Posted by: Administrator | 23 June, 2008

War on Terrorism in Pakistan’s National Interest

Written by: Afreen Baig


Picture Courtesy Waleed Irfan Superbikez

War on Terrorism (WoT) did not start with the advent of 9/11, rather it started in 1980’s when Russia was defeated in Afghanistan, and the USA pulled out abandoning the hundreds of thousands of equipped and trained guerillas. Those guerillas and militants integrated in small pockets in various regions of Afghanistan and NWFP. They utilized their militancy to influence domestic tribes and mosques to instigate and promote radicalism. In 2000-01, Government of Pakistan was forced to ban several extremist outfits due to increase in sectarian violence and its effect on the lives of ordinary Pakistanis. For Pakistan – it was already at war with extremism!

9/11 further changed the political dimensions for USA, and also changed Pakistan’s destiny. A destiny that is full of expectations, decision making, media trial, uprising opportunist and extremist hoping to destabilize Pakistan. Who will be the ultimate winner is yet to be seen. The regional environment is a complex one and Pakistan is fighting a multi-faceted battle that will change the course of history.

9/11 put Pakistan in a complicated situation, where tough decisions had to be taken. Richard Armitage’s threatening message forced Pakistan to gauge the urgency and seriousness of the episode. The message was clear – the USA will do anything, to do what it had to do in its National Interest. NATO will follow suit. Pakistan was left alone to decide and protect its National Interest. The President decided in Nation’s self-interest and self-preservation. War on terrorism (WoT) marked its presence – it was inevitable!

Implications of war are grave and Pakistan having gone under a similar situation in 1980’s knew better. Millions of effected immigrants will insist & require safe dwellings in the tribal areas of NWFP. Keen RAW and Russian espionage missions will try to cross over and operate from our tribal areas. Transport of illegal weapons and arms would have taken place to support our local opportunist rebels. Desperation might have compelled the US and NATO forces to march into a sovereign Pakistan. Above all, India was more than willing to extend its support and services to US on its WoT. Keeping in mind these ground realities; we had to choose our destiny carefully.

  Vigilant and military style analyses were contemplated to calculate the pros and cons. The leadership in Pakistan war-gamed the USA and NATO as an enemy and realized that it was worthless committing suicide over the obstinate Taliban. Our out-dated military was no match for the world’s strongest and finest military, excelling in Air-force supremacy. Pakistan’s stagnated economy had only slightly started recovering, after being tagged as one of the highest indebted countries. Galvanizing the whole nation into agreeing to fight the USA and NATO was another impossible task. Indian eagerness to join the War on Terror was an alarming condition that Pakistan could not have over-looked. Indian jets flying over Pakistan’s space, with our Strategic assets’ lying below were a suicidal recipe. An accidental Indian bomb dropped on our Kahuta plant would have created disaster.

The Pakistani leadership couldn’t and shouldn’t have risked the entire 160 million Nation, for a few obstinate Taliban. A Pakistani delegate was sent to negotiate with the Taliban to pursue them to hand over Osama bin Laden to USA. The consequences were also made clear, but the over confident Taliban lacked vision to foresee their destiny. Consequently, Pakistan was forced to cut off diplomatic ties with the stubborn Taliban. Given the looming conditions, only a lunatic would have advised the contrary.

The US plans were evident – they will go to war! When any country of the world goes to war, its neighboring countries are forced to secure their borders further raising the security color codes. Pakistan planned no different. It drew up plans to secure its NWFP border along Afghanistan. Around 80,000 troops were placed to patrol and were assigned specific targets. The ultimate decision to secure our borders did not completely go to waste, and was extremely beneficial in controlling cross border terrorism and infiltration. Pakistan had taken a carefully scrutinized decision.

In return for participation, the USA had assured Pakistan, that India and Israel will not participate in War on Terror. Second, the USA will not act unilaterally inside Pakistan. Third, the USA will reimburse the costs incurred on Pakistani troops and logistical help. Fourth, the USA will ensure rescheduling of Pakistan’s foreign debt. Pakistan’s intentions were sincere and made with utmost patriotism. Then, who started working behind the scenes, planning to destabilize Pakistan and how and why?

It is true, that the USA planned this war, not to fight terrorism, but to secure the vast reserves of gas and oil of the Caspian Sea region. Afghanistan was their selected and cheapest route to lay the oil and gas pipelines, starting from the central Asian states. Who then created trouble in Afghanistan, in the tribal areas of Pakistan and in Baluchistan, to jeopardize American interest and Pakistan’s booming economy?

Pakistan’s image had improved world-wide due to its participation in WoT. Rescheduling of Pakistan’s foreign debt gave it the space to implement visionary fiscal and macro-economic policies. The micro-economic and macro-economic policies boomed Pakistan’s stagnated economy from $75 billion into a $160 billion one. Our exports increased by a 100% and so did our revenue. Our currency’s rating was upgraded and Pakistan saw a new era of multi-national corporations. Foreign investment chose Pakistan as its destination and stock markets profited from the liberal policies. Institutions world-wide like the World Bank, IMF, and Asian Development Bank heaped praises on Pakistan’s economic reforms. Reports by J. P Morgan, the Merrill Lynch, the City Group and the Goldman Sachs gave high marks to Pakistan’s current and future economic prospects as well as to the prudent handing of economy by economic team of the government.

Pakistan had already started attracting the foreign investment that earlier used to eye the Indian market. Pakistan’s geo-strategic location and its competitive labor prices further won preference over the Indian destination. Pakistan’s development programs modernizing the infrastructure paid off well, compared to India’s crumbling infrastructure. Who obviously could not tolerate Pakistan’s bright future?

Three years back the relics of Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) re-emerged with force, advocating Liberation of Baluchistan from Pakistan. A total of 843 attacks and incidents of violence have been reported since 2002, in Baluchistan, including 54 attacks on law-enforcement agencies, 31 attacks on gas pipelines, 417 rocket attacks on various targets, 291 mine blasts and others on various occasions. It is reported that BLA members have become well-trained and well-armed, with machine guns, rocket-launchers, Motorola wireless sets, and Thuraya satellite phones receiving information about the movement of government troops. Their organized attacks using sophisticated weapons against the Pakistan Army and strategic installations compelled the Pakistani intelligence to determine the root cause and analyze the hands behind them.

 PML-Q senator Mushahid Hussein Syed conceded last year, the involvement of Indian RAW in Baluchistan, while blaming India for exploiting the Afghan ministry of tribal affairs to conduct covert activities against Pakistan. He further accused RAW for establishing its training camps in Afghanistan in collaboration with the Northern Alliance remnants. Approximately 600 Ferraris, or Baluchi tribal dissidents, were getting specialized training to handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons in these camps. This news came as no surprise. Indian agenda to orchestrate dissent and support extremist elements inside Baluchistan and NWFP started becoming evident.

 Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna was quoted saying “The government of India has been watching with concern the spiraling violence in Baluchistan and the heavy military action, including use of helicopter gunships and jet fighters by the government of Pakistan to quell it and we hope the government of Pakistan will exercise restraint and take recourse to peaceful discussions to address the grievances of the people of Baluchistan.” This statement from Indian Foreign Ministry says it all clearly!

 In early 2007, the Pakistani military authorities claimed there were 500-600 foreign militants in the South Waziristan area when army operations first started in early 2004. Of them, some 400 have either been killed or captured, according to the army, while a remaining 200 still “stranded” in North Waziristan are now using the Pakistan-Afghanistan border strip as their base to launch midnight guerilla attacks. The Media should question the presence of these Uzbeks, Tajiks, Arabs, and Afghans in Pakistan’s tribal agencies.

 Abdullah Mehsud was detained at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and held for 2 years. After his release in early 2004, he returned to Waziristan, and kidnapped two Chinese engineers working on a dam in his region. Who supplied him, Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Fazallulah – with all the resources, weapons, logistics help, information and money to create havoc in NWFP? It is well known that India other than having an embassy in Kabul; set up four consulates, in Kandahar, Jalalabad, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat – all neighboring NWFP. The intentions need no further elaboration.

 This is also well known that the Russians were also eyeing the Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves. Energy deprived Indian economy also requires vast supply of gas and oil to sustain itself. A stable and booming Pakistan will steal the growth and regional aspirations that India desires. India cannot endure nor allow Pakistan to become another stable mini-China. Mainland China is competition tough and enough for India.

 Israeli help to India is also apparent. Recently, the Israeli ambassador in New Delhi has said his country’s assistance to India ‘brought about the turnaround’ in the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan. He said, “The ties between India and Israel were beyond sale and purchase of weapons. And with all due respect the secret part of it will remain secret”. Surely a bold statement!

 Currently, the interest of both the USA and Pakistan are being bogged down. These masked groups of achievers seem to be making the most out of War on Terrorism and by trying to deliberately destabilize Pakistan. To top it all, the Pakistani media has projected Pakistan’s standing with respect to WoT in a wicked way. Their insistence that Pakistan military is fighting the US foreign war against our own citizens is nothing but deceit and sham exaggeration. The Pakistan military is rightly crushing these foreign agents and rebel separatist, whose sole intention is to destabilize Pakistan.

This WoT that started off as a simple patrolling exercise on NWFP border, has transformed into fighting off foreign extremists and militants trying to conquer tribal agencies in NWFP and Baluchistan. The US and NATO fight in Afghanistan, gave many conspiring elements and countries to execute their fiendish agendas. Had the leadership of Pakistan and the Armed Forces, not foreseen and calculated the effects of war in Afghanistan – Pakistan would have been in a much graver and tormenting situation.

Thus, Pakistan’s decision in 2001 was far-sighted that avoided direct conflict with the super-powers of the world, and by stationing 80,000 troops on borders, we were able to confine and control the small rebels. The leadership of Pakistan did earn unfair criticism in local media, but it saved Pakistan from a bigger disaster. Otherwise, those small consulates that are functioning from Afghanistan would have rooted themselves inside NWFP and few areas of Baluchistan. Those small miscreants in NWFP and Baluchistan, who are acting as agents of foreign agencies, will soon be eliminated and the involvement of foreign agencies exposed.

This War against Terrorism and Extremism can easily be won, if our Political parties would introduce democracy within them and give way to honest leadership; those who would prefer the interest of Pakistan above their personal feudalistic agendas of increasing wealth and estates.

Lastly, a quote by Robert Dreyfuss, which may not sound relevant for now, but it indicates volumes about a particular mindset. The book ‘Devil’s Game’ – published in 2005 quotes on page 336-337 – “Neo-conservatives want to control the Middle East, not reform it, even it means tearing countries apart and replacing them with rump mini-states along ethnic and sectarian lines. The Islamic right, in this context, is just one more tool for dismantling existing regimes, if that is what it takes.”

Pakistan must always decide in its National Interest! Pakistan cannot afford Political instability, growing insurgency and a demoralized Army!

Afreen Baig is an independent analyst majoring in International Relations and Economics. She can be reached at




  1. Thank u for the eyeopening article.We need a leader with foresight to see us through this,and Musharraf is the only name that comes to my mind .If only the good among the politicians back him up and strengthen him ,to make the tough desicions then we r going to be winners through and through.

  2. this is one very thorough article..

  3. thank you afreen for that insight

  4. MashAllah very good article….God bless you sister…

    keep up the good work….


    USA wanted Musharraf gone!

    Pakistanis want to know Why?

  6. kiyani is the reason zardari is king today .

    why do I get the feeling that “BrassTacks” is a jirga for the khans.

    all Imran Khan supporters are now rallying after zaid hamid.

  7. I ask why has USA not contained the same in Mexico and Cuba both being flat ground areas as opposed & compared to waziristan???

    United States President George W Bush said at the National Defence University.
    on Tuesday.

    Pakistan has the responsibility to battle terrorists and must ensure its Tribal Areas do not become sanctuaries for them.

    “Defeating these terrorists and extremists is in Pakistan’s interest, they pose a mortal threat to Pakistan’s future as a free and democratic nation”

  8. 22, 2008 6:11 am

    Afghanistan is beyond ‘saving’. When will the world understand that you can’t go and blow up a country and then expect it to be built back to its former self within a couple years? It’s ridiculous. Instead of building more schools, roads, and institutions that would make Afghanistan a safer and livable place, we continue to fight. Historically, no one has EVER won a war in that region, and that is not about to change. The best option would be to target militants individually instead of killing countless civilians everyday. Of course, western media fails to cover these casualties, but trust me…people are dying in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the ‘war’ is to blame and the US is not helping by sending drones in to Pakistan that end up killing women and children. Just because people in the tribal area are religious does not make them terrorists, just as if you’re of any other race or religion, you shouldn’t be stereotyped, nor should the people of the NWFP. They are a proud people, and do not respond well to this conflict, which is causing further instability in Pakistan. The drones and subsequent attacks by Pakistan’s military in the north are what caused the horrific bombing in Islamabad. When will both sides wake up and see that this fight is strategic and requires gobs of intelligence and the cooperation of the ISI in Pakistan?
    — S.Z.K., Chicago

  9. thank you for highlighting the true reason for which pakistan opted to join the war on terror as that reason is justifiable, you can not handle a super power like USA. Had pakistan not cooperated with the united states we will be like Iraq. I really appreciate President Pervaiz Musharraf for taking such tough decession and at crucial time, clearly shows the leadership qualities and farsightedness of you. Thank you.

  10. Just want to share this interesting read for some food for thought.Please use it to answer the indian propaganda against Pakistan.
    December 8, 2008 at 11:24 am
    Did you know that over the past 14 years 54,969 Indians have been killed by Indian militants? Incredible. That translates into roughly 4,000 Indians getting killed per year by India’s own militant entities. Did you know that of the 608 districts in India at least 231 districts are “currently afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements?” Incredible. And, that translates into roughly 40 per cent of the entire country being afflicted with some kind of militancy.

    Did you know that RDX that killed 68 Samjhauta Express passengers was stolen from the Indian army by Indian army’s Lt-Col Shrikant Purohit (RDX is explosive nitroamine used by militaries around the world)? Incredible. In 1985, National Security Guards or ‘Black Cats’ was formed to respond to terrorist activities. Do you know where the ‘Black Cats’ were on the night of November 26? Well, Black Cats were on VIP security duties. Sounds just like Pakistan, doesn’t it? Guess who was arrested by India’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) after a series of bomb blasts that killed 37 people in Malegaon (290 kilometres from Mumbai). It was Indian army’s Lt Col Purohit. Do you know that the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had accepted responsibility for the 2008 Ahmedabad bombing, the 2008 Japipur bombing and the 2008 Delhi bombing?

    Clearly, the incidence of corruption within the Indian army is high. Clearly, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is in a coma, RAW was caught snoring, the Joint Intelligence Committee has been caught sleeping and the Joint Cipher Bureau was nabbed napping.

  11. The kind of terrorism we muslims are faced with do require certain measurements. The fight against terrorism has become so for the survival of muslims as whole. We have to control the fanatics and control their breeding grounds. Before USA screamed out loud to the world to stop terrorism and now it has itself groomed several terrorist, giving them the outfit of muslims or Taliban with clear instructions to destabilize Pakistan from within. They are suppported by RAW and CIA. Pakistan army must take severe action against these fanatics. Good article!

  12. listen to this link and then see why the USA has had to finally admit or accept the truth today. We all know the fact that USA had been maligning Pakistan for their own created mess in the world with emphasis in the Muslim Countries. With Israel specific wrong policies. It already was unfortunate that a great country like USA has had to appease the Jewish lobby in their congress since ww11 [ which is all together another story] if that wasn’t enough, they chose the Indian lobbyists to do their dirty job, both being minorities in the world to malign Muslim freedom struggles. It is a shame a super power that the whole world relies upon, had to base its foreign policy for these two countries. It is therefore not a coincidence that USA has lost its moral argument in the world today.

    It is no wonder Great Americans like Webster Tarply and Alex Jones have been crying bloody murder.

  13. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik on Thursday tabled in the Senate ‘documentary proof’ of India and Afghanistan’s involvement in the unrest in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas.

    Why Else is this new policy shift taking place:

    US working to improve Indo-Pak ties: Hillary

    No alliance raids into Pakistan: NATO chief

    Mullen assured Gen Majid (Air chief) that the US would honor all pledges that it had made with the military leadership of Pakistan.

    US-Pakistan strategy needs ‘fundamental change’

  14. US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton

    Ya Right!
    Madame secretary of state think a little harder … it was your husband who was in the fore front to implement that policy. Ever wonder why Iran is always being threatened but never attacked yet pakistan an ally of the super power is being attacked by it. Makes your head swirl. It is no wonder USA is so mistrusted and hated through out the world . Even Mexicans hate it. listen to Webster Tarply explain this policy of the Brzezinski cartel.

    US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton–bi-06

  15. tailban are in our national interest. they are favourable for pakistan. they are like army of pakistan but our crupet leader are not ready to accept this. tailban are our startegic need

  16. Everything in this article is so true. Why are we acting blind with open eyes? Time to wake up and do something. Wake up nation!!

  17. Thanks Afreen sis you did a great job.After your collection Of Mr.Musharraf Era it is thoroughly cleared that what He did for Pakistan I dont know what else the people of Pakistan wanted from a government.Now Just because of the negative propaganda of our Electronic media our country become in worst situation and with our great Politician who are avoiding to pay Taxes and just making money instead of to give some thing to Pakistan they are busy to make money by hook & crook now no media highlighted there doing.Restoration of Chief Justice who get the benefit?Just destroy Pakistan for who electronic media anchor the owner of the Channels can tell to the people of Pakistan whose interest was there in Black revolution which destroyed Pakistan economy and Pakistan as well.

  18. ..امریکہ کا ساتھ نہ دیتے تو وجود نہ رہتا: مشرف

  19. Pakistan’s refusal to assist USA, in post-9/11 scenario, would have destroyed Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf

    30 May 2011

    LONDON: Former President, Pervez Musharraf has said that had Pakistan refused to assist USA, in the post-9/11 scenario, America would have harmed Pakistan, to the extent of destruction.

    In his recent interview with BBC, the former President termed the decison to assist America as a prudent and well-conceived, while he also strongly rejected the notion that he had made the decision in a scare at ‘a single phone call’.

    “Any refusal by Pakistan to assist America would have forced America to seek Indian help, while both (specifically India) would have also destroyed Pakistan nuclear assets under any pretext”, he added.

    While stressing that the planning for 9/11 was ‘definitely conducted amid the rocky mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan ‘, he regretted that Pakistan took maximum possible brunt of all the fiasco.

    He also regretted the naivety of those who fail(ed) to comprehend the inside story and facts.

    Referring to the current Afghan situation, he said that American had made a big mistake of ignoring Pakhtoons, and held imprudent and wrong policies of American and allies as responsible for the current Afghan crisis.

    Answering a question regarding the murder of Benazir Bhutto, he reaffirmed his belief of involvement of Baitullah Mehsud in her murder, but failed to comprehend as to whom might have manipulated Baitullah to do so.

    Replying to another question, he said that Country was (obviously) more important than democracy, and (obviously) Country should /would always have an edge over (secondary) democracy.

    He also stressed for an operation in North Wazirstan; unless it had a valid reason for not doing so, and strongly urged eschewing, use of Pakistani soil for launching attacks on Afghanistan.

    Replying to another question, he disapproved of slow and lacksided reaction and response of the government over illegal American incursion of Abbottabad, and it should have immediately clarified its stance over the presence of Osama-bin-Laden, besides lodging its strong protest over the incursion.

    Deliberating and ‘justifying’ carving out a Q of PML (PML-Q), he said that he required a political support in presence of such strong political forces as PML-N and PPPP, besides safeguarding his ‘developmental projects’ during the first three years of his rule; which ‘raised the living standards of masses’.

    Reminiscing over the past history, he said that only if President Ayub was not in power, the East Pakistan debacle would never had happened.

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