Dr. Muhammad Reza Kazimi: U.S. – Pakistan Relations: The Downside

Schoolgirls and women are coming out to throw stones. The Kashmir situation has never been so bad …

Since Washington has started an inter-agency review of U.S. funding and support to Pakistan, as stated by the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson1, it is about time that a Pakistani re-appraisal takes place. Since Pakistan doesn’t have a Foreign Minister, perforce our appraisal shall also have to be inter-agency. To begin that process, it is necessary to set the record straight. In the latest development, an Indo-U.S. Joint Statement has designated Kashmiri freedom-fighter Syed Salahuddin, a global terrorist.2 So once again there are three main issues between the United States and Pakistan: (1) Kashmir, (2) Terror and (3) Nuclear Proliferation. All three are underpinned by the presence of 2 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. First, let’s come to terror. In the House Foreign Affairs Committee addressed by the Secretary of State, Congressman Dona Rohrabacher said: “Pakistan is acknowledged by most of the people I’ve dealt with, as the source of terrorism in that part of the world.”3

We cannot determine the source of terrorism, without fixing the origin of terrorism, Hilary Clinton, while Secretary of State, had admitted to the role her country had played by stating: “The problems we face now, to some extent we have to take responsibility for having contributed to it….the people we are fighting today, we funded them twenty-five years ago.”4 What Hilary Clinton was referring to was the U.S. resistance to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The U.S. needed Pakistan as a front- line state, in order to combat the U.S.S.R. troops using the Afghan refugees in the first instance to commit acts of terror in the invaded country. Pakistan was adjacent to Afghanistan India the apple of the U.S. Congress’ eye was not. This was a strategic consideration.

There was also a diplomatic consideration. On August 9, 1971 India had signed with the U.S.S.R. a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation which included military collaboration. For a 20 year period, which was in operation in 1979, when the U.S.S.R. invaded Afghanistan. There is ample corroboration of what Hilary Clinton said. Kathy Gannon in “I” is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror5 mentions the U.S, sponsored school books to create a Jihadi mindset among Af-Pak students. According to Dennis Kux, the initial U.S. response to the Taliban regime had been positive, and it saw nothing objectionable in the steps the Taliban had taken to impose Islamic law.6

In the light of the above what Pakistan expects to hear is not “Do More” but “Do More to Undo What We Have Done.”. It was all right for militants to carry out attacks in Soviet occupied Afghanistan but after the Soviet withdrawal when the same militants they had trained turned their attention to Kashmir, the U.S. was furious. The rage went back to 1963 when Lyndon B. Johnson told Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to “get Kashmir out of your system”. Yes we note that during the 1965 War, despite the hostility of President Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk stated that the historical position was plebiscite in Kashmir. He upheld the principle of self-determination.7

After Robin Raphael re-stated the same historical position on Kashmir, the FBI raided her residence on October 21, 2014. The Justice Department finally informed her attorneys that it would not prosecute Robin Raphael for either espionage or improper retention of documents.8 The United States has designated Syed Salahuddin a global terrorist at a juncture when proxies or militants have no relevance to the uprising in Kashmir.

Prem Shankar Jha, the author of Kashmir 1947: Rival Versions of History, (Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1996) has finally in the face of the current situation conceded:

But no amount of money or exhortation could have made 1.5 lakh people from all over South Kashmir to catch a last glimpse of him and offer no fewer than 40 prayers for his soul. And Pakistan did not even learn of Wani’s death, let alone instigate it, before the people of South Kashmir.9

S. Dulat, former RAW chief wrote: “Schoolgirls and women are coming out to throw stones. The Kashmir situation has never been so bad.”10

Let us not be ungrateful. Our benefactor Congressman Dona Rohrabacher himself told the Indian Representative:

India is not permitting the people of Kashmir to have a vote, to determine their destiny by vote….Let’s try to solve it. Let’s quit lying. Let’s quit changing the subject. But to solve this problem it goes right down to, let’s give the people of Kashmir a right to determine that. We are empowering the most radical elements in Pakistan by keeping Kashmir an issue. 11

Keep the last sentence in view. How Kashmir is linked to other concerns of the U.S. was clearly expressed by their Ambassador Anne W. Patterson on September 23, 2009:

Resolving the Kashmir dispute which lies at the core of Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups would dramatically improve the situation. U.S. Governments efforts in this regard should be considered.12

The United States may protest that its Kashmir policy is unchanged,13 but, by insisting that the dispute be settled bilaterally or not at all. This is a selective interpretation of the Simla Agreement 1972. Even if it were valid the Simla Agreement was violated when India occupied Siachen in 1985, and is no more in force.

Kashmir has become linked to Afghanistan. The Indian representative Y.B. Sinha told his American counterpart: “We will not leave Afghanistan because we have strategic interests there.”14 Chuck Hagel, before becoming Secretary of Defense had said: “India had financed anti-state elements in Pakistan and was using Afghanistan to cause trouble in the border areas.”15

Pakistan is a victim of terror because it hosts 2 million Afghan refugees who refuse to go back. Initially all acts of terror were attributed to them, only later did the Jihadi mindset spread. Afghanistan despite the hospitality of Pakistan refuses to recognize the Durand Line 1892 as the border and it is to re-inforce their irredentist claim that a sizeable part of the Afghan population lives here.

The presence of terrorists has been linked to the nuclear issue. When India tested in 1974, the United States chastised Pakistan. Pakistan did not acquire nuclear weapons to satisfy some passing whim. It was an act of self-defense, legitimate under the U.N. Charter. The only National Security Advisor to weigh Hindu fanaticism against Muslim fundamentalism is Zbigniew Brzezinski who said:

Irrationality might overwhelm the strategic restraint inherent in the nuclear calculus.16

On May 3, 2007, Richard Barlow, a former C.I.A analyst disclosed that the Reagan administration deliberately let Pakistan go nuclear because they needed Pakistan’s help in the Afghan war against the Russians 17 Two years later Andrew Cockburn reported that the U.S. is helping Pakistan modernize its nuclear arsenal. This author recalls Ronald Reagan’s view on Pakistan’s nuclear plan: “I just don’t think it is any of our business.” Similarly, Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that “our security policy towards Pakistan cannot be dictated by our non-proliferation policy.”18

In his own book Zbignew Brezizinski make a comment that leaves no doubt that Andrew Cockburn was representing him accurately. “When critics charge that the recent U.S. concerns with proliferation have been late in coming, they have a point.”19 Andrew Cockburn further claimed that when Dr. A. Q. Khan was peddling his uranium technology, his shipping manager was a C.I.A agent. This too is credible, given the statement of Ruud Lubbers, former Prime Minister of Netherlands that the C.I.A. had blocked action against A. Q. Khan in 1975 and 1979.20

Despite his confession A. Q. Khan’s role seems exaggerated. Bureaucratic bungling would be more in character. Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce placed a full page advertisement in Dawn, July 24, 2000, offering nuclear material for sale. Unsafeguarded nuclear material is, to put it mildly, very hazardous – whoever is responsible. I am constrained to recall the following items to attention of the powers that be.

  1. On August 28, 2003 Taiwanese custom authorities intercepted a ship carrying missile material to North Korea from India. The evening Leader reported the incident the same day.
  2. Two containers containing uranium have been stolen in India. The Chief Minister of Jharkand, Madhu Khoda reported this in November 2006.The same report revealed that uranium had been stolen from Assam the previous year.
  3. There is the year’s bestseller of India: General S. Padmabhan, The Writing on the Wall: India Checkmates America 2017, New Delhi, Manar Publications, 2004. This was not written by a member of a lunatic fringe, but by a former Chief of the Indian Army Staff. The U.S. cannot be challenged by an ally it sanctions, but only by an adversary it empowers. 2017 has come, but 2017 has not gone.


  1. Dawn, June 17, 2017
  2. Dawn, June 29, 2017
  3. Ibid 
  4. Dawn, April 25, 2009
  5. Kathy Ganon, “I” is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror, New York, Public Affairs, 2005
  6. Dennis Kux, Disenchanted Allies, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 2001
  7. Roedad Khan [ed.] The British Papers, Karachi, Oxford University Press, 2002, p.384
  8. Dawn, May 19, 2016
  9. Wire, August 23, 2017
  10. Ibid, May 4, 2017
  11. Ibid, October 31, 2017
  12. Ibid, May 29, 2011
  13. Ibid, July 1, 2017
  14. Ibid, June 8, 2017
  15. Ibid, February 28, 2013
  16. Zbignew Brezizinski, The Choice, New York, Basic Books, 2004, p.76
  17. Dawn, July 29, 2007
  18. Ibid, July 29, 2009
  19. The Choice, p.32
  20. Dawn, August 10, 2005

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Filed under Discussion, India, Pakistan, Trump, United States

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