PAKISTAN IS AT A CROSSROADS WITH IRAN
- Written by guest author Gholam Mujtaba, Ed.D., M.D.*
It dates back to the years of 1947 and 1948 when two new states in South Asia and Middle East declared independence, Pakistan, a Muslim state and Israel, a Jewish state. Both aligned themselves to the United States camp, whereas India joined the Soviet camp in the same year. The 33rd President of the United States, Harry S. Truman acknowledged the friendship in high esteem, and both Pakistan and the state of Israel emerged as the most favorite nation (MFN) of the United States till the days of the 43rd President, George W. Bush.
U.S. aerial reconnaissance, U-2 spy plane conducting special mission was shot down by the Soviets in 1960. It may be reminded that, it was in July 1958 that the U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s request was acceded by the Pakistani Prime Minister Hussein Suhrawardy to establish a secret U.S. intelligence facility in Pakistan and for the U-2 spy plane to take off from the country.
Pakistan had been a U.S. ally through four mutual security agreements, as America’s most favorite nation in Asia, the only Asian country which was member of both SEATO (South Asia Treaty Organization) in 1954 and then CENTO (Central Treaty Organization) with Iran and Turkey in 1959, and an earlier Mutual Defense Agreement. Then NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was created to counter Soviet and WARSAW pacts of the communist regime, and Pakistan is counted as a partner in NATO adventures. NATO-Pakistan relations is beyond its mission in Afghanistan with regular exchanges, military cooperation and consultations.
The geopolitical significance of Pakistan is at the core of this relationship, and the United States has invested over and above 60 billion dollars in military and economic aid to the country. The country is a conduit to the Middle East, gateway to South and Central Asia bordering China, Russia, China and Central Asia’s access to warm waters through Pakistan.
The religious and sectarian affinity of the roughly 15% of Pakistani population rests with Iran, while the majority 85% are aligned with the Arabs through Sunni doctrine. This makes the country vulnerable to the Middle Eastern divide and crisis faced in Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Bahrain.
Iran having faced the United States sanctions since the Khomeini regime has targeted the nuclear Islamic state of Pakistan to feat anti American perceptions amongst the illiterate masses of Pakistan. In doing so, Israeli-Palestinian conflict card was well played to inflame the sentiments of the masses targeting both the United States and Israel. The public campaign was never countered from this side of the Atlantic. My personal observation with over two million social media following, the highest pro-American following in the region faced rough patches during this journey.
The former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf confessed last night over Voice of America that Dr. Qadeer Khan transferred nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea. This confession raises eye burrows. Another confession of Nawaz Sharif on Bombay terrorist bombings has compromised Pakistan’s credibility in this war on terror, and the statement of General Durrani, the former Director General of Pakistan’s prime spy agency in his book about the knowledge of General Kayani, former Chief of the Pakistan Army on the presence of OBL in a Pakistani safe zone is antithesis to U.S. support to Pakistan post 9/11.
The presence of Haqqani network, the terrorist cell blamed to exist within Pakistan, and the operations conducted by Hafiz Saeed in promoting terrorism are matters of grave concern for the United States.
Aside from those facts, the introduction of CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) to bring Chinese access to warm waters through the Pakistani port Gwader culminated U.S. investments. The United States supports all forms of progress in the region, however covert strategies to annihilate U.S. interests in the region may not be acceptable in pursuance to the policies of this country.
The current sanctions by the POTUS on Iran has choked Iran, and the Iranian regime’s sympathizers in Pakistan and the adjoining region are promoting anti American and anti Israeli sentiments on the streets to deny U.S. interests in promoting democracy and rule of law in the region. U.S. targets in obliterating radicalism and extremism from Afghanistan is facing encumbrance with loss of life of the young men and women in uniform.
It is time for Pakistan to perceive ground realities, and the advantage of U.S. friendship that can sustain a peaceful, democratic and progressive Pakistan. On the other hand, it will be an opportunity for the United States diplomacy to promote the rightful leadership in the region to avert Pakistan from becoming a new Lebanon.
********Dr. Gholam Mujtaba has had a long career in politics across America and Pakistan. Currently, a Central Leader to the Republican Party of the United States of America and Chairman of Pakistani Policy Institute, USA, he is an expert on conflict management and Pakistani leadership. He was conferred the Doctorate in Organizational Leadership by the Argosy University today. Recipient of the United States Congressional Recognition Award in 2015, Dr. Mujtaba has previously held such highly regarded positions as the Central Vice President of the All Pakistan Muslim League and an Advisor to Chief Minister Sindh, a cabinet position in Pakistan.**********