A Message on the Wall


If Pakistan continues to maintain links with the Haqqani network, the United States will have no option but to break diplomatic ties with Islamabad, Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of a powerful congressional committee warned last Friday and further threatened to attack terrorist safe havens in Pakistan and those who control these forces. At the White House, Mr. Levin advised Pakistan to comprehend the strength of America`s conviction by the composition of the delegation under the leadership of the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who led the delegation that included the CIA and military chiefs, told Fox News that the United States has shown Pakistan “the proof of the involvement of some Pakistani intelligence and military officials with the militants.” Senator Levin also urged the Obama administration to put the Haqqani network on the State Department`s list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations as early as possible.

Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed the same sentiments and warned Pakistan on Thursday to root out all the safe havens of terrorists prevailing inside its borders and underlined “very big price” against all those militants who launch attacks in Afghanistan from Pakistan. She emphasized Islamabad’s leaders to be part of the solution and further warned of the US operational action “over the next days and weeks, not months and years, but days and weeks because we have a lot of work to do to realise our shared goals.”

The blatant statements of Senator Carl Levin and Secretary of State Hillary to the elites of Pakistan, illustrate an unprecedented tension between the both countries, with the indications of Washington’s unilateral action if Islamabad pays no attention to its requests.

For the past recent years, a harsh opinion has been observed developing in America to pressurize Obama’s administration to adopt a new policy towards Pakistan as the both countries now seem difficult to find common strategic interests in harmony, which might make Washington think to adopt containing Pakistan army’s role in the affairs of the country until the real civilian rule returns to Pakistan.

Currently, Washington finds difficult to work with Islamabad in harmony as it thinks to be invincible for having control on NATO’s supply line from Karachi to Kabul and nuclear weapons – something that makes Washington think to adopt a policy of containment towards Pakistan and to bank those who fights against terrorists in this region.

As regard Pakistan’s concerns, many analysts in Pakistan believe that the real target of the United States is not the terrorists or Taliban but Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and Pakistan should always offer little help until and unless the US marginalizes the role of India in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been reported to have complained on the media for failing to hunt down an infamous militant Maulvi Fazlullah whom Pakistani troops expelled from its Swat Valley in 2009, is allegedly reported to be in Afghanistan and directs a series of recent cross-border strikes.

Regarding presence of Maulvi Fazlullah in the eastern Afghanistan, in her recent interview with Malik Siraj Akbar for Dawn newspaper Pakistan, Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Foreign Policy Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC has turned down the complaints of Islamabad and explained that US army is far more motivated to take action against those militant groups, if it receives intelligence reports , while on the other hand, the US believes Pakistan doesn’t show “any motivation to tackle the Haqqani Network but instead systematically allowed it to flourish.”

She further adds that Pakistan wants American’s assurance to get India to negotiate over Kashmir while India wants to get Pakistan to cease cooperation with militants inside Kashmir. The situation seems to appear very complicated to resolve the issue in view of Afghan scenario.

Many believe that Islamabad wants to deal with American to resolve Kashmir issue through Taliban. If Kashmir issue doesn’t get resolved, it is likely that Pakistan would keep continue to irritate the US in Afghanistan by not fully cooperating to eliminate the militants, which would further poison the relationship of both countries. The more American soldiers would get killed the more fallout would be colossal.

Having known, the complex relationships between US and Pakistan, now questions pop up, how Americans can push Pakistan hard to bring Taliban on the negotiating table without resolving Kashmir issue and how Americans can push Pakistan to root out Taliban sanctuaries and the safe heavens from Pakistan without marginalizing India’s role in Afghanistan? What options American can exploit to force Islamabad to eradicate militants especially Haqqani group, if Islamabad refuses to take action against the militant groups in Pakistan.

In my previous article published on October 19th, 2011, it was presumed that the US might speed up the drone strikes on Taliban sanctuaries and might continue to pursue its own preferred style outcomes like Bin Laden killing completely ignoring Pakistan’s security establishment.

However, Washington can put lots of other options in place to push Pakistan hard to stamp out Taliban sanctuaries from Pakistan. First of all, Americans can put military aids on hold, place Haqqani network on the State Department`s list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations, alienate Pakistan in the globe, pass resolution against Pakistan to stamp out militants sanctuaries in the UN, economic embargo/sanctions, support political parties against the establishments, speed up drone attacks, unilateral actions on the high value targets, encourage India to further cooperate in Afghanistan, seek nationalist parties support against the establishments, support Taliban Fuzullah like groups to terrorize civilian and establishments/government in Pakistan, instigate the Afghan leadership against Pakistan, diplomatic and political pressure on Pakistan, encouraging India to mount pressure on eastern and west borders of Pakistan, US can plan to make northern Afghanistan the centre of its future activities and to set up resistance within Afghanistan against the Taliban through distribution of money to buy up loyalties to make this region to experience more war in the years to come, which would ultimately put Pakistan on difficult situation to cope with.

While on other hand, Islamabad would pursue different strategies to use masses to terrorize US to change its policy towards Pakistan, use Taliban card to frighten US in Afghanistan, terrify US of religious militants to get controlled of nuclear arsenal if push harder to Pakistan and lose strategic country in the strategic zone and scaring the world of a real possibility of a jihadist state emerging in Pakistan sometime in the future.

Since American has lots of options in place to push Pakistan hard to bring Haqani Network on the negotiating table, many believe that it is now the right time for Pakistan to read the blunt message of US on the wall and take prudent measures to understand the sensitivity of the region and the security threats from within and outside of the country.

It needs to understand that the US would never wish to go from Afghanistan with failure and will try its best to get at least something to save its image on the globe. It also needs to be understood that an unstable Afghanistan will further destabilize Pakistan and protecting Taliban sanctuaries would mean some very disastrous outcomes for this region particularly Pakistan.

However, whatever the unprecedented tension between US and Pakistan might be, the past experiences have shown that the establishment in Pakistan would try its best to terrorize US of religious extremists in this region, but it is likely that Pakistan would bring Taliban on the negotiating table to prolong its rule in the country like its predecessor Pervez Musharraf took u-turn policy in Afghanistan after having no choice left.

The present establishment of Pakistan is believed to likely follow the same route; however, it depends on the US as how it conveys the harsh message to Pakistan like its predecessor did after 9/11.