Dumping Ground of Lethal Weapons
Posted on July 7th, 2012

By Afshain Afzal

American media claims that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rubbani Khar and said, “The Foreign Minister and I were reminded that our troops, Pakistani and American, are in a fight against a common enemy. We are both sorry for losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against terrorists,” Many analysts took it as an Washington’s apology to Islamabad for its unprovoked attack on Pakistan personnel inside Pakistani territory at Salala post 26 November 2011 but it is totally misleading. What she did was dispel Pakistani point of view that the US wanted to take unilateral action against militants hiding in the country. Concentrating on the words, Secretary of State Clinton said: “The foreign minister and I were reminded that our troops, Pakistani and American, are in a fight against a common enemy. We are both sorry for losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against terrorists.” Their point is that since we have common enemy so Salala cold blooded slaughter was friendly fire. In the resumption of NATO supply routes and apology drama, we are forgetting what is happening in our country and neighbouring Afghanistan.

Has anyone given a thought that when US has withdrawn almost all its combatant personnel from Afghanistan and is only left with reconstruction teams, SWAT and some personnel who provide security to them, why such a bulk of NATO supplies would be required? In the recent statement of Secretary of State Clinton she disclosed with regard to lethal equipment that Pakistan has agreed to transit GLOC (Ground Lines of Communication) into Afghanistan for equipping Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Ms Clinton added that Pakistan’s decision was critically important to the men and women fighting terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan. Guess what men and women could mean?  Does this mean arming Afghan civilians with lethal equipment and weaponry?

Earlier media report said that General John Allen had told reporters at a news briefing inKabul that he recently spoke on the phone with Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Media gave a wrong twist and claimed that they had discussion on NATO supplies blocked byPakistan as a reaction to the NATO strike on Pakistani posts that killed Pak troops and that NATO commander said that he is seeing signs of a possible lifting of NATO blockade. Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had to issue clarification statement that the two did not discuss when Pakistanwould reopen its border crossings to NATO convoys transporting supplies for troops in Afghanistan. One wonders when it is the matter of national integrity and sovereignty, how can national media go so much off the track to please western masters.

 Whatever the case may be, official statement emitting from Islamabad announced to reopen route for NATO supply to Afghanistan and claimed that United States has apologized for killing of its 24 troops in an attack on Salala check post on November 26, 2011. The decision was taken in the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) which met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister. It is pertinent to mention here that as such the NATO supplies have not resumed till today and not even a single consignment moved toward Afghanistan. However, the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC), an alliance of religious-political groups, has already chalked out a plan to resist resumption of NATO supplies in case the precondition of DCC including unconditional apology on Salala attack.

In another development former US Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Jack Keane stressed before Congressional Committee that the Washington should take the Pakistani supply route off the table. He said, “So I think we could actually take the issue off the table in my judgment in terms of our relationship with Pakistan on this issue because we do have alternatives. And most dramatically, our force size is coming down rather significantly, and therefore there’s less requirement.” Michael O’Hanlon, Director of Research, Senior Fellow and Chair at Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Programme said, “I’m not saying cut off all aid to the state in Pakistan. I think we should certainly continue to fund civil society in Pakistan in an alternative to the military-dominated, ISI-dominated foreign and national security policy they pursue. “I’m not saying cut off all aid to the state in Pakistan. I think we should certainly continue to fund civil society in Pakistan in an alternative to the military-dominated, ISI-dominated foreign and national security policy they pursue”¦”

There is no doubt that US and allies have already withdrawn bulk of their forces last year after humiliating defeat at the hands of Mujahideen of Afghanistan and Pakistan. US Army General Jack Keane has rightly highlighted that US’ force size is coming down rather significantly, and therefore there’s less requirement of NATO supplies through Pakistan but the western conspiracy to arm civilian in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a matter of concern. Pakistan must investigate the tens and hundreds of containers still piled near the Pakistani ports and those which mysteriously got missing. The law enforcement agencies must take action against the illegal automatic weapons in Pakistanas well as lethal equipment distributed by US and India among civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistanon the pretext of NATO supplies. Unless we are not able to control NATO sponsored weaponization of major cities in Pakistan and Afghanistan peace would not be ale to be restored in cities likeKarachi, Gilgit and Quetta. [email protected]

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