New Delhi [India], Apr. 4 (ANI): Pakistan's relationship with the U.S. has often been touted as that of a 'frenemy', as Islamabad her on several occasions been accused of playing a double game - securing U.S. aid to fight terrorism and then using that aid to maintain its Islamist assets, but Islamabad's relentless criticism of its former Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani proves that it is no friend of the U.S.
Associate professor at Georgetown University's Security Studies Program C. Christine Fair highlights in her recent article that since the earliest years of the so-called global war on terrorism, Pakistan on one hand has taken some USD 33 billion from Washington in the name of partnering with it to fight Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Afghanistan and on the other hand, it continued to kill Americans and their Afghan partners, as well as NATO and non-NATO allies in Afghanistan, through its varied proxies such as the Afghan Taliban, the Jalaluddin Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others.
The article appearing in The National Interest says that while Pakistan has tenaciously maintained the viability of these so-called Islamist militant assets, it has prosecuted a brutal campaign of violence and threats of violence against Pakistanis who are fighting for a saner Pakistan.
It offers the recent example of how Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States from 2008-2011. A recent article by Haqqani in the Washington Post on how diplomats build contacts with incoming administration officials was described in Pakistan variously as a "confession" or "admission" of secretly helping the Americans in finding al-Qaeda founder and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Haqqani said in his article that while having lived most of the Pervez Musharraf's military dictatorship years in exile in Washington, he had established close ties with members of Congress and others influential in policymaking. These ties later helped in closer cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in fighting terrorism and eventually these connections enabled the United States to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan's intelligence service or military, which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamist militants
He discloses that friends he made from the Obama campaign were able to ask for help in stationing U.S. Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan. These requests were taken directly to Pakistan's civilian leaders and approved.
"Although the United States kept us officially out of the loop about the operation, these locally stationed Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to send in Navy SEAL Team 6 without notifying Pakistan," he said in his article.
Fair writes that post Haqqani's article the Pakistani politicians and media are busy condemning him for inadvertently helping conclude the hunt for the world's most wanted terrorist by granting visas to American operatives who, along with Pakistani nationals, located bin Laden while ignoring the question of why and how bin Laden lived for years in Pakistan.
Fair cites a report by Carlotta Gall, in her 2014 volume The Wrong Enemy, in which the author asserts that Pakistan's notorious intelligence agency, the ISI, had a desk dedicated to overseeing bin Laden's protection. Laden was "hiding" in plain sight a mere mile or so from the famed Pakistan Military Academy. His home was a Spartan but fortified compound with high walls, limited communications and a small electrical profile for the outsize compound. They even burned their trash in the compound itself. His security was surprisingly absent, suggesting that bin Laden felt reasonably secure.
Pakistan's position on bin Laden is difficult to parse as when the United States initially offered Pakistan, in the words of one highly-placed official, "a ride on the victory bus," Pakistan had no interest, says Fair.
Soon thereafter, civilian and military leaders alike vocally decried the U.S. raid that killed him as a breach of Pakistan's sovereignty.
Fair writes that Haqqani is not the only foe of terrorism that the state is hunting but in recent years, the Pakistani state has launched a tenacious crackdown upon a wide array of activists who oppose the perduring state project of jihad. These activists include secular bloggers and other social media activists, civil rights lawyers, journalists, musicians, and other dissidents, such as Baloch and Sindhi ethnic activists.
These diverse activists generally oppose the army's instrumentalisation of so-called jihadis as principal tools of foreign policy and the government's tacit alignment with Islamism and for this reason, they are considered "enemies of the state" and have been relentlessly harassed and threatened with violence.
Meanwhile, the article also accuses the United States of having emboldened the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies over the last fifteen years to hunt down reformers at home, because it believes the United States needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the United States. Pakistanis frequently lament that while the United States never brought down a civilian regime, its historical support to the military ensures that a praetorian junta, unaccountable to any law, truly governs the state.
It further calls upon the United States to correct this course and demand that Pakistan knock off its jihad habit while at the same time working to ensure this relentless liberal witch hunt ends.
The article says that to achieve this, the United States has many tools at its disposal, ranging from sanctions, to declaring Pakistan to be a state sponsor of terror, to significant curbs on military assistance. (ANI)