By Dr. AS Nakadar, MMNS
Since the nuclear detonations by India and then Pakistan in 2002, South Asia has been viewed as the scariest place on earth. This is especially true because of continual instability in Pakistan. Events, especially the recent instability, usurping the total power in the garb of creating stability in Pakistan, alone have sufficed now to make the subcontinent the scariest spot. The big question is whose interest Pakistan serves by reinstalling Musharraf? Is it really for the benefit of the country and its people? Or is it to serve His Masters Voice? Or is there some other agenda?
The people in Pakistan and around the world are still confused whether Musharraf declared martial law or imposed an emergency? One wonders whether it makes any difference because the result is the same–chaos and upheaval. If he declared his promulgation wearing civilian clothes then one can construe it is an emergency, but if he declared it wearing the military outfit, then it is martial law. If he had done it wearing half civilian and half military outfit with a tall coned cap the end result would be the same: to assume total authoritarian power for his words to be the law of the land leading to more uncertainty ahead.
America has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the resurgent Taliban in the North West area of Pakistan. And Condoleezza Rice during her visit in the early part of the year put pressure on Musharraf to rein in the Taliban. On the contrary, to the American discomfort, Taliban took over the beautiful Swat valley, the small Switzerland of Pakistan–last month. America claims Pakistan has failed to do its dirty work in the area. Once the area is safe enough, America is itching to go in with full force to limit the causality and to crush them. And of course they want to get Bin Laden et al who are supposedly hiding there.
Consider the recent visit of Vladimir Putin to Iran. He said, â€œIt is importantâ€¦that we not only do not use any kind of force but also do not even think about the possibility of using forceâ€ Putin told the four other Caspian Sea leaders gathered at the summit. â€œIt is also important that we talk about the impossibility of using our territory for other countries to carry out aggression or military actions against other Caspian littoral states.â€
Along with the presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhastan and Turkmenistan, Putin declared that the states, â€œwould not allow their territory to be used by a third country to commit military action against the parties.â€
Russia and China have economic and stability interests in Iran. China receives its oil supplies from Iran, and America has expressed its disapproval for the Iran-India pipe line. The Iraq and Afghan wars have been disastrous for America, and Iranian influence is getting stronger by the day.
Israel is still smarting from Hezbollahâ€™s resistance and offensive, which gave further credence to Iran. And in no uncertain terms, Israel has indicated it will not accept Iranâ€™s growing influence in the region. The ramifications of destroying the infrastructure of Iran will not only be an economic domino effect, but also many socio-political impacts on these countries.
So what does all this have to do with the present situation in Pakistan? America needs a muzzled Pakistan to safeguard its move on Iran. If America were to attack Iran, the fiercest opposition would come from the people of Pakistan. This would further endanger American forces in Afghanistan. Looking at the South West geographical position of Iran and its border contiguity with Pakistan, it is not difficult to understand why. The border is like the American border–contiguous with Mexico.
Caspian Sea littoral states border Iranâ€™s north. These states have agreed not to allow their land for the attack on fellow Caspian nations–meaning Iran.
The western border of Iran lies with the Persian Gulf, and any serious venture into Iran from Kuwait or the UAE might endanger the Persian Gulf. Even the downing of one ship could make it non-navigable.
So, if the attack on Iran were to take place, the safe bet is Iranâ€™s contiguous border with Pakistan that can provide the support for the ground transportation, aircraft refueling, stationing of aircraft carriers, and other military logistics. The present condition in Pakistan, where scores of people are under arrest, will provide now or in the near future a conducive atmosphere for an attack on Iran.
The initial installment of Musharraf facilitated Americaâ€™s invasion of Afghanistan, and now re-installing him with sweeping powers is a prelude to a possible US invasion of Iran.
So whose agenda and interests are served by the present Pakistan?