Friday, May 13, 2011

Fault Lines in Pakistan | Two Views

*Technical problems on Blogger bumped this message out of the system yesterday. I am re-posting.

Two views on the ramifications of the Osama bin Laden killing by US special forces in Pakistan reveal deep fault lines.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, argues in today’s New York Times that Pakistan has been duplicitous.

"It has been helpful in arresting some high-value Qaeda operatives and has allowed the United States to wage Predator drone attacks. But it has refused to move decisively against groups that Washington regards as terrorists and has put limits on American unilateral operations.”

Imran Khan, a former popular Cricket player turned politician argues that coercion from the U.S. has distorted the priorities of his country and that Pakistan should distance itself from Washington by rejecting all American aid to the country.

“Pakistan is now more vulnerable than at any time in its 63 years of existence following the US operation in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden…

"The biggest lesson to learn [from the operation] is that Pakistan should stand on its own feet, say no to aid and be a sovereign country," he said. "Our government policies have been dictated by aid, they have enslaved us by aid."

Khalilzad highlights four demands.
"First, the United States should reduce its dependence on supply lines running through Pakistan to Afghanistan. We should expand alternative supply routes through Azerbaijan and other countries in Central Asia.

Second, the United States should stay on the course set by President Obama to build, train and support Afghan security forces and reduce our own military presence while retaining the capacity to provide air support, intelligence collection and other capabilities that the Afghans currently lack. Such a posture can strengthen Afghanistan against Pakistani interference and help persuade Pakistan to embrace a settlement.

Third, the United States should conclude a longer-term agreement with Afghanistan to maintain a small, enduring military presence that would give us the capability to conduct counterterrorism operations and respond to possibilities like Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists.

Fourth, the United States could consider seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize an investigation into how Bin Laden managed to hide in plain view. The inquiry should examine the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan."

Khan highlights an action plan to get in the way of the violence. To protest the impact of the US drone attacks in Pakistan by blocking the NATO supply route that fuels the war in Afghanistan.

"Next week he will lead supporters of his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), in a "huge blockade" of NATO's military supply route that goes though Pakistan to Afghanistan in protest US drone strikes inside Pakistan.

"These drone attacks are not just a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, they are a violation of all humanitarian laws," Mr Khan said. Foreign forces in Afghanistan, including Australian troops, depend on supplies trucked in from the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Anger in Pakistan over America's raid in Abbottabad could help garner public support for Mr Khan's blockade.

"The worst is that we have completely lost our credibility and we are so vulnerable," he said. "As we have been accused of harbouring the world's biggest terrorist that means any act of terrorism that takes place anywhere, all fingers will be pointing at Pakistan … the country stands terribly exposed. We could end up paying an even higher price than we have already paid.""

To learn more see this article Reclaiming Pakistan.
"Today the Pakistani state — that is its government and security structures - stands exposed as never before in front of its own people as well as the world. Never before, since 1971, has the Pakistani nation felt so defenseless and so full of anger and shame."

Additional Resource:
A Sense of Nervous Anticipation Looms in Pakistan by Sanaa Alimia
“…over the last seven years the number of Pakistanis killed is 34,017. In 2010, over 900 Pakistanis were killed in US drone attacks, which were also supported by their own government and military. Less than two weeks ago, over twenty-five people were killed in North Waziristan, in one drone attack and the month before forty civilians were killed in another drone attack. Beyond the casualties, there are hundreds of thousands of displaced Afghans and Pakistanis who cannot return home. There are countless maimed amputees, whose disfigurement is a commonplace feature of the landscape in Peshawar.”

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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