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Sunday, February 18, 2024

How PM Khan has been betrayed?

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said he will not resign, striking a defiant tone ahead of a no-confidence vote expected to take place on Sunday. The media segment hostile to Imran Khan made it appear something right out of the fiction. The opposition, trying to corner the PM through a vote of no confidence in the parliament, rubbished the allegation as the last flicker of the candle before the flame extinguishes.

The reality, bit by bit, begins unfolding itself, gradually sinking into the collective consciousness of all concerned, including the man on the street. It started with the PM, waving a piece of paper at a public gathering in Islamabad. Imran Khan, known to his followers and detractors alike for his salty tongue and imprudent remarks, was prudent enough, this time, to read out from the text. He was elusive as to who had threatened whom. -“There is a threat”, he said, leaving it to the crowd to make out who was the target of the threat, PM himself, or the government.

The media segment hostile to Imran Khan made it appear something right out of the fiction. The opposition, trying to corner the PM through a vote of no confidence in the parliament, rubbished the allegation as the last flicker of the candle before the flame extinguishes. “These are the last desperate efforts of a drowning person to remain afloat after his government has lost a majority in the parliament” – or words to the effect.

Read more: PM Imran Khan’s life in danger, possible assassination attempt: intel reports

So much for the official secrets act

The criticism of PMs remarks, by his friends and foes alike, was based on the following observations;1) More than an authentic threat from a foreign government or a group of hostile countries, it is gossip emanating from some table talk between two or more persons;2) Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, during the PNA agitation against him, had also waved such a letter in Rawalpindi;3)Whatever is there in the alleged document, making it public will be a violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Wading through the allegations and counter-allegations, a Tweet from a senior journalist appeared yesterday on social media:

“US Under Secretary of State did call outgoing Amb Dr. Asad to deliver a demarche for Pak govt: He told amb as long as PM @ImranKhanPTI is PM relations with Pakistan can’t improve and if he goes Pak can be forgiven for its mistakes. Outrageous official communication! All must condemn.”

PM, in an apparent slip of the tongue, while addressing the nation on TV last evening, named the US as the source of the demarche. He quickly retracted his statement though.

Read more: Imran Khan pleading for an NRO: Ahsan Iqbal

A Disease Called “Pactitis”

During the Cold War, the US-sponsored military pacts were aimed at propping up local satraps in the Near East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The US offered Pakistan to join these military pacts only when it was rebuffed by Nehru. In the past, even as it is now, the inclination of the Pakistani rulers towards the inclusion of foreign powers for addressing Pakistan’s domestic issues and regional conflicts can be attributed to their desire for self-perpetuation.

To this end, they allow external forces to play an exaggerated role in Pakistan’s domestic politics. Even a superpower cannot meddle in the internal affairs of a small state unless it is invited to do so. Egypt under Nasser was a Soviet client state, but despite the Soviet pressure Nasser refused to remove restrictions on the Egyptian communist party. This was different in the case of Pakistan where the American diplomats were gradually allowed to play the role of kingmakers.

It is interesting to note that both India, a Non-Aligned country taunted by Dulles for “sitting on the fence”, and Pakistan, “the most allied ally of the United States”, continued to get American military and economic assistance throughout the Cold War period. After the Korean War, the USA created and equipped Pakistan’s armed forces virtually from the scratch (particularly the army and the air force). Between 1954 and 1965, Pakistan received over a billion dollars in military aid from the United States. This aid greatly enhanced Pakistan’s defense capability as new equipment and weapons were brought into the armed forces, new military bases were created, existing ones were expanded and upgraded, and two new corps commands we formed.

India, without joining the military pacts, reaped almost the same benefits from the US. After the 1962 Sino- India border war, when Non-Aligned India was caught in the no man’s land, the United States and Britain provided India with $ 120 million worth of military aid. The programme included a variety of military equipment, but its central feature was the raising of six Indian mountain divisions.

Read more: Malaysian opposition leader praises PM Imran Khan for defending Muslims

Not only that, the Americans, to please India, mocked Pakistan for joining the military pacts. Speaking in New Delhi in January 1962, Henry Kissinger remarked that the United States conjured up these pacts because “at that time America was suffering from a disease called ‘Pactitis’ (Bhutto, 1969). The Sino- India border war provided the US an opportunity to increase American influence over India without coercing the latter into a formal and declared pact.

 

Saleem Akhtar Malik is a Pakistan Army veteran who writes on national and international affairs, defense, military history, and military technology. He Tweets at @saleemakhtar53. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.