Promoting peace the US way
Trump administration’s nominated ambassador to Pakistan, William Todd addressing the Senate Confirmation Committee, on US relations with India and Pakistan said, “Our hope is that both countries will take the necessary steps to reduce tensions, and as President Trump has offered, we are prepared to facilitate dialogue if both sides request it. To truly reduce regional tensions, and rebuild a strong relationship with the United States, Pakistan must take sustained and irreversible action against terrorism. Pakistan has taken important steps toward fulfilling that commitment but needs to continue that work. My highest priority would be to ask Islamabad to put extreme pressure on militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba. I will work with Pakistan to advance shared interest in eliminating terrorism from its territory and advancing security in the region. I will actively engage Pakistan on such issues, as well as, strategic stability and non-proliferation, carrying a clear message on the threat that nuclear weapons pose to the United States, the region, and our allies and partners. Pakistan needs to demonstrate it is prepared to live up to international commitments on weapons of mass destruction.”
The statement insinuates three things. First that US still does not subscribe to the view that Pakistan has done enough to eliminate terrorism and reiterates the do more mantra. The second is that the US will promote dialogue between the two countries only if both of them so desire. The third is that it is only concerned about nuclear weapons possessed by Pakistan which it perceives as a threat to the US and the region.
What Mr Todd has said is sheer hypocrisy. The reality is that Pakistan, as a frontline state in the fight against terrorism, has suffered the most in men and material and taken indiscriminate action against all terrorist entities based on its soil and is dedicatedly engaged in decisive action against their sympathisers and sleeper cells within the country. It has itself been the target of state-sponsored terrorism by India as confessed by Indian Naval officer Kalbhushan Jhadav who was captured in Balochistan and awarded the death sentence by a military court. RAW and the Afghan NDS have assisted terrorist organisations based on Afghan territory to carry out terrorist attacks within Pakistan. But the US has never uttered a word against what India and RAW has been doing to promote terrorism in Pakistan and the support being extended to fomenting insurgency in Balochistan. The armed resistance launched by Kashmiris in 1989 against Indian occupation which was recognised as a legitimate freedom struggle suddenly became acts of terrorism after 9/11 for the US, because supporting the Indian narrative suited their strategic interests.
As regards facilitating dialogue between Pakistan and India, the US knows that India has a stated position of not to accept third party mediation. The statement in this regard does not mean anything except endorsement of the Indian stance. If the US really believes in promoting peace in South Asia, it must support the implementation of the UNSC resolutions on the Kashmir dispute. Peace in South Asia hinges on the implementation of those resolutions. But regrettably the policies of the US and its allies are not based on principles of the UN charter and the internationally accepted norms of inter-state relations. They are subservient to their self-defined national, commercial and strategic interests unmindful of humanitarian causes.
The UN during the last seventy years has failed to resolve the Palestine and Kashmir issue in spite of a myriad of resolutions because big powers like the US have always played a negative role. They have acquiesced to Israeli annexation of the Palestinian territory through new settlements on their land and unchecked assaults against Palestinian civilian population besides thwarting the passage of UN resolutions condemning massacre of Palestinians by Israel. As rightly remarked by Pakistani foreign minister in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly the UN has become only a debating club instead of a forum to promote world peace.
In South Asia, the US and its western allies have picked up India as her strategic partner and are propping up her as a regional superpower as a reward for her role in the ‘contain China’ policy. They are prepared to allow India to carry out its communal policies within its territory and her illegal actions in IIO&JK and unabated persecution of the people of the state. Former foreign secretary of Pakistan Riaz Khokhar was right on the money when speaking in a panel discussion on objectives of Indian foreign policy organised by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; referring to the Palestine and Kashmir issues, he remarked that these would have been resolved long ago if the people of those territories were Christians, citing the example of East Timor.
The UN was actually formed by the triumphant powers of World War II to further their agenda of dominating and reshaping the world to serve their strategic interests. They have used their veto power to thwart resolutions of issues which they thought were inimical to their interests and have promoted the settlement of issues that in their perception were in their own interest to resolve.
The US seeing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal as a threat to her and the region and not mentioning the nuclear prowess of India which was hurling open threats to Pakistan seems quite bizarre. It is the US which has not only bolstered Indian nuclear capability by signing the civilian nuclear technology transfer agreement, but has also managed NSG waiver for her in violation of the principles of NPT and NSG Charter.
Somebody has rightly remarked ‘conscience’ has no place in world politics. The policies pursued by the US and its allies are a blot on their humanitarian credentials and their claims of being proponents of human rights and liberties. The world can never see peace unless the big powers base their policies on conscience and abandon their impulsive streak of blaming others for the consequences of their inhuman indiscretions.
Malik Muhammad Ashraf
The writer is a freelance columnist.