by Imran H. Khan

As a Pakistani American I am most interested in good and strengthening relationship between the two countries. As an inhabitant of the planet I am interested that the two countries can work out their issues without resorting to the use of force, as both the countries are nuclear powers. The sad fact of the matter is that right now US is waging a hot war on Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s weakness and inability to defend itself both from inside and out, that it is letting itself to be bombarded with missiles on a nearly daily basis. Over 300 Hellfire missiles have been fired into the homes of Pakistanis since 2007. Each $58K missile attack kills about fifteen people on the average. Many of these people are children and women. By one estimate, one AlQaida type is killed for every 49 civilians. It is estimated that there maybe upto 10,000 hard core Taliban and AlQaida types in Pakistan. Using this strategy would result in the loss of 500,000 innocents to get rid of them. This is the same failed US strategy in Afghanistan that has alianated the average Afghan. The irony of the matter is that the Government of Pakistan actually provides two bases for the drones to fly out of Pakistan so as to give them longer loitering time over Pakistani villages. The Obama administration has appointed a Special Forces general to chart out the new Af-Pak strategy for the region. Being from special forces, he tends to see solution to most problems as needing the application of even more special forces. So he has asked for more Predator strikes into Pakistan and inserting special forces to go into cities of Pakistan, like Quetta. Agianst this backdrop comes “The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009″, or more popularly known as the Kerry-Lugar Bill. I managed to stay awake while reading all the legalize. I took the time to read it and would urge you to read it too at pakistaniat. It is the single most important piece of US-Pakistan document to study as it lays down the foundation of relationship between US and Pakistan for the duration of Obama administration.  We as a planet, are standing a tipping point in history. If we are not extremely careful in how we tiptoe through the next couple of years, there is a real risk of nuclear war between Pakistan and US. Should such a tragic event happen, the inhabitants of the Northern hemisphere of the planet could be inhaling radiating dust for a very long time to come.

Let us analyze the KL Bill against this backdrop of activities. In my opinion the bill lays down the foundation of what the US wants the relationship with Pakistan to be during the Obama administration. There is a fundamental shift in a couple of significant ways. The first is a shift in giving aid directly to civilian organizations for social development. The second is that the monitoring of the money being spent will be done primarily by the US embassy in Islamabad. The third is the certification by Department of State that Pakistani government and security forces are behaving in a manner that achieves the intent of the bill specified in Section 4 Statement of Principles.

The Statement of Principles or the intent of the bill is written very well and if executed properly would be a win win for all parties. It respects the sovereignty of Pakistan in that it aspires to work through the Government of Pakistan. It recognizes the sacrifices made by the people and security forces of Pakistan. It shows US desire to support the rule of law for all Pakistanis and for quality education in all territories of Pakistan. It extends support for people to people engagement that has been neglected for a very long time. It supports greater US aid in many areas of development that are sorely in need of monetary and expertise assistance. It even aspires to involve greater Pakistani American involvement in the process. If the bill had stopped at this point, it would be a bill worthy of support by all the concerned parties.

Unfortunately things start going downhill after that. Depending upon how much you want to read into it, the areas where the money can be spent starts unfolding the real agenda of the bill. It starts talking about enhancing the government’s capability in enforcing human rights. Nothing wrong with that on the surface. Till you take into consideration how the human rights bogey has been selectively used by US in furthering the foreign policy directives in countries around the globe. It begs the question as to who is defined as a human.  These moneys would be used to strengthen National Parliament committees to oversee national defense issues. I have included the exact quote below.

“..support for efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s institutions, including the capacity of the National Parliament of Pakistan, such as enhancing the capacity of committees to oversee government activities, including national security issues,..”

Such a brazen statement implies that they currently do not do it, and are looking for assistance from around the globe. If this is not infringement on sovereignty, then what is. How do you suppose money will be spent for this goal. Bribe the generals. Promote those officers who adhere to our mantra. The tone belies the desire to drive a wedge between the security agencies and the “democratically elected representatives of the people”. The Secretary of State will be asked to certify that

“..the security forces of Pakistan are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of Pakistan.”

“.. Govt. of Pakistan is making progress in ceasing support, including by any elements within the Pakistan military or its intelligence agency, to extremist and terrorist groups..”

“..Government of Pakistan is preventing al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including carrying out cross-border attacks into neighboring countries, closing terrorist camps in the FATA, dismantling terrorist bases of operations in other parts of the country, including Quetta and Muridke, and taking action when provided with intelligence about high-level terrorist targets..”

All this implies that Government of Pakistan has been  historically guilty of all this , and is being put on notice to clean up their act. We have the arrogance to dictate that Pakistan do our bidding in its local and foreign affairs according to our definitions. Many of the words are defined in great details in the definitions. But definition of terrorism is glaringly absent.

As a Pakistani American I would like the US government do the following:

1. Not spend any money for improving the education and police forces in Pakistan. This money is the responsibility of the Pakistanis to generate. There are too many home less and destitute american citizens who are more deserving of our tax payer dollars.

2. We should cease Predator attacks on Pakistanis immediately and compensate those who we have harmed.

3. We should get out of Afghanistan and let Pakistani and Turkish security forces under the UN mandate provide the space necessary to raise Afghani Army which would then take over. These countries share ethnic, religious and territorial commonalities with the people of Afghanistan. Both of these countries have the necessary security apparatus to assist and train Afghani Army. They will ensure that Alqaida types will not be able to use the Afghani territory.

4. We should provide nuclear and non nuclear technical assistance to Pakistan for their energy needs.

5. Provide visas conveniently to Pakistani students wanting to come to US universities.

6. Create opportunities for greater people to people contacts.

7. Respect Pakistani visitors and not profile them when they visit US.

As a American Pakistani I would like to see Pakistani Government do the following:

1. Spend enough money to educate all the Pakistani kids. Right now it provides money for only one in forty.

2. Spend enough money to provide security and timely legal recourse to all Pakistani citizens.

3.  Repeal the Blasphemy laws as they are against the founding spirit of Pakistan, against the religions  of Pakistan. Against the constitution of Pakistan.

4. Pakistani security forces should only play the constitutional role  and protect all the Pakistani citizens from all attacks from the air or land.

If both countries conduct themselves morally and do the right things for their citizens, there would be no need for any bloodshed. We should tear the Kerry Lugar bill and replace with a bill which lays a foundation of friendship based on mutual respect and trust.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Kerry-Lugar Bill: The New US-Pakistan Order?”

  1. Aamir Shah on November 18th, 2009 2:06 am

    Comment:
    Have 2 issues to discuss.
    1. Solution for Afghanistan. It is no different today then it was when the Russians retreated from Afghanistan. The solution is
    a) Withdrawl of all foreign forces from Afghanistan. The will of the People can not be suppressed. Vietnam taught us this lesson. Lets not forget it.
    b) a $50B Reconstruction Fund for Afghanistan to De-Weponize, De-Mine, and formation of a government of National Unity with proportional representation from all Tribes and ethnic groups of Afghanistan. A master plan for the development of the country Not according to the Western Ways but incorporating the age old methodology of doing things with 21st century tools. THIS WAS THE PLAN WE THE USA DID NOT IMPLEMENT AND SUFFERED DUE TO OUR SHORT SIGHTEDNESS. UNFORTUNATELY THE PRICE FOR THIS HAS RISEN MANY FOLDS BUT WE SHOULD STILL DO THE RIGHT THING.
    c) A OIC sponsored Peace Corp under a 5 year mandate to insure smooth transition of government.
    d) A decentralized government along the lines of what Zahir Shah had.
    e) a Peaced treaty with all its neighbors to renounce War, and aceptance of the present boundries of Afghanistan. i.e. make Afghanistan an Austria of Central Asia.

    As to Pakistan. In the words of Quaid I Azam, “God has given us a beautiful country full of resources, let it not be said that we did not live up to the task”.

    We need to come up with a restructuring plan a) Be willing to eat grass and become self sufficent (90% of Pakistan is willing, only 5% elite do not, they do not count any way). Reduce dependace on Aid and Import of Luxury goods, and be willing to live within our means.
    b) People (Manpower) in the biggest Asset why not a Reconstrcution Corp and use the man management skills and start rebuilding the infrastructure, education and health systems. America did some of it after the Great Depression.
    c) 2 year National Service for all, to discipline the people reduce un employment, and put the educate, the Doctors and Engineers to work.

    Believe you me it has a snow ball effect the momemtum builds up and its all up and up from there.

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  2. Sohail Rabbani on November 18th, 2009 2:07 am

    I have to fully agree with Kaiser Tufail on the issue of refusing to accept this aid. It is a cup of honey spiked with cyanide. Sweet to taste but lethal in effect.

    Pakistani workers abroad send about 7 billion dollars to support their families back home for their day to day living. (I’m not even going to mention the investment capital.) This is through banking channels. However, it is estimated that a similar amount is also sent home through ‘undocumented’ sources. If somehow an incentive system was put in place (higher exchage rate or something) that encoureged people to send the rest of the money also through banking channels, there would be 15 billion coming in and much of the currency balance problem of Pakistan would be eased.

    The point is that by creative actions many problems can be eased and the situation is not as hopeless as it appears on the surface.

    But the situation IS hopeless.

    It isn’t hopeless because the situation itself is impossible. It is hopeless because those who are in a position to do something about it are the ones who are hopeless. I am talking about the power elite.

    The situation of France between the fall of the monarchy and the rise of Napoleon was not dissimilar. Our feudal aristocracy is equally as corrupt AND inept as was the French.

    As for the US, I have no grudge. They are NOT the problem. WE are the problem ourselves. Why should we blame the US for trying to do whatever the hell it thinks is in its own interest? (Although it may not be in their country’s interest really, but only in the interest of their elite.) We should be the ones watching out for our own, not the US. So the blame is squarely on our own shoulders.

    The US, in its own turn is a spent force, a mere shadow of its former self and a power is deep and steep decline, not able to sustain its own status quo for much longer.

    The US’s problems at the top level are very similar to our own, namely, A CORRUPT and Rotten to the Core, Trecherous, Insincere, Exploitative and Manipulative POWER ELITE that considers itself ENTITLED to privilege at everyone else’s cost.

    The people of the United States (amongst whom I lived for 25 years), for the vast majority of them (like the majority of Pakistanis) are hardworking, simple, sincere, generous, compassionate, honest and friendly, albeit a bit naive.

    …SR

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  3. Kaiser Tufail on November 18th, 2009 2:12 am

    The purpose of the few lines written below is to focus on the two specific issues which are, responsible for the loss of our sovereignty — a grave, reprehensible and appalling loss for Pakistanis.
    The biggest dilemma Pakistan faces today is that of US coercion and browbeating. The cause of this predicament can be rooted to one single factor: Pakistan is being held hostage 1) to its economic situation at the national level and, 2) its leadership at the individual level. The country is being ransomed for a heavy price. Let us see how these two situations work against our interests and in favour of USA .
    Pakistanis have played havoc with its economy by spending outrageously for providing services to the those who are already rich and do not need them at all: the federal and provincial ministers, the parliamentarians, senior military and civil servants, etc. Outrageously-sized federal and provincial cabinets which prey on the poor taxpayers’ money for their lusty and frivolous capers, imported Honda Accords as staff cars, phenomenally (pardon the pun) costly travel of senior military officers in private jets, ceiling for parliamentarians’ telephone bills reaching hundred of thousands of rupees, even Umra trips to buy loyalties at State expense… the list can go on ad nauseum. What is required is an immediate arrest of this trend, with one single purpose: No Aid from Any Quarter. Period. It may sound like a most naïve proposition and, most technocrats are sure to write this recipe off as the handiwork of a novice, but I am convinced that it is do-able, if we have the will to tighten our belts and sacrifice our comfort for the ultimate strength of our Motherland. Economists like Sartaj Aziz, Hafeez Pasha, Kaiser Bengali, Ahsan Iqbal and even Shaukat Tareen must get together and come up with a NO AID road-map spread over two years. If we are able to shed the yoke of foreign dependence, we will have far more freedom of action than we have ever experienced in 62 years. The West, led by USA , will not be able to intimidate us and, we will be able to live with our heads high and, without the shame of the begging bowl in our hands.
    The second issue that Pakistan is confronted with is its inept leadership, which can be coerced and blackmailed no end. The US is making full use of their ability to arm-twist our leaders, from A to Z. One could not have ever imagined that the US would be brazen enough to ask for our so-called ‘surplus’ nuclear material for safe-keeping: to prevent it from falling into the hands of Taliban who are ‘as close as Taxila, which is a 10 minutes drive from ‘Izlemabad’ according to one sensationalist of Fox News. What baloney! It would have been considered preposterous to suggest that India use our road network to get to Afghanistan from where they can destabilise us as they will. That is adding insult to injury. The nation has to bear it, all, because our leadership is blackmailable, for the incriminating past that it has. Mark my words, the US is not going to let go of this present leadership as it is getting a windfall of strategic dimensions, something beyond their wildest imaginations. To sort the leadership issue, no technocrats like Aziz, Pasha, Bengali, Iqbal and Tareen are needed. It is the will of Pakistanis which needs to be exercised with a sincerity of purpose, to change the scheme of things. Else, it won’t be long before we see Advani’s rath yatras whizzing past defanged Ghaznavis and Hatfs!

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  4. Joe Briggs on December 2nd, 2009 10:34 pm

    What an informative and insightful analysis of an issue and area that most of us Americans so no little of. Thanks.

    [Reply]

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