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APC: civil façade of foreign policy — by Farhat Taj

Writer is the author of Taliban and Anti-Taliban

Related post: APC: Pakistan army-orchestrated response to USA – by Ayaz Amir

Since the recent attack on the US embassy in Kabul by the Haqqani network Taliban, Pakistan came under immense US pressure, including veiled threats of attack, for its links with the Haqqani Taliban with bases in Pakistan. Pakistan’s military, which runs the country’s foreign policy on Afghanistan, rejected all the statements from the US but still needed the country’s civil political leadership to stand by it to offset US pressure. Hence an All-Parties Conference (APC) was held by the PPP-led government to create a façade of civil ownership of the military-run policy in Afghanistan.

The text of the 13-point ‘unanimously’ approved resolution of all parties’ heads seems hardly anything more than a script from the ISPR. The text is mostly rhetorical without referring to the terror sanctuaries in Pakistan pointed out not only by the US but many people within Pakistan. The text, as expected, rejects US allegations about the ISI’s links with the Haqqani network.

A striking statement in the text is this: “Pakistan must initiate dialogue with a view to negotiating peace with our own people in the tribal areas [FATA] and a proper mechanism for this be put in place.” This is also the oft-repeated position of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan, who always projects the Taliban as synonymous with the Pakhtuns. What is the justification of giving such a prominent mention in the resolution to the position of the unrepresentative PTI while totally ignoring the scepticism of the twice elected prime minster of Pakistan and leader of an elected PML-N, Mr Nawaz Sharif? Mr Sharif asked the military leaders present in the conference that there must be a ‘reason’ why the whole world is holding Pakistan responsible for terrorism, a direct reference to the generals’ links with terrorist organisations.

Moreover, it is immensely surprising that the PTI’s position was recorded in the resolution but there is nothing in the text that reflects the view of Mahmood Khan Achakzai, leader of the Pakhtun nationalist party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), who reportedly told the ISI chief at the APC that “there will be peace in Afghanistan within a month, provided the ISI stopped exporting terrorism into that country”. PkMAP, unlike PTI, has a representation in the Senate of Pakistan and has a longstanding firmly held position whereby it asserts that the ISI is responsible for terrorism in Afghanistan and FATA. It is remarkable to note that the ‘unanimously’ passed resolution does not accommodate the point of view of this party that has lost several political workers, who were anti-Taliban, in targeted killings in FATA. The party leaders hold the ISI responsible for their killings.

Both Nawaz Sharif and Mahmood Achakzai deserve credit for making their views heard to the APC participants dominated by pro-establishment political parties. Their voices, although not part of the ‘unanimous’ resolution, were echoed by the media, putting a question mark on the ‘unanimous’ status of the resolution.

A strange position not concurring with the longstanding position on Pakistan’s Afghan policy of the other Pakhtun nationalist party, the Awami National Party (ANP), was adopted by its leader, Asfandyar Wali, in the APC. It is pertinent to mention that the ANP issued an official statement on September 23, 2011 in the context of the growing tension between Pakistan and the US. The statement, while expressing concerns over US threats to Pakistan, “calls for an all out effort by the government (of Pakistan) to root out such (terrorist) groups, their supply lines and infrastructure (on Pakistani soil)”. The statement declares such effort as “an inescapable and urgent need of evolving a clear strategy for dealing with terror outfits (in Pakistan)”. The statement was totally ignored by the Pakistan media in line with its track record of suppressing the Pakhtun nationalist standpoint.

A few days later, ANP’s provincial leader, Afrasiab Khattak, expressed a similar view as in the official statement in a TV interview, also referred to in Dr Taqi’s column, ‘US-Pakistan relations: a rocky road ahead’ (Daily Times, September 29, 2011). By taking almost a U-turn a few days later the ANP-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a unanimous resolution condemning US threats without any reference to the terror sanctuaries, including the Haqqani network, in Pakistan. A couple of days later, Asfandyar Wali Khan participated in the APC without making his party’s longstanding position on the Afghan policy heard and quietly toeing the establishment’s line.

This leaves one to wonder what the real position of the ANP is on the current US-Pakistan tension on the Haqqani Taliban. The ANP, which has sacrificed the blood of hundreds of its workers for the party’s anti-Taliban stance, must show the courage to publicly explain which of the two texts — the APC resolution or the party official statement — really represent the real party position.

In the current political scenario in Pakistan, it looks like the ANP position is oscillating between blackmailing the military establishment of Pakistan with the party’s nationalist position on Afghanistan and collaboration with the establishment provided it accommodated the party in the ruling alliance of Pakistan as a junior partner. Even under the leadership of Begum Nasim Wali Khan — many believe the party organisation suffered under her leadership — the ANP never compromised in publicly asserting its longstanding position on the Afghan policy of Pakistan, the position that asserts that the establishment’s strategic depth policy is responsible for the violence and instability in Afghanistan. The ANP today seem to be suffering from such a compromised leadership that the party has never seen in the past.

Notwithstanding Achakzai’s straightforward comment to the ISI chief, both he and Asfandyar Wali have to explain how they can accept the point in the resolution mentioned earlier in this column. Do the two leaders not know that the militants in FATA are the Punjabi Taliban and international terrorists linked with al Qaeda, who have committed atrocities on the tribal people, including the tribal political workers of the ANP and PkMAP? Do they not know that the ISI, not the tribal people, brought these terrorists to FATA? Do they not know that local communities in FATA view the local Pakhtun Taliban, a fringe element of the tribal society, as murderers and anti-social elements who need to face justice?

The two nationalist leaders should have boycotted the APC for inclusion of such a misguiding statement in the resolution. One must appreciate the Baloch nationalist leaders for boycotting the APC in response to the state crimes against the Baloch people. Alas the Pakhtun leadership is too compromised to take such a courageous stance on their people.

The writer is the author of Taliban and Anti-Taliban

With Thanks : DailyTimes

About the author

Humza Ikram


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  • Hahahahahahahaha!

    Maybe one day someone will admit that the army comes from the prejudiced middle and lower ruling class, and that the extremists come from the same.

    Of course the problem is that the most that the ANP and PPP can do is corral and outflank this bourgeoisie of bigots. Anything more and then we have a middle classiya-military alliance.

    there will be peace in Afghanistan within a month, provided the ISI stopped exporting terrorism into that country

    Yes, yes, yes; I’m sure the ISI has all those people on speed dial too who kill Pakistan’s soldiers and officers in the tribal areas.

    No wonder Pakistan’s “progressives” (or should I say Communists) were driven out of the country or to it’s margins (Hello Islamabad Senate!).

    God what a clinically retarded bunch our ethno nationalists and progressives are. And they’re the ones who have some semblance of information in this country.


  • @TLW, good to see you back and actively deflecting criticism away from the ISI with your typically vague arguements. You are the poster boy for PTI. Hit these LUDP guys hard as you always do and keep cursing them out! Shabaash!

  • Javaid bhai, then call directly for the ISI to be put under civilian control !!!

    President Zardari has played to win, and I don’t need crypto-Pashtun nationalists or crypto-Baloch nationalists to tell me what to do. AND FUCK WITH A RUSTED IRON DILDO the PTI.

    JK, you slow, slow man, remember how Rehman Malik and President Zardari acted like babus in the summer of 2008, and suddenly diverted the ISI under the Ministry of Interior? And then in TWO DAYS Rehman Malik was saluting Kayani and Pasha and saying, “No Sir, Yes Sir, ISI to remain under Army, Sir”!

    Well the summer of 2011 would have been a GREAT time to take the ISI under the interior ministry and clean house.

    It’s been the civilian agencies of Pakistan that have been fighting some of the hardest and bloodiest against the terrorists, and I think they should continue, because you can’t trust the khakis to deal honestly with the Jihadis, unless it involves something like recreating the Second Battle of Swat, this time preferably in North Waziristan. And for what President Zardari accomplished in Swat, he’s practically a war hero (and considering the way he has to personally restrict his movement, he might still be), it’s just that the PML-N/MQM tilting media of this country find it safer to abuse him than the monsters who kill people on a daily basis.

    My point is SCREW the ISI, those motherfuckers are slowly draining power entropically, the PPP can and should come up with a national de-radicalisation program for the government bureaucracy and machinery; and at the opportune time, when the ISI slips up, and knowing them, they will, REPEAT WHAT REHMAN MALIK DID IN SUMMER 2008.

    I may be over enthusiastic, but all I want is the best for Pakistan. And LUBP is on the right path.