It’s a great day for the United States and its forces. With steely determination, the US forces have finally eliminated Osama bin Laden. The flip side of the great event that marks the end of an era of terrorism is that the most wanted terrorist was hiding in the heart of Pakistan’s military garrison station in close proximity to Kakul Academy where Pakistan Army trains its officers. All that Pakistan and its rulers, especially the military leadership including former president Pervez Musharraf, have been saying that OBL was not on Pakistan soil has proved untrue. At the end of a tumultuous decade, we find that he was living under the very nose of the Pakistan Army. It’s shameful for every Pakistani, particularly our intelligence outfits, which bothered little to capture the most wanted and the most hated man on earth. As an ally of the United States in the long war against terror Pakistan couldn’t claim the credit of capturing or killing him. Pakistan was not even trusted for performing an operation well inside its territory to take him out.
The mistrust of Pakistani agencies has its background. Despite being sympathetic to the cause of fighting against Osama and his forces that have been messengers of death for thousands of innocent people all around the world and within Pakistan also, OBL enjoyed a great deal of sympathy in the Muslim world. Today Pakistan is left with no face to show to the world. Almost anyone who has been a leader of Pakistan including the military leadership has been denying that he could be in Pakistan. The truth is that he was living in one of the cool and sleepy cities of Pakistan. Only a few days earlier, the chief of Pakistan Army addressed officers in the same city and in close proximity to Osama’s residential quarter, expressing his determination to live with honour and dignity rather than welcoming foreign aid (US paid $20billion for the fight) for the starved country that Pakistan has become today mainly due to the OBL factor and the long-drawn war in the region being conducted to defeat his evil forces.
What dignity Pakistan is left with? Everyone is saying that Pakistan provided shelter to the biggest terrorist in the world. Not only that, the world has also seen that roots of terrorist act perpetrated anywhere in the world had links with Pakistan. There’s little left to doubt that OBL has been living with his family rather comfortably and undisturbed in Pakistan since the US forces attacked Afghanistan to end the misrule of a government sponsored by the evil-minded genius and his escape from Tora Bora caves.
Indeed, the people of Pakistan suffered more than any other nation as OBL spread the seeds of hatred and led thousands of suicide attacks inside Pakistan targeting, among others, former president Pervez Musharraf, GHQ, military sites, offices of intelligence agencies and police, shrines, bus stops, school buses and what not.
Pakistan’s military establishment and its intelligence apparatus must realise now that there are no pro-Pakistan and anti-Pakistan terrorists and that a terrorist is a terrorist whether he fights in the garb of an Islamist or as a non-believer. They must also realise that Pakistan’s future lies in living in peace with neighbours. It can’t terrorise the world and be successful. Such a policy would ultimately lead to mutually assured destruction at best and self-destruction at worst. Pakistan has almost become a pariah state and the world has started hating Pakistanis. That Pakistan has survived so far is no less than a miracle. Pakistan’s establishment must vow to shun any kind of backing of the evil forces that kill innocent people in any form whatsoever.
Considering the last decade in the given milieu it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the US support in fight against terror has been a great blessing for Pakistan. Without the world support, Pakistan might have succumbed to such a powerful dark forces. Designs of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts were clear after their defeat in Afghanistan.
They wanted to weaken Pakistan, intimidate its public and then take over it in collusion with forces that can’t ever think of ruling Pakistan through democratic process. What if Pakistan had succumbed to their pressure and if they had acquired Pakistan’s nuclear weapons? It was such scenario that had worried not just the people of Pakistan but the whole world. The US officials had always expressed their apprehensions that Osama was hiding inside Pakistan. But leaders in Pakistan and its establishment always strongly denied his presence. It appears now that Pakistan has been a reluctant player in the fight against these terror groups despite the fact that the presence of such elements posed an existential threat to Pakistan.
Despite strong rebuttals and denials, the world always suspected Pakistani agencies’ role in acts of terrorism in other countries, particularly India. There’s dire need that Pakistan’s establishment must revisit its strategy. Pakistan can’t dictate the world and get through with its agenda. The history of wars, overt and covert, proves that they can’t be won even if one maintains superiority in numbers and weapons. Pervez Musharraf has confessed in his book that Kargil was only a tactical win. One wonders why no strategic thinking takes place and why the nation has to pay a big price and take the blame.
Osama’s hiding and subsequent killing in Pakistan once again shows that Pakistan must explore solution of problems through peaceful means. Strategic depth in Afghanistan is often said to be the reason for being soft on militants but Pakistan can keep its western neighbourhood friendly through goodwill gestures. It should not be wary of a pro-India government in Kabul and their better relationship. If Pakistan remained unharmed during pro-Soviet Afghanistan for decades it cannot be harmed by India’s presence in that country. It should instead focus on its development and progress.
Another hard lesson that Pakistan’s establishment must learn is that it should not pursue any covert anti-India activity even through a third country. If India pursues such a policy it can be thwarted through a defensive mechanism. Both countries need to make a paradigm shift in the concept of security and defence after becoming nuclear weapons states. The reconnaissance of logistics of the enemy positions is hardly an issue as satellites can show any place anywhere in the world. Sabotage activity, which former Soviet Union and some other big states perpetrated in smaller countries, never paid off. Sri Lanka, which faced much bigger threat than Pakistan, fought its war with the separatists without any outside help. Pakistan can learn from China, a mighty power that can just devour Taiwan. Yet, it shows remarkable patience and the policy has been successful.
Pakistan must look at Jehadi or Fidai outfits as terrorists. Crime committed against humanity should be considered crime and in no way should it be called martyrdom. There’s a strong need to change the basic thinking about it. Pakistan is the only country in the world where killers of a governor or federal minister are openly and publicly hailed as heroes.
Anyone who supports the wrongdoer should also be labelled in the same bracket. This must be done at the conceptual level so that the nation becomes a tolerant and peace-loving society once again. Pakistan should, therefore, go fast and eliminate all types of terror dens and pockets within its territory whether they are in North Waziristan or anywhere else. It should not even rely on the US intelligence in hitting targets. Rather, Pakistani forces should take the lead and cleanse its badlands before the US sends in drones. It’s in the national interest of Pakistan and its people. It is time to erase the stigma that has shamed every Pakistani everywhere in the world.