Saturday, May 14, 2011

Enough with Pakistan Bashing

By Adnan Gill

Osama bin Laden’s death has opened hell’s gates on Pakistan. One would be hard pressed to find an American commentator who missed the Bash Pakistan Bandwagon. Their most prevailing argument revolves around, we give Pakistan billions of dollars every year and look how they repaid us? They cheated on us by sheltering world’s most wanted terrorist.

To begin with, President Obama said, “it's important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.” Did President lie about Pakistani cooperation or do the Pakistan Bashers suffer from selective amnesia?

Yes, it’s true Pakistan is an American Foreign Aid recipient, it’s true Osama was caught hiding in Pakistan, but would it be prudent to ignore the larger picture of how much Pakistanis had been helping America? Absolutely not. Well it’s high time to place things in its right perspective.

According to the US Census Bureau, between 2001-08, Pakistan received an average of $.768 billion per year, or a total of $3.841 billion in economic and military aid from the US. While Pakistan claims, the War on Terror has cost it $35 billion, or about $4 billion per year. It might be worth noting that during the same time US gave India $.988 billion, Egypt $8.530 billion, Israel $13.030 billion and Afghanistan $20.801 billion in Economic and Military Aid. Can the same critics point the last time any of these allies delivered anything worth mentioning to the US for the billions upon billions of dollars they received?

Let’s rewind couple of decades back when the Free-World lead by an American-Pakistani coalition drove the last nail in Soviet Union’s coffin; resulting in the fall of the Berlin Wall. Was it the Israel (largest US military aid recipient) that pushed Soviets over the cliff? No, it was the Pakistan.

During the first Gulf-War who sent its troops against Saddam? Was it India? No. It was Pakistan.

Who was the part of peace keeping force in Bosnia? Was it India or Israel? None. But it was Pakistan.

Who pulled the American troops out of raging battle in Somalia? Were they Afghans or Egyptians? Try again. It was the Pakistani Army.

Who saved the American allies in the deep jungles of Africa? Yup, Pakistanis did.

Who trained American Special Forces in high altitude warfare; Afghans, Indians or Israelis? Only Pakistanis did.

Let’s take a gander over what Pakistan had been doing since the 9/11. Since the day one Pakistan literally handed over Navy and Air Force bases (like Omara, Pansi, Shamsi and Jacobabad) to the US, exclusive air corridors, and land transit right to the coalition, ISAF.

It wasn’t the Afghans, British, Egyptians, Indians, Israelis or the Saudis who had consistently captured and handed over some of world’s most wanted terrorists. It is the Pakistanis who had come through time and again. To name the few Pakistan handed over to the US: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abu Faraj al-Libi.

Between 9/11 and 2009, Pakistan lost 78 military officers and 2,273 soldiers to the War on Terror, additionally they killed or captured 17,742 militants. During the same time ISAF lost about 1,500 personnel. By any measurement Pakistani military has lost more men during the war than rest of the coalition members combined.

Between 2004-11, at least 2,290 Pakistanis died from 234 American Drone strikes. According to the Brookings Institution, for every militant killed through drone strikes "10 or so [Pakistani] civilians" are killed. Can the critics name a single other sovereign nation with a proven capability to shoot down drones who has allowed such deadly attacks?

Some of the (modern) Joseph McCarthies don’t want to miss the Pakistan bashing train, because they don't want to appear out of the loop; while others like the Congressman Peter King have deeper political agendas, like expanding their fear-cult following. Regardless of their motivation, voices in the media are chanting unanimously to punish Pakistan. The last time Pakistan was heavily sanctioned, it became a nuclear power and diverted the extremists to Kashmir. This time, Pakistan would likely replace the US with China.

Everyone, including Pakistanis are jubilant over Laden’s killing; however, nearly all feel cornered and insulted over extremely harsh American reaction to its embarrassing security lapse. They retort, were the CIA or FBI in collusion with the Al-Qaeda when the jetliners flew into World Trade towers on the 9/11 or was it also an unintentional security lapse? If American sleuths could be forgiven for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks, then why there is a mob bent on publicly lynching Pakistan for a similar blunder?

Prudence requires, a well balanced analysis of Pakistan’s intelligence failure, to prevent future security lapses. Undue antagonization and public humiliation of Pakistan, a reliable and time-tested American ally, would most likely result in undesired results.

Source: The News


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