Pakistan seems a haven for foreigners. Not only do the Americans make all major policies, but they also carried out the killing of another foreigner, a Saudi, on the Pakistani soil, and have pledged through no less a person than their President (whose father was a Kenyan and a foreigner) to carry out similar operations in the country on unnamed figures. The Afghan government seems to have gotten into the act by claiming (incorrectly) to have killed Mullah Omar. But he seems to have been left alive for the Americans to hunt him down, presumably on the Pakistani soil. The killing of Osama has led to the launch of attacks by Al-Qaeda on Saudi and American diplomats. Though no American has been injured, the Saudi Consul General in Karachi has been killed. Other foreigners have been gunned down by the Quetta police, Chechens this time, including women, one of whom was expecting. After this heroism, it appeared to have been local for the navys main air base, PNS Mehran, to have been attacked. However, this too appears to have been the work of foreigners, especially if the level of complexity of the attack is viewed. Also, considering that, apart from the navy personnel killed, the planes destroyed are kept in mind, it seems that the country most likely to benefit from the attack was India. Another foreign power whose goals seem to have been advanced by the events set off by the Abbottabad operation has been the USA. Though it is not yet official USA strategy, at least not overtly, the US is likely to welcome anything that weakens militancy, and since it claims that there are links between the military and the terrorists, it will welcome any weakening of the military. Indeed, this is the new strategy on which the USA is to set to work. The first sign of how it would treat the military should have been seen from how Washington treated President Pervez Musharraf. Just as he was unceremoniously dumped, not just from the presidency but into exile, so the military was bound to be, because it could not give an appropriate answer to the American question of what have you done for me today? The last word is the most important in this question. It does not matter what you did yesterday. What have you done today? The US holds forth to the military the prize it holds forth to civilian rulers: Rule. While the civilians have to win elections, the military must have the right to rule. This is not given by the USA, but by the people, who regard the armed forces as the main bulwark against India. It is this desire to be able to defeat India which has made the military such loyal allies of the USA, not just for its arms supply, which it has valued, but also for its strategic support. However, that support proved a mirage in 1971, and has proved a mirage ever since the USA invaded Afghanistan. The US has made India its main surrogate in the region, and has given it a role in its occupation of Afghanistan. This might be possible for Pakistanis to swallow had it been a one-off or stand-alone, but since it is part of the strategy to make India the regional counterweight to China, it has not been acceptable. The Raymond Davis affair, in this context, was perhaps more of a precursor than it seemed at the time. One effect of the Abbottabad operation was doubly dangerous for the armed forces, which was the perception that the national heartland was no longer to be protected by the armed forces. For the argument of American technological superiority to be brought out, meant that the arguments were not there. This was a last-resort argument meant for internal consumption which raised more questions than it answered. For one, if technology was what counted, what if the USA was to transfer that particular technology to India? If the armed forces were incapable of defending the country against India, what was their right to rule? And why spend such a huge amount on the military if it was unable to defend against India? There is the feeling among the people that the armed forces are inept. The attack on PNS Mehran showed that all three services could not defend their own installations against intrusion. Where the PAF could not defend the airspace above Abbottabad, the navy could not defend its own planes and the army could not defend its own headquarters (as shown by the attack on GHQ in October 2009), runs the argument, where does the country as a whole stand? This is the result of the militarys participation in the war on terror: The country for which the war is being fought, is working to undermine one of the forces in the country which support the war. The natural inference from this is that the military may well have taken on more than it can manage, and may well have set itself goals more ambitious than it alone can achieve. The military cannot be more powerful than the state it belongs to, and thus the Pakistan militarys main problem, keeping up with India, may well not be possible by the old means of calling in an outside power. In a peculiar tangle, Pakistan has found itself at cross-purposes with the great power its establishment, both military and political, considers its greatest ally, the USA. This is over proliferation, with the Mehran raid providing an opportunity to opponents to claim that the Pakistani deterrent was not safe. This pressing concern must be noticed in the context of President Obama authorising raids to secure Pakistani nuclear weapons if needed, and obviously relying on the example of the Abbottabad raid. India would like to be in a position to make that raid, but for that it would need US clearance, which it appears not to have at the moment. However, this might be a way of inducing Pakistan to make peace with India, on its terms, which would be hegemonistic indeed, going by its various stated positions. By shaking the confidence of the people in the armed forces, the country whose purposes are served the most would be India. India has not forgiven the partition back in 1947, and only the presence of armed forces capable of giving the Indian armed forces what armed forces officers like to call 'a bloody nose has prevented the Indian establishment undoing that partition. The government has to go beyond calling DCC meetings. It is worth noting that the last, called after the Abbottabad raid, took place after a long interval. The Defence Committee of the Cabinet is supposed to be the War Cabinet, and thus its meetings indicate that while the country is not at war, it is pretty close. If the DCC must meet, then it means that there are external powers involved. While there were foreign powers overtly involved in the Abbottabad raid, only covert involvement was visible in the Mehran base attack. Unless, of course, the government was showing its commitment to the war on terror. That would only be possible for a government as subservient to the USA as the present one, and the easiest way out of the present situation, of leaving the USAs war on terror, and seeking new allies, is staring the government in the face. n Email: