Sunday, May 17, 2009

Karzai’s melodies by Muhammad Jamil

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's outpourings over these days do come pleasingly to Pakistani ears.

But his melodies have rather come too late in the day, after much water has flowed down the bridge. Had indeed he been somewhat sincerely friendly to Pakistan, the two neighbours with their concerted endeavours would have possibly succeeded in pacifying the war-torn Afghanistan and in curbing monstrous extremism blighting them so horrifically. His Pakhtun ethnicity would have stood them in good stead, particularly in bringing to peace his country's restive south and east, his community's strongholds from where the Taliban drew their main support and where they are now insurmountably entrenched. Yet Karzai fell to playing a slave to the Americans and a surrogate to his Northern Alliance allies, and took to path of hostility and animosity against Pakistan, though ostensibly mouthing pious vows towards it but keeping a dagger in the cloak to stab it all the way. Pakistan's sincerity he invariably rewarded with deceit. Leave alone keep hauling Pakistan over the coals at his American masters' wink. He was not ever loath in swatting Pakistan right, left and centre, at the behest of his Northern Alliance allies, never taking a pause to ponder if they were taking him too for a ride even domestically. It was after ages the non-Pakhtuns, making up this alliance, had come to occupy a domineering position in Afghanistan's power dispensation, albeit courtesy the American conquerors in reward of services it had rendered them in toppling the Taliban and occupying a country traditionally ruled by its Pakhtun majority or their appointees. And if for this alliance's pleasure he kept his ethnic Pakhtun majority at bay from his country's prevalent power structure, at its behest he kept Afghanistan's relations with Pakistan turbulent too. He couldn't be unaware of the alliance's chumminess with India. Nor could he be oblivious of its machinations to embed India even strategically in Afghanistan to the detriment of Pakistan's compelling security interests. Yet he batted not an eyelid in playing ball with this scheming alliance against Pakistan. And even if not actively, he became an acquiescent participant in the plots that the alliance-dominated Afghan intelligence hatched up in collusion with CIA, RAW and Mossad to hurt Pakistan and destabilise it. Unknowing, too, he couldn't be of anti-Pakistan activities of Baloch dissidents, holed up in alien agencies' safe havens in Afghanistan. Yet all through he has always put a straight face on these inimical activities taking place in his country against Pakistan and instead has throughout kept demonising Pakistan impudently and churlishly. This really hurts, coming as it does from a man who couldn't be ignorant of the tremendous sacrifices Pakistan has made for Afghanistan's cause and the immense sufferings it has been bearing on this score till-date. Although in the Afghan jihadi structure, he had had a secondary role, still he would be knowing full well how Pakistan stuck out its neck at great risk to its own security for the Soviet aggression's vacation in Afghanistan. India, he may not have forgotten, was then staunchly on the Soviet side. And as Pakistan was struggling desperately to overcome the fallout of that involvement in Afghanistan, it finds now in a perilously bristling minefield for getting involved in yet another pacification campaign there, again thanklessly. Nonetheless, if Afghanistan's predominant Pakhtun south and east are under the resurgent Taliban's thumb, he himself is to blame. He never understood that for vested political reasons the Northern Alliance would very much want these Pakhtun regions to be perpetually disturbed. That way its supremacy in the existing power structure goes unchallenged. Its Indian friends, too, want the Pakhtuns stay sidelined, as the existing dispensation serves it well. And by a sheer quirk of circumstances, he may recapture the presidency in the August polls. For the present, he looks a shoo-in, as no formidable contender has yet emerged on the scene. But he will stay a lame duck, as the Obama administration is quite averse to him and will find out ways to bypass him. By every consideration, Hamid Karzai has burnt all his boats. His odes to Pakistan will be of no avail now, as it itself will be in a spot for Obama's Af-Pak strategy. In it, both Pakistan and Afghanistan figure as foot soldiers, with India in region occupying seat of a full partner of America.

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