ISLAMABAD - While the ISAF forces led by the US are still fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, due to its bold and sustained operational strategy, duly reinforced by the National Action Plan (NAP); the Pakistan military has almost eliminated terrorism in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and other parts of the country. In this context, terrorist hideouts in FATA have been totally demolished. Of course, Pakistan has achieved this tremendous success against terrorism by sacrificing over 70000 lives and undergoing an economic loss of over $107 billion.
Now, despite this state of affairs, some hostile intelligence agencies are sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan using Afghan soil. However, because of the Pakistan military’s ongoing Radd UL Fassad operation, these hostile forces are left to orchestrate only sporadic terrorist attacks.
Along with fighting terrorism, the Pakistan military has made many other positive contributions towards strengthening the country and helping bring peace to the region. It has supported democracy in the country, and contributed towards the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by providing security to the Chinese manpower working on this project. It has held talks with the Afghan leadership to seek their cooperation in fighting terrorism and fencing Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It has also reinforced government efforts of establishing peace in the region by encouraging dialogue with the Afghan government and it has also asked India to start bilateral talks with Pakistan to resolve their many disputes.
Since it is difficult to implement a strategy of blaming Pakistan for every terrorist act that takes place in the region, hostile forces have instead turned to attacking the military in the country by financing negative international propaganda
Nevertheless, Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the region have not been positively reciprocated, either by Afghanistan, or by India, as both are probably thrilled with their strategic partnership with the US. It appears that instead of the prevalence of geo-economics, geopolitics are playing out in the region mainly because of two main factors:
First, instead of seeking a negotiated peace with a nuclear armed Pakistan, India is instead exploiting western sensitivities on terrorism and USA’s concerns about China’s economic rise, to support their plans for a hegemony in South Asia. They also blame Pakistan for all the terrorism in the region, even though Pakistan has already done more than enough to prove that this is not the case. In fact, by blaming Pakistan, India wants to mask the fact that it is sponsoring terrorism themselves in order to undermine CPEC.
Second, the US feels encouraged to support India’s regional game plan of weakening Pakistan, since it hopes that ultimately India will act as its partner to support its Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China. Whereas India’s visible loyalty to the USA’s strategy is just meant to get US support for their membership bids for the UNSC and NSG, as well as to get access to advanced military technology.
Since it is difficult to implement this strategy of blaming Pakistan for every terrorist act that takes place in the region, hostile forces have instead turned to attacking the military in the country. They have resorted to financing negative international propaganda, by highlighting the so called civil-military divide in Pakistan. And, sadly enough, some misled Pakistani politicians, media channels, think tanks and civil society members are also criticising the Pakistan military on this account, not realising that they may be supporting the enemy’s agenda.
In the above context, just one example would suffice to prove that the international media is egged on to criticise the Pakistan military. By quoting Pakistani media channels, following international newspapers/ magazines have published articles and stories, claiming that the Pakistan military establishment was behind the recent blockade of a prominent TV channel. This news was reported in ZeeNews, Times of India, News Bharati, VOA News, the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and the Qatar Tribune to name just a few publications and news outlets. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the Pakistani military has no direct concern with the workings of news and entertainment channels and there is no real evidence to suggest otherwise.
As a result, it would be appropriate to suggest that Pakistani policy makers, mainstream media houses, think tanks and civil society members should effectively counter the evil designs of the hostile forces that are trying to weaken the Pakistan military, in turn weakening Pakistan itself. And, those Pakistanis, who quite often criticise the military on account of imagined civil-military divide should also refrain from doing so, realising that they may be inadvertently serving the enemy’s interest.
*Colonel R Mohammad Hanif: The writer is an ex-Army Colonel and a former Research Fellow, Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), Islamabad*