Pak is `most bullied ally` of US: Pak Army

Pakistan "has transited from the `most sanctioned ally` to the `most bullied ally`" of the US, a top Pakistani military official has claimed.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2010, 18:13 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan "has transited from
the `most sanctioned ally` to the `most bullied ally`" of the
US, a top Pakistani military official has claimed.

The official said the US still has a "transactional"
relationship with Pakistan and is interested in perpetuating a
state of "controlled chaos" in the country.

And the "real aim of US strategy is to de-nuclearise
Pakistan", he said.

The comments formed part of a wide-ranging briefing
given to editors, anchors and columnists on Sunday, the Dawn
newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily did not name the military official but other
media reports said army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had
briefed a select group of journalists on completing his first
term on Sunday and the briefing came on the day WikiLeaks
released thousands of secret American diplomatic cables.

In one of the key documents, US officials alleged that
it was Kayani who was behind the conflict over the Kerry-Lugar
Bill.

The briefing had been scheduled before the diplomatic
cables were released by WikiLeaks and the unnamed military
official detailed "frank exchanges between the uppermost
echelons of the Pakistan military and the Obama
administration" and listed "a catalogue of complaints the
`people of Pakistan` have against the US", the Dawn reported.

The official repeatedly stressed that the frames of
reference" of the US and Pakistan with regard to regional
security matters "can never be the same and this must be
acknowledged".

The official claimed that the dichotomy between
short-term US interests and long-term Pakistani security
interests needs to be kept in mind at all times.

Among the cables released by WikiLeaks is one revealed
tensions between the US and Pakistan over a nuclear research
reactor.

The cable showed US concern over radioactive materials
in the nuclear power station being used in terror attacks.

The US has been trying since 2007 to remove highly
enriched uranium from the research reactor.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office yesterday acknowledged it
had refused to return the nuclear fuel to the US.

When the top Pakistani military official was asked
about the outlook for relations between the US and Pakistan in
the year ahead, he gave a downbeat assessment: "I see
difficulties and pitfalls. Things are so complex (in the
region)."

Referring to Afghanistan, the official suggested the
US needs to "clearly identify and state the end conditions in
Afghanistan".

He claimed the lack of clarity on the Americans` part
was because "either they aren’t willing to state them or they
don`t know themselves".

Giving a personal assessment of the situation in
Afghanistan, the top army official suggested the neighbouring
country needed a "minimum agenda with broad public support".

He said there "are indicators that the parties to the
conflict in Afghanistan can renounce al Qaeda and ask it to
leave Afghanistan".

Stressing that in Afghanistan the "peace may never be
complete, there may be no permanent stability and uncontested
power may never establish itself", the official suggested a
minimalist, three-step sequential process towards a "peaceful
and stable" country.

First, violence in Afghanistan will need to be
brought down, and for this "some concessions may have to be
made".

Next, all parties will have to renounce al Qaeda and
finally, some kind of consensus on a future Afghan
constitution will have to be negotiated keeping in mind the
"history, culture and geography" of the country, he said.

The official rejected the possibility of Pakistan
intensifying efforts to stop militants crossing into
Afghanistan: "If we have to look after the border as well as
settled areas, the valleys (in the tribal areas), well, that`s
mutually exclusive....Helmand and Kandahar are hundreds of
kilometres from the (Pakistan-Afghan) border.

Kabul is far away from North Waziristan. If they
(troops in Afghanistan) want to catch them, why don`t they?"
The official was very critical of the Afghan government.

Recounting frequent Afghan accusations of Pakistan
keeping the Taliban as an option, shielding the "Quetta Shura"
and harbouring and supporting the Haqqani network, the
official responded with a list of Pakistani grievances.

"Pakistan is deliberately being kept in the dark
regarding peace efforts...Pakistan has suffered because of
Afghanistan the most...Many Afghans in leadership role
continue to hold malice against Pakistan," the official
claimed.

However, the official said "the bottom line is (that
the) destinies of Pakistan and Afghanistan are intertwined and
must be seen as one...An early end to conflict in Afghanistan
is key to Pakistan.

Referring to US pressure on Pakistan to launch a
military operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan
Agency, the official said, "(The US) has an increased focus on
North Waziristan for understandable reasons.

He said there was serious domestic cause for concern
too.

"Most terrorist attacks inside Pakistan originate from
North Waziristan. So the question is not if but when and how
to tackle it militarily," he said.

But the official cited three factors to downplay the
possibility of an imminent operation in North Waziristan.

First, South Waziristan needs to be resettled.
Second, Pakistan has to prepare for the "serious
blowback" of an operation in North Waziristan, which would
include terrorist attacks in cities and a fresh wave of
displaced persons, and third, the need for the "creation of a
political consensus", the official said.

The media and the public would have to demonstrate
their support for a military operation in North Waziristan
before the army would undertake one, the top Pakistani
military official said.

When told of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani`s
comment that there is no need for a fresh consensus because
the support for the operation in South Waziristan extends to
North Waziristan, the official responded sharply: "I will not
do it unless there is a political consensus on North
Waziristan."

Kayani, who was appointed army chief by former
President Pervez Musharraf in November 2007, completed his
first term in office on Sunday.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
granted the Army chief a three-year extension of service.

Media reports said Kayani briefed a select group of
journalists on Sunday about his priorities in the coming
years, including the war on terrorism, the reconciliation
process with the Afghan Taliban, and relations with the US and
India.

PTI