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Friday, September 23, 2011

Another US-Saudi Intervention in Pakistan; Threatens the Civilian Setup, Coerces Military Establishment

Pakistan is an unfortunate country as it has not only been prone to various calamities and disasters, but also throughout its history, it has remained battlefield for the international players. It is also a country that always remained under pressure from Saudi Arabia in the name of Muslim Ummah and China in the name of the evergreen friendship with heavy cost to Pakistan in the terms of industry, economy and trade of certain goods. However, it happens to be the biggest victim of US-Saudi nexus, which seems active once again and no wonder to dislodge political dispensation as in the past.

By Aijaz Ahmed
Former Afghanistan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani
Islamabad: US-Pakistan relations have further strained in the aftermath of the assassination of ex-Afghanistan president Burhanuddin Rabbani as the United States has accused Pakistan of it’s involvement in the terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan and Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI’s links with Haqqani network in Pakistan.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta & US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen
As reported in the press, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has threatened to take “operational steps” against Pakistan while the US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen has accused the ISI of it’s involvement in the attack on the US Embassy in Kabul.

The developments have paved the way for another US intervention in Pakistan’s affairs as diplomatic sources have confided to this correspondent that the US administration has threatened to dislodge the civilian setup in Pakistan. According to the sources, the US administration wants Khakis at the helm of the affairs again and wants to get rid of the political government, which is not only scared of the disciplined khakis but also the undisciplined politicians having strong voice in the parliament and media. The US administration also wants to get rid of the vibrant parliament that for the first time in the history of this country took up such critical and serious issues like the war on terror and the killing of Osama bin Laden in a secret operation by a US Navy SEALS team.

Reason behind new US moves are of the multiple nature: the US administration wants an action against Haqqani group in Afghanistan while Pakistan considers this group indispensable for peace in Afghanistan as well as in the bordering tribal belt of Pakistan. A young Haqqani was preaching peace in Mohmand Agency till few months back with the blessings of the powers that be. The role that Haqqani group can play also suggests that it is the group that can foil the designs of anti Pakistan forces, and it is the group that has significant presence and influence in Pushtoon speaking Afghanistan specially the part adjacent to the Tribal belt right from South Waziristan to Bajaur Agency and Pakistan sees the influence of the group as a tool for positive dialogue with Taliban. Perhaps this is the biggest mistake that Pakistan is making and both Army and civilians seems on one page on the issue. The Unites States considers it as a fault of the civilian administration but at the same time, it blames ISI for the quagmire.

The sources in the diplomatic circles are confident that the United States has adopted two pronged strategy: on one hand it is giving threats of waging war against Pakistan on its reported links with the Haqqani group and other Taliban groups. It has also sent a critical message through Afghanistan president Hamid Karazai, which was delivered to Prime minister Gilani today when he paid a brief visit to Kabul to condole the death of Ustad Rabbani who was killed in a suicidal attack. The message was not soft, rather it contained some hidden threat, sources maintained and that is why Prime Minister rushed to Karachi direct from Kabul to discuss with the president the possible future scenario, they confided. It is considered as the pressure and fresh moves against the elected government and the parliament.
On the other hand the US is adopting a policy to maintain a bit soft corner for the Army, as it can be a valuable partner in future scenario. The army because of its training, discipline, and links with certain groups in and outside Pakistan is considered indispensable, and perhaps it is true and has been proved as a fact many times in the past.
However, the most important part of the strategy seems the point number one, i.e., putting more pressure on the civilian government and getting rid of the democracy, the parliament and the ruling politicians, and here comes the role of US stooges, unfortunately hailing from the Muslim world. And this time according to the sources, Saudi Arabia is playing the role of a stooge once gain to serve the United States and its interests and against Pakistan. Bahrain is still believed to be a part of the game.

It will be worth mentioning here that it was the same “bad” civilian government that provided human resource to Bahrain to control a pro democracy movement by Shiite Muslims near Saudi border, which turned into a deadly violence because of a firing incident. Pakistan also mediated between Saudi Arabia and Iran just few months ago by the Zardari government. The savior of the Muslim Ummah is endangering the same Zardari government, along with the parliament, sources said.
Ex-military dictator Musharraf in the news again
Pervez Musharraf is again in the game too. The Saudis have interviewed him few weeks back and assured him of a better role in Pakistan in near future. The former military dictator is being assured full protection on his already announced return to Pakistan by 23rd March next year. The only hurdle for his return would have been Mian Nawaz Sharif and Saudis are assuring him that Nawaz will not create problems for him. Nawaz will give a positive response or not, only time holds the answer, but sources are quite sure that the plan is underway to get rid of the present regime and the parliament. It can not be predicted whether the move will be successful or not, but the recent visits of Army Chief to Karachi, having meetings with Industrialists and making a Rangers deployment plan, the recent concerns on Karachi situation and a deadline for the government to solve the Karachi problem shall also be analyzed in the view of the above mentioned developments, but nobody in the parliament at this stage will have the courage ask a question from the COAS that under which law he intervened in civilian government’s ambit and held meetings on law and order issue which is purely a civilian matter. The law of the land and the Constitution clearly prohibits him for holding such meetings. 

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