The Tragic affairs of the Pak-US relationship
By Afshan Farooqui
Everybody makes mistakes thats a given. To err is human. Individuals make mistakes, institutions make mistakes and even countries make mistakes. But it is sad that not everyone learns from them. Some people make the same mistakes over and over again, fail to make any real progress, and cant figure out why.
Bruce Lee had once observed that "mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them. To this I would like to add that mistakes are forgivable provided you acknowledge them as errors and seriously work towards correcting them and making sure that they are never repeated in the future.
Yesterday, National Security Adviser General Nasir was seen Janjua expressing his anger over how Indo-US alliance is fomenting violence and unrest in Pakistan and how we had to encounter terrorism for the first time in our history in the wake of our decision of supporting US led war on terror. How both India and US had similar stance on Kashmir and were more than ever determined to deny the right of self determination to the oppressed inhabitants of the valley. How both US and India were collaborating in sabotaging CPEC to curtail Chinese influence in the region and to make Pakistan's efforts of achieving economic self-reliance a failure.
Then the next thing I knew, Secretary of the States Tillerson had repeated the cliches like Pakistan will lose its territory if we do not fight Haqqanis that they keep alleging us of trysting with. I hate revisiting past for the fear that it is fraught with mistakes. But at times , you can't help it especially when things happen which make an analysis and review of the past imperative like the statement by Lt Gen Nasir Janjua yesterday mentioned herein above. So let's examine our relationship with US vis a vis India in the chronological order. During the early 50s a couple of years after inception of Pakistan, our first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan decided to visit USA where he talked effusively about the similarity and affinity between two monotheistic Abrahamic faiths, Islam and Christianity which according to him, made our alliance with US all but natural.
This was the juncture we decided to embrace US for good to the total shock and dismay of Russia which being our close neighbour was more deserving of our friendship. Not too late , Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated and according to some recently discovered archives, United States was accomplicit in the heinous murder - the country Liaquat Ali so enthusiastically embraced as a friend. During the mid 50s, Pakistan being oblivious of US nefarious designs became part of CENTO and SEATO which formally made us a US defence ally enabling us to recieve US military aid. However, it is often argued that remaining non aligned and neutral would have been a better option for Pakistan.
Nevertheless, in 1962 when Indo-China was in full swing, after Chinese soldiers had demolished the Indian forces and morale in less than 2 weeks , and were threatening to run over the whole of India, USA asked Ayub Khan to give full support to India in her war against China and dissuaded him from attacking India simultaneously on false assurances of exercising pressuring on Nehru to enter into negotiations with Pakistan to settle the Kasmir dispute- a promise which remains unfulfilled till today.
At that point, US managed to tactfully save India from facing two wars at the same time. Though had we tried then, we had better chances of liberating the rest of Kashmir. But as a rule, we were easily tricked by US.
Come 1965, when war broke out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir , Ayub Khan met the US ambassador and asked the later for the necessary support. At this critical moment when the very existence of their closed ally was in jeopardy, instead of committing themselves to any meaningful support , the US Ambassador started by sarcastically telling Ayub , "Mr. President, the Indians have got you by the throat". No mentionable support was ever provided and we were mostly left alone to defend ourselves.
Six years later, 16 December 1971 became the fateful date when we had to lose our Eastern Wing. This time around also our long-time trusted friend disappointed us big-time. Throughout the East Pakistan crisis, US media kept portraying Pakistan as a complete villain and India as a knight in shining armour. US President Nixon failed to help its ally Pakistan in her hour of need and instead kept getting angry at our army for carrying out a military action in East Bengal and put pressure on Gen Yahya to make a political settlement of the crisis though only ten days before the war started on Dec 3 1971, Indira Gandhi visited USA and despite Nixon's pleas decided to sent her troops across the boundary line into East Pakistan and made Nixon's efforts of a negotiated settlement between Yahya regime and Bangladesh government in exile in India go totatlly in vain.
In the UN Security Council, the US representative George Bush said on 5th Dec 1971 that India was clearly the major aggressor but did nothing practical to deter the aggressor from dismembering their old ally . Had USA seriously tried to salvage Pakistan out of the crisis, India wouldn't have dared touch Muslim Bengal.
Towards the end of the same decade , in 1979 when Russia invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan decided to align ilself with the USA efforts to get rid of the communist threat naively again. As soon as that threat was over and Russia was disintegrated, USA left us in the lurch to deal with the dual menace of drugs and weapons post Afghan war and rather imposed sanctions on us for allegedly developing a nuclear weapon to be able to defend ourselves in case of an attack from India. So much for a country which kept praising us as the moral equivalents of their founding fathers for fighting their proxy war in Afghanistan in the preceding decade.
Fast forward towards the fag end of the next decade, in 1999, US in keeping with its traditions, again deceived Pakistan by making false promises of resolving Kashmir dispute through mediation should we recall our troops from Kargil in yet another successful attempt to save India's skin.
But we being incorrigible fools still hadn't learnt our lesson. After the 9/11 attacks we decided to trust and support US all over again
I keep having flash backs of how Imran Khan had been forewarning the establishment of the possible consequences of Pakistan joining US war and ultimately fell out with Musharraf over his decision of adopting this "somebody else's" war. Wish his warnings had been listened to and not dismissed as the ramblings of a madman.
A video has gone viral on the social media wherein the journalist Wajahat Saeed Khan is shown grimacing, recollecting the events of the day terrorists sent from Afghanistan under guidance and supervision of their Indian handlers there butchered our little geniuses in Army Public School on the same inauspicious date of 16 December, good three years ago.
I came to think of how USA had raised a furore when Mumbai and Uri were attacked. The US was full of reproach for us and immediately called upon Pakistan to put our house in order and not allow our soil to be used against india though there is still a zero evidence of Pakistan's involvement or abbetment in those attacks. However the APS dastardly and soul numbing terrorist attack didn't elicit similar daming and condemining statements from US for India despite credible evidence of Indian being complicit available on record.
Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: A believer does not allow himself to be stung twice from one (and the same) hole. [Bukhari]
A Muslim is required to learn from his or her mistakes, analyze their failures and if there is any shortcoming that he can avoid repeating, then he or she is required to avoid it. Once an individual or group has shown evil behaviour towards us, we are not to become victims again. It is not only our personal experience that we are required to learn from, but the experience of the Muslim Ummah and the guidance that we receive from Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) in recognizing our friends and foes. Nobody knows better than Allah what is in a creatures heart: therefore, a sensible person will avoid harm by paying heed to the advice from the All Knower, Allah (subhana wa ta'ala).
We know all of this yet we keep trusting US again and again despite being constantly betrayed and back stabbed by it multiple times
Our democratically elected leaders like Benazir, Nawaz and Zardari keep depending on US backing to remain in power in Pakistan and are at times totally beholden to US for rising to the helm at home.
The question is why do we do so. Why cant we try to rectify our errors of judgment ? Why cant we see somebody's real intentions before we start relying on them blindly?
Are we mad as a nation? Are we obsessed with US ? We love US a bit too much or is it that we have nuts as our policy makers who each time end up putting all their eggs in the same basket. Are we compulsive suiciders who love to shoot themselves in the foot ? Are we so gullible and so trusting of others that each time we easily fall into their trap ? Are we non accepting of sane advice or suffer from over optimism? Do we lack the capability to learn and review and remain hell bent on repeating the same mistakes over and over again? Or do we do it purposely and intend to do it once more? These are the various questions and only time will answer them.
But remember what Paulo Coelho said:
When you repeat a mistake it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.
The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect CPSDs editorial policy.