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US contemplating reversal of its Pakistan policy

The United States is contemplating a total reversal of its highly ineffective Pakistan policy. This was stated by Prof Christine Fair, Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service while delivering a talk on “The situation in the Af-Pak region” at Observer Research Foundation on June 4, 2012.

Frankly expressing her views from both Pakistani as well as American perspectives, Prof. Fair said that the US does not have a long-term policy for Pakistan, and the present practice of granting aid with the aim of fighting the roots of terrorism has not yielded any results. Consequently, despite fighting the Taliban, the US has inadvertently supported them while alienating the civilian population.

Prof. Fair said that the Pakistan’s decision to close ground supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan backfired as the NATO forces soon developed alternative air routes. This, in turn, led many Western leaders to recognise the futility of engaging Pakistan in the war on terror. She also pointed out that the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan further convinced policy makers in Washington of its duplicity.

Asked about the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s perceived lack of understanding about the situation in the West Asia and the Af-Pak region, Prof Fair said that presidential candidates learn very quickly once they take office. As an example, she pointed out Barack Obama’s similar naïveté four years ago and how he learnt and adapted his foreign policy within months into his presidency.

Prof. Fair said that President Obama is disappointed with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism performance, and that the US administration is contemplating containment to force it to abide to its obligations.

According to Prof. Fair, the futility of attempts to alter the pro-jihadist worldview of Pakistan’s foreign policy elite make a serious case of containment, which would hold Pakistan responsible for any terrorist attack with its ’signature’ on it.

Prof. Fair challenged the conventional wisdom that civilian governments in Islamabad are more responsible. She argued that past history suggests a linearity of foreign policy making between military and democratic regimes. This is compounded by a drastic transformation of the popular mindset towards fundamentalism and hatred against India.

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Bruce Riedel : America’s Pakistan Mess Gets Worse With Alleged NATO Strike

Even before NATO allegedly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, this alliance was a wreck. Bruce Riedel on the decades of deceit that have put Obama in diplomatic hell—and why Pakistan holds all the cards.

America’s relationship with Pakistan is crashing. Decades of mistrust and duplicity on both sides are coming to the surface. The Pakistani Army has an agenda that is at odds with ours. At bottom, we are on opposite sides of the war in Afghanistan, and that poisons everything.

The death of two dozen Pakistani jawans, or soldiers, allegedly due to NATO airstrikes, is the latest crisis in a year of crises along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of course, we need to let the two armies investigate what exactly happened and apportion blame. But the facts won’t change the downward slide in the relationship. In 2011 we have argued over drones, a CIA contractor named Raymond Davis, Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, the assassination of Afghan peace negotiator and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, and the Taliban attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in September, which the Pakistani Army orchestrated. In every case, the details were disputed, but the big takeaway is clear—we just don’t trust each other. Two of the six biggest countries in the world simply have no faith in each other’s word.

This trust gap is the result of decades of mutual deceit and lying. Pakistan proclaimed it was our ally against communism or Al Qaeda or whatever when what it really just wanted was arms and help to fight India. America promised to help democracy in Pakistan and instead backed four brutal military dictators. Ironically, the Army believes we have betrayed it over and over again. We have.

Now we are at war in Afghanistan. Since at least 2005, Pakistan’s Army has been assisting the Afghan Taliban in fighting the Afghan government we support and the world accepts as the legitimate government of the country. Pakistan’s Army backs a medieval monstrosity that would impose a reprise of the Taliban hell of the 1990s. It prefers this to what it dreads: a pro-India regime on its western border. It tries to hide its hand, but regularly its troops along the border shelter the Taliban and even provide artillery support. It harbors their leaders, including Mullah Mohammed Omar in Quetta. It gives training and advice to those who kill Americans. Former Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who knows Pakistan well, said it clearly: it backs our enemy.

This is the fundamental problem that all the diplomatic niceties can’t ignore. NATO supports the Karzai government. Pakistan’s Army (not its civilian government) backs the Afghan Taliban. The Army has politically neutered the civilians elected to run Pakistan in 2008. Three years ago it used the Nov. 26 terror attack on Mumbai to neuter President Asif Ali Zardari; he wanted to cooperate with India’s investigation of the terrorists, and it didn’t. It won. Now it has engineered the ouster of Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, Husain Haqqani, whom it has long despised because he literally wrote the book on their lying and deceit. It won again.

Now it is interfering with NATO’s supply line from Karachi. About half our supplies come through there. The Pakistani Army controls both our logistics and the Taliban’s. It’s a good place to be in war. The Army knows it. Now it also has threatened (again) to shut down a drone base.

America has to engage Pakistan. It is too important not to engage. It is on track to have the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. But we also need to help Pakistan’s weak democracy and contain its generals. It is a tough balance. A year ago, President Obama promised he would visit Pakistan in 2011. The visit is not even on the agenda anymore. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is in tatters. It is likely to get even worse now.

Courtesy » The Daily Beast

Pakistan: the situation inside

The natives getting restless – by Mujahid Hussain

The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten

Recent events have caused the army and its intelligence wing to be exposed to criticism in a manner never seen before in this country. This estrangement does not apply to the religious right alone anymore, who were already angry because of their one dimensional view on the war on terror. Both the religious and the left wing parties have felt emotions of betrayal and anger towards the army for different reasons. The liberal intellectuals who support the army in the war on terror, have expressed concerns about the duplicity and the modus operandi of the intelligence agencies.

Usama Bin Ladin’s death in Abbottabad, Mehran Base Attack, successive drone attacks, and now the killing of a youth by the Rangers in Karachi in public, has caused the decibel levels to rise as never before.

The less than complimentary views about the army expressed by Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the torch bearer of Human Rights, has created a new situation. The reaction of the military top brass has been to rely on its carefully nurtured constituency in journalism, politics, establishment and other vocal segments of the society, to stick to the well rehearsed standard narrative, offering the usual rewards in return.

On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif intends to exploit this situation, for he knows full well that his rivals are weak and that internal and external factors may allow him to gain political ascendancy. There is no evidence coming to the fore that the army has grasped the significance of the change in the public mood and increasing disillusionment among its traditional supporters.

It does not seem that the army has yet decided to curtail its role in politics. History, however, is full of ironies. The coziness with the Army that was the preserve of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group [PML-N] is now enjoyed by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party [PPP], given expression through the statements of Rahman Malik, Babar Awan, and Firdous Ashiq Awan. All three are new PPP faces whereas the traditional party leaders have lost their pre-eminence. On the other hand, the PML-N members are moving towards the role played by the PPP workers during and following the Zia regime. Jamaat-e-Islami [JI] has lost favour and Imran Khan has stepped into its shoes.

Whereas the brittleness of the state has become obvious in these circumstance, its only stable institution, the Army, is also facing retreat and uncertainty. The situation in the tribal regions is a stalemate. The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten. In Sindh, the increasing unrest in cities is not a good omen for all unitary forces including the Army even though there is no prominent movement in the rural Sindh. …

Read more: ViewPoint

How deeply Pakistan is intefering in Afghanistan

Report slams Pakistan for meddling in Afghanistan

DAWN

KABUL: Pakistani military intelligence not only funds and trains Taliban fighters in Afghanistan but is officially represented on the movement’s leadership council, giving in significant influence over operations, a report said.

The report, published by the London School of Economics, a leading British institution, on Sunday, said research strongly suggested support for the Taliban was the “official policy” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

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