Asif Haroon Raja |
Today, Pakistan is in much stronger position since it has overcome the threat of India’s Cold Start doctrine by developing short, intermediate and long range missiles including cruise missiles and weaponized drones, miniaturized nukes that can be carried in briefcases or used in warheads of Nasr missiles, and has to a great extent overcome its energy, economic and terrorism issues. China-Pakistan relations have further cemented after the launch of CPEC. Strains in Pakistan-Russia relations have been replaced with amiability and Pakistan is a member of SCO.
Read more: The US failed Afghan policy – Part…
Pakistan had shown its defiance after Salala attack in November 2011 for 8 months and forced Washington to apologize.
Taimur missile has a range of 17000 km, Hatf-7 Babar missile can destroy stealth helicopters, artillery/mortar rockets that can penetrate and destroy Tungsten Carbide made tanks. Pakistan has developed weaponized and non-weaponized drones indigenously.
Pakistan’s nuclear capability and missile power have attained the age of maturity and accuracy. It has robust and credible command & control system which is recognized by the world. It has an array of potent missiles that can hit any country including USA and Israel and the US military bases in the region devoid of an anti-missile shield.
Taimur missile has a range of 17000 km, Hatf-7 Babar missile can destroy stealth helicopters, artillery/mortar rockets that can penetrate and destroy Tungsten Carbide made tanks. Pakistan has developed weaponized and non-weaponized drones indigenously. Whole Army is fully battle inoculated, well led and rated as the best in the world. The ISI is rated as number one intelligence agency which has thwarted the onslaughts of six hostile agencies for over a decade. Airforce is in top gear and Navy is battle worthy and ready to meet the threat.
Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa stated that Pakistan doesn’t need America’s military and financial assistance but only seeks acknowledgment of its sacrifices. He rightly asserted that Pakistan can’t bring Afghan war into Pakistan.
China and Russia have stood behind Pakistan, while Saudi Arabia has assured that it will take care of financial issues in case of sanctions. The Parliament has given a firm response to the US bullying and so has the people of Pakistan by taking out huge processions in all cities to protest against Trump’s diatribe. Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa stated that Pakistan doesn’t need America’s military and financial assistance but only seeks acknowledgment of its sacrifices. He rightly asserted that Pakistan can’t bring Afghan war into Pakistan.
Read more: The US failed Afghan policy – part…
Reasons behind Trump’s Aggression
Geoeconomic interests of USA:
- It has in mind well over trillion dollars’ worth untapped mineral resources in Afghanistan which it fears will be swooped by China.
- It aspires to harness the Central Asian States vast resources stretching up to the Caspian Sea and this longing was the biggest motivation to capture Afghanistan.
- Then there is over 100 billion dollars’ worth lucrative drug trade.
- American Corporates and security contractors have their own mercantile interests.
- Keep monitoring China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran.
- Keep looking for an opportunity to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program.
- Disrupt CPEC.
- Prevent civil war and open entry to China, Russia, Iran, and Pakistan into Afghanistan after its exit.
- Make India the leading player and enable it to fill the vacuum in Afghanistan after the US departure.
What can the US do against Pakistan?
- Since an open war is ruled out, the US can continue with its indirect strategy to destabilize Pakistan.
- Intensify covert war in the three conflict zones of FATA/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Baluchistan and Karachi by co-opting Daesh.
- Intensify drone war in FATA, settled areas of KP and Baluchistan.
- Apply sanctions through the UN.
- Stop all extending economic and military assistance and defense items.
- Freeze Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.
- Dry up foreign investment from US and western countries
- Cease Pak exports to USA and EU which is 6% and 13% respectively.
- Apply pressure on IMF, World Bank, ADB and Paris Club to stop giving loans and seek the return of loans.
- Block remittances of 3 million Pakistani expatriates in USA and Europe which are to the tune of $5000 million annually.
- Demonize Pakistan and move a case in the UN to declare Pakistan a terrorist state and Pak Army a rogue outfit.
- Encourage India to fulfill its desire of carrying out surgical strikes and limited attacks in Azad Kashmir.
- Stimulate warlike conditions through false flag operations to justify troop deployments by Indian and Afghan forces along Pakistan’s border.
- Intensify pressure against Pakistan nuclear program by playing up old theme of the nukes falling into wrong hands.
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Counter Steps taken by Pakistan
Following are the recommended counter steps to ward off the US threat:
- Pakistan should strive to become part of a strategic block of Russia, China, SCO countries and possibly Iran, and also sign a 20-year Treaty of Friendship with China similar to the one signed between India and former USSR in August 1971.
- Pakistan should invoke the vital clause of ‘joint defense’ in the SCO Charter, of which it is a member, which states that attack on Pakistan will be considered as an attack on China and Russia and vice versa.
- Meet the defense needs from China, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey.
- Increase trade with China, Russia, Far Eastern and Central Asian countries.
- Pakistani expatriates will find alternative ways to remit money from the west.
- CPEC is a money churning machine which will offset financial crunches.
- Pakistan in concert with China and Russia should work out the definition of ‘terrorism’since the US which initiated the war on terror has so far failed to define it. This is important to differentiate between terrorism and freedom movements that have been lumped under one category.
- Pakistan must declare its drone policy and state that any drone entering Pakistan will be viewed as a hostile attack and shot down and it may exercise the option of giving a tit for tat response inside Afghanistan.
- Move a case in the UN that the President of USA has threatened a sovereign independent state which is in violation of the UN charter. A similar case must be moved if the US coerces financial institutions and EU to create troubles.
- China and Russia must be requested to use their veto power to block the US efforts to impose sanctions through the UN and to get Pakistan declared a terrorist state.
- The US supported TTP and Baloch rebel groups have caused a financial loss of over $ 50 billion besides human losses. Pakistan should file a case in the ICJ and the UN to seek compensation.
- Pakistan should also seek compensation for hundreds of drone victims.
- Pakistan should maximize pressure on USA and Afghanistan to eliminate sanctuaries of TTP in Kunar, Nuristan, and Nangarhar, and that of Daesh in Tora Bora and to hand over wanted TTP leaders.
- Pakistan should insist on the immediate closure of Pakistan specific Indian Consulates in southern and eastern Afghanistan that are solely engaged in anti-Pakistan activities.
- Pakistan should allow the use of two supply routes by US-Nato vehicles on strict conditions that it will adopt a friendly posture, will pay the toll tax and give an assurance that containers will not be misused to supply arms to anti-Pakistan groups in Pakistan. The ground, as well as air routes used by India and USA to reach Afghanistan, should be blocked in case of any hostile act.
- Based on the evidence collected from Kalbushan Yadhav, Ehsanullah Ehsan, and Latif Mehsud, Pakistan should build a strong counter narrative that USA, India and Afghanistan in collusion are the sponsors of terrorism and Pakistan having suffered 60,000 casualties and a financial loss of $ 123 billion is the biggest victim of terrorism.
- Pakistan should move a case to get India declared a terrorist state.
- Pakistan should seek the return of absconders Altaf Hussain, Hussain Haqqani, Harbyar Marri, Daood Suleman, Brahamdagh Bugti.
- Pakistan should stop repaying debts in case of sanctions. It has paid much more in the form of debt servicing than the principal amount.
- Any hostile act by the Indian or Afghan military must be countered with full force.
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Should we continue to be whipped and bled without a whimper? Isn’t it time to drastically revise our US centric foreign policy and draw strength from China, Russia, SCO, GCC, Turkey, Iran. In our ongoing testing times, we can clearly identify who is our friend. It will be foolish to rely on untrustworthy Afghan unity government which is entirely controlled by US and India. Pakistan shares 60% border with eastern and southern Afghanistan which is predominated by Afghan Pashtuns and with whom we have blood relations. 45 million Pashtuns live on both sides of the border (60% in Pakistan and 40% in Afghanistan). Our future lies with them.
Read more: What Afghan ‘stalemate’ is all about
Pakistan should adopt a proactive stance by clearly stating that it has done more than any other country in the US imposed war and suffered the most and achieved far better results than any other country and as such it is the USA which needs to do a lot more.
While Trump’s rhetoric must not worry us, we must remain vigilant and well prepared for the worst. Unity of home front is a must to deal with external challenges.
Pakistan should adopt a proactive stance by clearly stating that it has done more than any other country in the US imposed war and suffered the most and achieved far better results than any other country and as such it is the USA which needs to do a lot more. It is now up to the Trump administration whether it will continue to partner with Pakistan or confront nuclear Pakistan on a misplaced charge.
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Trump has lost his marbles and has no idea of the implications of his unwarranted threats. Any foolhardy attempt will prove costly. It appears that he is destined to preside over the disintegration of the USA which he intended to make great again.
The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. Takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks and take part in seminars. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.