Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Karachi Saturday, August 16—-August 22, 2008
Mumtaz Khan, vice-chairman IKA and organizer UKNPN, met Director Freedom House South Asia in Washington D.C and briefed him about the current situation in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. The Freedom House senior research fellow expressed serious concerns about the political crisis and growing extremism, terrorism in Pakistan and violence in Indian-administered Kashmir that seem to be the synchronized renewed efforts from Pakistan military establishment to display that military will not give up their longstanding political agenda, says a press release issued by Mr Khan.
During the meeting, Mr Khan said as long as military and ISI remain beyond the civil government’s control and US relied on the military to fight terrorism, political stability and threat of terrorism will increase in Pakistan. Because past 50 years record of Pakistan military establishment shows that they have always attempted to undermine civilian institutions and discredit the political leadership through its security agencies, and in which they have been successful not internally but also externally by convincing the US and the West that military is the only force that can serve the western interests. As a result, successive US and Western governments have encouraged military rule in Pakistan and weakened political forces and process which ultimately give rise to undemocratic and religious forces.
After 9/11, Pakistan’s military regime had got the opportunity to put the country back on a moderate path by eradicating the real threats of extremism and terrorism emanating from Pakistan. But Musharraf regime used this opportunity skillfully to please the US on the one hand and save Taliban on the other that reflects the longstanding design of encouraging political instability in its neighbors.
The effort to save extremist Taliban reflect that military remains convinced that after withdrawal of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan can use the Taliban and extremist forces to reverse the political course in that country and regain its lost control there. The current insurgency of fundamentalist forces in FATA shows the capability and strength of these elements and failure of NATO as Taliban can’t challenge NATO forces without the support of the government. The shared threat and interests posed by these forces of extremism demands coordinated efforts from the international community to put pressure on Pakistani agencies to stop nurturing the fundamentalist forces. The meeting of all extremist groups in Rawalpindi last month and their announcement to launch joint attacks on NATO forces, which was reported by the Pakistani media, could not have taken place without the clandestine support from secret agencies. Recent US allegations against the ISI about supporting Taliban have endorsed the longstanding claims of US media that the military was supporting extremists in Kashmir and FATA to make the US and the West believe that only military can fight terrorism and extremism. But past eight years of military rule in Pakistan is ample proof of its failure in addressing the threat of extremism.
Mr Khan said growing violence in Indian administered Kashmir showed this changing military strategy to increase pressure on civilian government to squeeze political space for any initiative with India regarding the CBMs to show that without military no government can improve relations with India. The US need to make it clear whether it wants to strengthen the military or the civilian government in Pakistan