It is refreshing to see Pakistani political leadership opening up in their response to the recent American verbal onslaught against ‘ISI’s support of the Haqqani group of militants’ – a thesis of deliberate mischief cooked up by the US – which are supposed to be targeting US soldiers in Afghanistan from their hideouts in North Waziristan. One would have imagined, though, our rulers had picked up the courage to expose the US designs in the region, and to achieve them against us, much earlier, rather than merely sulking and leaving the task to the army and the ISI to defend themselves.
Nevertheless, the fact of US-led coalition forces’ defeat pointed out by Prime Minister Gilani, and a desperate search for a scapegoat, as Foreign Minister Khar has told OIC Foreign Ministers’ gathering at New York must be hammered home to the international community. And New York, where Ms Khar happens to be at the moment, is the most appropriate place to air our grievances. She told a Pakistani news channel that there were red lines and rules of engagement with Americans, which should not be broken. Later, answering a question by MSNBC she plainly said that the US officials, in the midst of the war on terror, “want to create scapegoats because success as we perceived it may not be coming”.
However, we should substantiate our response of US defeat and search for a scapegoat with the reality on the ground in Afghanistan: over 80 percent of the country’s territory remains in the hands of the resistance, even after 10 years of war waged by the world’s best equipped and best trained force the Americans could manage to muster; a substantial part of the money the US pays to the warlords for the transit of war equipment and provisions and the yield of a flourishing drug trade ultimately lands in the pockets of the resistance; the most sensitive and guarded US and NATO sites remained besieged for 20 hours; and it is under these circumstances that President Obama and his cheeky officials proclaim, “Taliban are on the back foot.” These US assertions are reminiscent of the Bush’s declaration of victory over Iraq soon after the invasion and became a standing joke to malign him, as the Iraqis kept fighting for years and are still hitting at the foreign troops left at the bases.
Meanwhile, CENTCOM chief General James Mattis, who met COAS General Kayani, took a hard stand in line with Panetta-Mullen verbal attacks, refusing to be drawn in about General Kayani’s counter question about the cross-border attacks on Pakistan. General Kayani met corps commanders at a specially called meeting to formulate a clear stand and check operational preparedness of the armed forces. The unanimous view was that no attack on Pakistan would be tolerated.
In view of the scenario of heightened tension, the Prime Minister has taken the right step of contacting leaders of different political parties and called an APC (National Assembly has also been summoned for October 3). He has also called Foreign Minister Khar back from the US to join in the deliberations. The nation is expecting the politico-military leadership to come up with a firm resolve to defend the sovereignty and integrity of country whatever the cost. – Nation