The Debate After NATO & CIA Drone Attacks On Pakistan
By RUSTAM SHAH MOHMAND
Wednesday, 29 September 2010.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Revelations by American journalist Bob Woodward of an Afghan elite force created and trained by the CIA for assassinations in Pakistan are another ominous indication of the extent to which the US military and the CIA have penetrated into the country’s state structures.
The report reveals that a force of 3,000 Afghan soldiers has been specially trained and equipped to carry out missions deep inside Pakistan. For the facilitation of the tasks assigned to it from time to time, the force will subcontract some of the assassination jobs to venal Pakistanis. The American journalist also reveals that the elite force has not only been conducting operations already, but has a very successful track record.
According to the report, the elite force works in close coordination with organizations like Blackwater that is already involved in secret operations in Pakistan under a different identity.
With the word “sovereignty” having virtually lost its meaning in Pakistan, those who closely follow current events are not going to be surprised at the revelations. When Musharraf sold the country following the Sept 11 attacks, as well as his own conscience (if he had any), Pakistanis gradually acquiesced in this sell-out. Many began to invent pretexts for the bartering away of our sovereignty. The US realizes that there will be no large-scale reaction to its blatant intervention in the various tiers of a country that is supine but presents itself as a proud nation because it continues to wear sovereignty as a mask.
Additionally, as the Americans know, the “sovereign” parliament of Pakistan is in no position to confront or challenge their relentless penetration of Pakistani institutions — no constraints, and no holds barred. Therefore, their meddling in Pakistan’s affairs and their fiddling with our residual sovereignty increased dramatically. Even the US authorities must be surprised at the pliability of our institutions, because acquiescence is a genetic trait with Pakistanis.
Hence, it is no surprise that US helicopter-gunships are freely operating in our tribal areas, the US Special Forces are carrying out operations in Pakistani territory and the fact that hundreds of operatives are present all over the country under various guises.
The troubling question is that, after having gone this far in abdicating out sovereignty, can we hope to regain our pride and self-respect at some point in the future?
The plain fact is that our generations have been held hostage to a policy that was crafted by a few individuals to the exclusion of the people of Pakistan. The Americans have correctly assessed that there is no need for them to have the institutions like parliament supporting them: a few key individuals going along with US agenda and policy initiative would work just fine.
As long as some institutions are dependent on US largesse it would be easy for it to have the continuing support of any administration in Pakistan. And in providing such critical support the Pakistani government would remain oblivious to the country’s huge loss in terms of a feeling of nationhood amongst Pakistanis. The biggest loss is the polarization of an already fractured Pakistani society. This wound will take decades to heal, if it will heal at all.
The Pakistani authorities — in their eagerness to come fully on board with a flawed and fatal US agenda — in the region forget that such a surrender would weaken the Pakistani state, would make our people despondent, and further the alienation between the rulers and the masses. It will also banish any hope for the emergence of a Pakistan that is committed to principles or convictions, to say nothing of the ideology that some regard as being Pakistan’s raison d’être.
The writer is a former interior secretary. This column originally appeared in The News International under the title, Sovereignty. Reach Mr. Mohmand at
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