Pakistan’s General Kayani given three-year extension

July 22, 2010

kayani profilePakistan army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez  Kayani, is to be given a a three-year extension to his term of office to maintain continuity in the country’s battle against Islamist militants. 

Kayani, arguably Pakistan’s most powerful man, had been due to retire in November. His future had been the subject of intense speculation for months, with opinion divided between the those who argued he should be given an extension for the sake of continuity, and those who said that Pakistan needed to build its institutions rather than rely on individuals – as it had done with powerful army rulers in the past.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who announced the extension, said the decision to extend Kayani’s term reflected “his effective role in the war against terrorism and in the enforcement of rule of law in the country.”

Kayani is considered to have built a good working relationship with the United States - which needs the Pakistan Army’s help in fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan – prompting speculation, denied by the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, that Washington had pressed for his term of office to be extended.

He has also been the subject of intense speculation in India, where the views of the army – which controls foreign and security policy even under a civilian government – are seen as crucial to determining the fate of the faltering India-Pakistan peace process.

A former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Kayani has been credited with keeping the army out of politics on the whole.  Military analysts also say he has redefined “strategic depth” – an old policy under which Pakistan aimed to use Afghanistan as a rear base in the event of war with India – to suggest instead that the country’s strength should come from a strong economy at home. Yet under his tenure – both as the head of the ISI until 2007 and then as army chief – Pakistan has also been criticised for failing to take strong enough action against Islamist and Taliban militants.

Otherwise, relatively little is known about the thinking of the inscrutable general, who never gives public interviews. Pakistan, its neighbours and the United States and its allies fighting in Afghanistan, will now have another three years to find out.

Comments

The news around the world is absolutely lit up against the ISI and Pak Army support of the Taliban against America, Pakistan’s sole financial supporter.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Something to think about: Why are all of China’s best friends, rogue/failed states?

North Korea, Iran, Burma, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Pakistan!

Posted by B_hazard | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,

You have to be stupid to not realize the timing of this leak of the documents.

Political opinion of the Afghan mission is at an all time low. I have accurately time and again predicted this all along….Pak Army and ISI will be scapegoated for the Afghan NATO mission failure.

There is too much evidence against Pakistan to not make such an assertion.

The question is, how long is Obama and the Whitehouse going to keep calling Pakistan an ally, while U.S. taxpayers keep giving the Pakistani’s aid monies, U.S. soldiers are dying in Afghanistan, while Pakistani agencies work against the Afghan war effort and the U.S. is saying or doing little to stop Pakistan to carrying out these nefarious ventures against the west?

There is an old saying”

“You can fool some people some time….but you can’t fool all the people all the time”.

It is quite disturbing and staggering that Washington has known of this for so long and taken no military action as of yet.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

I agree with G-W. The timing of the news about ISI-Militant nexus seems to coincide with the recent meeting of many nations in Kabul where the future plans were laid out. It has already been assumed that the US is on its way out. There was supposed to be a major push into Kandahar and it has not materialized yet. They have just a couple of months to accomplish that before cold season sets in again.

On top of the ISI-militant link issue, the US has been severely embarrassed by the Wikileaks (close to 90000 documents). It is possible that some anti-American counter strategists have timed these leaks as well. This issue is bigger than the ISI related news. So Pakistan’s luck might help them here. The US has way too much embarrassment to face – “defeat” in Afghanistan, Wikileaks, and appearing like an idiot by pumping money into Pakistan when it was being betrayed by the ISI and Pak military, truce with the Taliban against the American interests. Obama also has to face the house elections where things might tilt against the democrats.

ISI might get away with a slap in the wrist due to the above pressing issues facing the US. The outcome of this will be much more dangerous – it will encourage the ISI to take more “bold steps” which can lead to more chaos in the region and probably the world. The US is losing its grip as I can see it. Its European allies are simply waiting to get the nod from the US to get out as quickly as they can from this region. They might end up bribing the Taliban, Pak military etc in order to keep trouble in their homelands. And Pak military might become blood thirsty for blackmailing in the future.

Or the US can lose its mind and engage in a massive war in the region that would make the Afghan/Iraq missions look like picnics.

I am only interested in how this plays out for my country. India should try to stay out of this whole mess. The Americans and Pakistanis created this mess. Let them deal with it and choke each others’ necks. But we will be under threat and attacks because of our proximity to this god-foresaken region. They have never done anything other than destroying others all through history. They are not going to learn anything new.
Unfortunately our system is grossly underprepared and has been on a reactive mode rather than a pro-active mode. Are there any ways by which we can alert these sleeping beauties? We have too much business that can be jeopardized by criminal states in the neighborhood.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Here is another article that directly points at the ISI:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/26/world/ asia/26isi.html?_r=1&hp

Interestingly the Wikileak information refers to a time period about the ISI when Mr. Kayani was in charge of it. Another name that appears prominent is that of Hamid Gul. This guys is a terrorist in offical clothing. It is surprising that the CIA has not knocked this guy out yet.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

As Henry Kissinger once said; ‘America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.

-Maybe Pakistan also has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. What is good for America maybe good for Pakistan as well. America supported Mujahideen against Soviets, why should any one be surpried if Pakistan might be supporting Taliban against the Americans?
The larger dilemma is, US has worked to bring a strategic shift in Pakistan Military and Intelligence services. US-Pakistan strategic dialogue has been opened up in all fields. Their best hope is to nudge the Pakistani military and intelligence against the millitant groups. Pakistan itself has suffered a blow back from certain policies.
I don’t think America has any other choice, if it becomes hostile to Pakistan it enters into unchartered waters. America has so far invaded countries like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. But Pakistan being a large country, with a fairly well trained Army and efficient intelligence service is a different game altogether.
Pakistan and US will have to find common ground, Admiral Mullen called for Pakistan to keep in mind US interests during his recent visit to Islamabad. Maybe he was told to keep Pakistan’s interets in mind as well in private.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

G-W:
” the CIA built the ISI and they can also take it apart.”

-There in lies the problem, despite the best of their efforts, the CIA is coming to terms with the reality that ISI is not an easy game after all. They have tried to bribe, coerce, threaten, blackmail, harrass, cajole Pakistan. But in the end the reality can’t be changed.

From the nYTimes article:
“American officials have described Pakistan’s spy service as a rigidly hierarchical organization that has little tolerance for “rogue” activity. But Pakistani military officials give the spy service’s “S Wing” — which runs external operations against the Afghan government and India — broad autonomy, a buffer that allows top military officials deniability. ”

-What is the “S Wing” of the ISI. These are higly classified things. There might be an ISI within the ISI.
Just as we found about the JSOC-Joint Special Operations Command in the US, whose very existence was denied until recently.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umair,

It does not matter that you think your ISI is untouchable, that is a myth that you are perpetuating and the most arrogant ones like the ISI, are also them most scared and most vulnerable.

You just basically stated that Pakistan’s leaders have the right to “plausible denial”. Those little smug self-comforting statements won’t mean much, once the Foreign Policy suits and Military Brass from Washington show up in Islamabad and make Kayani, Pasha and his friends wet their trousers.

It will be fun to see your PA and ISI bend, just like Mushie did when Richard Armitage and the “suits” showed up in Pakistan with their fingers pointed.

I suspect that you will change your tune with the shifting sands in Islamabad.

Don’t kid yourself Umair, you are dealing with the greatest superpower on earth, with the most powerful army and you got nothing, at the end of the day. Easy game or not, it is a game the west will always win in the end.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “What is good for America maybe good for Pakistan as well”

The only difference is that Pakistan is not USA. It has nukes and a military that is reasonably better than that of any Middle Eastern military. But that’s it. But Pakistanis behave as though they are a super power like the USA. Therein lies the problem. That is why on four occasions your small military tried to take on the Indian military. You people still cannot digest the reality that there is no match. Proxy war with the Soviet Union has opened up another avenue for your military to engage India. But look at the repercussions of it. Look at the loss in terms of resources, lives and economy for your country. Life is not meant for war at all times. This is something most of your countrymen do not understand. You guys think everything only in terms of wars and strategies. Americans wage wars. But at the same time they have built an enormous infrastructure to run their country and keep their economic system going. Your country has nothing other than a military. There is no nation. There is a big hole there. Surely you have millions of people living in that hole. But there is nothing else. How long do you think you can go on like this? Conflicts are needed to keep your military going. It is engaging from one conflict to another, while it has trained its people to blame others for all the ills.

ISI will be corrected, if not by Pakistanis, definitely by the Americans. Do not underestimate them. They are slowly changing from the 6 decade old policy of seeing Pakistan as an ally to an enemy. Of course engaging Pakistan militarily will not be practical. But there are other ways of doing it. And the US is very good at those means. An economically weakened and isolated system can be made to crumble internally. Pakistan has become extremely fragile. Do not forget this fact. Just making emotional chest thumping will not help. How long can you survive by licking the uranium and missiles?

Your country has been working hard to go against the Americans. They remembered Vietnam. Having lost the battle there to the Soviets, they won the war against them in Afghanistan. Now they are losing a battle to Pakistan. The war is not over yet. And your country will become that enemy that they will fight the final war. Sense and wisdom should prevail at this time.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@”As Henry Kissinger once said; ‘America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.
-Maybe Pakistan also has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. What is good for America maybe good for Pakistan as well” Posted by Umairpk

A superpower can afford to say something like that & put it’s money where it’s mouth is but a country like Pakistan which is very much dependant on the US/West for it’s survival can not. It’s easy to say that you can survive without US/western aid & can withstand harsh economic sanctions imposed on you but when push comes to shove, it will be extremely hard for Pakistan to recover. Besides aid, a major chunk of Pakistan’s revenues come from exports to the US/west (since your tax collection rate is extremely low) & It will be very hard for you to replace that income with another source. Don’t expect much from your chinese friends because they are only interested in selling their weapons & products to you & not in buying anything from you. Look at the trade figures & you’ll know what I’m talking about.

@”I don’t think America has any other choice, if it becomes hostile to Pakistan it enters into unchartered waters”

The US does not have many good options at this time since our troops are in the line of fire but once they are out of there, it will be a very different ball game vis-a-vis Pakistan & the US/allies can do a lot of damage, economically & diplomatically, which could bring Pakistan to it’s knees & destabalize it further.

@ Reuters: How about a thread about the hottest topic on the planet right now?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Umair, I predicted this over a year ago. I told you that if the Pakistani’s don’t quit aiding and abetting the Taliban that NATO is trying to defeat, that once the Afghan mission starts to falter, Pakistan will be blamed and scapegoated.

The way this ISI helping Taliban news is tearing across the USA right now, it looks like the polarizing and scapegoating of Pakistan has already begun. The U.S. news is liberally blaming the ISI and Pakistan for the potential failure of the Afghan mission.

This is what billions of USD in aid has given America, an ally called Pakistan that has been plotting the defeat of the U.S.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

“The Afghan government is shocked with the report that has opened the reality of the Afghan war,” said Siamak Herawi, a government spokesman.

Herawi charged that Washington needed to deal with Pakistani intelligence, known as the ISI.

“There should be serious action taken against the ISI, who has a direct connection with the terrorists,” he said. “These reports show that the U.S. was already aware of the ISI connection with the al Qaeda terrorist network. The United States is overdue on the ISI issue and now the United States should answer.”

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I think after this report, US efforts to have Hamid Gul declared an ‘international terrorist’, will intensify dramatically.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

The impotent, clueless and powerless civilian government has to keep taking punch after punch to the gut and to the head, in attempting to deflect the recent finger pointing at pakistan aiding and abetting the Taliban.

This maybe just a simple case of the secret covert Army Punjabi government seeking its own goals of Sunni Empire expansion, at any cost, even training Taliban to kill American soldiers.

Talking to Gilani and Zardari is a waste of time.

It is time that Obama, and his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, get together with Gen. Kayani and Pasha and directly discuss face to face the certain consequences and repercussions of continued undermining of U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

But look at the repercussions of it. Look at the loss in terms of resources, lives and economy for your country. Life is not meant for war at all times.
Posted by KPSingh01

==

As far as Pakistan is considered LIFE IS MEANT FOR WAR AT ALL TIMES. The warrior state if you will. 1948-65 was the only period of relative peace, even though military coup had already taken place.   Because the society was less militant, and resembled India in that post partition era.

Pakistan doesn’t have oil like Iran. It doesn’t have service industry (if it does it is only terror service). The puny textile, and football export industry badly depends on the West.  Pak economy is literally on life support kept afloat by US aid money. But if you read braggadocio by paks, they would like to convey an impression they are on their feet.

However, chickens are coming to the roost for Pakistan. Still with militaristic mindset, and no interest in nation building, they are pursuing policies that will lead to internal collapse and anarchy which are around the corner.

This is where all of PA/ISI efforts will come to naught. Ensuring NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan may accomplish the strategic game of the warrior state, but it will do nothing for nation building.

Imagine the tarnishing of the brand name Pakistan, that PA/ISI have accomplished and how much this would contribute to undermining any chances of Pakistan joining rest of the global economy.

Posted by Seekeroftruth | Report as abusive
 

Umair:

@America supported Mujahideen against Soviets, why should any one be surpried if Pakistan might be supporting Taliban against the Americans?”

–Surprised because their cousins in Pakistan with same ideology will be working against your country. Americans packed and went away, you do not have that choice. You are playing with fire. It can be so long you can avoid getting burnt.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

@Seekeroftruth

You’re forgetting Pakistan’s ‘all-weather Chinese friends’. The chinese will single-handedly ressurect Pakistan’s economy & turn it into a global power. Heck, I even read some Pakistani on this blog talk about the various intra-racial marriages taking place between Pakistanis & Chinese :)

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev,

Umair is right, America cannot control nor can it contain the personal directives that Islamabad is pursuing in Afghanistan, not at least under the current situation.

America can however sever ties with Pakistan and declare the ISI and all past and current employees to be a part of a rogue terrorist organization.

At that point a whole range of more flexible options will be at the disposal of the U.S. The leverage that the U.S. can exert is huge, economic, but most of all military.

Last I remember, Pakistan has not more than a week or two of fuel to sustain a military conflict.

Countries that double cross America have a track record of collapsing or getting invaded.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev:
“You are playing with fire. It can be so long you can avoid getting burnt.”

-Certainly, I agree with you absolutely, we are definitely playing with fire. And we have no choice, what you Indians don’t understand is Pakistan’s historical record of playing with fire. Be it Gary Powers flying out of Peshawar airbase with his U-2 back in the cold war to conduct reconnaissance over Soviet airspace , or the biggest operation Cyclone by the CIA to arm the Mujahideen against the Soviets. We have had experts of guirella warfare, we had helped establish diplomatic relations between US and China. What is all the uproar about this report? Wait for a day when some day Wikileak will make public documents related to CIA and its involvement in clandestine activities, drugs and overthrowing foreign governments.
The USSR entered into Afghanistan by its own choice and Pakistan had to deal with the fallout. Later the US entered into Afghanistan and Pakistan had to deal with the fallout again. Now Pakistan, its Armed Forces, intelligence services have to first look after Pakistan’s national interest and after that think of someone else.
We cannot serve our country on a platter to outsiders, we are willing to work with allies but not at the expense of our homeland. We are if Pakistan is, we will have to safeguard the country and nation first. So sit tight, relax, Mullen, Holbrook, Clinton, Obama, Petraus, Biden all already know what has been made public.
As I said with Pakistan, choices are limited, and don’t look good either. If Pakistan is playing with fire, I am sure we have enough firefighting capacity in case of a major inferno.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

The issue here isn’t about whether your army sides with the US or with the insurgent militant groups, whom it considers ‘stretegic assets’ important for Pakistan’s national security. The real issue here, is the slimy double game being by your military establishment, of signing up to be a sincere ‘ally’ of the US/allies (& milking $$ in the process), while plotting the defeat of it’s allies with their enemies, behind their backs. If your army is indeed the brave & proud outfit that you claim (a zillion times) it is, why does it not have the guts to say to the Ameicans: We’re going with the other side as it is in our national interest to do so, so take your aid & money & take a hike!
The truth is that despite all the nationalistic rah rah & chest thumping that it propagandizes, it does not have the guts to say so. The only thing it’s beome really good at, is double-crossing & playing it both ways but others aren’t stupid & it looks like the gig is up and it will pay for it.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal,

Remember I told you, the US can never repay for the lives of many brave soldiers and officers of Pakistan Army. The son of Pakistan Army’s surgeon general and I were in same matriculation class in College. Lt. Gen Mushtaq was a top opthalmologist in Pakistan, in Feb 2008 his staff car was hit by a suicide bomber in Rawalpindi and he was martyred in uniform. This is just one example, you cannot imagine of the sacrifices and casualties of Pakistan Army which has been taken during these three years or so.
If the US is so brave why don’t they call it a day and say it publicly. They are free to stop cooperating and working with Pakistan and tell from here on there will be no CSF-Coalition support funds and Pakistan would stop COIN-counter insurgency ops in tribal areas and pull back our forces. US must then publicly announce hostilities. But as you know they tried that with sept 2008 Angoor Adda attack. After which orders were clear from the GHQ, open fire on intruding NATO and US forces if they cross into Pakistan. And even on some occasions Pakistani troops fired warning shots on NATO helicopters.
Before you accuse Pakistan of double dealing, I should tell you we are playing a very complex and difficult situation which is not of our choosing, into our advantage. Thats it. As I quoted Henry Kissinger, there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. Our interests is no more than to safeguard our homeland from all enemies; foreign and domestic, properity for the nation, stable economy and better future. On top of that, super powers must just quit our neighbourhood. simple.
Stop the rant of paying for it. Pay for what? what did we do? double dealing. Not that big crime. Why do you put us in that position in first place. Get out of Afghanistan, and quick. There will be no double dealing. Drag your feet in our neighbourhood, and we will sit together and decide how to deal with the situation.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 
 

I have nothing but respect for the soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, be it Pakistani, American or other but I also have nothing but contempt & disgust for the policy makers of your military establishment, who have blind-folded your nation & beaten it like a pinata, for a good part of it’s existence. It’s the very same short-sighted & selfish people, whose suicidal & self destructive policies have cost the lives of many of your soldiers, including your friend but perhaps you are just too brain-washed to see the truth or simply put, you just don’t want to see it.

Your refference to the PA challanging US/NATO forces seems like a joke, when drones are being operated in your country with impunity. The only reason that US soldiers are not operating inside Pakistan right now, is because they simply don’t have the numbers to do so. If the Iraq blunder would not have happened & tied our forces & resources there, I can assure you, your town would’ve been swarming with American soldiers right now.

The situation in Afghanistan is certainly a mess right now & the blame game has already started. I’ve seen about 2 dozen commentators today across various channels, who are squarely blaming the mess on the double-dealing of the PA/ISI. Weather fair or unfair, that looks like the trend going forward and if your Generals were smart, they would actually become a sincere ally, while they still have a chance & take on the groups which they have been sheilding so far. If not, I can assure you that there will be serious consequences for Pakistan in the future, maybe not militarily but economically & diplomatically, for sure.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

the above comment is directed @ Umair.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

If! ;)

Posted by Shuqaib.Bhutto | Report as abusive
 

Testing – I cannot seem to post comments to this article!

Ganesh

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(Let me try posting this in parts – part 1 of 2)

Shuqaib,

With respect, this is precisely the attitude of complacency that I was trying to warn against.

> One last point. Pakistan has secured most of its strategic interests in Afghanistan and therefore it really is irrelevant to us whether it is the West or the Talibs who come out on top. There is only one real victor in this war.

One can be a true victor only in a win-win situation. Every other situation is suboptimal. You may realise at a later stage that no party can be ignored.

This is not about a “threat” (because we don’t have to think in those terms all the time!), just about the loss of opportunity.
Let not the prospect of a short-term “victory” blind you to greater possibilities that come from a bold embrace of normalised relations with India.

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(OK, part 2 of 2 didn’t work. Let me try drip-feeding this.)

> it is undoubtedly the Chinese who are closest to us in terms of overall interests.

I have no doubt about the sincerity of Chinese support for Pakistan, but I would invite you to consider a possible reason for it.

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(Not working again – what is wrong with Reuters?)

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(This is ridiculous. I’m trying to post single sentences now and failing)

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(Skipped a sentence that I think is causing something on Reuters to choke.)

However, once Pakistan and India bury the hatchet, China is relegated to number two.
South Asia as a group becomes the number one Asian power in terms of population, economic opportunity, a powerful trade bloc, etc.

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(Woohoo! Here’s the rest, except for that missing sentence.)

Wouldn’t self-interest then be a strong reason why China would like to provide reliable support to Pakistan?
India-Pak friendship may be viewed as a strategic threat in Beijing.

But again, we don’t have to think in win-lose terms. South Asia as a bloc could treat China as Most Favoured Nation in economic deals.
Nobody loses, and it’s an arguably better world than the one you’re describing.

My argument is an invitation to break with old-style thinking and consider bold possibilities.

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

(This is the sentence that causes Reuters to choke –
A s l o n g a s P a k i s t a n a n d I n d i a s t a y s u s p i c i o u s o f e a c h o t h e r, C h i n a r e m a i n s t h e n u m b e r o n e p o w e r i n A s i a.)

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

OK, after 20-odd attempts in two days, I finally managed to respond to Shuqaib’s mail, albeit piecemeal. And in the interim, Wikileaks happened, making my entire post seem outdated. Thanks, Reuters!

Ganesh

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Certainly, I agree with you absolutely, we are definitely playing with fire.”

Playing too much with fire can be dangerous. Your country is not only playing with fire on one side, but also walking on a tight rope, blind folded, over a pit filled with venomous snakes. The tight rope that helped you cross the pit each time was the US. The blind fold is your country’s parnoia and hatred towards India. The snakes in the pit are your Jihadi elements that have multiplied over time. And the fire your country is playing with is not really the US, but the situation in Afghanistan. Americans are holding the tight rope your country is walking on.

Pakistan can no longer control the situation in Afghanistan as it did in the mid-1990s. It is broke and is surviving on foreign aid. Taliban will need continous supply of oxygen from Pak military to control Afghanistan. They are not going to share power with others. Pak military might try to avert a collapse there by re-directing the fire towards Kashmir. But a lot depends upon assumptions. India has a larger foot print inside Afghanistan compared to the post-Soviet time period. And it is not going to allow that to be erased easily. Pakistan cannot do a sword fight while walking on a rope about to be cut off, with venomous snakes hungry for food. The fall will be hard and recovery may not happen.

One cannot run the show on pride alone. Even pride is all right. But false pride and bravado will tighten the blind fold that you already have around your eyes.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Mortal, prasad, Umair, Shaqaib,

It is a myth that the U.S. cannot pursue militantism without Pakistan’s help.

While it is true that the U.S. has outsourced the war on terror to Pakistan and Pakistan has cheated, lied, back-stabbed and made the problem worse for the U.S., all the while extorting Billions USD to line their own pockets and fuel more terrorism against NATO and India, it is becoming ever more true that Pakistan is reaching true irrelevancy.

By this I mean, the U.S. needs to more fully open and declare its war theatre as stretching all the way from the far side of Afghanistan to the eastern border of Pakistan, that being the edge of PoK, at the LOC.

Pakistan has pushed itself into a corner and really has no way out, except to be scapegoated for the failure of the NATO mission.

This is becoming more and more apparent as ally(Pak) that has extorted billions, used that to defeat an ally(US) that it professes to support and help, Pakistan has been quietly engineering the defeat of NATO in Afghanistan to reclaim Afghanistan as a militant recruitment colony to be used against India and use the Pathans, Uzbeks, Chechens and any other outsider muslim as military fodder in a future war with India.

The basis for all of these wars is that Punjabi Pakistani’s are wimps, can’t fight their own battles and don’t want to work for an honest living. This apparent in the Army’s use of proxy armys, use of foreign fighters and the punjabi’s unequal sharing of wealth in Pakistan, while the poor starve.

Once the dust settles in Af-Pak and the U.S. leaves, it is not unconceivable that the U.S. expands the war theatre in a more comprehensive manner to extend over Pakistani territory. After all, pakistani’s are useless to close training camps and madrassas, maybe the U.S. needs to put boots on Pakistani soil and do the job for them.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

“Pakistan’s Double Game” – NY Times Editorial

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/opinio n/27tue1.html?_r=1&hpw

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@ Ganesh. Salaam. You were apparently having some problems in posting your comments, so I have re-arranged some of your arguments for better clarity and focus without changing its meaning. I hope that’s alright with you.

Before reading my comments please go through this video (if you haven’t done so already). Its pretty interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaaJPKoq4 vU

You wrote: “ Shuqaib, with respect, this is precisely the attitude of complacency that I was trying to warn against. One can be a true victor only in a win-win situation. Every other situation is suboptimal. You may realise at a later stage that no party can be ignored.”

……….

That is true Ganesh. But I wonder if you see what I see, because what I’m seeing is essentially a sub-optimal win-win situation for Pakistan in Afghanistan at least in the immediate term. Let me explain that a little more.

Pakistan’s primary objective in Afghanistan was NOT to bring the Talibs to power. That is a misconception. Pakistan’s primary objective in Afghanistan was to bring that party to power which could provide the most Pakistan friendly government in Kabul and take our interests into consideration when making its decisions

NATO made a horrendous mistake in 2001-2002, when it completely sidelined Pakistani concerns regarding the post Taliban setup in Afghanistan. They then compounded that mistake by letting Karzai re-open the Durand Line issue and openly criticize Pakistan almost from day one. I can give you an entire list of other mistakes they made but it will make this post too lengthy. Suffice to say that ‘Bush and company’ did everything humanly possible to mess up a good situation in Afghanistan primarily by antagonizing Pakistan. It was precisely this ‘drunken cowboy’ approach that caused the hawks within our establishment to support the ‘pro-Pakistan’ groups in Afghanistan in order to balance the equation in our favor.

Lately, NATO seems to have realized the error of its ways. Ever since General Kayani gave his speech at the NATO commanders’ conference, the decision makers in the West have started to recognize the mistake of not factoring Pakistani concerns into the Afghan equation. Karzai has also dropped his antagonistic approach to Pakistan. A host of other Pakistani interests are also being addressed (e.g. removing Saleh from his position etc).

So now we have a situation in which NATO (and Karzai) are marching more or less to Pakistan’s tune and at the same time Pakistan has considerable leverage with certain other ‘factions’ within Afghanistan. From the Pakistani establishment’s point of view this is a win-win situation.

There is no doubt that the game is still being played as evidenced by that amateurish LSE report and the ongoing wikileaks episode. But think carefully about who it is that is actually setting the ‘rules on the ground’. Once you realize who it is, then you will understand that what I wrote in my previous post was not a complacent boast. It was a rationale statement based on a very cold, ruthless and logical analysis of the realities on the ground (not just in the media).

Pakistan is dominant in Afghanistan not because we have outmanouvered any particular country. Pakistan is dominant in Afghanistan because as I’ve said before, both sides in the conflict are taking Pakistani interests into consideration when making their decisions. We have therefore secured our primary objective in Afghanistan and have also secured most of our strategic objectives in that country. Compared to 2007, the turnaround in Afghanistan in favour of Pakistan is nothing short of spectacular.

Now why is this situation still sub-optimal? The simple reason is that, IMHO (and I believe yours as well), the optimal solution would involve all the parties coming to the negotiating table and ending this conflict in a way in which everybody’s interests are secured. Pakistan has been trying to make this happen for a while now but progress has been slow.

I hope I have explained my POV better this time.

More to come…

Posted by Shuqaib.Bhutto | Report as abusive
 

*** continued from above ***

You wrote: “This is not about a “threat” (because we don’t have to think in those terms all the time!), just about the loss of opportunity. Let not the prospect of a short-term “victory” blind you to greater possibilities that come from a bold embrace of normalised relations with India.”

……….

Nothing blinds me to the greater possibilities of normalization of relations with India. As a matter of fact, the situation in Afghanistan creates new possibilities for a resolution of the core Indo-Pak dispute. Whether Indo-Pak leaders have the wisdom to capitalize on these possibilities is a separate issue.

——————–

You wrote: “I have no doubt about the sincerity of Chinese support for Pakistan, but I would invite you to consider a possible reason for it. (Skipped a sentence that I think is causing something on Reuters to choke). India-Pak friendship may be viewed as a strategic threat in Beijing. Wouldn’t self-interest then be a strong reason why China would like to provide reliable support to Pakistan?”

” However, once Pakistan and India bury the hatchet, China is relegated to number two. South Asia as a group becomes the number one Asian power in terms of population, economic opportunity, a powerful trade bloc, etc. India-Pak friendship may be viewed as a strategic threat in Beijing. But again, we don’t have to think in win-lose terms. South Asia as a bloc could treat China as Most Favoured Nation in economic deals. Nobody loses, and it’s an arguably better world than the one you’re describing. My argument is an invitation to break with old-style thinking and consider bold possibilities.”

……….

Do you know that one of the original ideas for Pakistan was actually a federation of autonomous Muslim states within the greater Indian federation? Interesting….yes?

In the late 1950s, Pakistan offered a joint military alliance to India in return for a settlement on the ‘core issue’. Nehru rejected the offer by asking the remarkably silly question “Alliance against whom?” He learnt the answer the hard way in 1962.

I have no doubt that self interest was initially the primary reason for the Sino-Pak alliance. However, this self interest was not necessarily because of concerns regarding India. As a matter of fact, the bedrock of Sino-Pak relationship was formed well before the Sino-Indian hostilities started. We peacefully settled our disputes with the Chinese through bilateral talks, which were held without preconditions and as equals. The mutual benefits of that settlement are evident today and are only getting stronger with time.

Nowadays, Pakistan and China have started to take their alliance beyond the narrow gamut of self interest. Sino-Pak alliance is strengthening along a wide range of issues. This was the reason why I wrote about the students and the family ties in my last post. Almost the same points were highlighted by Hillary Clinton (in the video I have posted above) when she was talking about Pak-US relations.

Blood and cultural ties definitely shape the behavior of civilizations towards one another. These are the bonds that can take nations beyond ‘self interest’ and into long-term alliances in which each party genuinely looks out for the interests of the other without wanting much in return.

India and Pakistan already have these ties and much, much more in common. So the next logical question is, why aren’t we looking after each other’s interests? It always comes down to one single issue. ALWAYS.

If our ‘babus’ and ‘lotas’ can resolve that one issue, then not even the sky is the limit for Indo-Pak relations. The status quo however, is definitely not an optimal win-win solution because it favors one party and threatens another.

One third of the entire human race lives in the region stretching from Afghanistan and Iran, through to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and then north to China. If South East Asia is included then the figure goes up to one half.

China, India and Pakistan are undoubtedly the most powerful players in the area. For the greater good of the region, it is imperative that peaceful solutions be found for the disputes that set us against each other. I think you and I are on the same idealistic wavelength regarding these issues and that’s good to know ;)

Peace be with you.

Posted by Shuqaib.Bhutto | Report as abusive
 

Bloggers, please see article from huffington post claiming that the Pakistani Generals are behind the Taliban.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clem ons/pakistans-generals-really_b_660262.h tml

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

@reuters, I do not know what is wrong with the posting server over there, I try to post something, and hit resend, just to make sure that it can get posted, but it does not get posted, then I send a link and right away it gets posted on the blog?? is there censorship of information and filtering of somekind going on here?

Myra, please clarify.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

G-W said:
> is there censorship of information and filtering of somekind going on here?

In another context, it is said, “Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

In Reuters’ context, never ascribe to censorship what can be adequately explained by a software bug ;-) .

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Umair, Bhutto, other Pakistani’s here,

Please accept our dearest and sincerest sorrows and condolences on the air disaster near Islamabad today.

My god provide maximum comfort and warmth to the victims and their families at this time of profound loss and time of need.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive
 

Thank you. May they rest peacefully in God’s loving embrace.

Posted by Shuqaib.Bhutto | Report as abusive
 

G-W

May Allah bless those who perished in the air crash.
Thank you

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

He’s the best of the bunch. Have a look at his potential replacements to see why he should stay.

He’s also been remarkably committed to strenghthening Pakistan’s democracy….that’s a rare trait for a Pakistan Army general.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •