US and Pakistan: Equal Partners in the Defense of Democracy
Wednesday July 19, 2006
For all the anger that is found against "American imperialism", if one tries to imagine the alternative- if Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia had triumphed in the various conflicts of the 20 th century- the US, as a superpower, is nothing short of a blessing for our times. That some countries would be stronger and others less so, is the natural order of things, but the existence of a great bastion of freedom at the very top is a stabilizing factor. Many small states today look towards the US for help and support when threatened by stronger regional powers.
Had there been no US, as a Pakistani, I would feel quite insecure in wake of the recent terror attacks in Mumbai. Terrorists targeted India's greatest metropolis for one reason alone: To halt the peace process between Pakistan and India and to distract Pakistan from fighting the ongoing war on terror by pulling its troops from that front and putting them on the Indian one. Indian powers that be, knowingly or unknowing, walked into the terrorists' trap. The peace process has been halted. Routine threats are being issued to Pakistan, despite the fact that there isn't even a small shred of evidence linking the country to the Mumbai terror attacks. Faced by a nuclear armed bully with ambitions beyond the South Asian region, Pakistan has no option but to look to the US, its old friend and trusted ally, to weigh in on the bellicose Indian administration.
The truth is that Pakistan's name has been associated too long with a lot of negatives, but is the common American or for that matter any member of the free world aware of the enormous sacrifices Pakistan and its people have rendered in the cause of the world's freedom and liberty? When a future historian will write the history of the world, I am sure that he will record just how much Pakistan did, especially for the cause of freedom and liberty in the world at large and how much the nascent nation state was blamed for events that lay outside its sphere of influence.
Let us start from World War II. Even before Pakistan came into being, the founding fathers of the country-to-be made the crucial decision of backing the allied war effort despite the fact that the impulse of independence in them was second to none. They were led by a barrister trained at the Inns of Court, Mahomed Ali Jinnah, who had imbibed the spirit of liberal democracy from philosophers like John Morley and shared the world view of his friend Winston Churchill. Thus the decision to support the allied war effort against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was a deeply ideological one. This stood in sharp contrast to its rival group the Indian National Congress which both overtly and covertly sought Nazi and Imperial Japanese help in their causes and constantly tried to sabotage the allies. While one famous Indian leader, Subhas Chanderbose, went so far as to meet even Adolf Hitler, Gandhi, known to share the racial views of the fuhrer, and Nehru obstructed the war effort by starting the "Quit India" movement at the most inopportune time to embarrass the British and facilitate a Nazi attack. The Indian bourgeoisie leadership's support for Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was thus also ideologically motivated. Today this aspect of India's so called freedom struggle is white washed in the west and a sanitized version is presented to impressionable young children who remain blissfully unaware of these facts even when they grow up. Infact it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that independence of India has more to do with American pressure and domestic British upheaval than with the glorious freedom struggle that Indians don't tire telling the world about.
In any event, after its formal creation in 1947, Pakistan quickly became part of the Baghdad Pact, SENTO and SEATO pacts, all designed to contain the tide of Soviet expansionism. In a bipolar world, Pakistan made a clear and distinct choice and chose to side with forces of liberty and democracy , while our Eastern neighbor self righteously put up a façade of "non-alignment". In reality India was the most allied ally of the Soviet Union and an equal partner in what Ronald Reagan once referred to as the "Evil Empire". Later most hypocritically, the finest Indian intellectuals sought to define their stance as "cooperative nonalignment", another eyewash in a series designed to fool the world. Later India and the Soviet Union together sponsored an extremist Bengali terrorist group called Mukti Bahini, which let loose a reign of terror, murder, arson and rape on hapless Pakistani citizens, ultimately leading to the break of the Pakistani Union.