`Pak moved assets from Indian border`

Pakistan is now lacking resources in the fight against terrorism as it has reached a saturation point, Pak envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani said.

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2011, 13:32 PM IST

Washington: Apparently for the first time,
Pakistani officials do not feel any threat to their national
security from India despite having moved considerable number
of military personnel and assets from its eastern border to
the western side to fight al Qaeda and Taliban militants.

This is the sense diplomats based in Washington got when
defence attaches of various countries were given a briefing by
the Pakistani embassy here on the country`s efforts in the war
against terrorism.

Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, and the
country`s defence attache here gave the briefing during which
the top Pakistani diplomats also sought international support
for Islamabad`s efforts in the war against terrorism,
including material and financial assistance.

The Indian defence attache was not invited for the
meeting.

During the meeting, Pakistani diplomats are believed to
have informed the defence attaches of a number of countries
that seven to nine divisions have been deployed in the tribal
areas of the country along the Afghan border; of which three
to five divisions of troops had been moved from the Indian
border.

They have also moved 450 artillery guns and 142 tanks to
the country`s western border.

Pakistani diplomats in their presentation also said that
that they did not pull out troops from these areas despite the
massive floods last year.

"All this disapproves the repeated public assertion by
the Pakistani army that they face greatest challenge from the
East," said a diplomat familiar with the discussions at the
meeting, requesting anonymity.

Another diplomat familiar with meeting`s agenda told a news agency that during the briefing Pakistani officials conceded that
they have been facing "credibility problem" in the aftermath
of the US operation at Abbottabad that killed al Qaeda chief
Osama bin Laden.

However, Pakistani officials asserted that they have been
able to overcome the initial challenge from Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP) and the civilian government has been able to
create a national consensus against terrorism and avoid
collateral damage, and that 80 per cent of the internally
displaced people as a result of the counter-terrorism
operation have returned home.

Pakistani officials argued that the international
commitment in terms of funds to fight terrorism has not been
coming through, including from the United States.

While the US spent USD 850 billion in Iraq, USD 450
billion so far in Afghanistan; Pakistan, its diplomats told
the defence attaches, has received just USD 20 billion in 10
years.

The war against terrorism, Pakistani officials claimed,
has cost their nation USD 65 billion in monetary terms. But
they did not say how this figure was achieved.

Another diplomat requesting anonymity said the urge for
more resources in the fight against terrorism is quite
contrary to the recent public statements from Pakistani Army
that it does not need the US money, after the Obama
Administration announced that it has withheld USD 850 million
worth of military aid.

It is understood that Ambassador Haqqani, in his address
to the defence attaches, said that Pakistan is now lacking
resources in the fight against terrorism as it has reached a
saturation point and does not has the capability to continue
this war, unless provided with additional resources.

At the same time, he urged the diplomats of various
countries present at the meeting to have patience with
Pakistan and that ultimately it would prevail.

"Pakistan might have limited capabilities, but do not
doubt our intent," he said, according to the note taken by a
diplomat who attended the briefing.

It is believed that Pakistani officials told the
defence attaches that Pakistan is facing challenging times and
there is increasing backlash from its people, especially after
the operation that killed bin Laden and increasing US drone
attacks.

Pakistani officials also expressed their concern over
the uncertainty in Afghanistan from their point of view.
When contacted, a senior Pakistani embassy official did
confirm that the briefing of the defence attache was held on
July 21, but did not give details.

PTI