The events of September 11, 2001, have transpired to be a tremendous watershed moment for Pakistan. Since then Pakistan has followed a trajectory of events that has been almost unprecedented in Pakistan’s history. Yet despite this trajectory being largely plotted by Pakistan’s own rulers the irony is that Pakistan now faces a terrible and perilous situation. Today American warplanes attack Pakistani territory and kill it’s citizens with impunity. Instead of defending Pakistan’s sovereignty against these attacks, the Pakistani regime has launched it’s own military operation fighting it’s own people that has displaced over 2.4 million people as Pakistan’s rulers plead they fight for Pakistan’s survival. Moreover random bombings occurring in the country have created a sense of fear in the people.
The build up to this tragic situation has unfolded over the last eight years. It was the previous military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, who facilitated the American presence in the region by providing them with the means to attack and occupy Afghanistan. In this process Musharraf allowed the Americans to establish bases inside Pakistan. Today the democratic ruler, Asif Ali Zardari, has continued to provide these facilities’ at Shamsi, Pasni, Dalbandin and Jacobabad to America as over 500 trucks cross the border daily from Pakistan into Afghanistan carrying vital supplies without which the American and NATO occupation of Afghanistan would be impossible. The American drones which continue to launch airstrikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas also operate from inside Pakistan as the US Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairperson of the US Senate’s Intelligence committee, admitted.
In the last 2 years though, since the twilight of the Musharraf regime, the West’s political and military focus has shifted away from Afghanistan to Pakistan itself. Despite the fact that these Western armies have failed to pacify Afghanistan themselves and are actually seeking to negotiate with parts of the Pakhtoon resistance, we find Western leaders have made accusation after accusation against Pakistan itself. Pakistan they assert harbours ‘terrorists’ who are helping the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan and have failed to deal with this problem. In September 2008, shortly after the aftermath of the first publically acknowledged American ground raid inside Pakistan, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen signalled the change in American policy saying “In my view, these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them….until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.”
More recently the American and British rhetoric has increased dramatically with melodramatic statements being made claiming that the West is both under the renewed threat of attack from militants based inside Pakistan and that Pakistan itself risks being taken over by fanatical terrorists who will implement the Shariah.
The British Foreign Secretary David Milliband claimed in March 2009 that “The reason that we’re in Afghanistan is precisely because 9/11 was launched from the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Shortly after that in April 2009 the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “Pakistan poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world…. we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan now within hours of Islamabad made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state.” This was followed by the British Prime Minster Gordon Brown who in his recent April visit to Pakistan said “There is a crucible of terrorism in the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan….there is a chain of terrorism that goes from here round to the streets of Britain…..We know that three-quarters of the terrorist activities that happen in Britain arise from the areas around here.” This was then followed by a statement from General David Petraeus, prior to the launch of the Swat operation, who said that Pakistan had just 2 weeks left to destroy the Taliban or risked falling itself, adding “the Pakistanis have run out of excuses…we have heard it all before.“
These statements from these Western leaders in the space of a few weeks show how their political discourse has developed into outright dishonest hysteria in such a short space of time. No one has ever claimed before, let alone provided any evidence, that 9/11 was executed from Pakistan’s tribal areas. To believe that the Pakistani state itself will fold under the pressure of a few thousand irregular fighters, 5000 at best as claimed by the Zardari regime, is an even bigger lie than Milliband’s 9/11 claim. Pakistan has a modern professional 700,000 man army with another 500,000 reserves, an army that has successfully held off the million man plus army of India on numerous occasions, most recently demonstrated in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and bellicose Indian threats. To peddle such propaganda is the height of deceitfulness and actually reveals the fallacy of the West’s ‘Talibanisation’ argument. Pakistan was never in danger of falling and in fact coupled with Zardari’s ‘Shariah in Swat’ manoeuvre, this propaganda was actually a crude attempt to try to turn Pakistani public opinion in favour of the military operation underway in Swat.
America itself has failed to control Iraq and Afghanistan; it badly needs the Pakistan army to conduct this operation to save its failing occupation of Afghanistan. That is why Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mike Mullen made numerous trips in March and April to goad the Zardari regime into committing the military offensive. This operation is designed by the Zardari regime to punish the people of Swat for their support to the fighters who attack the American and NATO supply convoys heading for Afghanistan and for their Pakhtoon brethren across the border who are fighting the American led occupation. By displacing up to a staggering 2.4 million people from the area, the Zardari regime, coupled with the terror of the American drone strikes in the area, has effectively cleansed the area of it’s population and thereby sought to increase the security of the American and NATO supply lines. By creating an area free from it’s population, the Zardari regime has also created a buffer zone along the Afghan border in order to stem Western losses inside Afghanistan.
The Zardari regime, like the previous Musharraf regime, chooses to co-operate with the Americans and the British because it is being financially rewarded for doing so. Zardari himself has personally benefitted as he has moved from being labelled a crook to being recast into a ‘statesman’ who is going to save Pakistan. The argument that it has no choice in the face of declining American power is false. America is powerless to act against North Korea which has just conducted its second nuclear test. If a fledgling power like North Korea can defy America, then Pakistan with it’s advanced nuclear and missile programs can also ignore America’s demands.
For its collaboration, the Zardari regime has been rewarded with another measly $1.9 billion in aid as Zardari toured Washington and London, timed to coincide with the start of the Swat offensive. At a time when his regime has claimed Pakistan was ‘fighting for its survival’, Zardari’s presence in Washington and London shows where he derives his real political support. In the process Zardari has created the biggest humanitarian refugee crisis the world has seen since the Rwanda genocide in 1994 according to the United Nations. With no independent journalists allowed inside the theatre of operation, it is anyone’s guess as to how many men, women and children have died, how many have been injured and how many have lost their homes and had their livelihoods destroyed in the process. At the height of the Irish conflict, the British never attacked the entire Catholic population in Northern Island to stop the IRA bomb attacks in mainland Britain. To argue that such an approach will stop a few alleged terrorists is a lie; such brutal tactics are collective punishment of an entire population and were deployed by the Israelis against the Palestinians in their recent slaughter in Gaza. On Zardari’s political epitaph, history will record his bloody tyranny.
The West’s hypocrisy is also evident once more; in the case of Sri Lanka the West has condemned unreservedly the military offensive it says has made 200,000 Tamils refugees and killed many thousands, leading the calls for a ceasefire. In the case of Pakistan they have lobbied for this attack and now sit back and applaud the results. They feign concern for the displaced Swat civilians by offering a few hundred million dollars of aid which are more likely to line the pockets of Zardari and his cronies rather than help the people of Swat.
Yet for Pakistan the political fallout is yet to come. No country can simply attack it’s own civilian population and not suffer from the inevitable consequences. A government which attacks it’s own people with fighter jets and artillery shells will no longer be seen as a legitimate ruling entity; it will henceforth only be seen as an occupying force. It will lead to further ethnic division and fighting within a country whose federation is not known for its political strength. The end result can only be more bloodshed on both sides, with Muslim fighting Muslim, in a civil war. Not only will the people of Swat suffer but the Pakistan army will also be sucked into an occupation that will weaken it over the duration. Nobody can argue that this is in Pakistan’s interest.
This though is the calculus being applied by policy makers in Washington and London. For this campaign in Pakistan is not just about Afghanistan and the support to the resistance against the American occupation by their brethren tribes in northern Pakistan. It is about dealing with the greater revival of Islam throughout the Muslim lands, a call which the people of Pakistan are strongly embracing. During the cold war, the West was preoccupied with the Soviet threat. In fact the same people that they call ‘terrorists’ today were the same ones they called ‘Mujahideen’ and ‘freedom fighters’ as they funnelled billions of dollars in weapons and aid through the CIA and Britain’s MI6 using Pakistan’s ISI agency. But today, as the Islamic revival takes place whilst global Capitalism is in crisis, a Muslim country which has nuclear weapons, a strong military and the potential for change is strategic nightmare for Western policy makers. No longer will they have obedient political stooges such as Zardari and Nawaz Sharif to do their bidding; instead they face the prospect of an ideological Islamic state, the Khilafah, which will be governed by Islam in the interests of its people, outside the scope and control of Western powers. This is the real issue behind the facade of the Western propagated ‘terrorism’ agenda against Pakistan.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى warns against such division amongst the Muslims:
وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاء فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىَ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
“And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided.” [Surah Al-Imran, 3:103]
Those who claim that this is Pakistan’s own war against terrorism are being deceptive and offer an incredulous argument. Before the events of 9/11 there was no fighting between Pakistan’s security forces and those who lived in the tribal areas. In fact there was no history of suicide bomb attacks either. The tribal areas were at peace whilst the Pakistan army was busy consolidating Musharraf’s rule in the aftermath of the coup overthrowing Nawaz Sharif’s regime. Pakistan not withstanding the spontaneous random acts of sectarian violence, was at relative peace with itself. It was the American occupation of Afghanistan and the continued support for this from the Pakistani rulers which has triggered the instability in the tribal areas.
It is clear that Pakistan’s small band of secularists have not stopped to properly evaluate the situation which Pakistan finds itself in. To resort to military attacks against your own people is an act of stupidity that will only bring more turmoil; America despite all its wealth and military might has not been able to subdue the people of Iraq and Afghanistan over these past years. This indicates a total absence of thought and the abject failure of Pakistan’s politicians. The secularists’ viewpoint does not even stand the scrutiny of pragmatism and in truth represents dogmatic political support for a military offensive that is a dangerous error of judgement.
Pakistan’s secularists fail to realise that the West is not just fighting a military battle but an ideological war, first and foremost. If Pakistan’s secularists hope that by offering the blood of their fellow citizens as sacrifice to appease America will work then they are in for a rude awakening. Most of them believe that by siding and supporting America’s ‘War on Terror’, Pakistan will be let off the hook whilst the ruling elite can make a few billion dollars in the process – ‘Pakistan first’ is the rallying cry for the faithful. Yet in their denial of the reality they have buried their heads in the sand; the West is undermining and attacking Pakistan because of Islam, not because of ‘terrorism’. The West will not stop until it ends what it sees as the political threat from Islam in Pakistan.
How can Pakistan be said to have been put first when its villages are being attacked by America at will? The rulers in charge continue to co-operate with this foreign power to the extent they are now using their own military to attack their own people leaving over 2.4 million Pakistani citizens refugees inside their own country. The Zardari regime claims to be acting to restore the writ of the state, to restore it’s honour; yet the Americans have attacked countless number of times, violating the writ of the Pakistani state, to murder it’s men, women and children with their indiscriminate drone strikes. The Zardari regime continues to condone this, there is no honour in that.
In the aftermath of Musharraf’s Lal Masjid massacre, the Americans together with the incumbent rulers have learnt their lesson in the art of black propaganda. The rulers are deliberately trying to exploit the terrorist outrages in the country to shore up political support for their deeply unpopular alliance with America. These secularist apologists also conveniently ignore the role of the American FBI and CIA who now have numerous bases throughout Pakistan; they were instrumental in the kidnapping of Dr Afia Siddiqui and her children who is now held in an American prison. One only has to google the word ‘CIA’ to reveal it’s dirty history in destabilisation and black operations abroad. No responsible government would allow a foreign power to establish it’s intelligence apparatus on it’s soil with a free hand. This though is exactly what Pakistan’s rulers have done, handing over Pakistan’s internal security.
In the process they are igniting a civil war inside Pakistan that could destroy it. It is no coincidence that the Western media and its officials openly talk about Pakistan collapsing; this is what they want. That is why in June 2006 retired US Army Colonel Ralph Peters published a map calling for the division of Pakistan. Those who still have any lingering doubts about the West’s intentions should consider that this past month the revelations that former US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld laced his Iraq war briefings for President George Bush with biblical quotes as American soldiers marched on Baghdad; it does not get any more black and white than that. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
وَلَن تَرْضَى عَنكَ الْيَهُودُ وَلاَ النَّصَارَى حَتَّى تَتَّبِعَ مِلَّتَهُمْ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَى وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلاَ نَصِيرٍ
“And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah’s guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper.” [Surah Al-Baqara, 2:120]
What the Zardari regime is doing is a heinous crime in the eyes of Allah سبحانه وتعالى as he warns:
وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.” [Surah An-Nisa, 4:93]
These are the actions of a foolish and immoral regime. The West’s target is Pakistan itself and it will not rest until the Muslims of Pakistan stop aspiring to be ruled by Islam, something that will not happen. Try as they might to emulate Western values, they are not carrying the rest of the 170 million Pakistanis’ with them. Islam runs through the veins of the Pakistani people and attempts to forcibly remove the Islamic identity are doomed to failure. Moreover over the last sixty years western values such as secularism and democracy have failed to bring prosperity and good governance to the people of Pakistan; both military rule and democracy have failed. The Muslims of Pakistan live with this legacy of failure everyday. This is because they are alien to the Muslims and you cannot superimpose western values without justifying their basis. To do that you would have to make an argument against Islam itself. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed his Shariah as the basis for the Muslims to be ruled by and implemented by the Khilafah state. Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
فَلاَ تَخْشَوُاْ النَّاسَ وَاخْشَوْنِ وَلاَ تَشْتَرُواْ بِآيَاتِي ثَمَنًا قَلِيلاً وَمَن لَّمْ يَحْكُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
“So fear not mankind, but fear Me. And barter not My revelations for a little gain. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed, such are disbelievers.” [Surah Al-Maaida, 5:44]
The people of Pakistan gave many sacrifices to establish Pakistan in 1947 so that they could live in peace and security under the shade of Islam. That dream is yet to be fulfilled but their forefathers did not give their lives more than 60 years ago so that their rulers would betray their people in such a treacherous way. The global tide of Islamic revival in is growing in Pakistan and it’s people will not be denied that. Not by America and certainly not by the minority secularists in Pakistan who have nothing in common with the average Pakistani, who continue to defend the broken and corrupt political system that has brought nothing but misery for it’s people.