US: Friend or Foe

By Huma Hashmi-Hanley

As the Chinese proverb goes…” May you live in interesting times…” Well, it couldn’t get more interesting here in Pakistan.

Terror strikes into the heart of Pakistan again, as the Naval Base in Karachi is attacked , followed by a suicide bomber ramming his double cabin van into the building of The Works and Communication Department, killing at least 35 in Hangu.

If the world (vested interests) keeps screaming that Pakistan harbors terrorists, then why are the militants targeting all our Military and Security Establishments? To avenge Osama’s death? He died at least five years ago. The Tehreek-Taliban has claimed responsibility. Sources say, that this particular outfit is funded by the CIA with whom Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor had connections.

With these attacks on sensitive installations, who stands to gain?   Pakistan’s arch rival, India? That would be pretty stupid on their part, though they are in the forefront in demonizing Pakistan after the Abbottabad DRAMA, but if the Mehran Base attack traced back to them, the threat of war cannot be ruled out. RAW tried to have its fingers in all the unholy pies in the form of non-state actors who are terrorizing the population of Pakistan.

Which other ‘brand’ of militants then? When Pakistan is being accused of ‘complicity’ with the Taliban, why would they fight them?

The mystery deepens. Not really. It’s as simple as rocket science! The Third Entity! Martians!! The little green men have had their eye on our much-hyped about nukes. Not because their kids want to play volley-ball with them. They simply want the bombs to be neutralized as they are a deterrence to their plans for the invasion of Central Russia where exploitation of natural resources will be easy-peasy! You see, Mars NEEDS those resources. And it will not let anything get in its way! Which country on this planet calls tourists and outsiders Aliens?  Pakistanis view the Americans as Martians! Cute, aren’t they?

Thus the Drama of Osama’s death …and lately the attacks on military installations.  The point being, to demonstrate that Pakistan is incapable of protecting anything of value, especially its nuclear arsenal.  Which is not true! Pakistan has the utmost capability in guarding its nuclear assets.

In 1999, General Musharaf created the National Command Authority (NCA) to assert control of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The NCA then authorized a branch of the Army called the Strategic Plans Division.

A report last year recommended that the US send in Special Forces to help “secure the Pakistani nuclear arsenal”. Pakistan’s foreign office dismissed the report as “outlandish musings”, insisting there was no danger of the country’s strategic assets falling into the wrong hands. Reporting in the Frontier Post, Mohammad Jamil again stresses this argument:

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was confident that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe; but in the same breath he remarked it was a matter of concern in the wake of the worst assault on Pakistan Navy’s airbase. There is inherent contradiction in NATO chief’s statement, because when he admits Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are safe and well-protected there is no reason or ground for expressing concern about them. What the NATO chief has said is in fact reflective of a clearly-defined US policy, which is articulated by US Generals, think tanks, former members of US administration to prove that Pakistan government and the army cannot control the militants and terrorists who could lay their hands on the nukes, which will be dangerous for the region and the world at large.

The question is who is funding and providing the militants sophisticated weapons and even night goggles, which our military did not have until recently. There are reports that whatever is happening in FATA and Balochistan,  attacks on the GHQ,  Mehran Naval air base and other security assets is a part of the scripted plan by the enemies of Pakistan . In 2006, small group of US military experts and intelligence officials, convened in Washington for a classified war game, explored strategies for securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal if the country’s political institutions and military safeguards began to fall apart.

Later, there was a leak in the press that the secret exercise initiated one of several such games the US government had conducted to examine various options and scenarios for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons vis-à-vis “How many troops might be required for a military intervention in Pakistan? Could Pakistani nuclear bunkers be isolated by saturating the surrounding areas with tens of thousands of high-powered mines, dropped from the air and packed with anti-tank and anti-personnel munitions? Or might such a move only worsen the security of Pakistan’s arsenal”? America and NATO and for that matter India should not remain under the illusion that they could use militants to cause harm to Pakistan’s nuclear installations. To attack GHQ and Mehran Naval Base located in congested cities like Rawalpindi and Karachi is different than attacking Pakistani nukes that are scattered and under multi-layered command and control.

Getting back to Strategic Plans Division, the aim is to oversee a security structure intended to protect Pakistan’s Nuclear arsenal from Islamic militants, Al Qaeda scientists, Indian saboteurs,  and those commando teams whom Pakistanis fear and with good reason ,who may be ready to seize their nuclear assets.

Now, returning to the theatre of war games, in this War OF Terror,  the Economic Survey for the Fiscal Year 2010-11, to be released soon by Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh, will show that since Pakistan allied itself with the US after the events of 9/11 2001, it has suffered a colossal loss of $68 billion due to the war. According to statistics recorded till April 2010, the country suffered 8,141 incidents of terrorism – many more have occurred since then. In return, the country has received only $15 billion to $17 billion in assistance, at an average of some $374 million a year. It doesn’t take an expert to establish the strain this places on the economy.

Russ Wellon of Asia Times says of Veteran British reporter Brian Coughley, a South Asian Defense Analyst for Jane’s Intelligence Review : that Coughley’s extensive experience with the Pakistan military has left him with respect for its professionalism and much less concern for the security of its nuclear weapons than Washington.
So if they are any plans to strike, those plans should be thought out twice and revised. We do not want war, but if war is thrust upon us…. We are not Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, etc.  I rest my case.

Another fact, China has been the only country to support Pakistan in world forums. So why should not Pakistan trust China to build an oil pipeline from Gwadar to North West China, as well as lay two railway lines connecting Gwadar to China.  It plans to accelerate supply of 50 new JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat jets to Pakistan.

Pakistan also opened a nuclear power plant in central Punjab province with Chinese help and said Beijing had been contracted to construct two more reactors.
U.S will commence the withdrawal of its troops in July.  Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mike Mullen visited Pakistan and held a joint press briefing. As was expected, they want Pakistan to remain  engaged with them on the War Of DO MORE …reminded Pakistan of the AID doled out …and expand the war to North Waziristan. Of course, the issue of Drone attacks every fifth day which kills innocent people was brushed aside.  It was emphasized how the Americans were aware of the sacrificed rendered by the Pakistanis …strangely the press briefings to the media and the media’s portrayal somehow always reflects the reverse.

All the smooth talking while visiting Pakistan, and stressing on common objectives to wipe away all evil will not allow Pakistan to lower its guard. Which are the shared interests, one may ask?  In my humble opinion, I think that the U.S is waiting for most of its troops to leave before it launches a crusade against Pakistan, if it harbors such designs. The argument would be, that would it not be easier for them sitting in Afghanistan and within reach? No. The casualties on their side would be much more. Safer to attack from the skies, cut aid and apply sanctions may do the trick; but maybe not. On how many fronts is the US willing to fight ? Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, the Middle East etc.  Is it worth the cost in monetary terms…maye it is , with the Military Complexes hitting the jackpot every day. Who cares about human lives ?

As an aside…when I was in Dawn TV , sometimes a day would pass,  there was no news of a bomb blast in the northern region, and I would wonder why.  Was it the ‘murderers’ day off?   If FOREIGN POLICY is the new name for GREED and AVARICE  we are indeed doomed.  One does not have to be a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, or anything to believe that Apocalypse is around the corner. It’s a sad state of events, my friends. Stay well.

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