Director Rifah Institute of Foreign affairs (RIFA)
In an article titled ‘A mutiny Grows in the Punjab’, Anatol Lieven (author of Pakistan: A Hard Country) wrote the following:
“The U.S. strategy toward Pakistan has been focused on trying to get Islamabad to give serious help to Washington’s campaign against the Afghan Taliban. There are two rather large problems with this approach. The first is that it is never going to happen because Pakistani strategic calculations and the feelings of the country’s population make it impossible…. except in return for U.S. help against India—which Washington also cannot deliver.
“The second problem is that it gets America’s real priorities in the region back to front. The war in Afghanistan is a temporary U.S. interest, in which the chief concern is not the reality of victory or defeat as such (if only because neither can be clearly defined) but preserving some appearance of success in order to avoid the damage to American military prestige that would result from obvious failure. By contrast, preserving the Pakistani state and containing the terrorist threat to the West from Pakistan is a permanent vital interest not only of the U.S. military and political establishments but of every American citizen.
“While the prospects for any real success in Afghanistan look gloomy, but if saving Pakistan is the real priority, then things do not look so desperate. This is because while getting large numbers of Pakistanis to help America is virtually impossible, getting enough Pakistanis to preserve their existing state is much easier. To a great extent, this is for negative reasons: the elites and indeed the masses have an acute sense of the horror from the country’s collapse. However, a degree of positive loyalty is also present in one key institution and in one key province: namely the military and the Punjab. If Pakistan is to be broken as a state, it will be on the streets of Lahore and other great Punjabi cities, not in the Pashtun mountains.”
Unlike US think tanks and most American writers, who subjectively project Indo-Zionist interests in the region, Anatol Lieven is British, and objective. His article was published nearly two years ago in ‘National Interest’ of March-April 2011, A lot has changed since; Britain has assumed a central role in resolving the Afghan imbroglio and it is the view of Anal Lieven that appears to have prevailed. Disintegration of Pakistan is still on the agenda but it is hoped it will follow rather than precede heightened Civil War in Afghanistan that is likely to result from NATO/US withdrawal.
Pakistan has been ruled by a four party coalition for five years – Zardari League, MQM, ANP and JUI(F) – all of who have a history of opposition to Pakistan. President Asif Ali Zardari is the head of the PPP although his spoilt son – Bilawal – is formally the chairman of the Party. The father of Asif Zardari – Hakim Ali – was the President of ANP in Sindh after he was expelled from the PPP allegedly for trying to blackmail late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB). No one has revealed why was ZAB being blackmailed but it is well known that he was so angry with Hakim Ali that he sold all his assets and moved to the UK only to return after the execution of ZAB.
The relationship Asif Zardari with his wife Benazir was characterized by the Hollywood film ‘sleeping with the enemy’. But my point here is not their marital relationship; my point is that Asif Zardari has strong nerves; he has lived a life with dangerous briefs. For securing US sponsorship of the NRO, every one has wondered: “what is the quid pro quo that the USA wants from Asif Zardari?” It appears that Asif Zardari signed up to disintegration of Pakistan. He has been tasked to destroy the two institutions that hold Pakistan together: 1) the armed forces and 2) the Punjab.
The Memo written by Pakistan’s Ambassador Hussain Haqqani at the behest of President Zardari to the US Government revealed how AZ intended to undermine the command structure of the armed forces on the pretext of ‘civilian control’. Now he has launched a scheme for the division of the Punjab only weeks before the installation of a ‘care-taker administration’. The constitutional amendment proposed by his press secretary – Senator Farhatullah Babar is unlikely to be passed but it indicates the array of forces being assembled to secure the nefarious ends.
In not understanding the nature of enemy schemes and being so inadequate in articulating viable popular opposition the PML(N) and TIP share equal blame. India has for decades funded opposition to Kalabagh Dam and promoting Seraiki province. Disintegration of Pakistan has been at the top of Indian agenda since 1947. There should have been no doubt left after the invasion and separation of East Pakistan in 1971.
But the very same political parties that are in the ruling coalition today were at the helm in West Pakistan in 1971. Their leaders readily embraced the Indian propaganda that East Pakistan separated because of ‘maltreatment’ by the Punjabis. Ever since, the Punjab has been the favourite whipping boy – blamed for every real or imagined grievance. But the leaders of Punjab have never flinched from making a sacrifice in any inter-provincial deal – the recent finance award as well as the Water Accord of 19991. But the Indian propaganda continues to be mouthed by President Zardari and his coalition partners.
Not content with the Punjab giving in to every demand of cut in its legitimate share, the Zardari Administration is now embarked on Sheikh Mujib style campaign of subversion supplemented by direct attacks on the military and the integrity of the Punjab province.
The 2008 announcement of cancellation of the Kalabagh Dam, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, and now the Freudian Slip, attempt to separate the BJP (Bahawalpur Janubi Punjab) from the Punjab, are all a part of the same plan.
Mian Nawaz Sharif does not appear to understand how diabolical the scheme is. His party came up with a proposal to carve out three provinces instead of two. PML(N) get no votes – just ridicule and disgust. The people and politicians of Sindh have been wiser in understanding that the real reason for the new Local Bodies Ordinance is to give Indian protégés – the MQM – perpetual control over not just Karachi but all the urban centres of Sindh. Are the Punjabis so dim that they cannot understand the real intent behind the proposed division of the Punjab?
In Pakistan, land has always belonged to the provinces but river water is owned by the federation. This is a sensible division that has stood the test of time. Large reservoirs of water in dams have been built and operated by the federal government but the barrages and the canals have been owned and operated by the provincial governments. Kalabagh Dam is an exception because it is a dam as well as a barrage. Its right bank canal would irrigate DIK area of South KPK, and the left Bank canal would irrigate the area between Rivers Indus and Jhelum.
The reservoir would serve the interest of South Punjab and Sindh Province as Sindh gets 37% of the water of any reservoir built on River Indus. Tarbela Dam, built in the KPK has increased supply of irrigation water at Sukhar as well Kotri barrages. Kalabagh Dam would be even more beneficial to Sindh because it would conserve huge amount of extra water from all the tributaries of River Indus down stream of Tarbela and hill torrents that have caused death and destruction in South Punjab.
Kalabagh Dam is so detested by India because it would link all the provinces of Pakistan into a nationwide irrigation system.
Farhatullah Babar included the Districts of Mianwali and Bhakkar in BJP in his proposal. The people of the two districts understood his intent and protested. Thy understood that it would imply that the only dam in the Punjab – the Kalabagh Dam – would be located outside the province.
Farhatullah Babar proposal undermines the link canals and the entire irrigation system of the Punjab but the real reason is more sinister. The BJP locked into disputes with Punjab in perpetuity would be sight for sore hostile eyes. The fiendish scheme has escaped the attention of Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif but that may not be ignored by the farmers and irrigation experts. However, India and its protégés in Pakistan have good reasons for hope; if the benefits of Kalabagh Dam to Sindh can be sold as damaging because the Dam would also benefit the Punjab, why the damage to Multan and Bahawalpur be sold as beneficial merely because the rest of the Punjab disapproves of the division of the Punjab.
The reason why the Indo-Zionist lobby wants the division of the Punjab is the one given by Anatol Lieven:
“If Pakistan is to be broken as a state, it will be on the streets of Lahore and other great Punjabi cities, not in the Pashtun mountains.”
East Pakistan was the largest province of Pakistan until 1971 but its people were not able to see the benefits in the union. It split from Pakistan and is forever reduced to the status of a vassal state of India.
The Punjabis are 60% of the Pakistani nation now. As noted by Anatol Lieven, they see the vital need for maintaining the union and the Army is willing and able to defend every part of Pakistan.
The only way Pakistan may not succeed in maintaining the integrity of the federation is that the political process brings a Boris Yeltsin to power and the armed forces are too discredited or demonised to resists threats to national integrity.
Pakistan has had a Boris Yeltsin in the shape of Asif Zardari in power for five years but the military has maintained national cohesion despite him.
But that would not last forever. Our enemies hope that Mian Nawaz Sharif would play the role of blunderbuss Boris even better. Pakistan is not out of the woods yet.