Professor Dr Shahida Wizarat, Director Research, Chief Editor PBR and HOD Economics, IOBM.
GOP and Taleban’s handling of the peace initiative shows that there is pressure on both sides to go back to the fighting mode. In Pakistan we ultimately we end up following the US line. When we say if talks fail we will use force, we encourage spoilers to peace to thwart the peace initiative. It is similar to our 2008 experience with regard to whether we borrow from the IMF or not. The newly elected government was faced with the difficult decision whether to borrow from the IMF or not. Mr Shaukat Tareen had said that we will go to the IMF only as a last resort. We then made several attempts to get financial help from several countries. Friends of Pakistan was constituted, but I knew that nothing would work out as we had stated that if nothing works out we will go to the IMF.
Whether the GOP is sincere in talks remains to be seen, but Raana Sanullah had said in an interview to the Guardian that the GOP is trying to exhaust the peace initiative before it resorts to the use of force. And the more recent statement by Khawja Asif that the government plans to start the operation in March substantiates Rana Sanaullah’s stance on talks with the Taleban.
What should be the strategy for bringing peace?
First, we have to decide whether we have to fight the Taleban or the powers that have pitted Pakistan against the Taleban, i.e. the authors of the script being played out in Pakistan? The authors of the script have written the story of two fighter cocks. As in a fight of cocks when the cocks bleed each other, the audience enjoys on account of the sadistic pleasure they get out of the cock’s fight. But in case of Pakistan and the Taleban the powers that have pitted them against each other are not doing so for any sadistic pleasure. So what goals are being achieved in the fight between Pakistan and the Taleban?
In game theory in order to beat your rival you need to know your rival’s strategy on the basis of which you devise your own strategy . Powers that are pitting the Government and the Taleban against each other are using the strategy of divide and conquer, divide and rule and divide and quit. What should our strategy be to counter this strategy? We need to work on war footing to remove the divide, to identify the culprits that are dividing us and bring in cohesion, unity and remove the petty differences. We need to educate the people on how much commonality there is in their religion, and culture. We need to get religious leaders, opinion makers and scholars’ help to achieve these objectives. What is more, we need to divide the groups, countries and forces against whom we are pitted. We need to use “divide and fight” as a strategy to weaken the forces against whom we are pitted. Dividing the countries involves creating differences between them. These fault lines need to be turned into permanent cracks and breaks. The best strategy for weakening the forces we are fighting is to extend an olive branch to those who will respond. Since the majority of TTP is for dialogue, the elements that do not want peace are those that are working for outside powers. The state can then take them on. This way we will weaken the forces that are out there to destroy the country by isolating them from the rest. We need to adopt the same strategy in Baluchistan and other areas of the country where there is conflict and strife.
Escalation of conflict appears to be an important objective our enemies are trying to achieve in Pakistan. This is because conflict is a growth industry. According to my recent research when conflict increases by 1% rich countries GDP growth rate increases by 3.8% for the period 1980-2006 and 7.7% for the period 1980-2009. Since conflict has increased by more than 1% since 2001 GDP growth in the rich countries has increased at 7.7x rate of increase in conflict. They are trying to get the government to use force against the Taleban to establish the writ of the state. Those whose relatives get killed then try to take revenge. The govt then uses more force, the aggrieved party then takes more revenge. This gives rise to a snowballing effect due to which conflict escalates. This will take us to a point of no return when we will not be able to escape from this quagmire. This will take us to the scenario predicted by CIA in Global Trends 2015.
In an article published in December 2001 I had stated:
“The same is discernible from CIA’s ‘Global Trends 2015’ launched in December 2000. Infact, the catastrophe in New York and the staging of episode II in this part of the World is the practical implementation of the Report. The Report had stated that the writ of the Government of Pakistan would be limited to Punjab and Sindh only, religious fundamentalism was stated as the major factor that will tear the country apart.” (Wizarat, 2001)
And Andrew Gavin Marshall (2011) says “In January of 2009, a Pentagon report analysing geopolitical trends of significance to the US military over the next 25 years, reported that Pakistan could face a “rapid and sudden” collapse. It stated that, “Some forms of collapse in Pakistan would carry with it the likelihood of a sustained violent and bloody civil and sectarian war, an even bigger haven for violent extremists, and the question of what would happen to its nuclear weapons,” and as such, “that ‘perfect storm’ of uncertainty alone might require the engagement of U.S. and coalition forces into a situation of immense complexity and danger.” [quoting from Goodspeed (2009)]
And Marshall goes on to say “American strategy of destabilization is being undertaken in Pakistan, including the waging of a secret war and the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistani territory. In short, the military and intelligence projections for Pakistan over the next several years —————- that predict a destabilized Pakistan and potential collapse are now undertaking strategies aimed at achieving those outcomes.”
What should be our strategy to counter this strategy? First, there should be ceasefire by the govt and the Taleban. Second, progress should not be communicated in the media. At present all the negotiations are being done openly through TV channels. US Ambassador meets different ministers to get the details about the progress and bases the US strategy on the basis of progress or lack of it being made in the talks. And most important, and most startling, the state of Pakistan has been facilitating the perpetuators of conflict and violence if they happen to be rich and powerful countries. For example, more than 3000 US citizens were given Pakistani visas without going through vetting by intelligence agencies at the insistence of the then Ambassador Hussain Haqqani. The arranging of diyat paid by Pakistan to get Raymond Davis, a CIA operative off the hook in spite of the fact that he had murdered two Pakistani citizens as a result of the efforts General Ashfaque Pervez Kiyani, Chief of Staff of the Pakistan Army at that time. The arrest of James Alexander McLintock was first arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and handed over to the British government, but he returned to Pakistan in 2004. The above examples clearly show that the state of Pakistan and institutions aid and abet terrorists if they happen to be citizens from rich and powerful countries. But to come down hard on Central Asian, middle Eastern, etc citizens engaged in terrorist activities in Pakistan. This is a very racist and flawed strategy.
We should not facilitate the perpetuators of terror from rich countries in the nefarious activities against Pakistan. And we should not try to bring peace through tackling the effects that come about as a result of the activities of the rich countries. We need to formulate a policy that will stop the spread of terror at source, instead of dealing with the after effects. This policy entails collecting evidence on the involvement of rich countries agencies in terrorist activities and sharing the same with these countries and our friends. It will be a more effective policy instead of facilitating terror and then dealing with the after effects.
Goodspeed, Peter, (2009), Pakistan face ‘rapid and sudden’ collapse: Pentagon. The National Post: January 15, Mexico, http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html
Marshall, Andrew Gavin (2011), Global Research, 28 May.
Wizarat, Shahida, (2001), “Where is Bush Taking the World to”, Dawn, 16 December.