So this time along with the media parliament was also manipulated and used by the real rulers. Parliamentary Committee for National Security recommendations are a consistency of the previous policy, with minor changes here and there. In this respect, the PPP, the ANP and the MQM deserve no mention as they have rendered all their services to the US and the Pakistani establishments. However, the notables are Ishaq Dar, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Professor Khurshid Ahmad who were used by the government and the establishment.
(The case of the Jamaat-e-Islami is a little bit different.) To sum up, all have to work in accordance with agreements between the real policymakers of the US and Pakistan.
After these recommendations the act will be hailed as an example of supremacy of the parliament. However, the mishandling in sensitive areas of foreign policy and national security by the legislature of Pakistan has shattered the confidence of all stakeholders in democracy. After this, the West will not prefer that the legislature of Pakistan deal with sensitive issues. The people of Pakistan will not support the idea of handing over foreign policy to the elected members of parliament, and even the establishment will refrain in future from committing this “mistake” again.
The indifference of the policymakers in this matter was criminal. No one bothered to inquire about the basic relevant questions, like what is the exact importance of Nato supplies from Pakistan and what items were transported before the Salala Incident. Pro- or anti-US parties chose not to address the very substance of the debate. Now arms will not be part of Nato supplies transported through Pakistan. The fact is that even before the ban, no arms were being transported through Pakistan. At this point in time, they need to send arms back from Afghanistan to their native countries, and in fact they are demanding this route via Pakistan. Their real need is supply of water, food and wine, etc., and this is wholeheartedly permitted by Pakistan.
Another funny element is the declaration that parliament dismissed a strategic partnership and now the relations with the US will be transactional in nature. In fact, it was Pakistan that tried most to get a strategic partnership with the US. Gen Pervez Musharraf and Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani tried very hard to turn it into reality. In 2010, documents presented to President Obama by Gen Kayani were focused on the point of getting an equal strategic partnership for Pakistan with the US.
However, the series of tragic events that occurred in 2011 that mark the Pak-US relations forced the US to keep the relations at the transactional level. Before the Salala incident, I wrote in a column that the US has now finalised its choice to keep the relations between the two countries on a transactional level, on the basis of give and take. In practical terms we tried hard to achieve an objective, but once regional realities and the other party substantiated that there is no chance of it. We have abandoned the option.
The basic flaw in our national security and foreign policies lies is that we have not drawn a clear distinction between our friends and foes. Another major cause of the failure of our foreign policy lies in our internal security situation. In the recommendation, these basic factors are neither identified nor discussed.
The real desire of the US, at this point in time, is to plan the future of Afghanistan and the corresponding role of Pakistan in the coming years. All give and take will take place on this point and Pakistan could bargain only on this issue. This major point is also missing in the recommendations. All this exercise would be of great value and importance if recommendations were based on important and basic issues and limited to providing policy guidelines. To engrave details and actualising policy, the proper agencies are the government and the military. Parliament has formulated policy guidelines and to ensure their actualisation in accordance with their true spirit it could chalked out some monitoring mechanism. But in the present form, these recommendations are a confused mess of policy and administrative measure, completely missing the vital questions and relevant facts.
It is a sad fact that even these recommendations are now part of history. All we can do is to avoid such blunders in future and this is the right time to end double standards . Without honest confessions, we as a nation cannot move forward our plans. We surrender every resource to the US but create an anti-US campaign. On the one hand, it is realised that without the US we cannot survive. But at the same time, through the Pakistan Defence Council and the media, the US is warned of grave consequences. Now we have to stop this. The political leadership should admit that without US support it cannot present a single fiscal budget. The military leadership also should admit to the nation that a war against the US is not possible: we are not capable of locating stranded Pakistani soldiers in Siachen without US help. The religious leadership should also admit these realities.
The writer works for Geo TV. Email: saleem. firstname.lastname@example.org