Friday, 9 October 2009

pakistan: army warns government and washington


Pakistan Military's Strong Message To America & Its Pakistani Loyalists

The Pakistani military rebukes US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and America's Pakistani loyalists and warns Washington that Islamabad alone has the right to decide its national interest in accordance with its priorities and not in accordance with those set in the US capital.


Wednesday, 8 October 2009.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Top generals of the Pakistan Army issued an indirect but strong warning to Washington and the pro-US government in Islamabad to step back from infringing on Pakistani nation's right to decide its national interest and priorities.

"Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyse and respond to the threat in accordance with her own national interests," said an unusually strong statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations [ISPR], on Oct. 7. It came at the tail of a daylong conference of the commanders of the main corps of the Pakistani armed forces, chaired by the Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Analysts said this was an indirect rebuke to US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson and other US officials who have been pressuring Pakistan to take a number of actions that fall within the sovereign domain of the country. This includes the decision on whether to launch a military action in the tribal belt adjoining Afghanistan; Pakistan's role, if any, in helping US eliminate opponents of its eight-year long occupation of Afghanistan, and whether America's war in that country should become Pakistan's top national security priority superseding the threat from India.

The military also indirectly rebuffed several US loyalists in the Pakistani government, including President Zardari, his foreign minister and his envoy to Washington who have been fierce advocates of the Kerry-Lugar aid bill that stops short of declaring Pakistan a terrorist state and designates the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta as the headquarters of the Afghan Taliban leadership, all without providing any evidence to back this serious allegation. Other conditions contained in the US aid bill virtually give Washington the right to oversee the smallest details in the workings of the Pakistani civilian and military institutions.

Sources suggest that General Kayani told the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was briefly in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, that US Ambassador Anne Patterson's recent statements, where she indirectly threatened war against Pakistan, were unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the future. Not that Ms. Patterson is taking it lying down. She reportedly met yesterday a local politician from Balochistan whose fugitive family member is leading a separatist terror campaign from a safe haven in US-controlled Afghanistan, where the separatist terror movement receives money and financing from US allies in Kabul and also from Indian intelligence operatives based in Afghanistan. The stance of the Pakistani military on the Kerry-Lugar bill and the US ambassador's statements accurately reflects the feelings among a majority of Pakistanis. This leaves the elected government, with its unusually strong pro-US position, isolated in the country. The elected government, which came to power through a US-brokered deal that whitewashed illegally obtained wealth, is effectively using Washington to confront the Pakistani military and enforce the US agenda for Pakistan and the region. Almost all the major Pakistani politicians – President Zardari, Altaf Hussain of MQM, Asfandyar Wali of ANP, and now Nawaz Sharif of PMLN – are now directly conducting their own foreign policies with Washington. This has made US a direct player in Pakistani politics, a level of meddling unprecedented in the history of Pak-US relations. But despite this, the Pakistani military made it clear in the statement that it believed the Pakistani parliament is the right forum to decide the fate of the US aid bill in accordance with the wishes of the Pakistani people.

This is the text of the statement issued by the military on Wednesday:

Press Release Rawalpindi - October 7, 2009:

122 Corps Commanders Conference was held at General Headquarters today. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired the day long meeting. The participants were given a comprehensive briefing on the current security situation in the country and the region. COAS in his opening remarks dilated upon various issues related to national security and impending challenges faced by the country. COAS reiterated that Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyse and respond to the threat in accordance with her own national interests. Kerry Lugar bill also came under discussion during the conference. The forum expressed serious concern regarding clauses impacting on National Security. A formal input is being provided to the Government. However, in the considered view of the forum, it is the Parliament, that represents the will of the people of Pakistan, which would deliberate on the issue, enabling the Government to develop a National response. COAS in his concluding remarks reiterated that Pakistan stands committed to global and regional peace, and wishes to live in harmony with her neighbours.

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