By Ubaid Ahmed
Pakistan is surviving tough times, for it goes up against synchronous bellicosity from India and the US.
The Trump administration has chosen to press Pakistan with its ‘do more’ mantra to eliminate the alleged ‘safe havens’ for the ‘agents of chaos’ in Pakistan. Whilst puffed up by the US support of its aspirations to be a regional hegemon, taking advantage of the strained Pak-US ties and unable to suppress the recent popular and local revolt in the Indian occupied Kashmir, India has also deepened its political and military weight on Pakistan.
Given these circumstances, Pakistan indeed at the moment is devoid of a foreign policy to face the twin external challenge.
The most ideal approach to maintain a strategic distance in this regard from a showdown with the US is for Pakistan to influence the Afghan Taliban to join the peace talks.
Notwithstanding Trump’s avowals, US authorities purportedly have guaranteed that they want peace and for that matter talks with the Taliban. Undoubtedly, by partaking in such talks, the Taliban could secure a political status that would be legitimate, i.e. not as an insurgent but a negotiating partner. Additionally such talks could be sought after in different directions and for that matter other regional and trans-regional powers be incorporated into the ‘process’.
Likewise, an aggressive Pakistan centric Indian doctrine under a ‘belligerent regime’ prompting possible strategic miscalculation will genuinely affect the strategic stability in the South Asian region. However, the only thing containing them to a halt is Pakistan’s credible nuclear deterrence. Thenceforth, they are continuously targeting Pakistan through sub conventional means, chiefly by sponsoring terrorism at the state level.
Pakistan at this point in time should seek for viable concerted campaigns in the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and likewise at all the other forums to denounce Indian belligerence and its brutal repression of the innocent Kashmiris. Thousands of Kashmiris have been reported to be killed by Indian security forces in custody, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances and these human right violations are said to be carried out by Indian security forces under total impunity. Sadly, the height of incongruity is that all those aforementioned forums and the international civil society have turned deaf and blind over the issue; resultantly, Pakistan despite its spirited efforts remained at the defensive.
The relations between Pakistan and the US have been uneasy since Trump avowed its new Afghan strategy last year in August. Now the Trump administration is again changing the gears in Afghanistan. Additionally, it is now much more obvious that the robust Indian role as desired by Trump will only serve the US policy objectives in the region.
Moreover, in words of Plato ‘I am trying to think, don’t confuse me with facts’.
To conclude, Pakistan should clearly pass on to India that any military adventure will result in a misadventure with disastrous outcomes. Pakistan ought to likewise prompt the Security Council and every single significant ‘Power’ of the dangers innate to the permanent Indian ceasefire violations and the threats. It could also propose the improved presence of UN Observers on the two sides of the LoC. Lastly; in particular the US should also be cautioned against encouraging Delhi’s bellicosity against Islamabad.
Ubaid Ahmed currently works as a Research Affiliate at Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan