Attempting to discredit Pak military
Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
There existed a perception among the intellectual class of Pakistan, that, United States has always maintained an exceptional relationship with Pakistani Military. Nonetheless, the perception was not untrue altogether, if not 100 percent correct. In the period of cold war, under FM Ayub, Pakistan fully served the American objectives in the region and across the globe. In her assistance for the US, Pakistan even forgot the role; US played to disintegrate it in 1971. Whereas, Pakistan was busy in a secret deal to establish diplomatic linkages between US and China, the superpower, continue giving disingenuous hope that, India is not going to attack on its troubled Eastern Wing, now Bangladesh. However, the promised 7th US Fleet never reached the Bay of Bengal to deter Indian aggression against Pakistan. Despite these odds and US sanctions, Pakistan maintained its relationship with US, until Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in December 1979.
The experience of 1980s, where Pakistan and U.S fought hands in gloves against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, and years thereafter, taught Pakistan many lessons. Since there was a military rule in the 1980s, therefore, Pakistani military became more conscious and alert. The decade of 1990s was marked by an uneven Pak-US relationship; sanctions under Pressler Amendment and later more sanctions after nuclear blasts of May 1998. With the beginning of new millennium and after the incident of 9/11, US needed Pakistan, more than the cold war. However, unlike 1980s, this time US ordained Pakistan to be its ally in a new form of the war, the global war on terror. Pakistan had no option, but to comply with the US directive and acted as a frontline state and as a coalition partner. Since no parliament existed at that time in Pakistan, therefore, siding US in this war was an individual decision of the former President General Pervez Musharraf. As one would learn from the history that, individual decisions are mostly flawed, compared to collective decisions by an elected body (parliament), therefore, once again Pakistan was put into an awkward position of serving the purpose of US, against its national interests. Since it was a military rule on Pakistan, thus, Pakistani military was directly dealing with US in all affairs; defence as well as the foreign affairs. It was initially assumed in Pakistan that, this US engagement in Afghanistan would be for few months or maximum for few years, as Taliban Government was apparently over thrown in a period of few weeks. Nevertheless, this did not happen and US continued strengthening its military presence in Afghanistan with each passing day. It has constructed a number of military bases, all having strategic significance.
Over the years, being closely associated as a coalition partner, Pakistani Military got suspicious about US activities and felt that US has long-term agenda in the region and its strategic objectives are beyond Afghanistan. These apprehensions turned in to reality and belief once U.S and NATO forces violated the sovereignty of Pakistan many a time. After these US acts, Pakistani military adopted a cautious approach towards NATO and US. The super power was not tuned to such type of reaction from Pakistan, thus got annoyed. To make grounds, it began with the accusations that Pakistani military and its intelligence establishment are supporting Afghan Taliban and other warlords like Haqqanis, which Pakistan rejected altogether. During these long years, U.S has been able to infiltrate a sizeable number of its CIA and FBI agents within Pakistan, in the garb of its training teams and even diplomats. Besides, it increased strength of its private security staff like Black water (Xe) inside Pakistan.
Since last few years, United States has a strong feeling that, indeed, it is Pakistani military, which is putting obstacles towards implementation of its agenda in the region. Therefore, after detailed deliberations, this super power has decided to discredit and humiliate Pakistani Military in the eyes of Pakistani masses as well as international community. The process, which started few years back, includes; a media campaign of accusing Pakistani military and ISI for supporting Taliban and others Afghan factions. In the media campaigning, Pakistani domestic media in most of the cases led the international media. The aim of this entire campaign was to degrade Pakistani military in the Pakistani society; the nursery of armed forces of Pakistan. Indeed, in the last days of former President Musharraf, this campaign was able to make a big dent. However, credit goes to General Kayani, who immediately upon taking over, understood these grand designs and removed misperceptions, prevailed earlier.
Failure to these well orchestrated media campaign, further exasperated US, which decided to take extreme steps to punish Pakistani military. Raymond Davisí arrest after he killed two Pakistanis in Lahore, and revelations from him provided further evidence and strengthened the belief that, how US is campaigning against Pakistan and its military in particular. Pakistani authorities could not resist US pressure and released Raymond Davis, which added in the lists of its humiliations. Killing of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) by US Navy SEALs in infamous Abbotabad raid was another step to humiliate Pakistan, especially its military and intelligence setup. After this raid, US issued a statement that, US could not depend on Pakistani military, thus did not share the information of this raid. Pakistani intelligence however claimed that, it was only after it shared information; CIA could reach to the OBL hideout.
This incident, indeed, first of its kind, created many misperceptions about the Military and intelligence of Pakistan on domestic front. This indeed, was a major US step to humiliate Pakistani military and ISI. While the wounds of May 2, 2011, incident were yet to heal, US forces killed two dozens Pakistani soldiers through an aerial raid in Salala military posts. Later through its own investigations, US accepted a partial blame, but refused to apologize. US thought that, as before, this incident too would be forgotten and Pakistan would continue cooperating with it. However, this time Pakistan took a principle stand and has decided not to compromise. U.S is pressurizing Pakistan to reopen its supply route from Pakistani territory.
As a nation, we have to understand that, after all, why U.S and NATO officials are campaigning against Pakistani military. Why this Trans-Atlantic alliance is paying so much to media and pseudo scholars globally and within Pakistan to defame Pakistani military and ISI. Had these establishments been friendly to them and follower of their directives, they would not have undertaken such hectic and discrediting campaigns against them. It is only that Pakistani Military and its ISI has refused to follow their script that compelled US and its European partners to take some of these extreme steps. The question arises, should a circle of Pakistani media and some scholars buy the US themes of defaming their saviours or counter these ill-willed motives against their military and intelligence setup. After all we are a nation and these are our institutions, thus we should not sell ourselves for few thousand dollars. Let us have national pride and prestige, which would position us at much higher pedestal than covetous illegal dollars could do.