For God’s Sake, Don’t…!
by Dr. Haider Mehdi / March 15th, 2008
The news all over the media is that the US army “is developing a plan to send around 100 trainers to work with a Pakistani para-military force that is the vanguard in the fight against Al Qaida and other groups in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas.” This report further states that “US trainers initially would be restricted to training compounds, but with Pakistani consent could eventually accompany Pakistani troops on missions ‘to the point of contact’ with militants as American trainers now do with Iraqi troops in Iraq.” Eventually, the Pentagon plans to build a training base and spend more than $400 million over the next several years on this project. US officials are giving the impression that all of this is being planned as a benevolent act of American altruism and generosity to help a friendly country (Pakistan) to fight a counterinsurgency that is threatening its very existence.
In other words, in America’s view (and of the apologists for Musharraf’s and the US perspective in Pakistan), Pakistan is facing so-called “extremism” and “terrorism” on its soil and the war against it will have to continue indefinitely. The implicit message is that the “war on terror” is neither only an American war nor one of General (retd) Musharraf’s exclusively designed political doctrine — it is Pakistan’s war, where a specific segment of its citizenry (especially Pashtuns in the northern area of the country) have gone ideologically berserk (because Islam is violent) seeking martyrdom for “hoors” (heavenly beauties) in the life hereafter. The road to this imaginary Heavenly Kingdom is sought by these misled miscreants by identifying Bush’s noble and cavalier America as the enemy. In addition, all those who support Bush’s so-called worthy enterprise of democracy and freedom are on the death list of these gone-mad Muslim terrorists.
Indeed, this whole approach is absurd. In fact, all this anti-Islamic propaganda is a set-up to plan American military presence in Pakistan that will expand gradually with time and finally give the Americans a permanent military base (or bases) from which to conduct its global agenda of economic-military-political expansion all the way to the Central Asian Islamic States. It is precisely for this reason that the Americans are supporting Musharraf’s presidency and prefer to deal with a dictator rather than a democratic establishment in Islamabad.
If Pakistan has to survive as a peaceful progressive democratic nation then four matters will have to be settled at once: First, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf will have to go immediately; this will deprive the Americans of their vital contact and present control over instant decision-making in Islamabad (in accordance with their dictates). Equally important is the need to develop political processes by which all matters relating to any kind of military or civil engagement with the United States will have to be decided in the Pakistani parliament by a competent and appropriate legislative body. Three, Pakistan’s military establishment from now on should have only an advisory role (through parliamentary hearings) even when business with the US is purely of a military nature. Fourth, in all matters pertaining to American engagement with Pakistan, the media’s involvement as a forum of debate will have to be an integral mechanism of political decision-making in this country. This will promote the democratic process and public input in national policy-making.
However, the immediate concern that Pakistan’s newly elected parliament should have is the Pentagon’s plan to send over 100 American trainers to the work with and train the Frontier Corps, paramilitary forces of nearly 85,000 members recruited from ethnic groups on the border. For God’s sake, don’t let this happen. It is a plan, if it materializes, that will have catastrophic effects and lasting impacts on Pakistan’s recently elected democratic establishment’s ability to promote its own independence, free of American pressures, and to pursue its national interests in all of its political-military decision-making vis-à-vis the US.
Read all of it here.