Pakistan no Longer has to threaten Suicide to get what it wants because it has won the waiting Game with America!
Now the U.S has decided to sell Pakistan 8 F-16 fighter jets at a subsidized rate, one must draw this conclusion, Pakistan no longer has to put a gun to its head and threaten suicide to get what it wants from America. After 9/11 Pakistan was in a spot of bother because on the one hand it helped create the Taliban sheltering Al Qaeda which carried out one of the most audacious terror attack on American soil. And on the other, by not co-operating with its ‘Bread Basket’ i.e. America, Pakistan risked losing more because it was already burdened with sanctions after carrying out nuclear tests to counter India.
It was prudent to support America in its quest to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Plus, this decision was taken to bolster the fledging military which had suffered years of sanctions and was just waiting to get its hands on some new toys. Sadly for India,the new toys provided by America are not meant to be played countering terrorists in the North West Frontier but exclusively suited to counter the Indian military.
It is ironic, whenever Pakistan has been in any sort of trouble, trouble comes looking for it and becomes its savior. When the carter administration imposed sanctions it hurt the Pakistani military but after the invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan the road to El Dorado was opened for Pakistan. Money and weapons started to pour in and the Wahabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also contributed immensely with money and man power to defeat the great Satan and atheist USSR not USA at that time. But when the Soviets left in 1989, so did the Americans forgetting Pakistan along with and the pile of rocks which is called Afghanistan. But that will prove costly later because that pile of rocks became a breeding ground for Islamic terror and would play a very important role after 12 years. After the Soviets left Afghanistan became a Petri dish for the development of Islamic organized terror and Pakistan acting as its surrogate archangel by providing military support, funding and logistics.
Gestation of Terror
After the Soviets left Afghanistan losing the battle of attrition, American concentration was diverted towards Eastern Europe and the crumbling of the old Warsaw Pact. So began the policy to rebuild Eastern Europe and to have more NATO members. But in the meanwhile, India opened its economy which paved way for liberalization. But in Pakistan instead of trying to develop its infrastructure they created Taliban who not only managed to get control of large swaths of lands in Afghanistan but also imposed puritanical Islamic Sharia law. During the isolation period of 1989 & 2001 Pakistan increased its terror activities in Kashmir Valley which led to the mass killing and exodus of Kashmiri Pandits who became refugee in their own country. They provided explosives for Mumbai serial bomb blast and became home to organized Islamic terror. For the pièce de résistance they started the Kargil war which almost led to a nuclear confrontation with India. For Pakistan, it seems time stood still between 1989 and 2001 or they were simply waiting for the next catastrophe to befall on them directly or indirectly but the gestation of terror was complete.
Osama Bin Laden and the Two Towers
And then Allah smiled and from his base in Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden the Emir of Al Qaeda launched the most deadly terror strike into the heart of America that would change the world and along with the fortune of Pakistan. Terrorists who were mostly of Arabic ethnicity managed to hijack four commercial airplanes out of which two plans brought down the two world trade towers killing three thousand people. Also America’s symbol of its military might the Pentagon was attacked. So it was a natural reflex action on the part of America to go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban which gave them shelter which by all means Pakistan must have known because of the close proximity of the ISI and Jihadists.
An advice unheeded
While leaving office, Prime Minister Harold McMillan gave the following piece of advice to Alec Douglas-Home. He said “My dear boy,” as long as you don’t invade Afghanistan you’ll be absolutely fine.” It is very clear the Bush administration did not heed to this advice. How could they, the most audacious terror attack against American soil has been carried out which led to the death of over three thousand people and that called for revenge and retribution. But first they needed a staging place and who better than Pakistan? Threats were made, past relationship invoked and soon the very nation which built the Taliban turned its back on it, or so it let the Americans believe that they did. It was time to reap the rewards and no matter what anyone says, Americans can be very generous because in their psyche they think bribes, discounts and incentives are the best way to help them achieve their objectives but they forgot Pakistan has an insatiable appetite for American aid since 1948.
Incentives and discounts
Alas the folly of dangling the carrot of incentives and discounts always has an expiry date. In the words French lexicographer Pierre Boiste“The first step of ingratitude is the examination of the person's incentives” which America clearly did not see or never wanted to see as long as it was able to fulfill its objectives. Even with all the incentives and discounts Pakistan was indeed very ingratitude because it felt America was not giving enough and thought they deserved more. More funds were asked for developing infrastructure which was surreptitiously diverted to the military for sophisticated weapons. In the meanwhile, it allowed the Haqqani Network, which operates within its border and ISI providing covert support using retired army personal, attack American forces and also to carry out attacks against India in Afghanistan.
The Puppy becomes Cujo and Pakistan becomes a victim of terror
If the movie Jaws managed to put the fear of shark in people, Stephen King’s book about a 200 pound dog named Cujo gave people doubts about their own pet. As the war on terror escalated, Pakistan itself became a battle ground for Jehadi elements which has led to the death of thousands of people. Cujo the rabid dog by now turned on its own master and the very Mujahedin Pakistan trained and nurtured started ripping it into pieces. But this has again proven to be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan because it allowed them to be a victim and Pakistan knows how to play a victim because it has nearly 70 years of experience. So it managed to somehow get the label “victim of terror” and so the Americans gave them a Perry Class guided-missile frigate, air to air missiles and now advanced fighter jets because that is how Pakistan will win its war on terror.
I am reminded of the movie Shawshank Redemption and especially like that scene where Red narrates how Andy Dufresne escaped and how Andy loved geology. That is exactly what Pakistan has managed to do with its strategy in Afghanistan because geology is the “study of pressure and time”. All Pakistan had to do was give just about enough support to America to convince them of their cooperation but not enough to destroy its terror apparatus. In the meanwhile they had time on their side and there will always be pressure on the Americans to eventually leave. It is safe to say the days of threatening suicide are long gone because Pakistan has finally understood how America operates. Pakistan knows without their support there will never be stability in Afghanistan and as long they keep that pressure they will get what they want.