Mohammad Jamil
Before discussing the conspiracies to isolate Pakistan, it is pertinent to mention about the four-day exercise, with 37 countries taking part including the US, Russia and China with the theme ‘Together for peace’. On opening ceremony of naval exercise at Karachi Dockyard, flags of 37 participating countries were hoisted, which is reflective of the trust in Pakistan’s role to fight terrorism and efforts for peace. Yet, anti-Pakistan lobbies are at work; a report compiled by American think tanks has been submitted to the Trump administration advising it to use isolation threat and hardening Washington’s stance towards Pakistan if it does not stop the use of terrorism in Afghanistan and India. In fact, India has been trying hard to isolate Pakistan for the last one year, and now a few American think tanks also appear to have stepped up their efforts in this regard.The report recommends that “future relations with Pakistan must be based on a ‘realistic appraisal’ of our policies, aspirations and worldview.” The report has been co-authored by Lisa Curtis from The Heritage Foundation and Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistan Ambassador to the US. Among its recommendations are a review of whether Pakistan fits the criteria for designation as a state that sponsors terrorism, and a ban in travel to the US of Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials. Signatories to the report include Lisa Curtis of Heritage Foundation, Bruce Riedel of Brookings Institution, Christine Fair of Georgetown University, and Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande of Hudson Institute. They are compulsive Pakistan-haters and would not let any opportunity go to denigrate Pakistan. Anyhow, Indo-US efforts to isolate Pakistan have failed, and Pakistan is far from isolated. In other words, it is not isolated at all.It enjoys a very close strategic relationship with its neighbor China — the emerging superpower. Relations with Iran were excellent during Shah of Iran’s era; however after the revolution in Iran, the relations remained somewhat strained but not hostile. Of course, Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, the GCC countries and Turkey remain friendly despite some misunderstandings and differences over the nuances over 34-countries Saudi-led coalition. Last month, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif assured the National Assembly that Pakistan under no circumstances would join a military alliance against Iran, contrary to speculations about country’s support for a Saudi-led coalition aimed at curtailing the spread of extremism and terrorism in the region. After his policy statement, speculation should be put to rest. Pakistan is an important member of the international community. It has been contributing to international peace and remains one of the largest contributors to the UN peace keeping missions. Some commentators insist that Pakistan is isolated because its relations with three of its four immediate neighbours are hostile.
Others passed the judgment that Pakistan was isolated because apart from India other three SAARC members were not ready to attend the SAARC summit. But it is not difficult to understand why Bangladesh and Afghanistan join hands with India. Relations between India and Pakistan have never been cordial or normal because of Kashmir dispute. As regards Afghanistan, it was the only country that had voted against Pakistan’s entry into the UN after partition of India. None of the Afghan governments in the past was willing to accept the Durand Line as a permanent border between Pakistan and Afghanistan; not even the Taliban. Yet efforts are made to paint Pakistan, its military and agencies in ignoble shade by American think tanks and sometimes US officials.There is a perception that the ultimate objective of the US is to completely neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program with a view to making Pakistan subservient to India. In these circumstances, Pakistan had no choice but to seek China’s cooperation, which is a sour in rivaling eyes, especially after the announcement of the CPEC. Once, Pakistan was a staunch ally of the US and the West. The threat to Pakistan’s security from India might have been a cogent and genuine reason for joining Baghdad Pact, Cento, Seato and entering into bilateral agreements with the US, but prospects to achieve this objective were obscured with the ‘clause’ that the US and western countries would help Pakistan only in case of Communist aggression. The people of Pakistan, however, understood about the meaninglessness of these pacts when during two wars with India in 1965 and 1971 our allies became ‘non-aligned’. Instead of helping, they stopped not only military but also economic aid to Pakistan.In early 1960s, Pakistan had had even a close brush of being bombed back into Stone Age by an enraged Soviet Union after its military downed an American U-2 reconnaissance plane flying on its Central Asian republics. American military aircraft had taken off from Badaber, an American base near Peshawar lent out by our hierarchs, which American military had been using clandestinely to eavesdrop on Soviet satellite launching and missile-testing activities. Badaber was a no go area even for president of Pakistan. After shooting down the plane, the Soviets encircled Peshawar in bold red and threatened of severe consequences. And what we got in return from American lords for imperiling our security so perilously for their sake -a snap embargo on all US military supplies, including spare parts for our military the moment Indo-Pak war broke out in 1965. In 1980, General Ziaul Haq exploiting the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and to curry favour with the western countries wished to foster the same relationship with them that had existed from 1950s to beginning 1970s. Pakistan was a frontline state in, what was said, jihad against former Soviet Russia. After Soviet forces’ withdrawal and demise of the Soviet Union, the US left the region in a lurch. After 9/11, Pakistan was coerced into joining the war on terror and suffered a colossal loss in men and treasure. Yet Pakistan is accused of providing safe havens to the militants especially Haqqani group. The question is why the Taliban or Haqqani fighters would need safe haven in Pakistan when they have control over large swathes of land in Afghanistan. Having all said, Indo-US nexus has failed to isolate Pakistan.

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