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We Need to Talk about Pakistan

by Rajan Laad

It was either Voltaire or Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, one of the founding fathers of the French Revolution, who observed that the now-former nation of Prussia “is not a state that has an army, rather an army that has a state.”

In contemporary times, that description aptly applies to Pakistan.

An examination of the history of Pakistan reveals several disturbing consistencies.

In Pakistan, few ‘elected leaders’ ever complete their tenure in office. These ‘leaders’ are either executed or jailed after Pakistan’s deep state stages a coup. The more fortunate manage to bribe their way out in exchange for being ‘exiled’ to a foreign country, where they live in great luxury.

Occasionally, army generals from the deep state who led coups to become leaders themselves become victims of a coup led by other factions. If the deep state does not eliminate them, the Islamists supported by factions in the deep state conduct an assassination.

The Pakistani deep state consists of the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the judiciary.

The deep state in Pakistan has ruthlessly used iron-fist tactics at regular intervals, to serve as severe warnings to ‘elected’ leaders who presume that their elected office gives them a license to develop a mind of their own.

The knowledge that they can be summarily dethroned or even eliminated perennially looms over every elected leader in Pakistan. Hence, they operate with the utmost caution, never daring to disturb ‘equilibrium’ as determined by the deep state.

In Pakistan, the news media is always on a tight leash. Media outlets that dare to be critical of the deep state are regularly shut down while journalists are hauled up for treason when they show any streak of independence.

Religious minorities such as Hindus and Christians are treated as non-persons, irrespective of what Pakistan’s constitution may state. Places of worship for minorities such as temples and churches in Pakistan are either rapidly disappearing or are neglected.

In Pakistan, the Islamists are supreme. Among the Islamists, there are frequent killings and death sentences by the courts for blasphemy. Killers of blasphemers are celebrated and shrines are dedicated to them. Islamist groups held celebrations after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following Biden’s inept withdrawal. Even Pakistani Premier Imran Khan claimed that the Afghans were “breaking the shackles of slavery

Pakistan has frequently masterminded and conducted terror attacks on its neighboring country, India.

They once hosted the most dreaded terrorist in the world, Khalid Sheik Mohammad, the architect of 9/11. Before he was captured in 2003, he was living comfortably in Pakistan. Pakistan also hosted Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Palestinian terrorist Abu Zubaydah was also in Pakistan prior to his 2002 apprehension.

The final feather in Pakistan’s cap of shame was hosting 9-11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden. He was living securely near a Pakistani army base.

Now for the situation in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has a unique relationship with Afghanistan. They share a 1,600-mile border. They have significant trade ties. They also have many cultural, ethnic, and religious links.

But it is also true that almost every problem that we see in Afghanistan today has the fingerprints of the Pakistani deep state.

During the ’90s, Pakistan’s deep state cultivated, shaped, and supported the Taliban. When the Taliban seized power by brutally executing Afghanistan’s elected leader, Pakistan was one of the few countries to formally recognize the Taliban. This is the very Taliban that created a safe haven and training grounds for Al Qaida which conceived, planned, and conducted the 9-11 terror attacks.

After the 9-11 attacks, the chameleons in the Pakistani deep state positioned themselves as allies of the U.S. and even provided support for the airstrikes to the end of the Taliban rule.

At every juncture, the Pakistani officials are given substantial funds to fight the war on terror.

Since 2002, the U.S. gave over $14 billion to Pakistan as a form of reimbursement for their support in the war on terror. This is part of the $33 billion in total help that the U.S. has given Pakistan. President Trump was the only U.S. president to stop this practice upon learning of Pakistan’s relentless treachery.

Pakistan is said to have supported the Taliban with arms, logistical support, and medical aid as they took over Afghanistan.

Despite Pakistan’s relentless treachery, U.S. politicians, both Republican and Democrat, and other U.S. officials have been relatively restrained in their criticism of Pakistan.

The reason they usually cite for their hesitation to confront Pakistan is nuclear weapons, i.e., the fear that if the state collapses, the nukes will be in the hands of the terrorists. Considering the deep connections between the Pakistani deep state and terrorists, there is always the likelihood of that happening.

Recently, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham reiterated that: “Any sustainable solution in Afghanistan must include Pakistan.” Graham also lauded the “efforts of the Pakistani government to assist with the evacuation of U.S. citizens, our allies, and other nations.”

Thus Pakistan has a standard strategy. They support terrorists behind closed doors and when they feel the heat around the corner they ‘assist’ the U.S. in the war on terror.

But the truth, as defense expert C. Christine Fair once said, is that Pakistan is an arsonist that is pretending to be a firefighter.

Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

What is the rationale behind this insanity in dealing with Pakistan that has produced no results?

A plausible reason is Pakistan has a strong group of lobbyists in the U.S. who neutralize unfavorable views of Pakistan and push Pakistan’s agenda to in the U.S.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that these lobbies are contributors to U.S. electoral campaigns, and if so, the financial support for Pakistan would be part of an implicit quid pro quo agreement.

This once again highlights the decay that is deeply rooted in the swamps of Washington.

Even the global media have been relatively silent about Pakistan. The BBC shut down an expert who attempted to expose Pakistan.

The situation is dire. More wars and drone strikes in Afghanistan may solve the problem temporarily. But to achieve a lasting solution, the U.S. will have to target the roots of the problem which is Pakistan.

The following punitive actions must be taken if the U.S. really wants to resolve the problem of terrorism at its core

·      Declare Pakistan to be a terror sponsor

·      Stop all military aid and financial aid

·      Withdraw support for loans for Pakistan from the IMF, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank

·      Impose strict trade sanctions on Pakistan

·      Downgrade all diplomatic relations

·      Reduce visas for Pakistani nationals

·      Shut down all lobbyists for Pakistan in the U.S.

·      Order Pakistan to dismantle its nukes

After that, the U.S. must compel Pakistan to provide concrete proof for the following actions, if they want such punitive actions to end:

·        Stop funding terror activities globally.

·        Stop giving safe haven, training, and logistical support to terrorists

·        Stop their nuclear program

·        Stop assisting the Taliban

·        Hand over terrorists and ‘political prisoners’ to relevant authorities

·        Provide a safe haven for Afghan refugees and evacuees

·        Stop meddling in India’s internal affairs

Recently, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. will assess Pakistan’s role in the last 20 years with respect to Afghanistan.

So are things about to change?

I respectfully recommend that you don’t hold your breath.

Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License


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