US Troops in Pakistan?


Sometimes it happens that one becomes so immersed in ones personal life that events taking place around him fade into a hazy background. It was the same with me. For months now so much has been happening in my life that I did not really care what was going on in the political world…here in Pakistan or anywhere else. I guess the apathy set in after I saw what the elections turned out to be. I do not like the new government set up, but being a patriotic and loyal Pakistani, well and anyways, I doubt if Jamali’s dressmaker cares whether I like him or not.

I came into work this morning in a normal frame of mind. I would been listening to good music, checking out my mail, about to get down to the business of earning my pay, when one of my colleagues directed my attention to this series of articles in the 04 January 2003 issue of DAWN.

Whoa!!! US troops operating on Pakistani soil? How dare they? Don’t they respect anyone else’s sovereignty?

Okay. I’ve cooled off now. Lets examine this. Lets try to work this out. Lets see how this happened. When did it start? America is our ally. They are our pals, our buddies. We welcome them an all shapes and agencies. Why have they attacked our soil???

It’s clich to say that it all began on that fateful 9/11. It’s even wrong. In truth, it began a long time ago. It began during the Afghan war (the first one remember when Afghanis were brave Jihadi fighting against the Russian bears and not the harborers of terrorists and terrorist activities caused by Islamic extremism?). It began before then. It began during the 65 war (I won’t mention that they forgot to pay up then if you don’t.) It began even way before that.

We have a long history of cooperation with the US. And like all relationships, it’s developed into a comfortable pattern. One of our neighbors gets a little too big for its britches (that’s another one of those phrases I detest but its so Bush, wouldn’t you say?). America comes rushing to our aid, (or comes rushing to us reminding us of our civilized obligations). We help them out. Then America accuses us of being one of them, and pulls away from meeting its obligations. It’s like the school bully ganging up with his friends against the nerd of the class, forcing him to write his book report, promising to help him if anyone tries to beat him up. Then, once the report has been submitted, punches him in the face on the pretext that they have heard you helped Nor Koree with his report as well. How dare you?.

Of course, America always backs up its punch in the nose with the legality of the congress. Ha! (Sorry, that was a spontaneous snort of disbelieving laughter.)

We allowed Americans to base their troops in our country. We provided them with everything our intelligence services had to offer (and believe me its quite a lot). We went on as if we had never seen the other face of American help.

Wait. I’m talking as if we had a choice. Did we? If we didn’t, that is a very scary thought. We are like Cleopatra was to Caesar.

“US forces reserve the right to pursue enemy attackers across the border to evade retaliation,” Capt Alayne Cramer, a spokeswoman for the US forces at the Bagram Air Base near Kabul, said. (That’s a direct quote from DAWN, by the way). They RESERVE THE RIGHT??????????. I m sorry. But that’s what I feel. It’s not their right TO reserve. And if they do, then Pakistan could just as easily reserve the right to cross over into Indian territory to pursue enemy attackers across the border to evade retaliation. Then Hitler was justified. Then Changez Khan was actually fighting a war against terror.

Ok. So what now? Pakistan replied by saying “There are 10 or 12 people from the FBI searching (for suspects in Pakistan). But for the uniformed army to enter our area for any action, that is not allowed. Without our permission that is not allowed. Ok. Good, strong reply. Exactly what it should have been. But can we back it up? Do we have the strength to back it up. What if America simply says out of our way! and drops a few more bombs on a few more schools to make us step aside. Remember, America has the Bush clan at its helm. And that clan has never been known for its level-headedness. They are southern gents, and remember, it was the same southern gents that fought a civil war to defend the right to keep and torture Africans as slaves.

High-level talks are going on between them and us even right now. And by the time this article reaches you, it may have all blown over (America is a very good blower). The question is, what exactly has Pakistan gotten itself into this time?