November 24, 2021

The Pakistan Con

China can thank their historical nemesis the British empire for Pakistan. 

"The US should not, however, drop Pakistan. Bad situations can always get worse. Today, Pakistan is a weak state; tomorrow, it could become a failed one. That would be a regional and global nightmare, given the presence of nuclear weapons and terrorists." - Richard N. Haass, 'The Pakistan conundrum' The Strategist, January 18, 2018.

"Indian policymakers have not been able to come up with a definitive policy framework to resolve the Pakistan conundrum. India has tried both the diplomatic and the military ways to find a solution to the problem. But nothing has worked out so far that could deter Pakistan from sponsoring terrorism." - Aditya Kumar Singh, 'The Pakistan Conundrum' The Kootneeti, May 18, 2020.

"This still leaves the question: what can India do in the event of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan? I had asked this of a former high-ranking defence official in the Clinton administration at a conference at Harvard in late 2001. Without blinking an eyelid he said, “We would help the Indians take out the nuclear arms.”" - Deepak Lal, 'The Pakistan conundrum' Business Standard, January 19, 2013.

It is one of the ironies of history that Pakistan, a product of the Muslim separatist movement in India, is helping China crush Muslim separatism in its backyard. 

An excerpt from, "China’s Deepening Engagement With Pakistan On Counterterrorism" by Ghulam Ali, CACI Analyst, May 26 2010:

In the post-9/11 period, China also openly sought Pakistan’s support on the issue of Muslim separatism in Xinjiang. Beginning in December 2001, the then Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Musharraf, visited the Grand Mosque of Xi’an at China’s request and asked the Muslims to be loyal to the Chinese government. This was the first time a Pakistani leader went public to endorse China’s polices on Xinjiang. Pakistan has since backed Beijing on this issue. The most significant display of this support came during the July 2009 riots in Xinjiang in which almost 200 people were killed. Pakistan not only endorsed China’s measures to quell the riots but used its clout to prevent certain Islamic countries to take the issue to the Organization of Islamic Conference, thus saving Beijing from embarrassment.

The Muslim of China have greater cause today to demand a state of their own than Indian Muslims did in 1947. The Muslims of India didn't suffer persecution or oppression at the hands of Hindus. 

But the changing of history and transformation of geopolitics isn't predicated on human rights and just causes. 

Power has always dictated events, and Indian Muslims had a powerful ally in Britain who wanted to create a militaristic buffer state to prevent the Soviet Union from invading South Asia. British politicians also wanted to reward Indian Muslims for their loyal service during the Second World War. 

The newly created Pakistan was sold as a capable military ally of the West but it has proven to be anything but in the past eight decades. 

British military intelligence did an adequate job of setting up the rump state to deal with local insurgents and popular uprisings but not much else. 

London's support grew out of limited military objectives. It had no interest in transplanting Western ideas of democracy, rule of law, and the free exploration of ideas. Pakistan was a nation state in name only, held together through force alone. 

As a result its development has stagnated under successive military dictatorships while India transformed itself into a dominant power over the same period of time.

India's confidence is based on the fact that it has an ancient civilization to draw from and incorporate into its modern national imagination. Pakistan's leaders looked to Arabia to find an equivalent inspiration, and the consequences have been tragic. 

Instead of making peace with its neighbour Pakistan donned the black cloth of Islam and pursued an unwinnable holy war over a miniscule piece of land. It views itself as a frontier for the Muslim army, but if it disappeared from the map tomorrow Islamic history won't even register it as a loss for Islam.

Pakistan's leaders have lied to Muslim audiences about their role in the Islamic world because the truth is that they preside over a dispensable and fragile nation. Pakistan is not the nuclear sword it proclaims itself to be. It is engaged in nuclear blackmail because it lacks the military superiority to defend its territorial claims. 

Hypocrisy runs through Pakistan's short history. Its biggest hypocrite remains its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who played the Islamic card despite not believing in the validity of an Islamic state. 

An excerpt from, "Jinnah’s 11 Aug. speech was a con trick; Indians saved his Pakistan project from miscarrying, says Pakistani-Swedish academic" by Kapil Bajaj, Pgurus:

Prof. Ahmed’s research shows that Indians played a phenomenal role in rescuing Jinnah’s Pakistan from collapse by controlling violence against Muslims, but the same cannot be said about the separatist leadership of the Muslims in its treatment of the Hindu and Sikh victims of violence, who were simply left to fend for themselves.

“It’s the Indian government that helped Pakistan – (Mahatma) Gandhi by giving his life and (Jawahar Lal) Nehru by doing his duty in stopping the attacks … (on Muslims, thus controlling the situation that would have forced more Muslims to flee to Pakistan),” he says.

After Jinnah's death, Pakistan was left without a charismatic figure to mold and lead the new nation. And since it lacked traditions, a shared history and laws it fell back on the army to stabilize it and project its image in the community of nations.

Pakistan's other saving grace was its geographic location. Washington used it to its full advantage numerous times. But the history of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been marked by a series of false promises and betrayals. 

An excerpt from, "When JFK hosted Pakistan’s president at Mount Vernon" by Bruce Riedel, Brookings, July 6, 2021:

In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, China invaded India. As I have written in my book “JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and the Sino-Indian War,” Kennedy managed two huge and dangerous crises on opposite sides of the globe. The Indians appealed for American weapons, Kennedy ignored his promise to Ayub Khan, and a massive supply of arms flowed into India. Moreover, Kennedy made it clear that the United States would not tolerate Pakistani attempts to take advantage of India’s predicament in disputed Kashmir. The president was aided in handling the perilous crisis by his personal rapport with Ayub Khan created at Mount Vernon.

In a perfect world Pakistan would've ceased to exist at the end of the Cold War since its strategic usefulness expired with the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

It could've played a positive role in Afghanistan in the last three decades and redefined its national destiny, moving away from a purely Islamic identity, but its arrogant military leaders have lacked the humility and vision to transform their failing nation. 

They instead have doubled down on a policy of irrational hostility towards their immediate neighbours.

An excerpt from, "Pakistan Is an Arsonist That Wants You to Think It’s a Firefighter" by C. Christine Fair, Foreign Policy, September 10, 2021:

With the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shuttered, the United States is very likely to do what it usually does: go back to the arsonist and sustain the pretense that it is in fact the fire brigade. The United States will likely find itself more dependent on Pakistan as it seeks a foothold to retain intelligence cooperation and likely drone basing for targeting the terrorist refuges in Pakistan, even while Pakistan continues to cultivate the same refuges. As in the past, whether it was the use of Pakistan territory for U-2 flights or for drones, Pakistan and the United States will likely establish yet another pay-to-play scheme.

The stability of Pakistan has been questioned since its founding. It was born out of the deceit that Muslims in India were under threat and required a country of their own. 

Pakistan's leaders have continued to play the victimization card, conning Western and Islamic officials as well as their own people. As of late they've also tried conning the Chinese, but they are less gullible and have little patience for cheats. Pakistan should expect to become a colony of China or risk total collapse.