Pakistan’s Role in Serving the US
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Political Observation - Pakistan’s Role in Serving the US
The government of Imran Khan has been locked in a fierce struggle since the start of the year with the opposition parties led by Shahbaz Sharif (Pakistan Muslim League) and the son of Benazir Bhutto and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Imran Khan accuses the opposition of conspiring with foreign powers against the sovereignty of Pakistan, while the opposition rejoinders by exploiting the deteriorating economic situation, inflation, increasing foreign debt and the inability of Imran Khan’s government to carry out the reforms, as well as his maladministration of the procedure of appointing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director-General to replace Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, thus exposing an issue which is usually handled behind closed doors, and contributing to the departure of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) and twenty members of Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to the opposition, which allowed the latter to gain the 172 votes needed to pass the no-confidence motion and place the government of Imran Khan on the brink of collapse.
It is worth mentioning here that several officials in the Biden administration and the Department of State had informed Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington several times verbally, and at least once in writing, that they were very concerned about the deterioration of bilateral relations between the US and Pakistan, especially in respect of the main foreign policy conducted by the Khan administration. The US officials also warned of the consequences Pakistan could face if she did not adhere to the American outline in these issues and adapt to the situation; meanwhile, US diplomats intensified their meetings with leaders of the Pakistani opposition.
In this context, we ought to know that it is the US who manipulates the Pakistani political forces and army and controls them like puppets, exactly like the rest of the collaborators in the Muslims’ lands, especially the leaders of Egypt and the Gulf States. This is deduced fromPakistan’s policies in reality and directly from a statement by the Deputy Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who said “all parties in Pakistan have to get approval of US government.” It is also imperative to perceive that America allows her agents to compete for serving her interests without the need to intervene at times, while she may on other occasions back one team at the expense of another in accordance with her interests, especially in the presence of an alternative enjoying popular support, if the regime faced collapse, if the ruler strayed from the path or if she wanted to weaken the state and fragment it on regionalist and sectarian grounds.
In the case of Pakistan, the US is attempting to test the toughness of Khan’s government in the face of the storms it has been facing since the tenure of Donald Trump who never offered any economic incentives to help Imran Khan fulfil his electoral pledges. America is endeavouring to produce a government capable of securing her interests irrespective of the ruling party, especially in foreign issues representing the cornerstone of Pakistan’s functional role since she was adopted as a base for America’s conspiring against the Soviet Union and a launching pad to hijack India from the British. In the wake of the Second World War, America paid special attention to South Asia (India and Pakistan) based on the Truman Doctrine which Harry Truman announced to the US Congress on 12 March 1947 by saying “I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” This was expounded in the American National Security Council position paper no. 48/1 (December 1949), which stated that ‘Should India and Pakistan fall to communism, the United States and its friends might find themselves denied any foothold on the Asian mainland,’ and it was also corroborated by Allen Dulles in 1953 who said that Pakistan was a reliable fortress against communism, if religion and Muslim human resources were harnessed in competing against the Soviet Union; he added that such qualities would make America “need them in the alliance”. This culminated in America signing a joint defence agreement with Pakistan and offering her membership of Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). Hence, Pakistan became totally affiliated to America who exploited her in her political agendas such as supporting Jamal Abdul Nasser in nationalising the Suez Canal, backing Ahmed Ben Bella in the Algerian war of “independence” by offering him a Pakistani passport, offering US spy planes a host of bases to fly over Chinese and Soviet lands, offering the American Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) an office at the Pakistani army’s general command, and offering logistical assistance to rebels in Tibet which China had occupied and ignited a war against India in 1962. This resulted in India throwing herself into the embrace of America; and this was the opportunity America had been yearning for since the partition since India was the main target of the US due to her significance in the international struggle and in dominating Asia. President Kennedy announced in 1959 that the crisis was a struggle for leadership in Asia.
75 years since the Pakistani state came into being, Pakistan’s relationship with the Western world and her affiliation to the Middle and Far East region has been dominated by two issues, which nurtured her role in executing US policy, namely the communist expansion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan (1947-1985) and then the War on Terror since 2001. Pakistan, through successive governments, chose to market herself to the West to undertake the role played by Turkey and Greece against communist expansion. Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah said “we hope America will pour money and weapons into Pakistan.” Moreover, it rallied behind the US to execute the Truman and the Eisenhower Doctrines. This was corroborated in 1952 by Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, Ali Bogra, who said the US should not consider Pakistan a neutral state in Asia as her main sympathy was with the West.
This approach was pursued by the government of Ayyub Khan, who confronted the influence of the communist party in Afghanistan in 1973, and the government of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq following the intervention of the Soviet Union in 1979. Then Pervez Musharraf linked Pakistan to the War on Terror and in turn received $18 billion between 2002 and 2011.Pakistan’s domestic political situation was dominated by the centrality of the military institution in running political life and giving priority to the American security, economic and political interests to the detriment of “national” interests. This trend has been conspicuous since the coup of Ghulam Mohammed against the government of Khwaja Nazimuddin in 1953, then the coup of Ayyub Khan, who had a direct relationship with CIA Director Allen Dulles, against the government of Fairuz Khan in 1958, and then the coup of Pervez Musharraf against the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999. Washington’s knowledge and approval of Pakistan’s military coups was deduced from the reality of the military authorities’ relationship with the CIA and the US embassy, especially their direct contacts with the political officer at the embassy, and the contacts of Ayyub Khan with the CIA and the State Department to persuade them to “rely on Pakistan in preserving the free world”. This was before his military coup against the government of Fairuz Khan in 1958.
Today, and following the American withdrawal from Afghanistan for which Imran Khan paved the way immediately after his election by releasing Mullah Baradar, the chief negotiator in Doha, Pakistan faces a catalogue of challenges reflected in the regional alliances, political movements and the wretched economic situation. The US is harnessing the current economic slump to pave the way for the Pakistani government to execute the legislative, fiscal and tax reforms to attract US investments and incentivise Pakistan to work with the IMF, implement its recommendations and borrow from world markets, which have been urging Pakistan to implement fiscal, economic, and legislative reforms, especially following the decrease of US and Saudi aid and the financial revenues from Iran due to the US sanctions. All this is designed to deepen Pakistan’s affiliation to the US and rehabilitate her for the role America wants her to assume vis-à-vis China. This has been preluded through Imran Khan’s alliance with Turkey and Malaysia, and through America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan which resulted in planting a hotbed of tension and instability to threaten neighbouring countries and Russia’s southern flank, orchestrate the relationships of the countries of the region and control the agenda of negotiations with the Taliban via the troika that includes Russia, China, Pakistan and the US.
Hence, America is striving to redirect Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s role in light of the challenges posed by China and Russia, especially as Pakistan played a focal role in conducting the Soviet-Afghan struggle, in addition to her strategic position in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and the energy supply routes stretching from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. Imran Khan was harnessed by the US in covering up the centrality of the army with an acceptable political façade to vent the masses’ anger and regulate Pakistan’s political life according to the American agendas. He also served America in terrifying bin Salman by withdrawing from the alliance against Yemen, and he was harnessed in the attempts to transfer the Islamic leadership from Saudi to Malaysia, Turkey, Qatar and Indonesia to form an Islamic force outside the framework of the Organisation Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to help bin Salman detach the land of the Haramayn from its religious roots and pursue his campaign of embracing the Western lifestyle. Imran Khan was also used in weakening the centrality of the Arabs in the (Sunni) Islamic world and driving a wedge between them and the non-Arabs. Nevertheless, it is likely that America would abandon him as she did with his predecessors; this could be read in his latest statement: “we sacrificed our interests for the sake of those abroad, but they never appreciated it.”
However, the precariousness of what is being concocted by America for Pakistan and Afghanistan is reintroducing the “Islamic” confrontation against China who is being demonised and whose crimes against the Uyghur Muslims are being highlighted. Hence, it is feared that this could lead to using the Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan as firewood in a fierce war of attrition, as was the case with the Soviet Union.
29 Shaaban 1443h
1 April 2022