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US and Pakistan: Equal Partners in the Defense of Democracy

19 July, 2006

By Yasser Latif Hamdani


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For all the anger that is found against "American imperialism", if one tries to imagine the alternative- if Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia had triumphed in the various conflicts of the 20 th century- the US, as a superpower, is nothing short of a blessing for our times.  That some countries would be stronger and others less so, is the natural order of things, but the existence of a great bastion of freedom at the very top is a stabilizing factor.   Many small states today look towards the US for help and support when threatened by stronger regional powers.

 

Had there been no US, as a Pakistani, I would feel quite insecure in wake of the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.   Terrorists targeted India's greatest metropolis for one reason alone:  To halt the peace process between Pakistan and India and to distract Pakistan from fighting the ongoing war on terror by pulling its troops from that front and putting them on the Indian one. Indian powers that be, knowingly or unknowing, walked into the terrorists' trap.   The peace process has been halted.  Routine threats are being issued to Pakistan, despite the fact that there isn't even a small shred of evidence linking the country to the Mumbai terror attacks. Faced by a nuclear armed bully with ambitions beyond the South Asian region, Pakistan has no option but to look to the US, its old friend and trusted ally, to weigh in on the bellicose Indian administration.

The truth is that Pakistan's name has been associated too long with a lot of negatives, but is the common American or for that matter any member of the free world aware of the enormous sacrifices Pakistan and its people have rendered in the cause of the world's freedom and liberty?   When a future historian will write the history of the world, I am sure that he will record just how much Pakistan did, especially for the cause of freedom and liberty in the world at large and how much the nascent nation state was blamed for events that lay outside its sphere of influence.

Let us start from World War II. Even before Pakistan came into being, the founding fathers of the country-to-be made the crucial decision of backing the allied war effort despite the fact that the impulse of independence in them was second to none.   They were led by a barrister trained at the Inns of Court, Mahomed Ali Jinnah, who had imbibed the spirit of liberal democracy from philosophers like John Morley and shared the world view of his friend Winston Churchill.   Thus the decision to support the allied war effort against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was a deeply ideological one. This stood in sharp contrast to its rival group the Indian National Congress which both overtly and covertly sought Nazi and Imperial Japanese help in their causes and constantly tried to sabotage the allies.   While one famous Indian leader,  Subhas Chanderbose, went so far as  to meet even Adolf Hitler,    Gandhi, known to share the racial views of the fuhrer, and Nehru obstructed the war effort by starting the "Quit India" movement at the most inopportune time to embarrass the British and facilitate a Nazi attack. The Indian bourgeoisie leadership's support for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was thus also ideologically motivated. Today this aspect of India's so called freedom struggle is white washed in the west and a sanitized version is presented to impressionable young children who remain blissfully unaware of these facts even when they grow up.   Infact it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that independence of India has more to do with American pressure and domestic British upheaval than with the glorious freedom struggle that Indians don't tire telling the world about.

In any event, after its formal creation in 1947, Pakistan quickly became part of the Baghdad Pact, SENTO and SEATO pacts, all designed to contain the tide of Soviet expansionism.  In a bipolar world, Pakistan made a clear and distinct choice and chose to side with forces of liberty and democracy , while our Eastern neighbor self righteously put up a façade of "non-alignment".    In reality India was the most allied ally of the Soviet Union and an equal partner in what Ronald Reagan once referred to as the "Evil Empire".  Later most hypocritically, the finest Indian intellectuals sought to define their stance as "cooperative nonalignment", another eyewash in a series designed to fool the world. Later India and the Soviet Union together sponsored an extremist Bengali terrorist group called Mukti Bahini, which let loose a reign of terror, murder, arson and rape on hapless Pakistani citizens, ultimately leading to the break of the Pakistani Union.

Despite its reverses, which included the break of the country itself and a costly war with India, Pakistan continued steadfastly in its resolve to stand as a bulwark of peace and freedom against the red flood.    In 1972 , Pakistan achieved the impossible task of bringing two of its closes allies, ideologically poles apart, United States and China together by arranging the famous Nixon-Mao meeting.    This was the turning point in the cold war for China's isolation from the Soviet nexus, strengthened US' position in Asia and allowed it to end a futile and increasingly costly war in Vietnam. Meanwhile US and Pakistan swiftly moved to counter increasing Soviet influence in Kabul by arming and training Islamic fighters, once considered freedom fighters and now terrorists. The Indo-Soviet axis struck back by backing another terrorist insurgency in the province of Balochistan which led to massive bloodshed and violence.  Meanwhile a full fledged Soviet invasion, with Indian help, of Afghanistan escalated the insurgency there into a full scale war.    Eight years of prolonged conflict, during which Pakistan faced some of the worst crises of its history including 3 million refugees fleeing Indo-Soviet tyranny, Indian sponsored terrorism aimed at disrupting public life in the country,   irreparable damage to its democracy and the rise of religious extremism,  saw the defeat and fall of Soviet Union and later the reunification of Germany.    According to one US Congressman, Charlie Wilson,    all this would have been impossible without the help and support of the Pakistani republic.   Thus it was Pakistan that delivered the knock out punch to the evil empire.

Sadly once the cold war was done and over with, the policy makers in the US suddenly forgot about its erstwhile ally and instead of jointly dealing with the fall out of the Afghan war i.e. holy warriors, Pakistan was abandoned to deal with them exclusively. As with Afghanistan, policy makers in Islamabad sought to repeat the same routine with India in Kashmir.   However by this time, India was already beginning to emerge as an attractive market for US investment and therefore the insurgency in Kashmir turned out to be counterproductive, earning Pakistan several snubs from its old ally. It took 9/11 for the US to finally wake up to the unfinished business of Afghanistan and realize how big of a mistake it was to sideline Pakistan in favor of Indian markets.  Today Pakistan's contribution to the war on terror is perhaps second only to the United States.  It has apprehended more Al Qaeda terrorists than any other country in the world and has lost a large number of its troops in doing so.    Yet, both Afghanistan and India, the nexus between whom was the root cause of the Afghan conflict, take a self righteous attitude blaming Pakistan for every single thing under the sun. The American establishment is far more discerning and has so far resisted any temptation to second Indian and Afghan claims.  It goes without saying that the actions of these countries, as in history, are designed only to sabotage the war against terror and nothing else.

It would not be true however to suggest that Pakistan's position vis a vis the US is that of a client or rentier state.   Infact Pakistan's support for the US has never been based on political expediency.   For a country so closely allied with the US, Pakistan has showed remarkable dissent from US policies where there was a genuine grievance.   Despite being an all out ally of the US, Pakistan has refused to accept the American position on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.  Meanwhile the self righteously "independent" and "non-aligned" Indian republic abandoned the pipeline in return for a civilian nuclear deal.    Therefore Pakistan's support to the US is based on uniformity of world view and common global objectives.

Regardless of the negative propaganda against Pakistan that is found in certain quarters of the western media, Pakistan must put its head down and keep working towards the noble objectives on which it was founded i.e. democracy and a free and peaceful world.  It must continue to play its role as the bridge builder between the United States, China and the Islamic World, the three blocs closest to its heart. Pakistan's future lies in being a broker of peace and security and in an ever-more fractured world, a pivot of stability. And while mindful of its international role and responsibility, the country must also endeavor to work towards becoming a true constitutional democracy so that Jinnah's vision of "US and Pakistan as equal partners in defense of democracy" can finally come true.

 

End.

 

Reader Comments:

indians and pakistanese would fight and kill each other for ever. shame on you hater. who are you calling friend? you will never understand the politics behind all this.

ahm, Pakistan - 19 July, 2006

What about the Nuclear deals with N.Korea when u flaunt so much about u being the biggest friend of America and against terror???

ravi.., Pakistan - 20 July, 2006

If Pakistan is founded on the noble objectives of democracy and a free and peaceful world then why is it not a democracy for most of its history. Get rid of Musharaff and then start accusing others. I agree India is a flawed democracy, but atleast we can change our leaders every five years.

Prasad Paravatha, Hungary - 20 July, 2006

Mr. Latif

Rhetoric! Rhetoric! Rhetoric!

Where are the evidences to support you claims? Your wirting is very childish and prmitive in nature. You also had few spelling mistakes. Use a spellchecker next time.

You friend from USA

A reader, Pakistan - 20 July, 2006

just an after thought

Hello there Mr. Yasser, Your long article is full of facts I would not try to argue with a person abovt realities ,facts of history as you learned, since no one can change your attitude now.What you say in one sentence is contradicted in next,let alone interpreted by historians&critics.It seems fanatism religeous hatred and bigotry that commonly prevails in sub-continent in the name of patriotism is over-flowing .Please see a psychiatrist for help.Good luck,N.S.Rao.

navlururao, Pakistan - 22 July, 2006

BS article

This article is full of twisted facts with no truth in it not even one percent. The author should learn the history first before writing an article.

Ziper Ali, Pakistan - 23 July, 2006

Baseless

full of baseless information,need look at the world witha different prison,verybiased and clueless

aftab, Pakistan - 23 July, 2006

How can you claim the greatest of Pakistan when internally the country is not democratic, there are overbearing police authorities, corruption at all levels, rampant crime, and provinces that live in the dark ages because the country does not care about giving them basic infrastructure? Look deep within and see the ugliness that looms! To claim greatness is a farce.

DAB, United Kingdom - 24 July, 2006

Keep the faith

Brother,
Your article just made me realize why I'm so interested in Pakistan. It's because your country is the front line for making or breaking world peace. I hope and pray your country leads the rest of the world in the right direction. Your noble objectives cannot be defeated.

Janis Joplin, United Kingdom - 24 July, 2006

Wonderfull !

Sometimes i failed to realized what have been taught to you people during history lesson.For you Gandhi is racial but this view is held by i think only you people.He was voted 2 best personality of century behind only Estein who him self about Ghandhi "no one believe that man like him ever walked on this world".Some times it's hilarious to read article like this one.Yes Pakistan has caught most al Qaeda men because it has produced most of them.You are asking not a shred of evidence is present .Go and read own local magazine which tell Dawood is present there Azhar mahmood is there.You should first have true democracy in your country first then help the world.At last i would say only one thing you can write what ever you want but world know the truth that's why your country is consider a failed state and for India read lasted TIME and Foreign Affairs edition.




brajesh, Hungary - 25 July, 2006

funny

Fantastic and funny keep it up. Did you know super man was also an Indian. Oh eh ! I forgot to mention : creation of Israel was a hindu conspiracy hatched by Gandhi.

Anurag N Banerjee, Western Sahara - 27 July, 2006

Be honest

I ask the editor to look into his own country with unbiased vision.Come to India and see how much progress we have made. Both of our countries got independence in the same year and you people are still behind us. Every big company has its office in India because of india's infrastructure and talent pool. We taught our people a secular way of life and more beyond religion whereas you people nothing like that. Baluchistan and Sindh provience people always shout against supremos of your country because they have not tasted basic fasciliies like roadm water,and many other things. Your leaders have been making you fool since independence in the name of kashmir. If you spend your money for the cause of betterment of people of Pakistan , it will be a good thing . And remember , India have never invaded any country in history (please remember your Kargil invasion). I pray to God that things will change soon in Pakistan.

Dilip, Hungary - 27 July, 2006

Yeah...Yeah

Thus it was Pakistan that delivered the knock out punch to the evil empire. ...
Pakistan also killed the Roman, empire, terminated the Austrian empire, wiped off the British empire. And...yes - Pakistan also exterminated the evil KRGTU3.4 dynasty in Pluto.

raman, United Kingdom - 01 August, 2006

It was expected

The abuse by Indians was expected... but anyone can see that the facts I have mentioned are unimpeachable... hence the namecalling.

Yasser Latif Hamdani, Pakistan - 01 August, 2006

Don't flatter yourself

Pakistan has always been a pawn of America throughout its history. Whether fighting the Soviets (which Pakistan was honestly opposed to because the Soviets were "godless") or fighting Al-Queda (which Pakistan does reluctantly due to American pressure).

And of course, I'll admit, India's politicians are not perfect either. But Gandhi refused to side with the Allies because of his INSANE belief in non-violence, not because of his anti-semitic views as you imply. And Bose, though he fought for the Axis powers, was one of the few persons to critize Hitler's race policies in the face of the Feurher himself.

On the other hand, the Muslim League did not ally itself with the British because of it's belief in "peace and freedom" It did so to gain political leverage to push for partion - and it did.

And finally, I'll agree with this statement - "Infact it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that independence of India has more to do with American pressure and domestic British upheaval than with the glorious freedom struggle that Indians don't tire telling the world about."

Shekhar, Hungary - 16 August, 2006

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