Once again media is jolted with the war of words between Pakistan and United States, and that too between US President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Since becoming the President of the US, Donald Trump has been continuously targeting Pakistan, and is also demanding that Pakistan should ‘do more’ in dealing with terrorism and certain terrorist groups, especially the Haqqanis on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Time and again, the US alleges Pakistan of being soft on the Haqqanis and for providing safe heavens and sanctuaries to good and favored Taliban. Trump also alleges that the Haqqanis are deadly for the US and NATO forces inside Afghanistan and they have carried out several strikes against them in Kabul and various other parts of Afghanistan. Pakistan always denies and rejects the American allegations forcefully, and reminds Donald Trump and the US allies the sacrifices and losses of Pakistan and Pakistanis at the hands of terrorists. It reminds the US of the losses in terms of financial, the losses in terms of the lives of innocent men, women and children, and the losses of the lives of our well-trained soldiers who confronted many terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s border, and also combated various terrorist attacks on its civilians and saved hundreds of lives.
The latest tirade from the US President Donald Trump in a television interview is reflective of the short American memory. Trump says: “Pakistanis don’t do anything for us. They don’t do a damn thing for us.”
This blame may be one of the toughest from Trump on Pakistan, and it seems to have emerged out of his frustration as the US forces fail in achieving the US targets in Afghanistan. It may also be because the US now wants to withdraw its forces from the war torn country. Trump ignores that Pakistan maintains a huge border with Afghanistan with its military and heavy fencing, and guards on the entry and exit points of the borders which was never done better in the past.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a strong and probably the toughest rebuttal on Twitter to the claims of the US President for providing 1.3 billion US dollars a year to Pakistan that Trump said “we don’t give them anymore as they are doing nothing for us.”
Imran Khan, in his tweet, recounted Pakistan’s losses and sacrifices and said Pakistan got 20 billion USD for losses worth $120 billion. He also tweeted: “Instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures, the US should do a serious assessment of why, despite 140000 NATO troops, plus 250000 Afghan troops, and reportedly $1 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban today are stronger than before.”
It is historically correct that Pakistan has been a victim of the blunders made by the Zia regime. Soon after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan, Mikhaile Gorbachev regime started the policies of glasnost perestroika for more openness and transparency of the communist system in the Soviet Union and its ally countries. It resulted in withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan as they were suffering heavy losses against the0 Mujahidin backed by Pakistan, US and western countries in the tribal belt of Pakistan and Pahshtun side of Afghanistan.
Today’s terrorists and Taliban, on both sides of the boarder, are termed as Mujahidin—the freedom fighters or fighters for the holy war in Afghanistan. It is so because the allies declared socialism and communism the system of sin for the mujahedin. For these reasons, the Mujahidin had to defeat the ‘sinful’ system. The United States of America and its allies funded and trained the Mujahidin but they also left Pakistan alone after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Former US Secretary of State and the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton confessed these facts stating, “Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today, we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.”
Clinton also confessed the US created Al-Qaida and brought the terrorists from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries to defeat Soviet Union. Naturally, it was the United States and its allies that funded the terrorists for winning a war against the expansion of socialism and communism. They propagated the use of religious extremism that we see in the Wahabi brand of Islam in Pakistan, in our tribal belt, and Afghanistan.
There is no denial of the fact that even today Pakistan is vulnerable to this extremism that the society on the whole is countering and braving to fight while resisting the expansion of radicalism. Even the forces that are forcing the society to accept and promote religious extremism keep ignoring that Islam is believed to be the religion of peace, tolerance and brotherhood.
Imran Khan’s rebuttal is quite timely as Pakistan must now save lives of its own people and progress in the right direction. It should prioritize many growing issues like population explosion, the looming water crisis and its relations with India as it shares a huge border with India and has fought two wars with India over Kashmir. The only fear which may subdue the rebuttal of the Prime Minister Khan is his own ambition of taking U-turns. Irrespective of his shortcomings, Pakistan must try to defuse the tension between Pakistan and the United States as the two are old allies, and they still need a close partnership to defeat terrorism completely in Afghanistan and to bring lasting peace to the region.
The author is a senior Broadcast Journalist and can be reached on email: firstname.lastname@example.org