Never Mind Iran, What About Pakistan?
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The frosty relations between the supposed allies Pakistan and the United States have now reached absolute zero. Two weeks ago a NATO attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers close to the Afghan border. An attack which according to Tariq Ali ‘must have been deliberate. Nato commanders have long been supplied with maps marking these checkpoints by the Pakistani regime’. The Pakistani’s were rightly outraged and shut down NATO’s supply routes into Afghanistan in retaliation. Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar said of the event ‘They demonstrate complete disregard for international law and human life, and are in stark violation of Pakistani sovereignty’. Unfortunately, for Minister Khar the words ‘Pakistani’ and ‘Sovereignty’ do not exist. US drones have been attacking targets with impunity under the Obama administration. As seen here from 2004-2007 there were just nine drone attacks on Pakistan, since 2008 there have been 274. The assault on the Abbottabad compound which eliminated Osama Bin Laden was done without prior Pakistani knowledge. The alliance between the United States and Pakistan will go down as the most equally loathed partners in history. The United States sees Pakistan as an unreliable ally, a pariah living on $3 billion dollars a year in aid; and in some respects they are right. Rather than living in a cave somewhere in Afghanistan Bin Laden was found and killed living in relative comfort 30 miles north east of Islamabad, Khalid Sheik Muhammad was also found in Ralwipindi. It is a place as Christopher Hitchens puts it, ‘Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumour of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk’. Pakistan hates the United States because it has wiped its boots on its sovereignty and it is totally dependent on grudging US support. But however awful the country and its relationship with the US is, the US has been a long term ally in even darker days. As Hitchens again puts it ‘The United States was shamed when it became the Cold War armourer of the Ayub Khan dictatorship in the 1950s and 1960s. It was shamed even more when it supported General Yahya Khan’s mass murder in Bangladesh in 1971: a Muslim-on-Muslim genocide that crashingly demonstrated the utter failure of a state based on a single religion’. The $3 billion a year the United States has given Pakistan has helped build its nuclear arsenal which is uses to threaten India.
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