By K.N. Pandita
The news has come that Pakistan has imposed a ban on Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation from collecting donations. Pakistani media have given wide publicity to this news in print and in electronic media. Since some years the organization and its chief have been actively collecting donations in the name of ‘crush India.’ A couple of years back, at his terrorist organization’s headquarter in Muridke, not far from Lahore, he held a big rally and the posters placed said “donate one rupee for taking the head of one Indian soldier’. Pakistan did not ban that rally or collections made then or the anti-India banners. Why has the ban come today?
It has to be noted that the ban order has been issued following President Trump; censuring Pakistan for failing to deny Afghan terrorists safe haven in Pakistan. As a consequence, Trump said aid to Pakistan would be stopped. This news, too, has been given media hype. Usually Pakistan suppresses all sensitive news but why unusual hype in this case? Is it all without a calculated plan? No, Pakistan has method in madness.
Trump has been relentless in bringing pressure on Pakistan to contain Afghan terrorist factions especially Haqqani group, which is directly funded and armed by Pakistan, though actually through Saudi’s ar-Rabita funding channel. In the beginning Pakistan did not take Trump’s warnings seriously. Nevertheless, after Trump’s Jerusalem declaration and the use of veto in the SC, Pakistan began to feel the heat of Trump’s antics. It dispatched civilian and military emissaries to Washington to mollify White House but to no avail. It knocked at the door of Pentagon but to her surprise found the big change in the air. Her old cronies were not at all helpful. Moreover, the Pentagon had already deposed before the Congress that Pakistan was playing a game.
Dismayed and disappointed on all sides, Pakistani army chief Bajwa made four and a half hour long tete-a-tete with Pakistani parliamentarians and even in a bid to mollify White House said that ‘relations with India should be improved”. This news, too, was given extraordinary hype by the media in the hope that American stance would change. It did not. Strangely, even the resentment of some sections to Bajwa’s statement was also given extraordinary publicity which again is highly unusual.
Imposing a ban on Hafiz’s fund collection is another attempt of hoodwinking White House. What has sent the shudder down the spine of Pakistan is Trump’s assertion that Pakistan thinks “Americans are fools.” This is precisely what India has been telling the Americans ever since but they would not listen. Pakistanis have always befooled the US by fabricating malicious stories and spurious reasons.
The time has come for the US to take an overall look of the history of its relations with Pakistan during last seven decades and assess where Washington committed Himalayan blunders. To align itself with an Asian military dictatorship and succumb to hostility towards a secular democracy like India has not been a small or negligible mistake. Today the US is paying for it from her nose. It is paying a heavy price in Afghanistan for its foolhardiness. Imagine how remorsefully Trump; says that the US gave 34 billion dollars in aid to Pakistan during past 15 years. This is the money which successive American administrations extorted from ordinary American tax payers to gratify a handful of Pakistani Generals for creating imaginary enemies of Pakistan.
Though he did not clarify but this money mostly went to the Pakistan army. And what did the Pakistan army do with that money? It used it (a) to augment bank accounts of selected army Generals who managed for themselves and their families American green cards and luxurious life prospect in the US and (b) to pump it into the terrorist organizations which the army raised to wage jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan. This is where 34 billion dollars have gone. The realization has dawned upon the US albeit too late when it is tricky and complicated to crush the head of the cobra called Pakistan.
Looking in retrospect, the US should make some cool introspection whether opening its arsenal and coffers on Afghan mujahedeen via Ziau’l Haq channel to combat Soviet incursion into Afghanistan was a figment of realpolitik and statesmanlike decision? It should also re-evaluate in long and futuristic parameters the positive aspects of timely intervention by the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The fecundity of Soviet Union’s calculated military action then becomes palpable in the context of America’s war in Afghanistan and its tortuous aftermath in which Pakistan is the chief actor. The history of nations has some unforgiveable instances of ruinous blunders, and the US giving enormous arms and funds to a posse of wild and barbarian warlords of Afghanistan and that too through a rogue country like Pakistan, goes down as the greatest tragedy in Asian history. What the US did by succumbing to such myopic and senseless act was to subject liberal and democratic forces of the sub-continent to medieval theocratic, oppressive and tyrannical outrage of Theo-fascists of whom Ziaul Haq was the icon. The US has to pay for her sins and what she has paid so far is too little in comparison to the Frankenstein she raised and muscled.
The announcement of imposing ban on collection of funds by Hafiz is nothing more than eye wash. ISI whose brainchild Hafiz and his al-Dawa are has played a trick both with Washington and Hafiz. To Washington the messaged is that Pakistan has imposed curb on terrorist organization in the country and to Hafiz the message is ‘dear plotter of Mumbai carnage, the US has stopped us funding and we are unable to fill your kitty and now you fend for yourself’. Will Pakistan, a country that has given America nothing but “lies and deceit” in return of 33 billion dollars really enforce the ban imposed on collection of funds by Hafiz, the “Prime Minister apparent” in Pakistan?
(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University.Feedback- Knp627@gmail.com)