our objectives accomplished, I have ordered return of our soldiers from Afghanistan’. ‘God bless you all’.
Independence had been achieved from the clutches of Hindus and British at a very heavy cost. Hard won independence must be preserved with all our might. Now that the US has exposed its intentions, there is an urgent need to free Pakistan from its stranglehold at the earliest before everything is lost. We must joggle our fun loving greedy rulers and warn them not to barter away our freedom in return for dollars and prepare the nation to confront the enemies disguised as friends. Or else the people who have never benefited from American aid would pick up cudgels at their own and re-enact Tunisian and Egyptian examples and go a step further to die fighting rather than giving up their honor without a fight.