Written By Asim Aquil
It could not have been a sheer coincidence that the Thursday morning when Dr Shakil Afridi was charged and punished for treason by a tribal court under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR), the CIA once again violated Pakistani air space and carried out a drone strike on an unknown mosque in the tribal areas.
The targets were alleged to be low-level Uzbek fighters harboured in the premises but as ever a number of Pakistanis at the mosque lost their lives – heads that will register in Nato’s charts as “collateral damage” but no apology ever issued to their families or the public for the loss of lives or compensation dispensed.
It’s quite shameful that that these days drone strikes are carried out just to send political messages to Pakistan and not serve any military means. While even earlier the principle behind the strikes – violating air space and sovereignty of an independent nation and state – had led to heated debates, of late there is no justification for the cause behind them.
Needless to say, such pettiness is and will continue to harm the cause of the American nation and will be an inadequate cover for the failings of the American administration.
At this point in time, with the elections in Pakistan and US right round the corner, and a change of administrations a possibility in both countries, the US would be better placed in getting its priorities right and garnering goodwill. Not only that, to make sure it can exit Afghanistan at the cheapest price possible, it has to let go of its arrogance and soften its tone with Pakistan.
It’s been months since the US carried out the raid on the Salala check post, but has been stubborn enough not to issue an apology for the loss of 24 soldiers. At times one feels that why should Pakistan even “demand” or “ask” for an apology, should not one be tendered without being forced for it? What happened to sense of fairness and discerning between right and wrong? That the US is holding back on an apology as a bargaining chip emboldens the views within Pakistan that it views the deaths in Pakistan as acceptable losses.
If the US uses drone strikes to send messages – one has to wonder if the Nato strike on Salala was one such incident? The mind wanders as long as the issue is kept open.
I wonder if the other Nato allies ever question such US tactics? We know some in France are totally fed up kowtowing the US line – even though it was Nato tag, but primarily an All American force attacked Salala check post (funny how such mistakes are not made by German or French forces ever) but all of Nato has to pay for it. I wonder why the rest of them don’t take the US to task on its goof-ups.
In any case, to not apologize (which would only begin to settle things between us) is a deep insult to the nation and to the memory of the fallen soldiers. Never has arrogance taken a nation anywhere, and as the saying goes, what goes around, comes back around.
The US still acts 180 degrees against what is expected out of someone seeking benefits from Pakistan and continues to bomb Pakistan. How will this translate into benefits for the United States? Is the entire US game plan that Pakistan will capitulate under pressure and will miss the good old times and go running back to the US?
If that’s so I would like to know what passes for a Think Tank in America considering the millions of dollars they spend on various institutes dishing out such strategies. I want some of that action.
Discuss here in the Pakistan Defence Forum.