By Fatima Rizvi
Azmaish Ka Waqt
Mr Husain Haqqani has once again targeted Pakistan. This time it was an extremely failed attempt at highlighting some “facts” why Pakistan – China alliance and Chinese investment in Pakistan is doomed to fail!
The U.S. has shown little apprehension over China taking the lead in helping Pakistan build critical infrastructure.
Mr Husain Haqqani must realize that the US is not in a position to show any apprehensions after suffering multiple wars in the region. Losses in terms of human lives and trillions of dollars (US tax payers money) have wasted on a pointless war where USA has failed to achieve any of their goals or objectives (If they had any in the first place). China on the other hand, unlike USA, has absolutely no desire to take over and control any foreign country. China seeks its own interests in terms of economic and strategic gains without directly threatening or violating any sovereign state. This is a major difference between US and Chinese policies. Mr Haqqani seems to be toeing an old and outdated line which has lost its attraction and fails to create an impact.
The U.S. cannot inject billions of dollars into Pakistan, a difficult ally at the best of times.
US can definitely not inject billions of dollars into Pakistan indeed! Now that USA has admitted its defeat in Afghanistan and is at the moment on a retreat trying to find an honorable exit from the region, USA will definitely not want to invest any more in Pakistan, an ally that was forced to join USA war against a sovereign neighbor state. USA does not want long term relations with any country (including India). For USA all allies are dispensable once they have been used and abused. China on the other hand has stood by Pakistan whenever there has been need for cooperation. Mr Haqqani needs to get is facts right (that is if he wants to give the right facts to the world). What he has been writing seems like a low level and low quality propaganda against Pakistan to please the obvious entities who are his pay masters!
From Washington’s perspective, it makes sense to let China help stabilize Pakistan’s economy.
From everyone’s perspective it makes sense to stabilize Pakistan’s economy which has been extensively damaged by the two US wars in Afghanistan. Both the times USA forced Pakistan to join the wars, provide logistical support and trained mercenaries. USA encouraged drug and weapons culture in Pakistan during the 1980’s and promoted “madrasas” for recruiting Mujahideen to fight the soviets. At that time there was no issue with religious militancy because it was directed towards their cold war ear enemy, the Soviets. Pakistan has been supporting millions of Afghan refugees from the first US – Soviet Afghan war. How USA’s CIA utilized millions of dollars to buy support of Afghan warlords and at the same time looked away when these “funds” were misused by the Pakistani leadership also says something about US intentions and priorities. Mr Haqqani, if he was not completely sold out “scholar”, could have mentioned such facts in at least one of his many written master pieces! Pakistan’s economy suffered another blow after 9/11 when Mr Bush called the then Pakistan military dictator and “told” him to join the war against the Taliban. Instead of following the international laws USA decided to bypass and violate all laws and attack a recognized sovereign state. USA supported this military regime while it served their purposes and restoration of democracy was never issue. USA may have given few billion dollars to Pakistan during these “wars against terrorism” but the damage USA has done to Pakistan’s economy, society and national institutions is so great that even trillions of dollars would not be enough to fix it. Thousands of Pakistanis (civilians and military) have lost their lives because of US policies in this region.
The Obama administration would also like China to induce Pakistan to abandon its role as a terrorist safe haven.
Now Mr Husain Haqqani really shouldn’t talk about terrorists and their supporter and their creators. USA is the only country in the world which is responsible for 99% of all global terrorism. Because of USA’s violation of international laws and abuse of human rights, terrorism has expanded to a global scale. USA has drawn in countries which had no issues with the Muslim world or Islam. USA created the Islamophobia by giving terrorism a religion. Before this a terrorist was a terrorist and no religious community was ready to support or own them. Today “with the grace of USA” terrorism is synonymous with Islam. All Muslims are terrorists unless they are ready to serve USA (Congratulations Mr Husain Haqqani you are not on US terror list). Pakistan was left to deal with all the surplus Mujahideen crops which the CIA sowed in Pakistan for the first Afghan war. Once the war was over Pakistan had to deal with these highly trained fighters without jobs. There were no more US funds to keep paying these brainwashed holy warriors of the Ronald Regan era. So what USA should have done was taken all these recruits to USA with them and dealt with them however they liked! Pakistan would have been a terror free nation if USA had not messed up everything here.
China has been concerned by Pakistan-based jihadists operating in Xinjiang and U.S. officials hope Beijing can be successful in persuading Pakistan to clamp down on the various Islamist groups operating from its soil.
I think this is a very valid point. There has been a major mindset change in the Pakistani society including military and civilian leadership. Probably Mr Haqqani is not aware of this change as he seldom reads or writes anything positive about Pakistan. Of course China has asked Pakistan to clamp down on terrorist networks in Pakistan which might be involved in aiding militants outside Pakistan especially in China. Pakistan military and civilian leadership have gone on an all out offensive against terrorists and militant organizations. Unfortunately USA’s policies in Pakistan only helped to propagate terrorists. Now that the Pakistan Army and other national security agencies are in full control of anti-insurgency and anti-terror operations, great progress and been made in a very short span of time. USA has provided Pakistan with some military hardware for use against terrorism but it seems that that too is pinching Mr Husain Haqqani and he even wrote some articles and gave some talks against this. But then Mr Haqqani has more than one supporter… how could he not render his services to India!
But China’s economic reassurances could also reinforce Islamabad’s miscalculations about its regional clout and dangerous ambitions of keeping India strategically off-balance through subconventional means, including terrorism.
China it seems is much wiser and mature in terms of its foreign policies compared to USA’s cowboy approach. As for Pakistan, has no misconceptions about its strategic regional importance. Pakistan is also fully aware of its current economic situation and has been trying to build better relations with all its neighbors. Pakistan wants to promote economic cooperation with India, Iran, Afghanistan and China. Unfortunately India has failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s gesture of friendship and continues to hold hostile and aggressive posture. Now India, with their new found friendship with USA has become even more cocky. PM Modi, who was few months back not allowed to enter USA, is now President Obama’s BFF! So Mr Haqqani, please… give us a break!
Just as Pakistan turned to the U.S. soon after independence in 1947 to seek weapons and economic assistance against India, Pakistan’s leaders today see China as a supporter in their bid to be India’s regional rival.
One would have assumed that Mr Haqqani would be more informed than this but then what do facts have to do with propaganda and why would a propaganda artist like Haqqani want to waste his time with truth and logic.
Soon after independence, Pakistan “had” to choose sides between the two great superpowers of the era. Was it like a flip of a coin decision, probably not but India being a natural soviet ally, Pakistan was “chosen” by USA as an ally. Pakistan was projected by USA as a successful and most economically viable new country. Great praise and honor was bestowed upon the leaders of Pakistan. USA provided Pakistan with economic and military support. USA wanted to create a frontline force to deal with Russia and its ally in the region. Pakistan was a new and unstable state with leaders looking for foreign recognition and support. USA’s mostly focused on military to military ties with Pakistan. This is evident from how USA has never actually opposed military dictatorship in Pakistan but rather used it for its own advantage.
Pakistan has experienced more than its fair share of problems in the form of wars, political crises, foreign policy misadventures, unbalanced alliances and internal mismanagement. Today, things have changed. Pakistan is a wiser and a more mature country. We continue to learn from our mistakes. China sees Pakistan as an important ally but more than that China sees Pakistan as a gateway to Arabian Sea access. It’s a combination that only a country like China can appreciate and make full use of. But China also knows that to make this work it must do all it can to stabilize Pakistan. Economic stability through infrastructure development can greatly benefit the people of Pakistan, especially in Balochistan. It’s a win-win situation for both allies.
The U.S. disappointed Islamabad by refusing to back its military confrontations with India even while selling Pakistan U.S. weapons (intended for other purposes). Now it might be China’s turn to be the object of unrealistic Pakistani expectations.
Pakistan has never had unrealistic expectations Mr Haqqani, Pakistan today does not want war with India or any other country in the world. We have enough problems of our own thanks to the US interference in the region. Today Pakistan wants security and economic stability to support and sustain its huge population of over 200 million people, majority of whom are young adults. Pakistan can be an investor’s paradise only if we can eliminate terrorism and overcome our energy shortage. With China’s multi-billion investment in infrastructure projects in Pakistan, there is great hope and achievable optimism.
By supporting Pakistan militarily, China has ensured that a large part of India’s military remains tied down in South Asia and is unable to challenge China in the rest of Asia.
It is India which considers China a threat. India is a paranoid state. It thinks Pakistan and its ISI are trying to plot against India all the time. India is the one initiating cross-border firing on the line of control between the two countries. Why doesn’t Mr Haqqani see India purchasing weapons worth billions of dollars from Russia and USA? Why does India need all this state of the art military hardware if does not want to dominate the region. Pakistan like any self respecting country would not like to be suppressed by a bully state, therefore it must ensure its security by building alliances and keeping its military as well equipped as possible. So by supporting Pakistan is not trying to make India do anything, It is India which is feeling threatened that that its control over the region may not remain supreme.
But India remains the larger market and China’s willingness to use Pakistan as a secondary deterrent against India hasn’t meant abandoning ties with New Delhi. Chinese trade with India in 2013 was $65 billion, six times its trade with Pakistan. In Pakistan’s 1965 and 1971 wars with India, China disappointed Pakistan by not opening a second front against India.
Again Mr Haqqani’s obsession with conflict and war makes his reasoning completely warped. China is not looking for wars (that is USA’s hobby), China is trying to expand its economic interests and in doing so transferring significantly huge benefits to its allies which fit in to its economic growth and expansion plan. China should not only continue its trade relations with India but also strive to make them even better.
China has a right to its foreign policy and it chose to not open a second front against India during Pakistan – India wars, then Pakistan must respect their decision and Pakistan must have accepted China’s decision proof of which is that Pakistan and China are still extremely strong allies.
None of this has affected the Pakistani perception of China as an all-weather friend. There is a huge gap in how Pakistanis view China and how the Chinese now view Pakistan. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes survey, 78% of Pakistanis had a favorable view of China compared to only 30% of Chinese viewing Pakistan favorably—the same share of Chinese that had a favorable view of India.
Mr Haqani has very conveniently established that the majority of Chinese people do not like Pakistanis by quoting few figures from a survey. Many more surveys can be quoted proving otherwise. Additionally if Mr Haqqani’s logic is used on USA would prove devastating for the US as majority of the people have an extremely negative view of this crumbling superpower. Relations between countries are not built on shoddy surveys performed under dubious circumstances to achieve preconceived results. Relations are built between allies on mutual interest and trust and then these relations enable people to people contact.
Pakistan would benefit if all the billions in Chinese investment come through, but not all previous announcements of Chinese largesse have materialized in Pakistan or elsewhere. Despite announcing plans for more than $24 billion in investment into Indonesia since 2005, a decade later China has invested only $1.8 billion there.
China’s interest in building the economic corridor through Pakistan has become almost an urgent matter for the Chinese. They have already acquired the Gwadar Port in Balochistan on a forty years lease. To fully benefit from this deal, China has to follow up on the Corridor project on urgent basis. So Mr Haqqani has once again used out of context reasoning based on obsolete logic.
Instead of exhausting itself in competing with an Indian neighbor six times its size Pakistan needs to confront religious extremism, eliminate terrorism and pursue economic reforms that they talk about but do not implement.
Pakistan is not competing with its bigger neighbor. India might be six times bigger than Pakistan in size but it has failed to behave like a an emerging superpower. Its constant fear of what Pakistan might do or who is becoming Pakistan’s ally is a proof that actually it is India that is trying to compete with Pakistan. Pakistan want to benefit from the Indian economy and market but it seems that India will never forget that what was once the heart of India is now an independent and sovereign state.
As for fighting extremism is concerned, Pakistan military and civilian leadership has resolved to completely eliminate terrorism, National Action Plan specifically aims to do that. On the other hand ever since Mr Modi has taken over the PM’s role in India, Hindu extremists there have become extremely bold in targeting religious minorities. Hundreds of forced conversions have taken place where Muslims and Christians have been forced to convert to Hinduism. Some extremist Hindu leaders backed by leading Indian political parties have even proposed to shut down all churches and mosques in India and to place a Hindu god in every mosque and church.