Why did Pakistan’s president attend the Nato summit in Chicago? The US had not met any of Pakistan’s conditions for resetting relations after the Salala attack: a formal apology; end to drone strikes; release of blocked military reimbursement.
Instead, it was the US which imposed a ‘condition’ for Pakistan’s participation: prior acceptance that the supply routes to Afghanistan be reopened. Following a hasty meeting, the cabinet announced that the decision to reopen the supply route had been taken and the president would attend the summit.
A surprise awaited at the summit. President Obama refused to meet the Pakistan president ‘one-to-one’ unless Pakistan agreed to the immediate release of all the ‘held up’ cargo at Karachi port. To his credit, President Zardari did not yield to this crass conditionality. This public insult was inflicted not only on the person of the president but the entire Pakistani nation. …
The belief that Pakistan’s geostrategic location makes it an indispensable entity in the geopolitical matrix of the major world powers has fostered the core of Islamabad’s national security strategy from the time it was conceived, and continues to date, used indiscriminately to attain the whims of whoever has been on the gaddi. The philosophy is based on an expectation to harness the exceptional clout of a foreign power to help overcome its limitations to cut its bete-noir, India, down to size, by military intervention.
Consequently it allied itself with the Western Bloc against the Warsaw Pact in the conviction that this alliance would be mutual, thereby giving rise to the belief that allies would intervene on Islamabad’s behalf when it engineered a conflict with India. Only to discover that this form of “strategic alliance” was a ‘one way street’ that precluded actual military intervention.
Islamabad then got on to the Chinese bandwagon in the belief that Beijing, that had a major territorial dispute with India, could be induced to effectively intervene on Islamabad’s behalf in a military conflict. This proved to be a non-starter in 1971 when the latter facilitated the breakaway of Bangladesh.
Thereafter, Islamabad tried to reset this core strategic philosophy by joining the US led intervention against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-89, while maintaining its strategic alliance with China.
During this period the Afghan Mujahedeen, which comprised of indigenous and foreign elements, received official and unofficial military and financial support from the US and its allies. Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan gave rise to the concept to acquire strategic depth on its Western borders, ostensibly to strengthen its hand vis-à-vis India on its Eastern flank.
The Soviet Union threw in the towel and withdrew from Afghanistan in February 1989. The US also abandoned the region without having stabilized the war zone in Afghanistan and its logistic bases to the South from where the war had projected. Pakistan continued to consolidate its position in Afghanistan in alliance with the Taliban Mujahedeen and its foreign surrogates.
This led to the Talibanisation of Afghanistan that in turn brought about the US war on terror to eliminate Al Qaeda and the Taliban! That has culminated in the current Pak US imbroglio that Ambassador MunirAkram laments and is labeled as “America and Pakistan do their dance of death” by the Independent Newspaper in the UK.
The core of Islamabad’s “strategy of intervention” has proved to be flawed and the root of the grief heaped on Pakistan for six decades. Yet the learned Ambassador fails to see the light and makes a laughable ploy for a global intervention – “To avoid such a miscalculation, Pakistan’s new nuclear deterrence doctrine, aimed to deter aggression from not only India but also from other sources, needs to be clearly and publicly spelt out. The apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between two (albeit unequal) nuclear powers should be addressed urgently by the international community.” The strategic elite in Pakistan is so obviously carried away by its belief in its omnipotence – one it believes the right to outrageous demands.