It’s not news to say that Pakistan is a nation in crisis. But recent U.S. drone attacks and ‘hot pursuit’ attacks by helicopter gunships into Pakistani territory, combined with some of the worst flooding in history, have raised tempers among Pakistanis to a fever pitch.
Two editorials we posted today, one from The Nation and the other from The Frontier Post, reflect such anger at the United States and Pakistan’s own leadership, one wonders how long Islamabad’s newly-installed democratic regime can survive – and what would replace it.
The editorial from The Nation, headlined By Helping America, Pakistan Kills Itself, suggests that America is moving toward direct combat operations in Pakistan and says in part:
Since the government of Pakistan has, to its eternal shame, kept silent on this new military targeting of Pakistani citizens, NATO has become emboldened and on Monday two more helicopter gunships entered Pakistani territory and killed a few more citizens – so far the tally is five killed in Kurram Agency. And alongside this upping of the military ante, U.S. drone attacks continue – and with their frequency rising quickly, especially since Obama came to power. Almost every day, there are reports of 10 or more people killed by these unmanned drones – as if Pakistani lives are worth nothing. As far as Pakistan’s rulers are concerned, perhaps the U.S. is right about this, since President Zardari is said to have told the CIA chief that collateral damage from drones isn’t an issue that bothers him!
Given the growing murder of Pakistanis by U.S. and NATO forces, don’t Pakistan citizens have a right to ask what our military is doing? After all, our defense forces are meant to protect our borders and Pakistani citizens from external military threats. Yet not only are they unable or unwilling to do so in the case of NATO helicopter gunships, they are actually complicit in U.S. drone attacks – if the statements of U.S. government officials are to be believed.
This is truly contemptible and brings into question the purpose of the military and the defense budget. If the Pakistan military aids in the killing of citizens – no matter how misguided or militant some may be – then who can Pakistanis seek for security and protection? After all, if a citizen is guilty of militancy he should be punished according to the law – not simply be made a sitting duck for foreign forces. It’s time the Pakistani nation demands of its state that it provide protection and not be a party to such murder.
The even angrier editorial from The Frontier Post headlined New U.S. Raids on Pakistan Constitute ‘Naked Aggression’, suggests that America plans to invade Pakistan as a way of explaining away its defeat in Afghanistan to the American public. It says in part:
ISAF insists that it has a mandate for hot pursuit into Pakistani territory and targeted “militants” who attacked coalition forces in Afghanistan from Pakistan and had been fleeing after the assault. Our foreign spokesman denied such a mandate for ISAF, but his assertion must be taken with a pinch of salt. Islamabad has long clamored about how the incessant U.S. drone attacks are stark violations of our territorial sovereignty, yet it’s clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that these incursions carry the tacit support of the Pakistani State, if not its explicit acquiescence.
There is a foul air about the acts of Pakistani officialdom: it keeps too many things secret from its own people while playing the obedient and loyal slave to Western capitals, particularly Washington.
It’s high time that the Pakistani government wake up to the potential costs of its trickery with its own people. It must know that, for all intents and purposes, the game is up for the U.S.-led occupiers in Afghanistan. Their soldiers know it, their commanders know it, their political bosses know it, and even their embedded journalists are now talking of the war being unwinnable.
Even Obama would find it hard to stay beyond the middle of next year. … However, he wouldn’t want to leave with his tail between his legs, but with a show of victory, no matter how false. Extending the war into Pakistan, in whatever fashion, would thus come naturally to him and other occupiers as a way to drive home a deceitful impression to their people that the war had been won in Afghanistan, that only Pakistan remained to be tackled, and that they had tackled it.
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