NEWS & VIEWS
FOR quite some time, there has been a well thought-out strategy of US administration to denigrate Pakistan and its institutions. The propaganda was at its peak after Raymond Davis episode, May 02, US Navy Seals’ operation at Abbottabad, and in the same month attack on Mehran Naval Base. Raymond Davis was arrested in March 2011, when he shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore. It was later revealed that Raymond Davis was a former member of the US Special Forces and was employed by the private security firm Blackwater. He claims to have written the book titled ‘The Contractor’, but the critics and analysts opine that Raymond Davis has neither the intellect nor the capacity or skill to write the book. They believe that the book is a sinister propaganda tool, which has been authored by ghost writer at the behest of the CIA to defame Pakistan Army and the ISI.
At this point in time, when the terrorists’ infrastructure and networks have been destroyed through operations Zarb-i-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad and brought peace in Parachanar, the book has been launched to divert the attention of international community from the successes of Pakistan Army. The book has made headlines, and some unconscionable elements have fallen into the trap of the US propaganda. They believe the story and version of Raymond Davis’ arrest and release. The book discussed the role of politicians and Pakistan’s security institutions in his release, and effort has been made to create confusion and bring Pakistan’s institutions into disrepute. Raymond Davis was immediately arrested after he killed two Pakistanis; and Pakistan resisted the pressure for his release. During his incarceration, the ISI had extracted information about the Blackwater’s network and its plans before he was released through the court by paying the blood money to the family members of the victims.
US Embassy had requested that Raymond Davis be given American food, and that the embassy would provide food for him in the jail. Pakistan rejected the request, as there was possibility that he might be poisoned, firstly to place blame on Pakistan, and secondly so that he may not divulge the information to the ISI. Anyhow, hundreds of contractors were chased out of the country because of the information obtained from him. Raymond Davis was released after more than two months taking recourse to Islamic law of blood money (diyat). Unfortunately, there is a lot of debate going on in print and electronic media as to who paid the blood money (diyat). Whether it was paid by the government or the ISI? It is immaterial as to who paid the money, as it had been reimbursed by the US. Then why all this fuss is being created?
Despite Pakistan’s vociferous demand to end drone strikes in 2011, eight suspected militants were reportedly killed in a US drone attack in Dre Nishtar area of Shawal valley. To rub salt to injury, the then US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in an interview had said the same day that the US would continue launching drone strikes against militants in Pakistan even if the Pakistani government opposes it. All over the world, it is the prerogative of the executive to formulate foreign policy; of course military and intelligence agencies give briefings and advice on the threat perceptions to the security of the country. Indeed foreign policy is changeable keeping in view the changing political landscape of the world. However, the immutable are only the nation’s sovereignty, its security and its territorial integrity, which are non-negotiable in any case and cannot be compromised in any conditions.
Since the recommendations of Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security had been adopted by the Parliament in 2011, it was up to the government to either convince the US for the infecundity of the drone attacks or consider measures to stop the drone attacks. In any case, fundamental issues pertaining to national security have to be decided by the political leadership, not by military commanders or diplomatic corps. And that is where the citizenry stands so distraught and disenchanted by our leadership’s act. The ruling elites cannot even imagine how deeply had American adventurism hurt the nation in its psyche on May 02 and November 26, 2011, showing up their nuclear state even worse than a banana republic? On May 02, the American president and his core security and administration team had huddled up together in the situation room watching the raid live on our territory. It was disgraceful.
In 2012, declassified documents revealed that the United States waged a secret diplomatic campaign in late 1970s to prevent Pakistan from developing nuclear weapons. Officials in President Jimmy Carter’s administration had expressed fears about Pakistan’s efforts to go nuclear, and had tried both pressure and aid incentives to seek a change in its behaviour. American government and media have been painting Pakistan in the most ignoble colours and its military in the most humiliating shades. However, it is not just their hubristic arrogance that sets the blood boiling; it is their outpouring’s imperialistic tone that hurts in soul and mind. They talk as if we are their vassal state, where they are the masters and we are the slaves. They do not want Pakistan’s cooperation but total submission and compliance of their orders. But what else one can expect when nation’s elites have over the years been genuflecting before the American adventurists.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.