Reviving the ancient silk route seems to be the name of this particular great game! Are we capable of connecting the dots?
By Fareeha Qayoom
s Pakistan in a state of war? Living in Lahore we seem to be a little divorced from all that action in the Frontier and Balochistan provinces which seem to be the center of all that strife, even though, we also get an occasional spate of terrorist activities. A couple of bombs going off daily all over Pakistan from September to May of every year seem common place now. I did a friendly survey on the face book for a possible reason why the terrorist activities stop for the summer holidays and you know what? The consensus was that it got too hot in the summer to continue the killing sprees…so the terrorists take time off in the mountains to recuperate before joining the fray again. Countless ordinary innocent people are dying daily for no rhyme or reason.
Are we afraid? I don’t think so…not because we have inside knowledge of inevitability of death or because we are brave people or because we are Muslims and may have immunity from hell …its probably because we are stuck in daily grind of trying to survive and keep our heads above water…things are tough in this country. The state of economy, the fact that there is rampant unemployment, down-sizing, right-sizing or what have you due to severe recession, lack of governance, bad political leadership, prices hiking without notice almost monthly, food shortages despite Pakistan being an agricultural-based economy, high inflation in double digits, rampant corruption in public and private sectors, media hysteria and daily political storms, load-shedding and power outages…all culminate in us an instinct to bury our heads in the sand and not think about the state of our country…it’s a scary world out there. But they won’t even let us escape…you are not allowed to have fun because tomorrow you may die. There is a ban on every cultural activity because the government can’t provide security. The people have no healthy outlet to vent their fears besides “they” the enemy are out to stamp out any outbreak of Pakistani nationalism…its divide and rule. If they see you uniting against anything, they quickly plant a bomb in your midst. Gathering for Friday prayers is no longer deemed safe in this country – let alone for any other legitimate activity like sports, theatre, or music concerts. In a country where you can’t provide safety to practice your religion, who can be safe for frivolous activities like culture?
As Muslims, Pakistanis have probably known intuitively that after Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be their turn…probably, this is the reason that any able man, woman or child who can afford a dual nationality has gone for it…property investors in UAE were not only attracted to Dubai because of rich killings in real estate, they were also attracted because the government was allowing them residency visas…now, they are turning to Malaysia (or is it Indonesia?) as the next big thing in property…are they looking for escape because those countries are more attractive than Pakistan? Obviously, a peaceful, safe country is more attractive than a war torn country any day of the week…only people who can’t escape are stuck here.
What is the government doing to safeguard its citizen’s safety? The government has introduced a novel approach to containing its population explosion. Blood is cheap. We have so much of it…spilling it may not cause any hardship. They keep asking for more US funds to kill our own people. Obviously, the 800-1200 terrorists hiding in our urban areas are not dying; they keep recruiting innocent children and women to do their dirty work while they hide in the mountains – cowards, the lot of them. I don’t think it’s a typical Afghan behavior. The Afghans as a nation do not hide behind women and children. It seems like a work of “foreign hand.” The Afghans are a poor nation. They don’t have the funds needed to mastermind the killing fields of Pakistan. Or does the world press believe the ‘heroin’ dollars are funding this war on terror? Recent history tells us that it was US funding that was fueling the proxy war between Russia and Afghanistan. It wasn’t the poppy fields that defeated a super power. Common sense alone should tell you that war against Pakistan can’t be fueled by the same poppy fields. The enemy is too organized, well equipped, and high tech to be just bumbling, country hicks from the mountains of Afghanistan. Hello, do you think we are stupid?
I know I have always known instinctively that only our nuclear capability has saved us from direct US/Indian invasion. I heard on TV today that “More than 51 percent of our population is aware that USA is our enemy, and our government is going against the writ of the people by cooperating with them,” hmmm.
Let’s take a look at the situation logically.
Afghanistan is a rocky, barren desert. The only lucrative indigenous products they have are the poppy fields and the heroin. Obviously, Russia didn’t want them for their poppy fields. They wanted them for the right of way to warm oceans…Pakistan elected to be the piggy in the middle because they didn’t want to give away their territory to Russia and indeed why should they? It’s theirs. By the same token, what does America want with Afghanistan? They want a right of way to Central Asia through our oceans. The shortest route is through Pakistan. What does India want with Pakistan? They want Pakistan back. They want Afghanistan back. They want all their territory back that was taken over by the British Raj. Never mind that India was never a united country but a set of small kingdoms with the biggest kingdom belonging to the Mughals in those days…they are not into historical accuracy. They are into power games. For that matter, they want Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh back too…so what’s happening really?
USA and India are united in their quest of breaking up Pakistan in to little pieces. They are even cooperating on ‘war games.’ The only thing that stopped a direct invasion was and is our nuclear capability. Clinton keeps reiterating that our nukes are not safe and they may fall in the ‘wrong’ hands. Al-Qaida (the terrorist organization started, trained and funded by CIA) is hiding in our mountains – Obama promises to follow them into our mountains if need be. The president of the free world, the Nobel Peace Prize winner belongs to the nation that was inhuman enough to ethnically cleanse the Native American populations and confine them to a few reservations in USA and imported free people from Africa to enslave them – hey, that’s over. Don’t hold their past against them, (the proof of their enlightenment is that they elected an African American from the black minority to be their president who is deeply ashamed of his Muslim father, a fact which he demonstrated by disowning his father’s faith in public and will do everything in his power to kill the Muslim populations so that they can’t accuse him of having sympathies for the Muslims) – he will not play a meaningful role in bringing peace to the middle east or the sub-continent in Asia even though they have awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize – what’s a little blood to them – in any case, they believe in ‘might is right.’ Otherwise, why would they be invading a couple of countries and getting rid of indigenous populations for the oil fields and a gas pipeline? Its uni-polar world right now with the only super-power being the USA, never mind, that the next potential super power probably will be Europe or Russia because they have a direct trade route to central Asian gas fields and they may succeed in securing those pipelines despite USA’s best efforts.
What can Pakistan do in this situation? Pakistan should increase her defense and nuclear capabilities. Get out of IMF contracts ASAP and put our house in order. Stop selling the family silver like our gas fields, gold mines and agriculture land to foreigners and should stop taking sides against the Afghanistan-USA conflict. If they can’t side with the under dog, which is Afghanistan in this case, they should at least, stop helping the top dog – USA. They should start charging a heavy transit fee for any goods that move through our territory for Afghanistan, close our borders with Afghanistan and should shoot anyone who tries to cross them and should also shoot down any drones that attack her territories, because the drones don’t kill terrorists, they kill innocent people – or are you telling me, unmanned planes have now the ability to distinguish between friends and foes? The situation no longer is ‘are you with us or against us?’ as Bush reportedly asked Musharraf in telephonic conversation after the historic 9/11 incident in 2001. Pakistan can no longer afford the collateral damage in this senseless war. Since USA is not capable of negotiating with the Afghans for the right of way, they have no right to expect help from the civilized world. Pakistan has full right of defending her territory. She should push all these ‘rich and equipped’ terrorists into India – if they want to wage ‘holy’ war, there are more than enough non-Muslims in India to please them- why are they killing fellow Muslims? I don’t buy their so-called Taliban story anyway.
Pakistan has a couple of other options as well…they can ask Russia to fund a war against USA and India in Afghanistan. Or they can negotiate an agreement with USA for a right of way through Pakistan by leasing a few of the strategic areas en-route to our ports for exorbitant amounts and development of those areas by USA like China leased Hong Kong to England for 99 years. Even if the super power doesn’t care who it kills to secure her position as number one, we should care – it’s our people and it’s our territory and no super power should have any right to kill us – period, no matter how much money they are offering us for this right. It’s as simple as that.