South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Policy of appeasement is fraught
Mohammad Jamil

The threat to Pakistanís security from India may have been a cogent reason for joining Seato and Cento pacts with the West and entering into bilateral agreement with the US in 1954. But the people of Pakistan understood the meaninglessness of these pacts during two wars between Pakistan and India in 1965 and 1971, when our allies instead of helping Pakistan became Ďnon-alignedí. It was because of joining these pacts that Pakistan had met wrath of then super power - the Soviet Union - which used its first veto in 1957 when United Nations Security Council considered a western plan to send Security Council president to India and Pakistan to settle the Kashmir dispute. Another effort was scuttled in 1962 because of fear of veto of the former USSR. Earlier, Soviet Union had maintained neutrality on the Kashmir dispute, and abstained from using its veto power in the Security Council. The UNSC resolution of 5th January 1949 allowing Kashmirisí to join Pakistan or India through the plebiscite under the aegis of the United Nations is a case in point.

Pakistanís civil and military leadership was so fascinated with America, that it did not review Pakistanís foreign policy when the international political landscape changed with the end of Cold War. After the Soviet forces were defeated in Afghanistan, which could not have happened without Pakistanís cooperation, America ditched Pakistan and left the region. The US now blames Pakistan for its failure rein in the Taliban during the last ten years despite 150000 American and NATO forces and similar number of Afghan National Army. In 2011, since Raymond Davis, US Navy Seals attack on Abbottabad compound and attack on Salala check post killing 26 security personnel, relations between Pakistan and the US have soured. Since then Pakistan has stopped the transit facility for supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan, and now the recommendations have been submitted by the parliamentary committee for security to the Parliament, which will decide about new rules of engagement and terms and conditions.

Today, when the US is planning exit from Afghanistan, some political eminences, commentariat, anchor persons, analysts and panelists are trying to scare the people and the government that annoying the sole super power is fraught with dangers. In fact, they should have been discussing ways and means to meet the challenges faced by Pakistan, and how to counter if the heady super power resorts to adventurism. It is true that America controls the IMF and other international financial institutions, and they could stop rescheduling of loans and Pakistan could default. But even a layman in Pakistan knows about these facts. In fact, the parliamentary committee should have dwelt on various scenarios including worst-case scenario, as to what sort of response Pakistan should give in case of violation of Pakistanís sovereignty. It is the leadership, the think tanks and intellectuals that should discuss plans to get rid of the dependency syndrome so that it does not have to buckle under pressure to do Americaís bidding.

According to a report of local English daily, Pakistanís premier intelligence agency has raised concern over the approval by the Capital Development Authority for construction of US embassy complexís seven-storey building describing it a security hazard, as activities in important buildings including the Presidency, Prime Minister House and Parliament House could easily be monitored from the roof top of the complex. The building blueprint was reportedly approved on 16th January this year by a committee comprising officials of the CDA, representatives of Planning, Emergency and Disaster Management and members nominated by the Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners. The US Embassy was already occupying a vast area of 31.9 acres in Diplomatic Enclave, and in October, 2010, the US Embassy again approached Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CDA for the allotment of 8.2 acres of land at the rate of US$500 per square yard, which was reportedly allotted.

In Karachi, a huge fortress-like complex on 20.5 acres of land with latest facilities has been constructed for the US Consulate General. It is said that the place will be used as US base for activities in Sindh and Balochistan. According to sources, the US is trying to acquire land at Gwadar, Quetta and Multan for establishing its consulates. On 21st January, the US Consulate General in Karachi has moved to a new location, and according to the Consul General, it will allow them to expand consular services to the public. The US embassy claimed that the expansion manifested the commitment of the United States to a comprehensive and sustained partnership with the people and Government of Pakistan. Increased personnel and the new building will assist the US government for providing consular services and increase civilian assistance to Pakistan. This is all rhetoric; as a matter of fact it is the continuation of policy of appeasement, which can prove detrimental to out national interest.

In 2010, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had reportedly authorised the Pakistan Ambassador in Washington to issue visas to US citizens without clearance by security agencies in Pakistan and more than 500 such visas were issued within three days after the PMís authorization to the then US ambassador bypassing the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The strength of the US Mission in Islamabad had swollen from 280 to about 1,000, including CIA personnel, without any agreement between the two governments. The PMís letter empowering the ambassador flouted the visa policy formulated within months before its issuance. There is a long list of betrayals by the US, but the way America has betrayed Pakistan especially during the last four years is despicable. The US has paid only a fraction of what it had committed under the Kerry-Lugar law. Moreover, it has not reimbursed amounts under coalition support fund for the last two years on the pretext that the figures were inflated, which has put constraints on Pakistanís ability to effectively fight the war on terror.