Looking for Strategic depth? Murtaza Razvi


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Look East for strategic depth

The Americans are right when they tell our leaders not to play with public sentiment; that the Pakistans government and the army are both in agreement with them on the need of drone attacks but that they both deny them in the public sphere; thus stroking anti-American sentiment. The US fears that this could get out of hand, and when that happens it would be hard for Washington to play friends with Islamabad even though the government and the khakis may have been delivering the needful in secret all this time. They are right. Its not a sustainable equation. You cannot pretend to hate the very nation that has been giving you shots in the arm to keep you from collapsing under your own unmanageable burden. That the Americans have been doing so in their own national interest goes without saying. What stops Pakistan from redefining its national interest in these challenging times is beyond anyone with the faculty of reasoning.

Since the old Afghan jihad days, Pakistan has sought a strategic depth in Afghanistan with the objective of securing its western border by backing such forces in Kabul that would remain friendly towards Islamabad even if they terrorise their own people. In pursuance of this objective we went as far as installing and helping to keep the Taliban in power there to the detriment of educated and forward looking Afghans, who naturally sought to lead a normal life after the Soviet forces withdrawal from their country. They were deprived of this opportunity.

Thus, by interfering in Afghanistans internal affairs and bolstering ignorant thugs like the Taliban, we made an average Afghan rightly resentful of Pakistan. We brought back the traditional anti-Pakistan orientation of Afghans which they had pursued before the Soviet invasion of their country. That we did so at the behest of the Americans and their Arab allies is no secret, but we certainly did so at our own peril.

The goodwill of having provided shelter to millions of Afghans during the Soviet occupation years melted like thin ice on a hot summer day. Now to insist that the Americans will soon abandon Afghanistan, and that after their departure Pakistan should again back the Taliban and the like forces, is not going to win us anymore friends in that country. Our policy should be to support a smooth transition to democratic rule in Afghanistan and helping to lend a hand in stabilising a nation which has lost nearly three generations to war and mayhem. We should not only do that but also be seen by the Afghans to be doing so in order to win back their friendship as a neighbourly people. That will then truly guarantee a secure western border for Pakistan without having to hagemonise their internal affairs.

The way things are in Pakistan itself and considering how badly we are needed by the US to ensure its own safety and security, it is for the first time since 1947 that the US now seeks to engage us over the longer term; it seeks a stable and economically prospering Pakistan; it is willing to commit its taxpayers resources to help us help ourselves. Also, Washington has been using its diplomacy very aggressively with India, asking it to ease pressure on Islamabad at a time when India has been a victim of terrorism by forces that originate in Pakistan. Given its rising economic stature, diplomatic and military muscle power, we would be wrong in our assessment that turning a blind eye to terrorists, with their eyes set on India, will force New Delhi into resolving its outstanding issues with Pakistan. India was never this confident and economically robust as it is today; we were never this isolated and fragile as a state as we are today all due to our own doings and warped strategic thinking which has brought us to this sorry pass. Were almost virtually a failed state, with atomic weapons, where even law enforcement forces are killing unarmed citizens at the slightest of provocation, and theres little public outcry because everyones too busy minding their own socioeconomic wellbeing or the lack of it.

The choice before us is very clear: show sincerity in wiping out terrorism form Pakistan and help Afghanistan and the US to do the same on the other side of the Durand Line. Once that strategic shift is put in place, relations with India will also start improving. The problem with our militarys thinking since Ziaul Haqs time was that it went about securing the western border because it wanted to bring India to its heels when its emphasis should have been on securing the eastern border first and foremost by building confidence and trust with New Delhi. Doing so would have resulted in acquiring strategic depth in India with many dividends to reap from it.

This can still be done today provided we show the courage to learn from our mistakes, and stop lying to our own people. Instead, we should start telling them what must be done to save us from ourselves.


MPA (400+ posts)
How innocent Murtaza is if he really thinks that America is so eager for our betterment. If we fulfill all American demands still they won't be happy & we prosperous.