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Pakistan Army could easily live without US aid

ISLAMABAD: Top military commanders believe that the Pakistan Army can easily live without the US military aid but is not yet ready to go on the warpath with America, it has been learnt.

Whether or not it follows the will of the people, as has been unanimously reflected through a resolution by parliament, is not yet clear but the civil and military leadership has assured John Kerry that Pakistan would continue cooperating with the US in its controversial war on terror if the latter accedes to its request: “Tell us or do it jointly.”

John Kerry has returned to Washington after his “successful” tour to Pakistan following the post-May 2 debacle and now a concerted effort is being made by the civilian and military leadership to bring down the temperature. A clear signal is being given to media men to help cool down the USA vs Pakistan escalation.

While the May 2 has shaken every Pakistani and gave birth to a sense of insecurity, in their background briefings the media is being told: “Many are exaggerating the crisis as well.”

They believe that the people are emotional and thus not realising the consequences and that such a hostile environment against the US would lead the country to a possible warpath with the US.

What would be the price of such a hostile relationship between Pakistan and the US, is frightening for our leadership, which believes that if the people got the hint of such consequences, they would not push the country to such a situation.

Our parliament, through its Oct 2008 and May 2011 unanimous resolutions, resolved not to dance to the tunes of Washington, seeks immediate halt to drone attacks, wants an immediate review of the post-9/11 policies, particularly the policy on the so-called war on terror, desires dialogue with extremist groups, asks for an independent foreign policy and looks for a complete review of the Pak-US relations and their counter-terrorism cooperation but, according to reliable sources, John Kerry has been asked: Give us the target, we would get him for you or at least do it jointly. “Tell us or do jointly,” this is what, according to an official source, John Kerry was told.

Kerry, who is considered pro-Pakistan, in his press conference spoke like a “Master”, made it clear that no one here should expect that he was visiting Pakistan to apologise and gave the clear choice if Pakistan wanted to become a haven for terrorists (as defined by the Americans) or a prospering democracy (ignoring who fed and supported dictators in the past) but the Pakistani authorities are happy with their meetings with the US senator. None in authority here sought from Washington to define “terrorism” and whether those fighting against the Indian forces in Kashmir or against the occupation forces in Afghanistan are terrorists.

Although, the president and prime minister did not bother about the May 2 attack, as was reflected in their immediate reactions, the military top commanders admit in their background briefings that nothing had bothered them in life more than the Abbottabad fiasco, both because of its potential consequences for Pakistan, and due to the damage caused to the reputation of the Pakistan Armed Forces.

The military commanders aspire for unity of the country, which is direly needed now, but without explaining if the civilian and military leadership is ready to address the causes of what has divided the Pakistani nation badly after the 9/11.

History shows that Musharraf’s post-9/11 policies and his decision to blindly follow the US war on terror has badly divided the Pakistani nation and even made the Pakistan Army the target of its own people. There is, however, no answer to the fundamental question as to how would the nation unite without independently assessing the policy on the war on terror.

The latest Geo survey on Osama’s killing should be an eye-opener for the decision makers here as only seven percent are happy over his killing while his murder had made 50 percent of Pakistanis upset and worried. Still anyone who is tagged by the US as a terrorist becomes a terrorist for Pakistani authorities as well. None of the Pakistani authorities discussed with Kerry how the so-called war on terror is in friction with the faith of the Muslims, including Pakistanis.

A major concern of the military commanders is that the media should not try to divide and expose further divisions in the country and institutions but they don’t ponder if extremism and terrorism could be controlled through the barrel of the gun.

Interestingly, our leadership, both civilian and military, appear to trust Kerry when he says that he can give in writing with his own blood that the US is not after the Pakistani nuclear assets. Hillary Clinton is said to be also giving the same assurances but there was no one to tell Kerry as to why then the Pakistan’s nuclear programme has always been the target of the US administration and American media.

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