Unresolved Kashmir dispute is breeding terrorism in region

The US has all along treated Pakistan as an enemy and not an ally. Whatever gestures of friendship were fake and only meant to serve its regional interests at the cost of Pakistan. Its real strategic ally is India and not Pakistan. While it went out of the way to make India shining, which has not shed a drop of blood in war on terror, Pakistan was handed over a paltry amount of $10.5 billion and that too has pinched US leaders hugely despite knowing that Pakistan lost over $35 billion in this futile war, lost nearly 2000 soldiers and officers and injury to thousands, nearly 12000 civilians got killed in the firefight, lacs of people got displaced, half of Pakistan is engulfed in insurgency and whole country has got deeply traumatized and socially affected. Drones alone have killed over 1400 innocent civilians.

Instead of feeling grateful for the huge sacrifices made by Pakistan by putting its security at stake to fight US dictated war on terror, it has persistently been penalized in one way or the other. Rather than working in close cooperation with the army and ISI of the frontline state whose performance has been much better and contributions much larger than any other coalition partner, these two premier institutions are being looked at with suspicions and maligned.

To add insult to injury, CIA works in close cooperation with RAW which is the chief rival of Pakistan and that too to destabilize and denuclearize Pakistan and balkanize it. Tens of stories of state controlled think tanks in USA as well as of official circles have purposely been published about its balkanization or dismemberment. We have ample proofs that CIA in collaboration with RAW has been actively involved in destabilizing Balochistan in order to sabotage commissioning of Gwadar Port as well as Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. It is keen to establish its own energy corridor from Central Asia to Arabian Sea through Afghanistan and Balochistan to ship oil and gas and other mineral resources to western markets and USA. Gas and mineral resources in Balochistan are also of interest to insatiable USA.

CIA has also lent full support to RAW and RAM in carrying out sabotage and subversion activities in seven tribal agencies of FATA, Swat, Shangla and other settled areas of NWFP as well as northern areas. RAW is also actively operating in southern Punjab to agitate Saraiki movement. The US military stationed in Afghanistan has deliberately kept the porous Pak-Afghan border open to allow cross border terrorism into Pakistan. All our efforts to fence or mine the border in response to alleged charges of cross border terrorism from our side, or to increase the number of check posts on their side of the border were brushed aside. The US helped India in establishing substantive influence in Afghanistan in all the departments and it now intends to make India the key country in Af-Pak policy.

Both India and USA are trying hard to isolate Pakistan. India is playing a role to improve Afghan-Iran relations and to remove Iran-US differences in its bid to isolate Pakistan. It helped Iran in development of Chahbahar Port and has also built a road to link Afghanistan with Chahbahar to reduce importance of Gwadar Port. At the same time, USA is helping India to obtain trade transit rights to Afghanistan through Pakistan via Wagah border. The ten-month 2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan as well as last winter Indian troop deployment along our eastern border were undertaken at the behest of USA to exert pressure on Pakistan. It coerces Pakistan whenever US feels that its leaders are not complying with its dictates. Under the constant din of ‘do more’, Pakistan has systematically been weakened from within. Having delivered fatal blows to the foundations of Pakistan, US leaders still have the brashness to call themselves as friends and well wishers of Pakistan.

Pakistan has also been subjected to malicious vilification campaign. The duo backed by UK asserted that Pakistan had become the epicentre of terrorism and the main base of Al-Qaeda and a grave threat to US homeland, western world and India. It was alleged that Pakistan was a failing and a terrorist state and would soon collapse or would be taken over by the extremists. Talibanisation is portrayed as an existential threat to Pakistan. A situation is being created for UN intervention to takeover nuclear weapons into UN custody or made part of US arsenal before they got hijacked by the Taliban.

If USA was sincere in winning the war on terror in short timeframe as had been declared by George W. Bush before invading Afghanistan, it should have focused entirely on Afghanistan and not opened a second front. It should not have pushed the whole lot of Al-Qaeda leaders and activists as well as Jihadis from other countries into Pakistan. Instead, it should have taken appropriate measures in line with its policy of pre-emption. It rather felt relieved to have got rid of the trouble makers and felt happy that the centre of gravity of terrorism shifted to Pakistan. It still would not have bothered had the crossed over militants not started to hit back at US-Nato troops. It then started to push Pakistan to wash its dirty linen.

Once FATA got inflamed because of the presence of hundreds of foreigners, the US refused to provide much needed counter terrorism equipment to fight low intensity guerrilla warfare. Rather, it encouraged India and its agencies CIA and FBI to strengthen the militants in FATA, Swat and Balochistan. It encouraged Hamid Karzai to raise allegations of cross border terrorism. Pakistan’s repeated requests to fence the Pak-Afghan border and mine selected areas and to increase number of check posts from 150 to at least 850 to increase its surveillance capability as in the case of Pakistan were turned down. These measures if adopted could have minimized chances of undetected infiltration from both sides. However, the hidden design was to stop anti-American militants from crossing into Afghanistan and to infiltrate anti-Pakistan agents into Pakistan for sabotage and subversion.

The US has taken a firm stand that the root to terrorism in the region rested in Pakistan. It is shy of saying that the root to Indo-Pak antagonism is the unresolved Kashmir dispute which has bred instability and terrorism in the region. It is so mindful about Indian concerns that Kashmir was excluded from the regional agenda assigned to Holbrooke. Both Holbrooke and Gen James Jones have stepped out of the task force founded by US based Asia Society to find a lasting solution to Kashmir dispute and de-escalate tensions between nuclear arch rivals. It is now a known fact that Kashmir cauldron stokes militancy and instability in the region and is a nuclear flash point. Unless this issue is resolved there is no possibility of a healthy change occurring among the two neighbors.

Without amicable resolution of long outstanding dispute the US can never succeed in bringing a change in perceptions of Pakistanis that the existential threat to Pakistan is from the militants and not from India, which is a time-tested arch enemy of Pakistan and is still feverishly trying to destabilize Pakistan.

Unsolved Kashmir and Palestinian disputes are two active volcanoes which are fuelling terrorism but USA is least bothered to defuse them. Instead it is helping India and Israel to further stoke the volcanoes which are a real threat to world security. While ignoring the root causes the US is myopically consuming its entire energy on peripheral areas. India and Israel are quite happy to keep USA embroiled in war on terror against Muslims since it suits their future ambitions.

By Asif Haroon Raja is Rawalpindi based defence and political analyst.    http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/17435 Tue, 2009-05-12 By Asif Haroon Raja