NATION FEELING BETRAYED BY US, WILL NOT SEEK REDEMPTION OF AID: PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEF

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that entire Pakistan is feeling betrayed over recent statements from the US questioning Pakistan’s credibility and commitment in the war against terror and the unanimous national response denouncing the US stand was a reflection of that.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Armed Forces media wing, General Bajwa conveyed the prevailing sentiment in Pakistan to General Joseph L Votel, Commander, US Central Command (CENTCOM) during a phone call last week. CENTCOM’s area of responsibility includes 20 nations, from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia including Afghanistan and Iraq.

General Bajwa said Pakistan will not seek resumption of US aid and will continue with counter terrorism efforts on its own but his country did expect an honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism.

General Bajwa also reiterated the routine Pakistani allegation that US was making it a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor @OfficialDGISPR
Comd USCENTCOM & a US Senator telephoned COAS to discuss security coop post POTUS tweet. “Entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed on trivialising our decade old cooperation. We won’t ask for restoration of financial assistance but honourable recognition of our contributions”, COAS.
4:16 PM – 12 Jan 2018

After US President Donald Trump’s declaration of no more US aid to Pakistan and the subsequent follow up steps and statements from the US Administration calling Pakistan a liar, a deceitful country that employs terror as state policy, there has been a rush of reactions from the Pakistani leadership, both military and civilian.

They say they don’t need US aid and in fact, have spent multiple times of the US aid in the ongoing war against terrorism. They have started alleging that the US has been an ally who has always betrayed. The Pakistani leadership also sees an Indian hand in all this and warns the US from giving India a prominent role in Afghanistan. Pakistan has also suspended intelligence and military cooperation with the US.

The US, on the contrary, feels betrayed by Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery.

On many occasions, Donald Trump and his government’s senior ministers and officials have spoken openly against Pakistan that how it backstabs the US by harbouring the terror groups that harm US and other coalition forces in Afghanistan. The US has also described Pakistan a safe haven for terrorists in its official records including the Country Report on Terrorism and the Narendra Modi – Donald Trump Joint Statement last year.

Apart from economic and military aid, the US also reimburses Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund for its expenditure incurred on action against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. But of late, it has started withholding the Fund, alleging that Pakistan has not taken any concrete action against these terror groups.

The US frustration was summed up in the New Year Day tweet by Trump where he slammed Pakistan for giving safe haven to terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving more than $33 Billion in US aid over the last 15 years. He then declared that Pakistan would not receive any more US aid.

Following Trump’s tweet, US has withheld $255 Million military financial package to Pakistan for fiscal year 2016 and $900 Million Coalition Support Fund for 2017, the White House has formally asked the country to do more against terror and a US senator is bringing bill to stop all aid to Pakistan and move has been endorsed by Trump.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN CHANTS DEATH TO AMERICA, WILL INTRODUCE BILL TO STOP US AID: SENATOR RAND PAUL

The article originally appeared on India Today on 5 January.

A Republican US Senator has said that he would soon introduce a bill to end US aid to Pakistan.

Rand Paul who represents Kentucky in the US Senate posted a video on Twitter and YouTube in which he said Pakistan had always back-stabbed the United States and should not receive even a penny of US taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

He says the US should not give even one penny to countries like Pakistan, that burn the American flag and chant death to America.

He asserts that countries like Pakistan that stonewall access to information in fighting terrorism don’t deserve American money and goes on to appeal, “I say we should stop now sending the hard-earned tax dollars to Pakistan. We have sent Pakistan over $33 Billion since 2002. What did we get for it?”

Highlighting Pakistan’s double-dealings and treachery, he further says, “Pakistan didn’t help us even in finding Osama bin Laden even though he was living in one of their cities for years. Then they jailed the informant who helped us get bin Laden. They have allowed suspected terrorist to operate from their country. Some say Pakistani intelligence agents actually aid and abate terrorists. It is wrong.”

Citing US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day announcement a breakthrough, that enough was enough and no more aid to Pakistan as the country had only lied and deceived America in the name of helping in the war on terror in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years, Rand says he is going to introduce a bill in coming days to end aid to Pakistan.

“President Trump has publicly called to end their aid, and is currently holding up over $200 million of it. I want to end all of it and I am introducing a bill to do just that in coming days”, he added.

He says his bill intends to take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges back at home.

In another video message posted on YouTube that shows people in Pakistan burning Indian, American and Israeli flags and demonstrating against Donald Trump, Senator Paul asks some tough questions.

He says the continued US gesture makes no sense, “What I find particularly troubling is, US continues to give money to Pakistan over a billion dollar of taxpayers’ money, to a country that imprisons the gentleman, the physician who helped us get Osama bin Laden” and concludes that as Pakistan only understands negotiation from strength so he is proposing a vote on ending aid to the country.

Senator Rand Paul has been fighting to end US aid to countries like Pakistan and in fact came up with a bill to stop US aid to the Palestinian authority in 2015. And the time seems opportune this time as both, Pakistan and Palestine, are on Donald Trump’s radar.

President Trump has threatened to stop US aid to Palestine as well.

After Trump’s New Year Day shocker, his administration has, in fact, increased pressure on Pakistan manifold and the message is clear, shape in or shape out.

First America withheld a scheduled $255 million military financial assistance to Pakistan the same day Trump tweeted his intent. Then White House came with a statement asking Pakistan to do more in the war on terror.

Yesterday it sent Pakistan a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists and demanded action against them by 15 January and shortly before Rand Paul’s video message, in another decisive blow to Pakistan, announced that it was suspending all military, technological and financial assistance to Pakistan till it shows proof that it has taken decisive action against terrorists.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN WILL BECOME ANOTHER NORTH KOREA IF IT DOESN’T STOP NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL: US

The article originally appeared on India Today on 5 January.

US National Security General H R McMaster has said that Pakistan uses terror as state policy and goes after terrorists ‘very selectively’ and if the country tries its nuclear capability as a lever to blackmail others, it would end up as another North Korea.

McMaster, a former US Army General, was speaking on US President Donald Trump’s New Year Day tweet on Pakistan in a Voice of America interview.

He said that the tweet speaks for itself where Trump blamed Pakistan for being a lying and deceitful country in spite of receiving huge US aid and helping those very terrorists the US hunts in the Afghanistan and pledged ‘no more US aid to Pakistan’.

McMaster said Pakistan’s double-dealings have frustrated Donald Trump and America. He said by very selectively going after terror groups, hitting some while choosing others as an arm of its foreign policy, Pakistan has not only betrayed the values America hoped would make for a great partnership, but also its own people.

“What’s frustrating at times is we see Pakistan operating against the interests of its own people by going after these groups only selectively, by providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership that operate out of Pakistan as they perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and in Afghanistan,” he said.

“America has great sympathy for the Pakistani people and in particular, how much they’ve suffered at the hands of terrorists who have victimized so many Pakistanis with mass murders, with that horrible mass murder in a school a few years ago,” McMaster says in the interview and emphasizes that for its own sake, the Pakistani government must go after these groups less selectively.

Putting the Trump tweet in a clear perspective, his NSA says this is not a blame game but an effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that the US relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan, emphasizing that doing so would hugely benefit Pakistan.

PAKISTAN WOULDN’T WANT TO BECOME A PARIAH STATE

McMaster warns if Pakistan doesn’t want to become a pariah state, it will have to stop going after terror groups only selectively, and will have to stop providing safe havens and support bases and other forms of support for leadership.

On asking if any other country may step in to aid Pakistan in case the US pulls out, McMaster says he doesn’t think any country including China would like Pakistan to continue its support for terror groups like the Taliban or the Haqqani Network.

China may be Pakistan’s all-weather friend and has defended Pakistan in the wake of Trump tweet but it has a terrorist problem on its southern border that does have connections back into Pakistan, “It’s not going to be any other country in the region, certainly, who will want Pakistan to continue this, really, pattern of behaviour that we’ve seen, where it goes after these groups only selectively, while it sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy.”

NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL WILL MAKE PAKISTAN ANOTHER NORTH KOREA

On the possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear capability as a leveraging tool, or to extort or blackmail, something that North Korea is doing, McMaster says he doesn’t think so, “It would just be unwise for any Pakistani leader – I can’t imagine a Pakistani leader using nuclear weapons to extort or for blackmail. That’s the day when Pakistan would become North Korea.”

He puts a very vital question before the Pakistani leadership, “Does Pakistan want to become North Korea? Doesn’t look too appealing a model to me. So, I think Pakistan could be on a path to increase security and prosperity, or it could be on a path to replicating North Korea. I think that’s an easy choice for Pakistani leaders.”

©SantoshChaubey

US AND PAKISTAN NO LONGER FRIENDS, SAYS PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has declared US and Pakistan are no longer friends and the bilateral ties need a serious revisit. He, in fact, was so acerbic during an interview that he went on the say that US was a friend who always betrayed and added that in case of any US aggression, “Pakistan would respond in a manner that would reflect the nation’s will.”

“The US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend. It is a friend who always betrays,” Asif said in a television interview. He said Pakistan could survive without the US assistance as it had done during the Pressler Amendment, “They did it in the past as well, which is evident from our history. They have always betrayed us in hard times.” He also advocated a tough resolution by the Pakistani parliament on the issue reflecting the national sentiment.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister doubted US motives in Afghanistan, blaming a nexus between US and India as, according to him, instability in the region suits both, “They, the US and allies, have best and highly equipped forces. How come they could not perform in Afghanistan? Why there is 9000 tons of opium being produced in Afghanistan and why is Daesh present there in as much as nine provinces.”

Asif asserted that his views on the matter should be seen as Pakistan’s official response as “he had no individual worth and he was just a public representative.”

Asif’s blunt remarks contradict the stand taken by the Pakistan Army on US President Donald Trump’s latest accusation that Pakistan has given the US nothing but lies and deceit thinking of US leaders as fools and now is the time to stop the financial aid to Pakistan. He blamed Pakistan for giving safe haven to the terrorists the US hunts in Afghanistan in spite of receiving $33 Billion of US aid in last 15 years.

After Trump’s latest accusation, the US withheld scheduled $255 million military financial assistance to Pakistan. The White House released a statement asking Pakistan to do more in the war on terror and today came up with a list of 27 Haqqani Network terrorists and wants action against them by 15 January.

In Pakistan Army’s first official response yesterday, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, Director-General (DG) of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, though had said that no amount of coercion could dictate Pakistan but had also added that* “as far as Pakistan was concerned, it considered them (the US) as allies” declaring that “the Pakistan-US relationship has had its ups and downs but still, they were friends.”

When asked about reports emerging that the US is not willing to consider Pakistan a friend and ally anymore, he said Pakistan could have chosen the erstwhile USSR as its ally but instead preferred the US and still considers the country as its ally.

He, in fact, termed the US-Pakistan tension an issue of misunderstanding. He said Pakistan had taken action against the Haqqani Network but the US should give some time for its effects to become visible, “effects of these operations cannot be visible immediately. Only time will show how effective these operations were in establishing peace within the region.”

©SantoshChaubey

AUDIT OUR EXPENSES, PAKISTAN MINISTER FIRES BACK AT TRUMP; REPORT SAYS ISLAMABAD PLANNING REVIEW OF TIES

The article originally appeared on India Today.

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Mike Pence Warns Pakistan, Pakistan in Denial, Pakistan Isolated, Pakistan Terror Groups, Safe Haven, Terror Haven, Trump Afghanistan Policy, Trump South Asia Policy, US Pakistan Ties, US Puts Pakistan on Notice, US South Asia Policy

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Donald Trump could hire a US-based audit firm to verify the USD 33 billion figure he cited in a furious tweet on New Year’s Day.

In that post, the US President lamented that the US had “foolishly given” Pakistan that amount of money over a 15-year period. In return, Pakistan had given Washington “nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” he added.

“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he said. The news agency PTI later quoted a White House official as saying the US, “does does not plan to spend the USD 255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time.”

In response to Trump’s tweet, Khawaja Asif suggested that an audit would “let the world know who is lying and deceiving.”

REVISION OF TIES

Meanwhile, the Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported today – citing sources – that Islamabad “will completely revise its relations policy” with the US, if “if the US reduces or suspends aid to Pakistan or places any sanctions.”

The newspaper also quoted sources as saying Pakistan “has…decided to reduce dependency on the US in different fields and look for alternatives.”

“It will also speed up the process of implementing its strategy for increasing diplomatic, trade and other relations with China, Russia and other countries,” the Tribune said.

EMERGENCY MEETING

Today, Pakistan held an emergency meeting of its National Security Council, in a desperate bid to find a way to respond to Trump’s accusations.

The meeting was chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and was attended by the Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, navy and air-force chiefs and other high-ranking civil and military officers. Pakistan has also called a Federal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Its Parliamentary Committee on National Security will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.

“The meeting discussed the way forward in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recent anti Pakistan remarks,” is all that a three-line Radio Pakistan brief said after the meeting.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN QUESTIONS RATIONALE BEHIND TRUMP’S LATEST ACCUSATIONS BUT DESISTS FROM ISSUING AN OFFICIAL RESPONSE

Pakistan today held the emergency meeting of its National Security Council in a desperate bid to find a way to respond to the latest accusations levelled against it by US President Donald Trump but no details of the meeting have been made public so far. “The meeting discussed the way forward in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s recent anti Pakistan remarks,” is all that a three-line Radio Pakistan brief said after the meeting.

But Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, did indicated what transpired in the meeting when he questioned the the rationale behind Trump’s latest accusations. In a tweet, after the meeting, he questioned the figure of $33billion quoted by Trump and asserted that “he can hire a US based Audit firm on Pakistan’s expense to verify the figure and let the world know who is lying and who is deceiving.”

The meeting was called after the most direct and hard hitting warning by Trump yesterday that Pakistan had given the US nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of US leaders as fools in spite of the US giving Pakistan more than $33 Billion in aid over the last 15 years.

Trump, in his first tweet of 2018, termed the US aid to Pakistan by his predecessors foolish as Pakistan gives safe haven to the terrorists the US has been hunting in Afghanistan and declared that there would be no help to Pakistan. No more! In what is being seen as a follow up of Trump’s tweet to tell Pakistan that the US is going to walk the talk this time, it soon suspended a part of its military assistance to Pakistan, $255 Million for FY2016, linking it with how Pakistan is going to behave in future.

The meeting was chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and was attended by the Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, its navy and air-force chiefs and other high-ranking civil and military officers. Pakistan has also called its Federal Cabinet meeting on Wednesday while its Parliamentary Committee on National Security will meet on Friday to discuss the matter.

The all-important NSC meeting, seeking a desperate way to respond to the latest Trump warning saw the Pak envoy in the US, Aizaz Chaudhry, being summoned. The meeting had inputs of Pakistan army to shape its response. Shortly before the NSC meeting, Pakistan army held its Corps Commanders’ conference and prepared its list of suggestions on Pakistan’s official response, Dawn News* reported.

INITIAL RESPONSE BY PAKISTAN

The initial response by Pakistan yesterday was to downplay the Trump tweet. Its Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while reacting on Trump’s charges, said it held no importance, “We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance.” He said Pakistan was “ready to give all account for every single penny to America in public”. The country’s Defence Minister exhorted that Pakistan was capable of defending its motherland. Pakistan even summonsed the US envoy in Pakistan, David Hale, to lodge its protest on Trump’s tweet.

TRUMP’S LATEST IS NOT UNEXPECTED

Trump’s tough talk came a week after the US Vice-president Mike Pence had warned that the US President had put Pakistan on notice for its dubious role in the war against terror. While on a surprise visit to Afghanistan on 22 December, Pence had bluntly warned that “for too long Pakistan had provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations but those days were over as President Trump had put Pakistan on notice.”

Before that, while unveiling his first National Security Strategy on 18 December, Trump had given Pakistan some tough dressing-down reminding Pakistan that it owed to the US, “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”

PAKISTAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

Pakistan’s National Security Council is the country’s most powerful policy group on national security and foreign policy matters. The country’s president is its chairman and its members include the country’s prime minister, other senior ministers, three services chiefs, leader of the opposition, chairman of Pakistan’s senate, speaker of Pakistan’s national assembly, provincial chief ministers and other senior officials like the intelligence chiefs and the national security advisor. It is said that the NSC was created with the sole intention to formalize the Pakistani military policymaking role.

Earlier, on August 25, Pakistan had to convene an emergency meeting of its NSC after Donald Trump unveiled his Afghanistan centric South Asia policy which called Pakistan a terror haven and a treacherous nation involved in double-dealings. The revamped US policy in Afghanistan has major role for India in the country, something that has unnerved Pakistan.

Then the Pak NSC had outrightly rejected the US policy and the claims made in it, like it has done today, repeating the routine Pakistani bluster that the US is making Pakistan a scapegoat to hide its own failures in Afghanistan.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN HITS BACK AFTER HARSHEST US WARNING, DRAGS INDIA IN ITS RETORT

The article originally appeared on India Today on 22 December.

Pakistan has hit back after the harshest warning from the US on terror havens in the country. Its Foreign Office has released a statement objecting to the language used by US Vice-President Mike Pence that President Donald Trump has put Pakistan on notice on terror havens including Taliban and Haqqani network.

The statement released by the spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign said the comments made by Pence were “at variance with the extensive conversations Pakistan has had with the US administration” on the issue.

Earlier in the day, US Vice-President Pence, while making a surprise visit to the Bagram Airfield, the largest US military base in Afghanistan, had bluntly warned Pakistan that it could no longer escape the writing on the wall that either act on terror havens on your land or face the wrath of Donald Trump, “For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over as President Trump has put Pakistan on notice.”

Reacting on Pence’s remarks, the statement from Pakistan further said that “allies do not put each other on notice” adding that “on notice should be those factors responsible for exponential increase in drug production, expansion of ungoverned spaces, industrial scale corruption, breakdown of governance and letting Daesh (ISIS) gain a foothold in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan is also peeved at US putting India in a pivotal position in its new Afghanistan strategy that Donald Trump revealed in August.

Pakistan has time and again ranted about that it cannot accept an increased Indian role in Afghanistan and today’s remarks by Pence again gave it a chance to vent out its frustration on that front.

While terming Pence’s warning worrisome, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua urged “the US to treat both Pakistan and India on an equal footing.” Reiterating the usual Pakistani stand that it has destroyed all terror havens from its soil, the foreign secretary called US statements on the issue ‘one-sided’.

Relations between Pakistan and the US are going through a rough patch these days with US putting its ally in war against terror on tight notice to crack down on terror network on its soil including the Haqqani network that harm US interests in Afghanistan.

To counter the US pressure, Pakistan has resorted to lame rhetoric that it has no terror havens, that it doesn’t need US financial aid, that it will not tolerate Indian footprint in Afghanistan and that the US, in frustration on its own failures in Afghanistan, is trying to sift blame to Pakistan.

The anger and disappointment on Pakistan’s attitude has gone on to the extent that the US has stopped the part of its economic assistance to the country to take action against the Haqqani Network and has even threatened to end its US ally status. In spite of Pakistan’s claims and reassurances, the Trump administration has refused to budge from its stand on Pakistan that the country is a terror haven and is involved in double-dealings and treachery on terror emanating from its soil that carry out regular attack on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

©SantoshChaubey

US IS BLAMING PAKISTAN TO COVER ITS OWN FAILURES IN AFGHANISTAN: PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER

The article originally appeared on India Today. 

The United States policy in Afghanistan is framed by defeated US generals and can never succeed with the baggage of defeat it carries, Pakistan has said blaming the US for singling out Pakistan to cover its own failures in the war ravaged south Asian nation.

“The US generals who faced defeat in Afghanistan in the last 15 years have formed the structure for the policy for this region,” remarked Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif* while speaking on the floor of the country’s senate today, adding that “no objective policy can be formed when it is baggage of defeat” and is bound to fail, a Geo News report said.

The report further quoted Asif saying “when the US holds Pakistan responsible, it, in fact, tries to brush its own defeat under the carpet.” Asif also informed the senate of Pakistan that he told this to the US in unequivocal terms, both during his visit to the US in September and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Pakistan visit on October 24, first by a senior US government official after US President Donald Trump unveiled his Afghanistan centric South Asia policy on August 21 where he blamed Pakistan for being a safe terror haven and harbouring terrorists who hurt US interests in Afghanistan, especially the Haqqani Network.

During his visit, Tillerson had reminded Pakistan that it needed to eradicate militants and terrorists operating from its soil, something which had seen strong reactions from Khawaja Asif and the Pakistani parliament.

Blaming the US and other international forces fighting in Afghanistan of being inept, Asif then had hit back saying it was indeed the central reason behind the prolonged Afghanistan crisis. He had further added that the “terrorist attacks were not planned on or executed from Pakistani soil and there were no terrorist safe havens in the country,” be it the Haqqani Network or others while its senate chairman had called Tillerson’s remarks unacceptable, “Tillerson’s statement seems like that of a viceroy’s before they visit a country.”

Pakistan has also dismissed the US threats of curtailing economic and military aid. “Pakistan only receives “a trickle” of economic assistance from the US and does not get any military hardware from them and Pakistanis are not like in the past when they were American’s proxy,” Asif recently said in an interview, even if the facts say otherwise. According to a USAID report, the US aid to Pakistan till 2012 stood at $60 Billion. Also, in the last five years alone, since 2011, Pakistan has received some $15 Billion in aid from America, including military and financial assistance.

After US President Donald Trump called Pakistan a treacherous nation and a safe haven for terrorists, engaged in double-dealings, harbouring and protecting the very same terrorists who attack the US interests in Afghanistan, while unveiling his South Asia policy, the US has increasingly been putting more pressure on Pakistan to honour its commitment.

Last month, when Pakistan was patting its back for its so-called brilliant rescue operation to liberate a US-Canadian family who was in Haqqanis’ captivity for five years, the terse response from Trump was, “the Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region.”

The US has taken measures including cutting military aid to Pakistan and is going to curtail its role in Afghanistan while at the same time is looking for a strategic partnership with India in Afghanistan’s reconstruction process, a cornerstone of Trump’s new Afghanistan policy, even if Pakistan sees an increased Indian presence in Afghanistan inimical to its interests.

©SantoshChaubey

PAKISTAN ARMY’S NO TO ITS FOREIGN MINISTER’S OFFER TO US FOR JOINT OPERATION AGAINST HAQQANIS

The Pakistan army has said no to the joint operation offer given by its foreign minister Khawaja Asif to the United States of America against the Haqqani Network.

Recently, while speaking in a TV interview, Khawaja Asif had said “his government had offered American authorities to visit Pakistan with evidence of Haqqani network’s safe havens in the country and if found, the Pakistani troops along with the US would destroy them once and for all.”

Asif Ghafoor, director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and Pakistan army’s spokesperson said “Pakistan’s soil will not be used for joint operations”. Ghafoor said there was no concept of joint operations on the soil of Pakistan while speaking on a TV programme on the rescue of five foreigners, a Canadian, his American wife and their three children, from Pakistan’s border areas along Afghanistan.

Khawaja Asif’s offer to US for a joint operation against the Haqqani network also drew criticism from political quarters. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, former interior minister of Pakistan lashed out at Asif saying “sovereign nations never allow other countries to conduct operations inside their territory.”

Khawaja Asif was also widely criticised last month when he accepted presence of terror groups in Pakistan while he was in the US for the United Nations General Assembly. He called Haqqanis, Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and other terror outfits liabilities and pressed that his country needed to put its house in order. Reacting on Asif remarks, cricketer turned politician Imran Khan said Pakistan didn’t need enemies when it had such a foreign minister.

CIVILIAN VS MILITARY

Asif Ghafoor’s comments are also emblematic of the rift between Pakistan’s civilian government and its powerful military that has ruled for most of its independent history since 1947.

By flatly rejecting a proposal of its civilian government, the army again sent out the message that who was the real boss in Pakistan even if it meant Pakistan’s desperate efforts to mend ties with the US, its historical ally and one of the largest aid donors. The US has been blaming Pakistan for double-dealings and harbouring terrorists including the Haqqanis who regularly attack US interests in Afghanistan and has warned that it may soon end Pakistan’s US ally status.

Growing US criticism has forced Pakistan’s civilian government to look for ways to placate the only super power of the world but the Pakistan army, with its narrow China centric vision, fails to see the point. Last month, when Pakistani foreign minister was talking of putting a new foreign policy in place after a meeting of Pakistan’s foreign envoys, its army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa was singing a different tune with his assertion that “if Pakistan had not done enough in the war against terror, then no country in the world had done anything.”

THE SURGICAL STRIKE CHAOS

The surgical strike carried out by India last year in September inside Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir to avenge the Uri terror attack by Pakistan based terrorists that killed our 19 soldiers, most of them sleeping, is a classic example to see this civilian-military rift in Pakistan.

After the Surgical Strikes, first reactions came from Pakistan’s civilian establishment. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had to resigns recently due to corruption charges against him, said it was an act of ‘naked aggression’ by the Indian Army. Khawaja Asif, who was Pakistan’s defence minister then, initially said yes there were such incidents over the night but if India did so again, we would give a strong reply. So they accepted the Surgical Strikes.

But after its all powerful military issued a denial, dismissing the very existence of the Surgical Strikes, in a desperate bid to save its face, Pakistan’s civilian establishment had no other option but to toe the line. And soon the whole Pakistan, including its media, started speaking in the language of its army – and the line was – no surgical strike took place and it was a mere Line of Control (LoC) aggression. But the episode caused Pakistan a great deal of embarrassment.

©SantoshChaubey

TWO DENIALS THAT TELL WHO IS THE REAL BOSS IN PAKISTAN

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified.

When India released a video footage of its counter-terrorism operations destroying a Pakistani post in the Naushera sector on May 9, the first reaction that came from Pakistan was from its military establishment. Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, dismissed the Indian claims. The Pak Army spokesperson also flatly denied the reports of Pakistani posts targeting villages along the Line of Control (LoC) and killing innocent civilians. Whereas the truth is, in May alone, Pak firing has killed three civilians and injured nine others in just the Naushera Sector and over a thousand villagers have forced to migrate to safer places.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor‏Verified account
@OfficialDGISPR
PR275/17
Indian claims of destroying Pakistani post along LOC in Naushera Sec and firing by Pak Army on civilians across LOC are false.
4:33 PM – 23 May 2017
https://twitter.com/OfficialDGISPR/status/866972917078392833

So far, it is the only reaction from Pakistan on what is being seen as the next major counter-terror offensive by India against Pakistan after the Surgical Strikes last year. No one from its civilian establishment has spoken on it yet. It is in contrast to the Surgical Strikes that India carried out in September last year,

After the Surgical Strikes, first reactions came from Pakistan’s civilian establishment. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif said it was an act of ‘naked aggression’ by the Indian Army. Its defence minister Khawaja Asif initially said yes there were such incidents over the night but if India did so again, we would give a strong reply. So they accepted the Surgical Strikes.

But after its all powerful military issued a denial, dismissing the very existence of the Surgical Strikes, in a desperate bid to save its face, Pakistan’s civilian establishment had no other option but to toe the line. And soon the whole Pakistan, including its media, started speaking in the language of its army – and the line was – no surgical strike took place and it was a mere Line of Control (LoC) aggression.

But this dichotomy had caused Pakistan a great deal of embarrassment. So, probably, learning from the past, its Army would have ordered Pakistan’s civilian establishment to shut its mouth and let it handle the moment of crisis. And in its books, the best way to handle such a crisis is denial, as we saw after the Surgical Strikes.

These two denials once again reiterate who is the real boss in Pakistan, it’s all powerful military. The Pak Army has ruled the nation either directly through its generals or by dictating terms to its civilian governments, something that a BBC article described as “military rule by stealth”. Pakistan’s political establishment could never stand on its own. Military effectively entrenched itself into every aspect of Pakistan’s socio-political milieu – killing democracy in the process.

©SantoshChaubey