Feb 28, 2009
Pressures on Pakistan
HONOURED as he might have been in the US with his induction in the US Army College's International Hall of Fame, COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, along with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, needs to work harder to articulate and present Pakistan's case to the American establishment.Mr Qureshi has had a relatively successful stint as Foreign Minister, what with the able execution of the damage control operation that had to be conducted in the fallout of the Mumbai attacks of November, 2008. But is the situation, in matters not directly related to the said attacks, getting any better? True, there is only so much a country's foreign service can do; military-to-military dialogue has to be effective as well. Leon Panetta, the CIA chief, has recently said that the drone attacks that are being conducted in Pakistani airspace will continue. "Nothing has changed our efforts to go after the terrorists and nothing will change those efforts," he said. Considering the Pakistan Army has been reiterating again and again its desire to see the same end, it would appear that there is a deficit of trust between the US establishment and the Pakistan military, further cemented by a recent controversial book that had enough spark in it to bring former President Musharraf back to a press conference podium.General Kayani needs to convince the Pentagon that our armed forces have no plan to re-launch the military operation in the tribal areas. That the Pakistan Army is unequivocally dedicated to saving our way of life and will not yield an inch of our soil to the militants and their obscurantist ideas in exchange for some outdated strategic idea. That whatever strategic defence they might employ against traditional rivals, none that employs rogues that threaten innocent civilians is even thought of, far less employed. The Pakistan Army truly deserves the respect in the US that it enjoys at home.