Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

Pakistan still the greatest worry, says Biden

February 12, 2010
(Outside the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah)

(Outside the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah)

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told CNN this week that his biggest worry was not Afghanistan, not Iraq and not even Iran which is hurtling into a fresh confrontation with the West over its nuclear programme.  The big concern was Pakistan with  its nuclear weapons and  a radicalised section of society.

“It’s a big country. it has nuclear weapons that are able to be deployed.  It has a real significant minority of radicalised population. It is not a completely functional democracy in the sense we think about it.  And so….. that’s my greatest concern.”

Biden’s remarks are unlikely to go down well in Pakistan, which bristles at being  lumped with dangerous countries .  Indeed the vice-president has spoken just when reports were emerging that the United States and Pakistan were starting to feel more comfortable with each other after a rocky couple of years.  Pakistan has won praise from U.S. military leaders for its successful operation in the difficult terrain of  South Waziristan. It has  also sought a key role in a resolution of the Afghan war, offering to mediate with Taliban factions operating from its soil.

Indeed, a top expert has suggested that this is perhaps the time to offer Pakistan a civilian nuclear  deal on the lines of the one agreed to with India, to win its complete cooperation in the war on terrorism.  C. Christian Fair, a professor at Georgetown University, says  nuclear cooperation could deliver results where billions of dollars of American aid have failed. “More so than conventional weapons or large sums of cash, a conditions-based civilian nuclear deal may be able to diminish Pakistani fears of U.S. intentions while allowing Washington to leverage these gains for greater Pakistani cooperation on nuclear proliferation and terrorism,”  she wrote in an article in The Wall Street Journal

The two criteria that Pakistan would have to meet is, first,  provide access and cooperation on nuclear suppliers’ networks such as the one that was run by A.Q. Khan  and dismantle them.  Second, it  would have to demonstrate sustained and verifiable commitment in combating all terrorist groups on its soil, including those groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba that Pakistan often calls “freedom fighters” acting on behalf of Kashmir and India’s Muslims.

It will be a long haul, given that the thing that terrifies America the most about Pakistan is the ” nexus of nuclear proliferation and Islamist militancy”  as Fair says. Indeed, even the Indian deal has taken five years to go through and its a long way off before there is movement on the ground.  

America and Pakistan have long had a complicated relationship but what does one make of these contradictory signals ?


By: Yauseen Roman

Vice President Biden is precise on Pakistan, with 172,800,000 population (Punjabis 44.15%, Pushtuns 15.42%, Sindhis 14.1%, Serakis (Multanis) 10.53%, Mohajirs &.57%, Balochs 3.57%, others 4.66%), with its brittle composition of population’s fabric. The Pushtuns, the emergent ethnic power both politically and militarily is in a hard-hitting competition with the powerhouse, the Punjabis. During the presidency of Zial-ul-Haq, Pushtuns embedded themselves in the army and especially in ISI (Inter-Service-Intelligence). The two powerful wings inside the ISI have their own fundamentalist branches of paramilitary (Taliban and Lashke-e-Taieba belong to Punjab’s wing in ISI and Jamat-ul-Uluma and Tahrik-e-Nifaz-e-Islam run by Pushtun wing of ISI), and they are in a serious competition to run Pakistan based on their political agenda.

Unity among ethnic groups in Pakistan is another ingredient for the disintegration of Pakistan. Pushtuns, Baloches, and Southeast Multan has the same political agenda and put together 26% of Pakistan’s Political population; on the other hand, Sindhis, Mohagirs, Southwest Multan and others including Kashmiries form 29% of Political population of Pakistan. Pujabis with 44% of current majority is faced against a concealed majority, a powerful nationalistic force that has all times in its hand and defy Pujab’s base. Pujabis for the last ten years has been under pressure to keep the integrity of Pakistan by any means, the severe case, marriage with terrorism (Al-Queda), by protecting, financing, arming, and giving training camps to Bin Laden. All of these conspiracies, even double faces politics with the United States, by spending billions of dollar, of US aides, on Punjab’s agenda that amplified the gaps between the two booby bombs, have been orchestrated only for one goal to stay in power. The Pujabis know that the Indian influences in Afghanistan is not for instability of Pakistan; it’s the growing disappointment among other ethnic groups for the last 62 years since the formation of Pakistan; therefore, the Indian depiction is the creation of a forged stigma for the diversion of national discontent.

The civil war between the two ISI factions has just left 20000 people dead only in 2010 in Pakistan, and majority of these victims were innocent people. The two fake, so called, war in Swat and South Waziristan was nothing more than a cat and mouse war between Pushtuns and Punjabis. The rivalries between Pushtuns and Punjabis has changed Pakistan into two battlegrounds, Pujab and NWFP (North West Frontier Provinces), and their paramilitaries have carried out tens of suicide bombing on both side, just last year, and their main targets were innocent Pushtuns and Punjabis.

Joe Biden’ comments, his concern, over Pakistan, is very serious. If Pakistan collapse, the chance of Al-Queda for triumphing of their mega million dreams is immenent; because, in Pakistan everything is covenant (as we know about A. Q. Khan’s deal with the Libyan), and the ordinary ISI colonels or its generals don’t hesitate to make a transaction with Bin Laden.


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