All of Pakistan has its eyes focused on Islamabad nowadays. Every single movement of the leaders and the protestors is being scrutinized.
Every single Pakistani seems to have their own theory of what’s going on there and has their own opinion on who is wrong and who is right.
However, what I want to focus on in this post is one single aspect of the current political crisis…
The American statement!
Yes… The one in which they claimed that they do not back any unconstitutional measures.
Hmmm….just like they ‘did not’ back decades of dictatorships in Pakistan. Just like they ‘did not’ back drone attacks in Pakistan.
Well the good thing is that there was a fitting rebuttal to the American statement by Imran Khan, where he firmly told the Americans not to meddle in Pakistan’s internal affairs.
But… Yes, there is always a but! But the thing is, that a statement is very easy to make, but going the distance to implement it can be very difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I am not doubting his intentions, it’s just that America’s interest in Pakistan are too critical for them to just step aside because of one statement from the Kaptan.
Let’s have a closer look at the US-Pak relationship in the past.
America – Ally or Foe?
Pakistan has been a useful ally (read toy) for the US for most of our history. During the period 1954 to 1969, Pakistan was considered an ally for safeguarding of Middle East oil and as a pawn for eavesdropping on the USSR during the cold war.
From 1979 to 1989, we were at the forefront of the proxy war against the USSR in Afghanistan.
After 9/11, Pakistan was again a tool to be used in another American war, this time the War on Terror.
The intermittent years where the US did not see any use for Pakistan – i.e. there was no pressing U.S. security issue – the US conveniently distanced itself from anything Pakistani.
During the period of undying love, the US would have backdoor secret (open secret, that is) relationships and meetings with us and give us billions of dollars without any accountability. But when this love died out (all of a suddenly usually) all aid would be cut off and sanctions would come into play.
A self-proclaimed promoter of democracy, our ally has supported every Pakistani dictator just because it was the need of the hour.
So basically when we were useful they took us to bed and once they were done with us, they didn’t call back till they were in the mood again.
It’s not that Pakistan did not get anything out of this relationship. A lot of money poured into Pakistan. Where did the money go is another question! It definitely did not trickle down to the masses.
However, it was not just the US’s betrayal that we had to suffer. We were and still are facing repercussions of the wars we fought for them.
Extremism was bred in Pakistan for the Afghan war, after which we got stuck with the millions of refugees. Post the Afghan war, we had to baby sit the Taliban for the world and now the Taliban – who we so lovingly brought up – are out to destroy us.
Present Day Concerns of our ‘Ally’
Today, with the exit of American forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan has become a policy problem once more for the US; a problem they do not know how to solve yet.
They need us to keep a check on Afghanistan, especially with its extremely volatile situation, but they fear that Pakistan might fall into the hands of extremists just like after the Afghan war; except this time around we are Nuclear! The US President’s chief of staff has described Pakistan as ‘two hundred million pissed-off people, plus nuclear weapons. Scary shit!’
There is also another force that has become potent enough to drive US policy towards Pakistan; and that is India. With its growing economic clout and deep involvement in Afghanistan, India is well placed to influence the US policy towards Pakistan. Which for us is extremely dangerous as one is an out and out enemy and the other is an enemy in disguise.
The current statement by the Americans, in my opinion, is more about letting us know that they are watching. The statement is quite generic when they say that we do not support anything ‘unconstitutional’ because the parties involved both claim that they are well within their constitutional rights.
In my opinion, the statement, in light of history, doesn’t matter at all because even if the military takes over the US will be thoroughly supportive. This is because in the current regional situation it will be easier for them to deal with one person rather than an embattled Prime Minister.
The best that could be done in this situation was exactly what Imran Khan did, give them a shut up call as there is nothing more that can actually be done.
Why Can’t We Stop Them From Meddling?
It’s not rocket science! Because we live off their donations of course! We get military, civilian, and all sorts of aid from America. We can’t bite the hand that feeds us!
A shut up call, although it takes guts, is not enough because we need to be independent in order to really force them to back off.
And believe you me, this can be achieved! Public opinion about our relationship with the US is at its all-time low. The masses realize that Pakistan has lost much more than it has gained in this relationship and will support any decision in this regard.
The only thing that is needed is the political will to do it. Even if the measures are difficult the public will support them if they are for the right cause i.e. becoming independent. And the only person that seems (double emphasis on ‘seems’)to have that will is none other than Imran Khan.
The reason I say this is that he is not corrupt. Corruption takes away a lot of your options as you tend to build and save your assets by any means rather than work for the country. And this is what all our previous leaders have done.
Right now all depends on how the current political scene plays out and I am afraid if history repeats itself we will remain ‘ghulam’s’ for the foreseeable future.