“Pakistan’s Latest Crisis” – A Rebuttal

Despite many success stories by Pakistan Army in its efforts to counter terrorism, the United States (US) intelligentsia does not seem satisfied and Pakistan bashing continues. Recently in the New York Times’ (NYT) June 9, 2014 editorial, i.e., “Pakistan’s Latest Crisis”, again the old rhetoric of not doing enough and playing double game with the US is witnessed. The said newspaper is one of the leading papers not only in the US but also in the world and such policy of the paper about Pakistan in general and its military in particular that is too obvious would serve nothing but fuel further dents in an already un-easy relationship between the US and Pakistan. The editorial talks about Taliban attacks on various important and strategic installations of the country, especially the brazen assault over international airport in Karachi. But it fails to mention that Pakistan has been suffering due to suicide bombings as a consequent to situation in Afghanistan, messed up by the US.

Also, there is sheer and visible contradiction in the editorial when one reads between the lines. At one time it alleges that “the army plays a double-game, taking American aid while supporting Taliban” and “the army still has not assigned enough urgency to the Taliban” whereas on the other side it quotes that “the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the airport massacre, which a Taliban spokesman said was in retaliation for recent attacks by the government.” Point here is that the very editorial by the NYT confesses that the Taliban attacked Karachi airport just because of the fact that the army had taken actions against the terrorists. So then how NYT editorial could say that Pakistan army is playing double game. Even now the military has started major offensive, i.e., “Operation Zarb-e-Azb” in North Waziristan and has successfully dismantled the terrorists out there. In the very same operation, military has suffered more than 900 causalities too. Previously; military had successfully flushed out terrorists from Sawat. But it is very unfortunate to see that the US media is reluctant to appreciate what Pakistan has been doing in countering terrorism. Pakistan bashing is a hot cake these days. It indicates official policy of NYT. It is surprising to note that not even a single word of appreciation was said about the role and sacrifices of Pakistan’s military in the war on terror.

Pakistan became a “frontline state” in the US-led global war on terror (GWOT) and was awarded the recognition of being a “major non-NATO ally” due to its role and efforts. But at the same time, Pakistan is often described in Washington as “double-dealing” and “duplicitous.” It is irony to see that Pakistan’s borders (land and air) have been violated by the very NATO and the US in spite of being major non-NATO ally. In the context of counter-terrorism, an ever growing demand of the US to do more is rather frustrating and hence counter-productive. Despite enormous contributions and sacrifices in the GWOT, American mainstream media continues to perceive and project Pakistan as a spoiler. This is probably one of the main reasons that in the aftermath of 9/11, Pakistan has been suffering from image problem despite having many positive things to its credit. Most significantly, Pakistan has been doing all possible efforts to tackle the menace of terrorism not only for its own interests but also for the larger interest of the whole world. Unfortunately; the world in general and the West in particular, have not been forthcoming in giving Pakistan’s its due credit. The western media has been highlighting only those things where the image of Pakistan could be tarnished and has been vociferous in demanding more, the “doing more syndrome.” Pakistan lost more than 35000 lives to save American people from another 9/11 attack. Pakistan’s economic loss amounted to more than 67 billion US dollars but still the US is not satisfied with Pakistan. Pakistan has sacrificed a lot more than the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Now, the question naturally arises that what makes the US in particular and the West in general to continue with un-ending Pakistan bashing. The most probable answer might be that they do propaganda to discredit Pakistan’s defence forces by giving an impression and rather making platform for the future that the country’s nuclear weapons are not safe and might fall in wrong hands. But the fact is and it is equally supported by historical evidences that Pakistan military stands prepared to tackle the menace of terrorism and despite such attacks by terrorists, the security forces did not crumble and are fighting for not only Pakistan’s security but for regional and global security.

To conclude, it is suggested that since it is an age of information technology and psychological warfare and to keep up with the global trend, Pakistan particularly decision making class has to review its outlook and policies at wider level. Otherwise, art of smart game where an adversary wins the war without indulging into direct fight and keeps on distorting your image through different means, i.e., media is known to many regional and non-regional countries.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy.

Carried by: The Patriot, October 5, 2014.

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About the Author

Khalid Hussain Chandio has been working as Research Fellow at Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). Previously, he had joined IPRI as Assistant Research Officer (ARO) in October 2007. He was then promoted as Research Officer (RO) in February 2013. Before joining IPRI, he worked in different capacities i.e., Media Analyst and Junior Analyst in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Pakistan, which gave him greater insight in the research and analysis fields. His areas of research include the United States of America (USA) [Its Foreign and Defence Policy, Pak-US Relations, Role of Lobbies in the USA, and Domestic Politics in the USA]. Khalid regularly contributes articles on current strategic issues in English Dailies of Pakistan. He holds M.Phil in International Relations (IR) from School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR), Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, Pakistan and M.Sc in Defence and Strategic Studies (DSS) from the same university.

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