by Shehmir Gorgej
Saturday, Sep. 20, 2008 at 8:21 PM
In spite of reports in The Washington Post and Pakistan's DAWN newspaper that Pakistani troops fired at a U.S. helicopter that was raiding an Al Qaeda safehouse in Southern Waziristan, the defence establishments in the two countries denied the incident.
Realpolitick and business interests of the military-industrial complex seems to be blocking a sound U.S. policy on defanging Pakistan's military.
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An appeal has been made to U.S. presidential hopefuls, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, to tackle the problem of terrorism emanating from Pakistan heads-on, rather than succumb to pressures of realpolitick or the special interests of the military industrial complex.
In a missive sent to Obama and McCain, journalist and American Friends of Baluchistan founder Ahmar Mustikhan, regretted that Pakistan is now resolved to use the very weapons the U.S. had given to it to combat terror against American soldiers in Afghanistan.
As many as 10,000 Al Qaeda terrorists and thrice that number Pakistani Taliban have found sanctuary in Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bordering Afghanistan. Islamabad considers these warriors sans frontier its strategic asset.
Pakistan Army, the fourth largest in the world and equipped with nuclear arms, Monday gave orders to its troops to shoot at sight any U.S. soldiers that cross into Pakistan in hot pursuit of Al Qaeda terrorists. Last week a U.S chopper was fired upon by the Pakistan forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, both The Washington Post and Pakistan's most reliable DAWN newspaper reported, but the U.S. and Pakistani defence establishments denied the incident.
Even in the past, there have been massive cover ups of skirmishes between U.S. and Pakistani troops. From foot soldiers to high level U.S. commanders are increasingly feeling frustrated by Pakistani support for Al Qaeda.
Former commander of the International Security Assistance Force, General Dan McNeil, was the first American to reveal his troops were killed by Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corp.
Islamabad received more than $12 billion in military aid from the U.S. since the 911 attacks eight years ago, but its military continued to provide shelter and top level security to Al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman Alzwahiri.
The main reason for continued U.S. arms supplies to Pakistan, in spite of that country harboring Al Qaeda, is the lobbying power of the U.S. military-industrial complex on the U.S. Capitol.
Mustikhan sent copies of the letter to Senators Joe Biden, Richard Lugar and Robert Casey; Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Brad Sherman; General David McKiernan, who is commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan; and William Wood and Anne Patterson, U.S. Ambassadors to Afghanistan and Pakistan, respectively.
Following is the full text of Mustikhan's letter to Obama and McCain:
You deserve praise for jointly paying tributes to the victims of 911 as this show of unity in the face of global terrorism warmed my heart like the hearts of tens of millions of people all over the world.
I am a journalist of longstanding from Pakistan, founder of the American Friends of Baluchistan. I want to bring to your notice and also to the notice of your election campaign Pakistan army orders to shoot at sight U.S. soldiers who put their own lives in harms way in pursuit of terrorists in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
These terrorists have found safe sanctuary there, under the protection of the Pakistan Army, since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom.
I am shocked there has been no official U.S. condemnation of these Pakistani Army orders, made public by their spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.
It is regrettable that Pakistan that has got upwards of $12 billion in U.S. aid, mostly military aid, and now seems resolved to use those very arms against none other but American heroes who are fighting a war for peace against the forces of global terrorism.
Even if the present administration is in its final months and can not make a long lasting policy, a strong condemnation from your camps against Pakistan is in order. This is a most serious matter that a future president of the U.S. must address for the safety and wellbeing of Americans and peace in the world.
The latest Pakistan army orders to shoot at sight American soldiers pursuing Al Qaeda terrorists should remove any misconceptions about Islamabad's role in the war on terror.
I would also like to draw your attention to an editorial that appeared September 14, 2008 in The Washington Post, under the headline “The War in Pakistan.”
The editorial reads: “FOR MORE than six years, the Bush administration has relied on Pakistan's government and army to combat Taliban and al-Qaeda networks based in the country's tribal territories along the border with Afghanistan. The result has been the strengthening of both networks in the rugged and virtually lawless region; a steady increase in Taliban assaults on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan; and ominous reports that al-Qaeda is using its bases to prepare for new attacks on Western targets, including the United States. By now it is clear that Pakistani army and security forces lack the capacity to defeat the extremists -- and may even support some of the Taliban commanders. Pakistan's army has arranged truces with some of the extremists that don't preclude them from fighting in Afghanistan. U.S officials say that the Pakistani intelligence service was complicit in a July 7 suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul.”
There's a slight error in the editorial that “Pakistani army and security forces lack the capacity to defeat the extremists.” The fact of the matter is the Pakistani establishment, which means army generals and senior bureaucrats and a huge section of the top echelons of Pakistani society from different political organizations, consider the Al Qaeda and Taliban as Pakistan's strategic national assets. As such Pakistani security services provide top level security to Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman Alzwahiri and Mullah Omar, while posing as an ally of the U.S.
Pakistan is a military ally of China and Iran, and only interested in milking American taxpayers monies.
You might have noticed Pakistan was publicly defending one of the most notorious terrorists Jalaluddin Haqqani as “good Taliban” and considers him so much of a sacred cow that they are supporting him against U.S. and International Security Assistance Force troops.
In contrast to support for extremists, Pakistan army has killed tens of thousands of Baluch nationalists during five military operations since Baluchistan was annexed illegally by Pakistan in March 1948, seven and half months after the British left India in August 1947.
Baluchistan is a Texas-sized stateless region divided among Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, and the people there have been yearning for freedom and independence for 60 years now.
We the Baluch believe the state of Pakistan is the terror and is not a very legitimate state organization by itself. The sooner it is done away with through peaceful balkanization and Baluchistan gets liberation, the better it would be for the rest of the world.
Thousands of Baluch have given their lives for the cause of freedom and justice. The martyrs include Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former chief minister and governor of Baluchistan, who was killed by the Pakistan Army extra judicially on August 26, 2006.
The military atrocities against the Baluch include burning alive the freedom fighters, throwing them off from U.S. supplied helicopters, nailing them Jesus style to get false confessions, rape and sodomy, and extreme torture in military concentration cells.
The crusade for international justice for Baluchistan is being led by the De Jure Ruler of Baluchistan, Khan of Kalat Beglar Begi [Prince among the Princes] Suleman Daud Ahmedzai who has sought exile in the United Kingdom. Ahmedzai intends to knock the International Court of Justice at the Hague. This case can lead to a peaceful balkanization of Pakistan.
But his move needs your backing and support.
Baluchistan is an extremely rich land, strategically located, and the Baluch would welcome the U.S. presence in their nation building activities. Any help to the Baluch will not be without significant rewards.
You might agree young Americans from the countryside can not possibly be dispatched to each and every corner of the world to combat terrorism. This must be done locally and within the present framework of Pakistani state set-up this is not only improbable but simply impossible since Pakistan Army considers Islamic jihadists their strategic national assets.
Thus the orders to shoot at sight any American soldiers venturing into the F.A.T.A.
What do the Pakistani army generals want? Surely, another 911.
It's a shame.
As a student of politics I can see the main problem the U.S. military commanders are facing in Afghanistan today is there is no political strategy to back up the soldiers in the field and ensuring a decisive military victory.
I urge you to revamp the now decadent policy of considering Pakistan Army as an ally—it is a jihadist army and jihad is the cornerstone of Pakistan military philosophy. It is an abnormally large army, armed with nuclear weapons and ranks one step ahead of the U.S. in its size.
But there are solutions.
Once the U.S. backs the the right to self determination of the Baluch people, the terrorist state of Pakistan will crumble like a house of cards.
I urge you to evolve a clear cut policy on Baluchistan and its freedom in the longterm military strategic and business interests of the U.S. and peace in the world. The plight of the Baluch in Iran is no different and the mullahs there publicly hang them on flimsiest pretexts.
There is already some U.S. support for the Iranian Baluch, but the security managers stiff condition they must not mingle with the Pakistani Baluch is untenable. We are one people divided by an artificial border and the U.S. must help tear down this artificial border, rather than further bolster it.
I urge you to initiate talks with Baluch leaders for the peaceful legal battle at the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
Here I will like to use the words of Burmese freedom fighter Daw Aung Sang Suu Kyi, who I am proud to say was my eldest sister's classmate throughout their school years: 'Please use your liberty to promote ours.'
[Picture shows Ahmar Mustikhan, making a Buddhist peace gesture in front of the Gandhi memorial in Washington D.C.. Standing next to him is U.S author and sociologist Jacob Love.]