Pakistan’s support for America war is a failure by any standard

The shameful Zardari, took his begging bowl to the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly and implored the nations of the world to give his government more money in its fight against Islam.

On his pilgrimage to the UN he met Pakistan’s viceroy Richard Holbrooke and pleaded with him for the quick repayment of the outstanding $1.6 billion from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). This is money duly owed to Pakistan, but even this meager amount, America loathes to release it to a ‘friend’ it no longer trusts. The fact of the matter is that America is making it ever more difficult for Pakistan to secure billions of dollars in economic aid already promised to it.

The much coveted Biden-Lugar and Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) Bills that were heralded at the time by US officials as a measure of America’s commitment to Pakistan, today face stiff resistance from congress. There is strong likelihood that both bills–”if they manage to see the light of day–” will be ladened with additional conditions that would render any vestiges of Pakistani sovereignty null and void. Musharraf’s timely comments about Pakistan diverting economic aid in the past to use against India, further exacerbates the problem. It provides surplus ammunition to Pakistan’s detractors–”some of whom argue that a semi-quasi institution should be established under US auspices to monitor the flow of dollars into the country’s coffers.

Yet, despite all of America’s efforts to withhold the payments from the CSF or postpone the approval of new economic assistance packages, Zardari and Kiyani appear unfazed at the prospect of receiving little or nothing in return for spilling more Muslim blood and taking Pakistan’s war against Islam to new heights. The magnitude of the indifference on display by Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has spurred America to openly talk about options available to Obama to prosecute America’s crusade in Afghanistan. The public discussions about a new Afghan strategy that pours scorn on the often quoted cliché ‘Pakistan is an all weather friend’ used by many US officials to describe bilateral relations between the two countries. Recently, the US media is rife with reports that Obama could steer away from the comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy he laid out this spring and towards a narrower focus on counterterrorism operations. Citing two senior administration officials, the reports state that renewed fight against al-Qaeda could lead to more missile attacks on Pakistan terrorist havens by unmanned US spy planes.

So, after eight years of providing unstinting support to America’s war against Islam, Pakistan has absolutely got nothing in return. On the contrary, the support has cost the country dearly. It has destabilized Pakistan’s western border, fuelled insurrection in two provinces, strengthened a hostile enemy on the eastern front, resulted in the abandonment of the Kashmiri cause, produced 3 million Pakistani refugees, compromised the effectiveness of the country’s nuclear assets and destroyed Pakistan’s economy. On the scales of materialism it is a total loss.

Yet, the Pakistani leadership oblivious to these facts continues to extend its hand of friendship to America. Just what standards are they using to judge the war by? It is quite clear that the leadership has forsaken Islamic criteria in favour of a secular one. But even by this standard it defies all comprehensible logic to persist with America’s war against Islam. Western countries that employ the same secular standard to evaluate the Afghan war are decrying that the war is lost and are exploring avenues to extricate themselves from Afghanistan. This was clearly underscored by US General McChrystal ‘s report on the Afghan war in which he said, “Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it.” A grim assessment indeed and equates to America the mightiest superpower on earth unable to defeat a band of rag tag fighters.

Therefore, according to the secular viewpoint – the defacto benchmark used by all nations to evaluate success and failure – the present war in Afghanistan in material terms is simply not worth fighting for. This is especially applicable to Pakistan. The accretion of material benefits for Pakistan from the war register a high negative. But for some despicable reason the country’s leadership intentionally overlooks the realty and presses ahead with its mantra of fighting ‘terrorism’ to save Pakistan. Nowhere stronger is this narrative found than in the Pakistani army. But the narrative is slowly losing appeal, amongst army cadre and senior officers, as the sharp realism of war exposes America’s vulnerability and signals its demise in the region. Against this backdrop, diminutive battlefield gains do not stack up well against the assertion that if Pakistan withdraws support, America will pulverize the country.

Many in the Pakistani army – thanks to America – were radicalized during the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan have shed their secular outlook on life and have adopted the Islamic viewpoint as a criterion to measure success and failure. The combination of the present reality with the Islamic viewpoint has produced a new phenomena that is not limited to army, but is found increasingly all over Pakistan and the wider Muslim world. The adherents of this phenomena believe that given the present reality and the strength of their Islamic beliefs, America can be expelled from Afghanistan and the wider Muslim world. Success and failure for them may manifest in material objects, but it is entirely driven by spiritual concerns.

This makes the adherents of this phenomena undertake projects or actions that seem impossible to achieve in the eyes of those who subscribe to the secular standard. So, whilst the call to re-establish the caliphate seems a fanciful dream to the secularist, for Muslims on the other hand, it is an obligation that must be restored. In fact, present day secularist find this difficult to fathom and find themselves asking the same question as their predecessors: how do you stop people who subscribe to such a phenomena that ultimately measures success and failure in spiritual terms.