Union defence minister, A.K. Antony in his second term will realise that the military threat from Pakistan is more menacing than what it was when he sat in the same office a few months ago. The US has confirmed that Pakistan’s military capability across the entire spectrum of war, from strategic (nuclear) weapons to conventional and terror-inducing capabilities are growing exponentially. In recent hearings at the US Capitol Hill, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said that Pakistan is expanding its nuclear arsenal and capabilities. The Pakistan Army is using the US taxpayers’ money to fund expansion of its fissile materials (both Uranium and Plutonium), and to fabricate new and compact warheads for its ballistic and cruise missiles. Bruce Riedel, the man who authored the Obama administration’s new Pakistan-Afghanistan (PakAf) strategy has said that ‘Pakistan has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on earth, and it has nuclear weapons growing faster than anyplace else on earth.’ This is not all.
On Obama administration’s insistence, US lawmakers have agreed to remove two important clauses from the annual USD 1.5 billion non-military aid under the Pakistan Endurance Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act 2009 as they are felt to be humiliating for Islamabad.
These are an implicit demand for Pakistan to prevent terrorist attacks against India, and the mention that nuclear proliferation as was under the A.Q. Khan network should not be repeated. The US, instead of Pakistan, has made itself helpless. This is evident from the fact that Washington is encouraging India to share terrorists’ intelligence with Pakistan under the misplaced understanding that terrorism is threat to India, Pakistan and the US alike. There are reports that the Karzai administration in Afghanistan with US’ tacit backing is encouraging the Taliban to join the next government in Kabul. The inference is that notwithstanding the surge of 30,000 US troops in the coming months into Afghanistan, all that the Taliban have to do is to lie low as the US is already working on an early exit policy. No one understands this better than the Pakistan Army. Even as it is purportedly fighting terrorists in the SWAT region under US’ pressure, it has not discouraged the banned Laskhar-e-Taiyyba (under an assumed name) to provide succour to the displaced people. Being averse to counter-terrorism, and reluctant to remove large troops from its eastern border facing India, the Pakistan Army is targeting its own people with artillery and gunships.
Yet, to maintain the facade that it cares for them (to minimise civilian casualties), it wants to control the US drone attacks into FATA and areas of NWFP. If the Pentagon had dug its heel against this, it is because it knows that the Pakistan Army has strategic linkages with terrorists. Yet, like the Eighties, the United States, with open eyes, is helping Pakistan in its draconian designs. Then, the US blinked at Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme because it was raising the Mujahids to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Today, the US Obama administration is doing the same because it believes that Pakistan is coming apart and there is a danger of its nuclear weapons ending up with al Qaeda and the Taliban. Ironically, even as the US is preparing to dole out billions of dollars in military and non-military aid to Islamabad, it is conscious of the obvious: the Pakistan Army is insincere about fighting terrorism and extremism. Considering that the US President Barack Obama downwards all senior US officials have acknowledged that the Pakistan Army is fixated on the threat from India, it is time New Delhi woke up to what lies in store.