Fighting other’s war


Since Pakistan decided to participate in US war on terror, at least 75,000 Pakistanis have been killed. Moreover, $123 billion has been lost to economy, and tribal areas were devastated with millions displaced from their homes. Pakistan has lost way too much, in this one sided relationship. Hence, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assurance to North Waziristan that Pakistan will not participate in other’s war is a welcomed step. In Pakistan, a report by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs says, over 23,000 people have been killed since 2011. This includes militant attacks, military operations and US drone strikes. Once again, this is a conservative estimate and the true figure is likely much higher. Interestingly, the National Counter Terrorism Authority has come out with its own figures on militant attacks that put the number of civilians killed at over 19,000. It also said that there have been 409 US drone attacks since 2004 in which 2,714 people have been killed. The armed, unmanned drone has become a symbol of the US war on terror. A country that does not have the appetite to send its troops into the battlefield after the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq has been killing people by remote control. In the end the allies, who are fighting their war suffer.

Ever since Pakistan joined the US-Led war on terror in 2001, controversy has raged on whether it is our war or America’s. However, there is little doubt that when we joined the war, it was not ours. The Musharraf government owned it because the Bush administration imposed it on us as testified by the reported infamous threat by Richard Armitage to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age if we did not join the effort. As a consequence, we abandoned the Taliban and helped the US capture Kabul. Musharraf justified the volt- face on the ground of protecting Pakistan’s vital national interest such as the nuclear assets, the Kashmir cause, etc. However, he failed to mention his own survival as president, which must have factored in this decision. As a result, the terrorists decided to cause mayhem not only in tribal areas but also across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Taliban were doing so with the objective of pressurizing the government to abandon support for Bush Administration in its war on terror and letting them use Pakistani territory for military operations in Afghanistan.

In return what we got was accusations that we are not doing enough, and the ‘do more’ more mantra reigned supreme. Pakistan cannot maintain such excruciating relationships anymore. We need to find our own ground and stance and stick with it. By doing others dirty work we are only getting our hands dirty. Nevertheless, Imran Khan seems rigid on not making the same mistake, refusal to help Saudi showed are adherence towards this decision. Now, it is time to repair the damages these wars have cost us.