Pakistan is a National Bulwark Against International Terrorism — Eurasia Future

Pakistan was born out of a spirit of optimism under stress. The two-nation theory that came into being as a result of the philosophy of Sir Muhammad Iqbal, the political Declaration of Choudhry Rahmat Ali and the national leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah stressed that peace and freedom for […] The post Pakistan is…

via Pakistan is a National Bulwark Against International Terrorism — Eurasia Future

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Pakistan’s Army is a National Umbrella Under Stormy Skies

By Adam Garrie
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In twenty years time when even the last remnants of terrorism are but a distant memory for Pakistanis, when Gwadar rises to be a shining city of modernity and one of the focal points of both trade and tourism in Asia, when CPEC is a multi-cylinder engine driving prosperity from Lahore to Karachi and when economic growth becomes consistent and sustainable throughout the country – people throughout Pakistan will know that this much is true: without the protection of one of the most professional, dedicated and patriotic Armies in the world, there would be no such place as Pakistan.

While a Pakistan that sounds like a giant Singapore with Islamic characteristics might seem like a tall order in terms of forecasting such positive changes over the country’s next 20 years of development, one must remember that even ten or fifteen years ago, few could imagine that the Pakistan of 2019 would be a place where peace is the rule and instability is the exception, where orderly political transitions can be conducted with confidence and without dynastic parties ruling the day, a place where Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is province of renewal rather than a ground zero of horror and a place where an unpredictable US President criticises Pakistan one month and then effectively begs its Prime Minister for assistance in Afghanistan the next.

The Pakistan of today is very different than the Pakistan of 2009 and it is the Army that has largely made the difference as in 2009, political institutions of the country were weakened by internal chaos whilst even Swiss style political efficiency would have required an armed forces and intelligence service of supreme commitment to a fight against a wave of terrorism in a battle that to many, seemed to be unwinnable to at the time.

The history of armies leading countries out of dark periods and into those of renewal is well established throughout modern history. At a time when modern Turkey was threatened with western directed colonialism on all sides after 1918, it was Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Turkish National Movement that reclaimed Turkey’s dignity and helped to form the modern Republic of Turkey. As it was Atatürk’s army that helped to create the modern state, so too did the army play a major role in shaping Turkey’s politics until very recent years when it became clear that the civilian government had sufficiently modernised itself and was up to the important task of overseeing stable governance. Yet few in the west nor in Asia have insulted the historic role of Turkey’s army in the way that they have done in respect of Pakistan.

In many ways, Pakistan’s 21st century war against a multitude of terror groups has been even more harrowing than the Turkish War of Independence. While for decades India had sponsored terror groups aiming to sever Pakistan’s national unity whilst no Afghan government has ever recognised Pakistan’s internationally acknowledged border along the Durand Line, it was the unleashing of George W. Bush’s “war on terror” that for Pakistan became a war for survival as extremist groups supported by Pakistan’s regional enemies swarmed across the border causing havoc throughout the country, but particularly in the north-west.

While America’s misguided war on Afghanistan after 2001 was supposed to be a war to avenge the 9/11 atrocity, this war unleashed onto Pakistan many micro-9/11s in which civilians were slaughtered by terror groups that were perversely aided by the fledgling Kabul forces that the US had installed. While US drone strikes in Pakistan killed civilians almost as frequently as they targeted actual terrorists, it was Pakistan’s Army that succeeded in turning groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan from a force that threatened to plant the flag of terror in Islamabad into a rudderless, leaderless rump whose power has more or less been totally neutralised.

While today, it is rightly acknowledged that political reforms in KP continue to fight the roots of extremism, while a border fence along the Durand Line has helped to stem the tide of terror from the Afghan failed state, what must never be forgotten is the it was the martyrdom of thousands of Pakistani soldiers upon whose sacrifice the foundation of Naya Pakistan was at long last built.

The choice for Pakistan during much of the 21st century was not between “the Establishment and democracy” as many cynics would have one believe. The choice was one between national life and national death and without the courage of the Army, the terrorist death merchants would have made the choice for Pakistan and the results would have been truly devastating on a grand scale.

2018 saw the second ever peaceful transition of power in Pakistan and one were the old dynastic parties of the past were democratically dislodged from power in favour of a reformist force – PTI. Saying that this peaceful transition of power was orchestrated by “the Establishment” is actually an insult both to the people of Pakistan and to the Army. This is the case because it was on the back of the supreme sacrifices of the Army in the fight against terrorism and extremism that the country was able to hold its second ever peaceful transition of power and it was the people who were able to speak freely because of the safety that pervades in the country, now that the most wicked terror groups are shadows of their former selves.

The American media frequently criticises Pakistan’s Army and yet there is an expression among ordinary Americans that states “if you love your freedom, thank a soldier”. As a country that has faced vastly less terrorism and foreign invasion than Pakistan and as a country bordered by two allies rather than a nation with two clear enemies, one to the east and one to the north-west, the American phrase stating that a soldier should be thanked for national freedom frankly applies far more to Pakistan than to almost any other country in the 21st century. It is therefore nothing less than shameful that some American journalists who live in a country where the soldier is elevated to a position of respect in the media and in much of society, should somehow criticise Pakistan for the role its Army has played in preventing chaos from turning a great Asian nation into a failed state like Afghanistan or like Libya.

Looking to the future, if Naya Pakistan means anything – it means harmony. Harmony between wealth and development, between Pakistan and its all weather friends whether it be China or Turkey or others, between provinces of the country and within provinces of the country and between the Army and the government. In a harmonious state, the government and Army are not in a competition for power but work together to continue securing the nation from its enemies who have been beaten back but who have by no means gone away.

Pakistan’s democracy has become healthy because Pakistan’s streets, mountains, ports and villages have become safe. There can be no freedom without prosperity and there can be no prosperity without peace. This should be the epilogue of any story about the role of Pakistan’s Army in the last decades. It is a universal truth made all the more clear by specific stories of the ultimate sacrifice – one that has risen the flag of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s enlightenment where the flags of extremist barbarism once flew.

The U.S. Is Scapegoating Pakistan Prior to Possible Anti-CPEC Sanctions

The US military suspended $300 million in aid to Pakistan.

Technically speaking, the US didn’t cut off actual “military aid” in the physical sense that it’s widely perceived to have done but blocked money that “was part of reimbursement for the loss of lives and financial losses that Pakistan suffered while leading the fight against terrorism”, according to a clarification by Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister. In any case, this hostile move is being done in order to advance several interconnected American objectives, the most public being to scapegoat Pakistan for the US’ failures in Afghanistan while the highest-level strategic one is to continue the US’ policy recalibration towards India as its preferred partner in South Asia.

The supposed pretext of Pakistan not doing enough to crack down on terrorist groups is disingenuous because the country doesn’t harbor such forces and has actually been victimized by them over the decades to the tune of over 60,000 martyrs. Nevertheless, the US attempts to weave a semi-“believable” narrative in this regard by pointing to the active cross-border Pashtun community on both sides of the Durand Line, implying that Taliban members simply cross over into Pakistan from Afghanistan in order to seek reprieve from American airstrikes. That’s also not necessarily the case either, and the situation is more complex than such a simplistic storyline would suggest.

No armed militants enter Pakistan through official border crossings, which are among the most secure in the world, though Islamabad can’t realistically screen each and every unarmed person arriving from Afghanistan for Taliban sympathies. As for those that might try to sneak into the country illegally, they’ve found that to be pretty difficult in recent years and it’ll eventually become impossible once the border fence with Afghanistan is completed. Therefore, the whole case that the US is trying to make about Pakistan supposedly “harboring terrorist groups” and “actively aiding” them is false from the get-go and designed to damage the country’s international reputation.

It’s not just for the sake of trying to harm Pakistan’s standing in the world and “virtue signaling” to its new Indian strategic partner that Washington is nastily disengaging from its erstwhile close relationship with Islamabad, but also because it may be preparing the narrative ground for sanctioning its former South Asian ally on supposed “terrorist” grounds that really have everything to do with obstructing CPEC. The US is building the perception that Pakistan is a “terrorist-infested” country in order to “legitimize” what might be a forthcoming comprehensive sanctions campaign against it similar to the one that it’s currently waging against Iran and which it recently began against Turkey.

Expanding the US’ existing economic warfare battlefield in the region to Pakistan would encompass the South Eurasian Rimland portion of the so-called “Greater Middle East” that forms the southern half of the Golden Ring of multipolar Great Powers, which would put severe pressure on this very promising 21st-century geopolitical construction, particularly as it relates to the possibility of imposing “secondary sanctions” against companies that use the Pakistani-transiting CPEC. The whole point is to decrease the economic appeal of this game-changing Silk Road corridor as part of the US’ “containment” strategy against Pakistan and China, though it might unintentionally catalyze the same transregional integrational processes that it’s trying to sabotage.

By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review

Imran Khan Has Successfully Exposed Liberalism as Pakistan’s Greatest Enemy

America’s Establishment – the military-industrial complex

During his final address as President of the United States of America, General Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the development of a military-industrial complex in the following way:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.

We recognise the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defence with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together”.

Since Eisenhower’s speech, the US military-industrial complex has become so influential that its policy making role in government is thought to exceed that of elected officials up to and including the head of state. As the country with the world’s most powerful military and strongest economy, this means that not only does the US military-industrial complex threaten democracy in the US but it threatens the peace and freedom of those in other nations whose governments may occasionally quarrel with Washington.

Against this background, it is both absurd and hypocritical for anti-patriotic forces within Pakistan to heap scorn on the young government of Imran Khan and his PTI party under the guise that they are “too close” to Pakistan’s military establishment. In the United States, it has proved to be impossible to even get close to power by promising a revision in the nation’s foreign policy while in Pakistan, PTI proved that a party with a clearly reformist approach to foreign policy making can not only win but in many cases obliterate the vote of the old legacy parties as well as fringe extremist parties.

It is in fact true that Pakistan has a long history of open conflict between civilian governments and what is widely called The Establishment – the military. In July of this year however, a peaceful democratic election signifying only the second ever peaceful transition of power in Pakistan’s history has signalled the early stages of a shift from a policy of confrontation between the Establishment and government to one of cooperation. Before going further, it must be noted that while conflict between the military and elected government is a phenomenon that the international media tends to universally associate with Pakistan, such conflicts transpire in multiple nations with different histories and societal issues.

Turkey

Modern Turkey has a long history of civilian governments in open conflict with the military. In spite of reforms early during Erdogan’s time as Prime Minister to harmonise the relationship between the Turkish Army and elected government, the apogee of conflict between the military and government in Turkey occurred as recently as 2016 when elements of the Fethullah Terror Organisation infiltrated the Army and led an illegal coup against President Erdogan. The result has been an intensified effort by Erdogan and the civilian government to bring to justice those in the Army associated with all forms of anti-government activity. After his recent re-election under new constitutional regulations, Erdogan has made good on his pledge to make the army directly answerable to the president rather than operate as a body that was previously allowed to make public political pronouncements without conclusion with civilian factions.

Egypt

After the US backed de-stabilisation of Egypt in 2011, a Muslim Brotherhood government came to power in Cairo that was directly at odds with the military. In 2013, the military led an ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Mohammad Morsi and put General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in power who remains President to this day. While some called Sisi’s rise to power a coup, others point out the reckless incompetence, unpopularity and social extremism of Morsi and his followers. Egypt is clearly a country where mainstream forces all make reasonable arguments both for and against the Army’s strong influence on the country’s national political development.

Pakistan’s light at the end of many tunnels 

Therefore, while Turkey took decades to peacefully harmonise military-civilian government relations and while Egypt has yet to fully do so, Pakistan stands on the verge of peacefully achieving such harmonisation. Furthermore, this was largely accomplished through the ballot box and domestic diplomacy. This is not to imply that the incoming PTI led coalition government of Pakistan is “subservient” to the Army as some of PTI’s domestic detractors have said for obvious enough self-serving reasons. Neither is it to say that Fatima Bhutto (whose relations with a powerful Pakistani political family are minimised by the Guardian’s editors) is correct in stating that “Imran Khan is only a player in the circus run by Pakistan’s military” as she recently did in Britain’s ultra-liberal Guardian newspaper.

In reality, Pakistan is maturing into a state where both the military and civilian leaders are increasing cooperating for the benefit of the nation, just as is the case within all three major superpowers where open schisms between the military and government are largely unheard of. While all such moves in any nation are bound to have growing pains, the fact of the matter is that Pakistan’s leaders are embarking on a new era of national unity – something that is necessary in order to ensure peace and prosperity for future generations. Therefore, less open antagonism between the government and military in Pakistan should be welcomed rather than be subject to conspiracy theories and wild speculation disguised as analysis.

Pakistan has a real enemy within and it is not The Establishment 

With PTI is moving to modernise and harmonise the government’s relationship with the Establishment on a legal and win-win basis, Imran Khan’s transformation from opposition leader to statesman has laid bear the face of the true enemy within. In Pakistan, Imran Khan’s critics have sunk to new lows in their ever more frequent gossip column style criticism of the new Prime Minister. Before Imran has even settled into his new desk, his critics are already proclaiming the PTI led government a failure in a manner that only serves the foreign enemies of the Pakistani people and which in turns threatens the unity and survival of the state.

But while Imran Khan’s opponents continue to hurl stones within a glass house, they fail to realise that in shrieking about their own country’s supposed inferiority under the prying eyes of India, Afghanistan and The United States, they do not realise that when compared with other nations, Pakistan’s problems are not unique. To say otherwise is to fall into the trap of the colonial mentality which in the last election doomed the PML-N and PPP to electoral failure.

Liberal Pakistanis complain about the country’s blasphemy laws and the fact that PTI has no plans to change such laws. Meanwhile, such forces ignore the fact that in the countries of Europe and North America – countries which face a substantially low terrorist threat vis-a-vis Pakistan, legislators are hastily drafting new laws to censor criticism of just about any social trend ranging from feminism to sectarian politics. While Pakistani laws defend the country’s historical religious traditions, western governments are passing laws to protect the pagan gods of the west – the totemic ramparts of ultra-liberalism. Thus, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws should not be viewed in a vacuum and should certainly never be seen as more dangerous than the decrepit state of Indian society in which Muslims are being openly lynched with the support of members of the ruling political party simply for going about their daily business in peace. Until western hypocrisy and Indian mob rule are addressed, there is little point in growing hysterical over Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

Liberal Pakistanis then complain about press freedom before realising that Pakistan actually has some of the freest political speech in the world.

In an age where US corporate media, European corporate and state media and the Indian government all look to clamp down on free speech, Pakistan remains a place whose levels of political free speech are staggeringly high. Whether on Urdu, English or provincial language media, Pakistanis can say almost anything they want about almost anyone they want and for the most part it is all done in relative peace.

When the PTI government announced a further step to free Pakistan’s already highly open media it was clear that existing trends will only improve under the leadership of Imran Khan While private media outlets have long had editorial freedoms, according to a recent statement from Pakistan’s Information Minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain, now even state owned media will be given full editorial freedom.

As per vision of @ImranKhanPTI Ended political censorship on PTV, clear instructions issued for a complete editorial independence on PTV and Radio Pakistan, drastic changes ll be visible in Information Dept in coming 3 months Inshallah — Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 21, 2018

This means that if fully realised, Pakistan’s private and state owned media will be more free to criticise the government than both private and state owned media outlets in many European countries where opposition views are increasingly shunned or derided as “fake”.

The real fight for Pakistan’s future 

Imran Khan has drawn the liberal werewolves out of their hiding places and has thus exposed the real enemies of social and economic progress in Pakistan to be liberal forces who see it fit to criticise every element of Pakistani society without cessation. Such people take perverse delight in blaming the Establishment for doing that which it does not do while summarily ignoring how the US military-industrial complex is vastly more powerful than Pakistan’s Establishment ever was. Likewise, Pakistan’s liberal fifth column somehow believe that Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are unusual while similar things either already exist or are being legally erected in the countries who join Pakistan’s home grown liberals in heaping scorn on a nation being antagonised both on its eastern and western borders.

What good is it to be on guard against terrorism from Afghanistan and India if Pakistan’s own liberal fifth column continues to scapegoat the nation itself for every problem under the sun. Pakistan does have problems and most of these problems are not unique to Pakistan. What is however unique is the agility with which supposed patriots of Pakistan do more for the country’s foreign enemies than the foreign enemies themselves could ever hope to achieve.

By increasing the amplification of these anti-national voices in so far as his presence seems to agitate them into fits of Pakistan hating hysteria, Imran Khan has already proved why he is in the best position to fight this enemy within and secure a better internal and external future for Pakistan.

By Adam Garrie
Source: Eurasia Future

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