Pakistan Army’s Disloyalty
Dawns on the United States
The gushing rhetoric that keeps flowing out of Washington and Islamabad on United States-Pakistan Army cooperation on operations against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda has not been successful in hiding the disillusionment that many in the American strategic community feel that the Pakistan Army has been disloyal to United States in pursuing the stated objectives. What was earlier swept under the carpet in terms of US denouement with the Pakistan Army is now being publicly spoken around. Nothing highlights the changed US perceptions of the Pakistan Army more than the recently Kerry- Lugar Act signed by President Obama which in an overwhelming number of clauses dictates conditionalities which would govern the flow of enhanced US aid to Pakistan. Simply put, these stipulations intend to clip the wings of the Pakistan Army in its traditional siphoning-off US-aid to unaccounted heads for purposes of building its nuclear and conventional military might against India and proxy war against India. It also intends to clip Pakistan Army’s propensity to overturn civilian elected Governments.
Not surprisingly, the biggest opposition to the Kerry-Lugar legislation emerged from the Pakistan Army hierarchy and that too very openly. Pakistan Army’s Corps Commanders Conference this month came out with a public response of its opposition to the United States legislation in the form of a public press release. Pressure was also put by the Pakistan Army Chief, General Kayani on the Pakistan President and the Prime Minister that it should be opposed by them too, forcing them to send Pak Foreign Minister to Washington within a week of his return from there to make the US aware of Pakistan Army’s opposition.
The Pakistan Army also contrived a high-voltage media campaign within Pakistan charging that the United States was intending to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and thereby stoking nationalistic fervor against the United States where anti-US sentiment is already high.
The United States denouement with the Pakistan Army was in the making and simmering for a long time but the United States kept being in a state of denial that the Pakistan Army was cheating out the United States when it came to Afghanistan, in the vain hope that the Pakistan Army would mend its attitudes and start loyally supporting US strategic objectives in the region in return for nearly 15 billion dollars that the US had already ploughed into Pakistan for support of military operations against the Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The United States still needed the Pakistan Army intelligence support and military cooperation on the Pak-Afghan border for its successful operations against the two terrorists combines and could not surgically disconnect them.
Realizing that the Pakistan Army was double-timing the United States in the war effort in Afghanistan and that the Pakistan Army was still maintaining links and militarily supporting the Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the United States took two crucial decisions. The first one was to undertake independent US drone strikes against the Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership within Pakistani territory despite howls and protests from the Pakistan Army.
The Kerry-Lugar legislation was the second crucial decision that the United States took for enhancing its strategic engagement with Pakistan despite its many misgivings on the conduct of the Pakistan Army. While many such stringent US measures had been taken by the United States in the past to restrain Pakistan’s strategic delinquencies but this time it seems from the details of the Kerry-Lugar legislation that the United States means serious business.
Pakistan Army’s disloyalty to US strategic objectives has finally dawned on the United States and the only way that the United States can clip the wings of the Pakistan Army is by the faithful enforcement of the provisions of the Kerry-Lugar legislation.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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