Published On: Wed, Mar 5th, 2014

Curbing Finances Of Pakistan: An Unjust Law

Curbing Finances Of Pakistan - An Unjust Law

Ignoring 200 million people of Pakistan, US Congress has enacted a new law to freeze Pakistan’s financial aid until Dr Shakil Afridi is released. The law also conditioned financial assistance with more intense counter terrorism efforts. While American government is talking of long time strategic partnership with Pakistan, the enactment of such law is beyond understanding. It seems US war against terrorism has been made hostage by a criminal whose matter is sub judice in Pakistan.

Unthankful Americans must realize that Pakistan alone remained their determined ally through out war against terrorism. After 9/11 episode, international community including Pakistan joined it in the war but soon unscrupulous American conduct of war made it difficult even for its European friends to continue unconditional support. Countries like Spain, Italy, and France back out from their commitments regarding their troops’ deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan making matters worse for America. US NATO ally Turkey simply refused to play any role in Iraq due to its own strategic and political considerations. Despite the fact that Pakistan’s security concerns were not taken into account when the US invaded Afghanistan, it willingly fulfilled its responsibilities as member of international system. It continued to pay the price for having a long and porous border with a war affected country like Afghanistan. Had the US not attacked Afghanistan after 9/ 11, Pakistan would not have become the victim of unabated violence and terrorism that has wrecked the country ever since.

No doubt, Pakistan has sacrificed more than the NATO and US owing to the war on terror. Still, American and Western officials and policy makers ignore Pakistan’s sacrifices and losses. Pakistan proved to be the first defense line of the world against terrorism. It became the worst victim of terrorism itself after joining US in its war and has lost more than any other ally or US itself. The country faced a continued wave of suicide attacks, bomb blasts and target killings including blowback of missile attacks by the CIA operated drones. The fact of the matter is that if we judge the losses of any country regarding war against terrorism in the last twelve years, Pakistan as a frontline state has given great sacrifices in terms of human life, collateral damage and economic losses. After losing more than 6,000 priceless soldiers, 40,000 innocent civilians and about 100 billion US dollars in economy, it is very unjust to suspect Pakistans’s role as an ally in this war.

As far as the achievements regarding the war on terrorism are concerned, Pakistan’s armed forces and its intelligence services achieved much more than any other country. Armed forces of Pakistan are widely acknowledged to be the most stable institution of the state and its military is regarded as one of the highly professional militaries of the world that meets the high standards of training and professionalism. On the one hand, the armed forces broke the back-bone of Taliban militants through successful military operations which still continue in some tribal areas, while on the other hand, the country’s prestigious intelligence agencies arrested renowned Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, commanders and masterminds. Had there been any sympathies for terrorists, there would not have been too much life loss for army. While, despite the success of military operations against terrorists, the international community showed no heart to amply praise Pakistan and its security institutions.

Unfortunately, this law is out come of US media handling regarding the war. As a perception management strategy at home, US officials and policy makers are playing blame game against Pakistan to divert the attention of their public from the frustrated misadventure in Afghanistan. The continuous propaganda against Pakistan also suggests that the superpower, while facing pressure of its own people back home to end the futile war being fought at their expense in Afghanistan, desperately desires some justification to announce a triumphant withdrawal from the inhospitable territory. Such a negative campaign against Pakistan will only hurt American interests in the long run by further widening the mutual mistrust. .

If US Congress is sincere in probing the high cost of Afghan war with little result, it should demand explanation from Pentagon rather than engaging Pakistan in this debate. After spending one trillion USD in Afghanistan, US government is away from success. While a few billion dollars were given to Pakistan as counter terrorism financial assistance in last decade. Pakistan has deployed an estimated 147,000 forces in the tribal region and border with Afghanistan. Although the country‘s military troops were already dangerously overstretched, they leave no stone unturned to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the region. Such a large military activity overburdened Pakistan financially and it paid a big price for US led War against Terrorism.
The US congress is also intervening in judicial matters of Pakistan by conditioning financial aid with the release of an under trial prisoner. Its act in this regard can also be termed against the notion of rule of law. It is clearly a violation of ideals of founding fathers of America. While master minds of terrorist attacks like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad await a trial for last 13 years due to lacunas in US judicial system, members of Congress are surprisingly interested in criminals of other countries. They should leave the fate of Dr Shakil Afridi on Pakistan’s free and active judiciary to decide.

In the light of these facts, US Government and Congress must review this unjust law. The western officials and intellectuals should also stop blaming Pakistan for the sheer amount of sacrifices the country and its people have made over the course of the last decade. They should stop insulting the brave soldiers who fight against the militants. And they must also stop hurting the martyrs of war on terror by alleging that Pakistan army is not serious in eliminating the terrorist threat.

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