Newspaper Article 24/03/2014
C. Christine Fair, an assistant professor in Peace and Security Studies Programme, in Georgetown University in USA has published an article titled “Ten Fictions that Pakistani Defence Officials Love to Peddle” in The War on the Rocks website on 30 January 2014. In her this unscholarly article written in an egoistic language and without credible evidence, she has undermined Pakistan’s contributions in the war on terror and blamed Pakistani defence officials for presenting fictitious arguments to the US officials to justify Pakistan’s contributions in GWOT merely to claim financial and military aid for Pakistan. This article focuses on falsifying Christine’s logic of degrading Pakistanis’ following arguments as ten fictions (condensed here from ten to seven for the sake of brevity):-
1. Pakistan-US relationship should be strategic rather than transactional and improvement of relations is impeded due to the trust deficit. Christine argues that it is not the trust deficit but differing interests of both countries on Afghanistan and India that will not allow US-Pakistan relations to become strategic. Without any evidence she has also blamed Pakistan for supporting Afghan Taliban and sponsoring militant attacks in India. Here she has shown her bias against Pakistan by not talking about India destabilizing Balochistan from Afghanistan which has already been endorsed by a statement by Mr. Hagel. Regarding strategic content of relations Christine should read the joint statement on Pakistan-US strategic dialogue, held in January 2014, which says, “Secretary Kerry and Advisor Sartaj reaffirmed their commitment to further advancing the strong partnership between the two countries through the Strategic Dialogue. Pakistan wants strategic partnership with the US but insists that Us should respect its interests also. Pakistan feels that the trust deficit is being narrowed down and mutual relations will be strengthened since the US will like to maintain balanced relations with Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
2. The US has been an unreliable ally. Christine says that Pakistani officials’ criticism that US had not supported Pakistan in its wars with India in 1965 and 1971, being a US ally in CENTO and SEATO, is rubbish because these pacts were not anti India but to contain communism. In this context, firstly Christine should realize that using words like rubbish is against scholarly norms. Secondly her argument justifying lack of US support to Pakistan in wars with India is not tenable. Why Pakistani officials say this, is because in 1965, instead of helping, the US stopped provision of military spare parts to Pakistan. In 1971 war with India although the US assisted Pakistan diplomatically but it had failed to provide concrete support to Pakistan knowing well that Russia was supporting India based on its friendship and defence treaty with India signed in 1971 in reaction to Pakistan’s facilitation of Mr. Henry Kissinger’s visit to China in 1970 to seek détente which USSR had viewed to be against it. While détente with China facilitated by Pakistan proved very useful for the US, in reaction USSR supported India in 1971 in dismembering Pakistan militarily and US did not intervene to prevent that.
3. The US used Pakistan for its anti-Soviet jihad. Christine calls this Pakistani assertion as a fiction, She has falsely blamed Pakistan without any evidence for using Islamists in Afghanistan since 1950 and for starting anti Soviet Jihad in 1979 at its own till the US joined in 1982. This is a blatantly wrong statement since war was started by the US and Pakistan was sucked in to cooperate. In this context Christine should read the published memoirs of the former Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who held the position of deputy CIA Director at the height of the Soviet Afghan war. The memoirs say that the US intelligence was directly involved from the outset, prior to the Soviet invasion, in channeling aid to the Islamic brigades. Why Pakistani officials say that the US used Pakistan for its anti-Soviet jihad is because after withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989 the US left Afghanistan unsettled and unattended that resulted into instability and rise of militancy in that country.
4. The US is responsible for the creation and development of al Qaeda, Islamist Militancy and Taliban. Christine considers this Pakistani view a pack of lies. Here again she has used unscholarly language rather than presenting a cogent argument. In this regard she should read an article titled, “Analysis: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W. Bush and September 11, 2001, by Professor Michel Chossudovsky, published in the website of Global Research on 9 September 2010. In the article Professor Michel writes, “Osama Bin Laden, America’s bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored Jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp”. Moreover it was lack of interest by the US in Afghan affairs after Soviets withdrawal by leaving Afghanistan without formation of a stable government, without settling Islamist fighters and 3 million refugees in Pakistan, which led to a series of events that created conducive environment in Afghanistan for al Qaeda, other militants and Taliban to flourish.
5. Pakistan has lost more due to its participation in the global war on terror (GWOT) than it has gained in the shape of US assistance. Why Pakistani officials say so is because Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was born in reaction to Pakistan becoming US partner in GWOT. So far Pakistan has lost above 7000 security forces personnel, more than 50000 civilians and suffered economic losses worth above 60 billion US dollars in fighting war on terror as a non NATO ally. While Christine argues that Pakistan got 27 billion US dollars aid in return to fighting GWOT and that it has suffered human casualties out of its own fault since it had created Islamist fighters for anti Soviet campaign. Such assertions by a US scholar especially on an ally like Pakistan which had helped the US to defeat Soviet sponsored communism in Afghanistan are unbelievable.
6. Pakistan has an enduring interest with peace with India. Christine considers this statement of Pakistani Officials’ as a fiction because it is Pakistan who started all wars with India over Kashmir and it is using militant groups to win concessions on Kashmir. In her anti Pakistan tirade and love for India Christine has totally become biased and subjective in writing the article. She knows quite well that it is India who had annexed Kashmir by use of force in 1947 and refused to act on UNSC resolutions of 1948 which ask for holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. It is due to denial of their rights for long that people of Kashmir started their violent freedom struggle in 1989 which has also impacted India in many ways. India is also hit with Hindu Extremism as was evident from attack on Samjhota express train in India on 17 February 2007 by Hindu extremists, facilitated by Swami Seema, Col Prohit and Major Upadhya, now all in Indian custody. For peace with India, Pakistani resolve is quite clear from latest statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where he said,”We want peace with India“. He has also offered to India to restart composite dialogue to resolve Kashmir and all other disputes.
7. Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan. Christine has termed this proposition of Pakistani officials as a fiction based on the logic that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan only if it is anti India and amenable to Pakistan. She also blames Pakistan that it only wants Islamists regime in Kabul which is inhospitable to India. While putting this allegation on Pakistan with out any evidence, Christine has not highlighted the factual position that India is engaged in destabilizing Pakistan using Afghan soil as has been confirmed by Mr. Hagel in his earlier statement. Christine.s perception about Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan is contrary to what policy Pakistan is pursuing which is evident from the following statement of Advisor Sartaj Aziz, “There could be no peace in Afghanistan unless all countries of the region followed the same policy of non interference and “have no favourites in that country”.
In the light of the above discussion it seems appropriate to conclude that C. Christine Fair has gone totally biased and subjective in writing her article on Pakistan. She has based the discussion on her personal perceptions which are in fact misperceptions. In essence, by using bad language and writing without credible evidence, she has compromised objectivity in her article. By doing so she has put her already contested scholarly credibility into question.