Pakistan – the focus of world attention by Masood Sharif Khan Khattak Dated Saturday, February 21, 2009
Pakistan, in 1971, had paved the way for the USA to establish diplomatic relations with China. Later, in 1979, Pakistan took the crucial decision to militarily confront the USSR in Afghanistan all on its own. The US and other western powers moved in with support only after the Pakistan-sponsored Afghan resistance began to yield results. Resultantly, this prevented the USSR from making a swift southward move to the shores of the Arabian Sea. New dynamics that eventually brought about today's world were set in motion by the Pak-Afghan victory over the USSR in Afghanistan.
Yes, there were other factors too that contributed towards the break up of the USSR but it was certainly precipitated by the defeat in Afghanistan. USSR's demise through an act of the Soviet Parliament on 26 Dec, 1991, made USA attain the status of the sole super power of the world. The USSR led Warsaw Pact that had come into existence in 1955 as a result of West Germany joining the NATO was dissolved on 1 July, 1991, after a meeting in Prague. Thereafter, NATO attained complete military ascendancy over Europe. On June 13, 1990, The Berlin wall dividing the German nation into pro-USSR East Germany and pro-USA West Germany began to be demolished by the East German military. The demise of the USSR and all else affiliated to it enabled Europe to gradually evolve the European Union of today.
These and many more such things shaping today's world happened, or began to happen, at about the time when USSR had become considerably weakened, or just after it had actually disintegrated in 1991 i.e. only after less than two years of its humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan which was completed on 15 Feb, 1989. That withdrawal was made possible only by the gallant struggle of the Afghan Mujahideen put together by Pakistan.
Pakistan having championed the cause of the free world so often still finds itself focused upon by the world as a state that is somehow not in full control of its destiny and thus open to exploitation. The political leadership of Pakistan has never capitalized on situations for national interests but has done so for personal interests. In twenty dark but critical years of dictatorial rule shared between Generals Zia ul Haq and Musharraf neither stood up for Pakistan. Both used Pakistan's strategic position in relation to USA's interests in the region to prolong their own useless stay in power when they could have obtained so much for Pakistan in terms of stability and economic well being.
It is more than obvious that there are going to be more US troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2009 than ever before and the end of the Afghan occupation is no where in sight. World focus on Pakistan will also thus be ongoing in the years to come. The whole situation warrants national unity. The state and the citizens both now have a huge responsibility towards Pakistan in its hour of need. Anything and everything that happens in Pakistan now attracts world attention. It's like every single capital in the world has focused its telescopes on Islamabad.
Thus, there is no escaping the fact that the internal law and order situation has to improve and only signals depicting a responsible nation in full control of its destiny must emanate from Islamabad. The mayhem has to end. For this people have to be held accountable for their respective charge. In Pakistan accountability has always meant financial indiscretions while accountability actually has a much wider meaning. People from the past must answer for why a situation in Pakistan exists today which not only threatens the very existence of the country but is responsible for the bloodshed that we witness on hourly basis. Gen Musharraf had the audacity to come before the media arrogantly smoking a cigar and puffing smoke into the face (symbolically) of the nation that he had so thoroughly let down in his nine years of misrule. It is time to pat, or sack, people depending upon their performances so that Pakistan can ward off the focus of world attention successfully.
The writer is a former director-general of the Intelligence Bureau and former vice-president of the PPP Parliamentarians. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org