The Bankruptcy of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy


After the events of the last three weeks in Iraq and Palestine it was disgusting to read the words of Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman, Masood Khan, at the weekly Foreign Office briefing in Islamabad on April 19th as reported in today’s (20th April) Dawn newspaper of Karachi (http://www.dawn.com/2004/04/20/top8.htm). I guess the poor guy is not to blame but I would assume he squirmed with embarrassment at what he had to say on the orders of his superiors.

I guess Masood Khan was too embarrassed to respond when he was asked about the US request for Pakistani troops in Iraq. Instead of a categorical no there was silence and meaningless words about “policy which had been time and again enunciated by the president and foreign minister”. This at a time when the Pakistani government should clearly and forcefully condemn the US occupation of Iraq and the assault on the civilian population of Fallujah with tanks, armour, 1000 pound bombs and cluster bombs which have left over 700 dead, mostly women, old men and children including babies. Hospitals have been closed, ambulances have been attacked by Marine snipers and wounded have been forcibly taken prisoner from hospitals. Let me quote from an article in the Los Angeles Times as quoted by Mike Davis (http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=5363).

“The young American Marine is exultant. “It’s a sniper’s dream,” he tells a Los Angeles Times reporter on the outskirts of Fallujah. “You can go anywhere and there so many ways to fire at the enemy without him knowing where you are.”

“Sometimes a guy will go down, and I’ll let him scream a bit to destroy the morale of his buddies. Then I’ll use a second shot.”

“To take a bad guy out,” he explains, “is an incomparable ‘adrenaline rush.’” He brags of having “24 confirmed kills” in the initial phase of the brutal U.S. onslaught against the rebel city of 300,000 people.

(If one wants to know about the massacre in Fallujah there are many reports by courageous reporters, including Al-Jazira and American reporters, available on the net). This is the face of the brutality of the US Army and the Pakistani government has nothing to say about this? The legitimate resistance of the whole Iraqi population is mounting with the unity of all Iraqis irrespective of their religious faith and what has our Foreign Office to say on this: nothing but to assert that Pakistan has “very good and very close relations and understanding with the United States of America. Both governments had strategic convergence notwithstanding tactical divergences some times”. Does the Pakistan government have strategic convergence with the US in crushing the Iraqi people?

Pakistan’s subservience to the United States was further evident in the spokesman’s statement about the assassination of the leaders of Hamas. Although the spokesman “condemned all targeted assassinations such as those of Hamas leaders” there was not a single word to say that this was encouraged if not authorised by the United States during Sharon’s recent visit to Bush. There was a ritual statement about the peace process in the Middle East but no condemnation of the fact that Bush has supported Sharon’s plan to retain large parts of the West Bank and has completely derailed the peace process and violated all relevant UN resolutions. Does the Pakistan government have strategic convergence in suppressing the Palestinian cause?

Pakistan’s submission to the US plan to dominate the world is also evident in its keenness to join the so-called war on terror. After the Pakistan Army’s disastrous incursion last month into Waziristan with its defeat in a major battle with tribesmen, Musharraf is now trying to please his masters in Washington once again by sending a tribal lashkar (armed force) to capture the phantom foreign fighters, said to be Uzbeks, Chechens, etc. The last time around the glorious Pakistan Army claimed that it had arrested some foreign fighters. It is hard to believe this as not one has been produced to the press or to the foreign governments who are keen to interview their nationals although a month has passed since they were “captured”. By sending a lashkar under US pressure Musharraf risks promoting intertribal warfare and a general conflagration in the Frontier. Already there are reports of desertions from the Frontier Force as Pathans refuse to fight Pathans and there is serious unrest in the Army.

Quite rightly now the Pakistani government is viewed inside and outside the country as a puppet of the US. With its significant silences and active collaboration (new joint naval patrols in the Arabian Sea, several Air and Naval bases, action on the frontier against “terrorists”) Pakistan is very keen to be declared a MNNA, most-favoured non-NATO ally. I guess Pakistan is proud to be in the company of countries like Israel, Turkey, Jordan, South Korea, etc. At least King Abdullah had some guts to expess his disapproval of US policies in Palestine. We had nothing to say. This is so that the Pakistan Army can get its toys and remain in power. At a time when the poor of the world are under assault from the United States, Pakistan is allying itself with the neo-conservative ruling cabal in Washington who dream of dominating the world and the convicted murderer Sharon instead of clearly and loudly siding with the Iraqi and Palestinian people and the oppressed of the world in general. Instead of requesting US bases to be evacuated from Pakistan as retaliation for US policies we acquiesce and prostitute ourselves to the US as we have done for the last fifty years.

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