Dawood Ghazanavi |
The month of October marks the 17th anniversary of the US-led war in Afghanistan. It is the longest in American history. In 2001, the US before launching Crusade on Afghanistan made a threat to its so-called ally Pakistan that “You are with us or against us?” How could we forget that? It was more of a testing the loyalty of your friend at your own friendship standard but not universal.
If we assess these 17 years of a coalition between US and Pakistan closely in the fight against extremism, we find strange bedfellow where the US has always used Pakistan as a matter of convenience. Refusal to a request to influence the Taliban can cost Pakistan complete loss of its legitimate 300 Million dollars support fund, which the US is liable to pay in any case. These funds are reimbursement to Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations.
This war on terror has damaged the life, liberty, and dignity of Pakistani citizens the most than any other country’s citizen around the globe.
We, the Pakistanis, inherited war on terror language and called everyone that the USA called a terrorist, a terrorist. Pakistan blindly followed a war on terror. The US interpretation has infringed the life and dignity of thousands of Pakistani citizens. In these 17 years, Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism have never been recognized by the US; instead, the main theme of US Af-Pak policy is only “do more”.
Being a US ally, is Pakistan still to be blamed for this prolonged messy war in Afghanistan? To be a US ally means Pakistan is not to protect its interest in the region? Did America engage India in Afghanistan after consulting with Pakistan? Did America ever question and held accountable India for its involvement in cross-border terrorism in Pakistan from Afghanistan? In spite of all this, Pakistan allowed more than 500,000 US supply containers as diplomatic cargo, to be shipped into Afghanistan through its soil.
Pakistan killed more than 950 terrorists and turned over 1,100 captured terrorists. Loss of innocent human life is the biggest loss for any nation. Pakistan has lost thousands of innocent lives during these 17 years. Thousands missing Pakistanis citizens either killed or still detained in American black sites like Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Airbase and are suffering from inhumane treatment. Pakistan has completely failed to protect the life and dignity of its citizens during these years.
Pakistan is still witnessing injustices of American legal system in Dr. Aafia Siddiqui trial. The world is aghast at the outcome of Aafia Siddique trial. Even a cangro court bears more dignity, respect, and bona fides than this sham trial which clocked very thinly a pre-determined judgment. Ramsey Clark (Retired US Attorney General) added “Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was victimized by the international politics being played for power.
Countries like Saudi Arabia have pressurized US authorities for repatriation of its citizens when two of its citizens died mysteriously in Guantanamo Bay in 2006-2007.
I haven’t witnessed such a bare injustice in my entire career. Neither did she kill anyone, nor did she attempt at. In fact, she was shot twice”. Who is responsible for all these injustices to Pakistani citizens? And who will provide justice? Has Government of Pakistan ever raised the plight of its citizens to the USA during all these years? This war on terror has damaged the life, liberty, and dignity of Pakistani citizens the most than any other country’s citizen around the globe.
US recent policy shift to offer face to face talk with the Taliban and asking Pakistan to persuade the Taliban’s for the negotiations, clearly depicts Taliban gaining control in Afghanistan and weakening of US installed Afghanistan national government within the country.
Before this rapid policy shift by the US, the Afghan National government has asked the Taliban regime many times to have precondition negotiations, which the Taliban always refused while not considering Afghan national government as legitimate government.
Trump Administration through former Secretary of state Rex Tillerson did make the direct offer to the Taliban regime to negotiate with the Afghan government and become part of the Afghan national government, which they refused too.
Pakistan has welcomed Trump administration initiative in starting negotiating with the Taliban and has offered help in peace negotiation. Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan came with such foreign policy mandate that there must be a dialogue for Afghanistan solution and this message has been delivered to Mike Pompeo by PM himself.
At this moment, when the US is losing ground in Afghanistan, and asking for Pakistan help to persuade Taliban on the negotiating table, Pakistan must place its demand for repatriation of its citizens being held without due process and under inhumane treatment in several US detention center around the globe.
Why do we not get the respect that we deserve? It is time that Pakistan reclaim what is owed to them.
Pakistan foreign minister in his meeting dated 2nd October 2018 with the secretary of state Mike Pompeo lauded concerns over suspension of US $300 million dollars by stating that “it’s not aid, US owes money to Pakistan in CSF”. But, there was no talk on the repatriation of Pakistani citizens.
Countries like Saudi Arabia have pressurized US authorities for repatriation of its citizens when two of its citizens died mysteriously in Guantanamo Bay in 2006-2007. As a result of this pressure, nearly 140 were returned to Saudi Arabia. These prisoners have been put through a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia with the high degree of success, involving religious re-education, counseling, and support in finding wives and jobs, in order to enable them to re-enter in the society.
Ahmed Mohammed Al-Darbi is the first detainee to leave the US base in Cuba since President Trump took office. Al Darbi pleaded guilty before a military commission at the U.S base in Cuba in 2014 to charges stemming from an Al-Qaida attack on a French oil tanker. To achieve any form of justice, the American administration has to be convinced that diplomacy and the rule of law must go hand in hand.
The ethos of international co-operation demands of necessity mutual respect. There is an absurd imbalance of this mutuality in Pakistan and American relations. Pakistan has sacrificed lives, bled its economy and its integrity within its own population. It is now time for America to reciprocate in a mature manner.
The Pakistani prisoners languishing in American prisons need justice. Foremost amongst these is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. We– the Pakistani public– demand that our government show some spine. Why do we not get the respect that we deserve? It is time that Pakistan reclaim what is owed to them. Pakistan should set itself free and free the last prisoner that remains. Is that too much to ask for?
Dawood Ghazanavi is a Political Analyst. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.