Since its creation Pakistan has remained in the hands of foreign powers with laws and policies that they have defined for it, writes Pakistani blogger Ahsan Ansari.
From the days when Pakistan achieved so-called independence from the British Raj/British-occupied India, we can find that the first two Military Generals (Chief of Army Staffs) of Pakistan were General Sir Frank Walter Messery (Aug-1947 to Feb-1948) and General Douglas David Gracey (Feb-1948 to April-1951).
The British-influenced secular military of Pakistan gave rise to a more secular Pakistan of that time. Pakistan has experienced more military rule than civilian rule, so there should not remain any doubt that the actual ruling power of the land remains in hands of military, while it is up to the colonialists whether to hand over the political control to civilian governments or military ones.
Pakistan remained a secular state from its very beginning under British influence which ended with the 1958 military coup. After the coup Pakistan joined hands with the US signing various security pacts like SEATO and CENTO, accepting the US geopolitical strategy and exploiting its relations with China.
This was done in the name of protecting itself from Soviet expansion, but accepting the US geopolitical strategy did no favours for Pakistan.
The Islamisation of Secular Pakistan
Before the rule of General Zia-Ul-Haq Pakistan remained a secular state with “Islamic Republic” included in its name in 1956, but no Islamic law was adopted officially by any government until the Zia era.
Prior to the Zia era it was the so-called communist leader Zulfiqar-Ali-Bhutto who framed the so-called Islamic constitution of 1973 and put a ban on night clubs, alcohol and gambling. This was the starting point of the Islamisation of Pakistan and this task was further continued by General Zia-ul-Haq untill 1988.
So what was the reason behind such a great shift in beliefs and who benefited the most from it?
This was basically an American foreign policy plan designed to counter Russia and to accomplish its goals in Eurasia. The expansion of Russia into south, south east and east Asia was one of the biggest threats to US geopolitical strategy which had to be stopped.
For this reason emotional Islamic sentiments were stirred up as the best way to repel Russia. Therefore, an Islamic atmosphere was created in the country and jihad was promoted against the “Kafir” Communist superpower.
The Creation of the Taliban
After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the concepts of Jihad and Sharia where highly promoted in Pakistan.
In order to defeat the Soviets within Afghanistan, Pakistan openly sided with the US.
By not directly involving itself and the US in the Afghan-Soviet war, the Pakistan-US alliance decided upon the creation of jihadi groups who were taught the lessons of Jihad and the implementation of Islamic Shariah.
This was a global call for Jihad which was joined by Muslims from all over the world.
The Pakistani tribal jihadis who were named “Taliban” were trained under Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan military and were funded by the US through Pakistan.
These Taliban in Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan became the most valuable strategic assets of both the Pakistani military and the country itself.
A Shift In American Policy
The defeat of the USSR in 1989 by the hands of the Taliban was a great victory not for Pakistan but for US.
But according to America’s geopolitical strategy it also needs to contain China and on this issue Pakistan is actually a thorn in its side.
Pakistan contains an anti-Indian army doctrine (which also led to the creation of the atomic bomb for Pakistan) while the US foresees that the containment of China should be undertaken by India.
On the other hand, the Taliban (after defeating the USSR) established an Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan and at the same time the increased Islamic sentiments in the Pakistani army were another big threat for US, its strategy and its capitalist ideology.
So to remove the Pakistani thorn from its way it was necessary to bring a shift in its policies which it had created for Pakistan to handle the USSR (i.e. the Islamisation Policy).
The Beginning of the War On Terror
Now, to solely concentrate on its anti-China strategy it was necessary for the US again to secularize Pakistan.
But this time it was not as easy to secularize the country as the US did in the initial years of the creation of Pakistan – the high Islamic sentiments in the Pakistani army and the public and at the same time the love for tribal people and the Taliban was a big issue.
To overcome this issue the US used the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to enter the region.
But after entering Afghanistan, the US recognized that the job to defeat Taliban was much more difficult than she had thought. Although the Taliban didn’t remain in power after the American attack on Afghanistan, the guerilla war led by Taliban fighters was much harder to defeat.
After recognizing the support of the Pakistani army for the Taliban and that the main bases of the Taliban lay in the tribal belts of Pakistan, the US decided to involve Pakistani forces in operations against the same jihadi groups which were created and trained by the same army and the ISI.
The involvement of Pakistani forces in operations in tribal belts of Pakistan (including the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb) favours the United States in the following ways:
• Firstly, the degradation of Pakistan Army:
I. By involving the military in operations in areas which were once Pakistan’s strategic assets, this will eventually lead to the collapse of Pakistan’s strategic assets and will ruin the strategic depth of Pakistan.
II. This will make the Pakistani army introspective and not India-centric. This is essential for US geopolitical strategy which foresees India blocking China and focussing on it (rather than Pakistan), making India a regional power.
III. Operations in the core areas of the Haqqani Network/ Afghan Taliban will dismantle the Haqqani Network resulting in a stable and powerful US-led Afghanistan. This means the backyard of Pakistan, Afghanistan, will no longer remain a backyard for the Pakistani military causing it to easily fall into the hands of India.
• Secondly, the creation of a secular Pakistan is not just limited to the tribal areas but has reached every home. It is a war of ideas in which the secular idea is being promoted even by force after the brutal Peshawar attack.
Although prior to this attack many hardline policies were adopted to stop Islamic ideas, mainly about the “Caliphate,” and the role of the Afghan Taliban against America.
But soon after the attack, a National Action Plan was introduced and according to it every Islamic material that promotes the Islamic idea of ruling and encourages the Pakistan military to take action against the presence of America and Blackwater agents has been banned and termed as “hate material.”
So the secularisation of Pakistan is essential for the US again to successfully achieve its geopolitical strategy.
The events that took place from the creation of Pakistan until today have favoured foreign powers. Neither of them has benefited or is benefiting Pakistan except for the creation of the atomic bomb.
So as per the definition of colonization, Pakistan has never designed any policy on its own. As a result Pakistan is a colonized nation rather than an independent state.
Ahsan Ansari is a professional writer, blogger and Bachelors student at Iqra University, Islamabad.