Asif-speak at the Asia Society that the Haqqanis and Hafeez Saeeds are indeed Pakistan’s liability signals that the GHQ Shura is willing to do business with Washington on Trump’s terms just as Gen Pervez Musharraf did after the US had launched a global war on terrorism in the wake of 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. It does not indicate a roll back of Pakistan’s fixation with strategic depth concept vis-a-vis Afghanistan and its abiding faith in making India bleed with thousands of cuts
The foreign minister of Pakistan Khawajah Asif has admitted that terrorist groups and its leaders like Haqqanis are liabilities in yet another gesture that the groups were nurtured and have remained intact in the country despite growing international pressures.
Speaking at the Asia Society in New York, Asif said asked Washington to stop blaming Islamabad for the Haqqani network and other terrorist networks, including the LeT/JuD led by Hafiz Saeed.
“These were the people who were your darlings just 20 to 30 years back. They were being dined and wined in the White House and now you say ‘go to hell Pakistanis because you are nurturing these people’,” he said, according to Dawn News.
The foreign minister further added “It is very easy to say Pakistan is floating the Haqqanis and Hafiz Saeed and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). They are liabilities. I accept that they are liabilities, but give us time to get rid of them because we don’t have the assets to match these liabilities and you are increasing them [our liabilities] further.”
The pressures continue to rise against Islamabad regarding some of the most prominent terror networks that have remained intact despite the country launched several large scaled operations in the tribal regions.
The Afghan and U.S., officials are saying that the conflict in the country has links with the sanctuaries of the terrorist groups, particularly the Taliban and Haqqani network which have remained intact in the key cities of Pakistan.
While announcing the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia in August, the US President Donald Trump strongly criticized Pakistan regarding the terror sanctuaries, saying “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.”
Since Afghan and India policies as also policies vis-a-vis Islamist militant groups is an exclusive preserve of the GHQ Shura, it is possible the Asif-speak reflects the military’s thinking. It could be a tactical shift in the face of Trump’s new deal with Afghanistan and India.
It is also eminently possible that through Asif, the GHQ Shura may be signalling a willingness to do business with Washington on American terms just as Gen Pervez Musharraf did after the US had launched a global war on terrorism in the wake of 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
If this indeed is the case, then it will be difficult to expect a roll back of Pakistan’s fixation with strategic depth concept vis-a-vis Afghanistan and its abiding faith in making India bleed
––malladi rama rao.