Mr. Robert Gates. We read your article in the News and wish to respond. If you really do have a commitment to Pakistan, you must be monitoring the internet to view the opinions about you and your “commitment to Pakistan“.
First of all, as a fellow American let me thank you for at least taking the trouble to write an article addressed to Pakistanis and good people all over the world. It is a great start, for which every freedom loving person will be happy about.
We are all impressed by your long tenure in the service of the people of the United States. Such selfless service needs to be applauded. You have taken over the CIA in tough times–perhaps the CIA’s hardest years ever. It is a matter of public record that American commitments to Pakistan in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 90s were hollow. To this day–Pakistanis wonder how UN resolutions on Kashmir remain unimplemented on the excuse that they were the docile kind. Either the US did not know UN procedures in the 50s, or it is deliberately made the UN resolutions toothless. As a result the promised referendum in Kashmir promised by Mr. Albright (father of Madeline Albright) and a host of American politicians never happened. It is amazing that the US and World Bank (means US) guarantors of the Indus Water Treaty stood by while Bharat (aka India) eroded the treaty and Pakistan starved and the farmers died of unquenched thirst. The dozens of dams promised never materialized. It al astonishing that US and the US allowed Bharat to cross the international border in 1965–and Pakistan was rewarded with sanction on all military sales–sanctions imposed on the founding member of SEATO and CENTO. You talk about friendship–will someone explain to the Pakistani people why the 7th fleet wiled away its time in the Straits of Malacca (its full steam ahead halted due to unknown reasons), and never actually reached Chittagong–and Pakistan Army was left to fend itself from the barbarians who had crossed the border first as terrorist and then in uniform of the Indian Army. You also fail to mention the exploding case of mangoes that killed General Zia Ul Haq.
Nearly 25 years ago, in 1986, I arrived in Islamabad for my first visit to Pakistan to meet with this country’s military leaders and see firsthand the training of the Afghan resistance along the border. At the time, our two countries were working together in unprecedented ways to combat a common foe. As part of this effort, our militaries went to school together; our intelligence services shared insights; and our leaders consulted each other on strategic issues. The long-standing friendship was based on a great sense of mutual commitment, purpose, and benefit. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
Good Americans and good Pakistanis are fighting the ghosts of the past two decades that have come to haunt both the countries. You are very right that the US made a “grave mistake” in abandoning Pakistan again–after 1971. However you brush off the “grave error” by calling it “well intentioned”. Well intentioned for whom? If you truly considered it a “grave mistake” then you and the government of the United States should issue a “contrite apology” to the people of Pakistan. That would be right thing to do. The sanctions imposed great hardships on the people of Pakistan. The abandonment proliferated Pakistan with what is known as the “Kalashnikov culture”. Because of US partnership in fighting against the USSR, Pakistan’s economic progress lost its stride. All Pakistanis paid a price for this. If the US is serious it must make amendment, and pay the opportunity costs of that “grave mistake”.
I was still in government in the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union left the region and the US largely abandoned Afghanistan and cut off defense ties with Pakistan – a grave mistake driven by some well-intentioned but short-sighted US legislative and policy decisions. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
You say you have changed. Pakistanis in FATA face a 911 everyday. When US drones attack Pakistani territory, the entire nation recoils and is jolted. Whether the attacks are carried out with a complicity of weak treacherous leaders, or they are carried out despite their protestations–the fact remains that the attacks are illegal, immoral, a violation of international law, and a war crime. You may pass this off and claim that the government of Pakistan has given you permission. If you want to be legalistic about it–then you must also remember that the National Assembly of Pakistan has unanimously condemned the attack–and the Pakistani parliament is sovereign. The voice of the people, the cries of the mothers, and the shrieks of the children killed by the drone bombs have to be heard in Washington. You cannot act deaf and dumb and say that you are making success when 170 million Pakistanis oppose the drones.
Mr. Gates–stop the drone bombings.
Thankfully, times have changed. Even so, much is still made in the media of a “trust deficit” between our nations. As I meet with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders during my visit, I will emphasize that the United States wishes to relinquish the grievances of the past – grievances held by both sides – and instead focus on the promise of the future. I will repeat President Obama’s message that the United States is fully committed to a stable, long-term, strategic partnership with a democratic Pakistan – an enduring relationship based on shared interests and mutual respect that will continue to expand and deepen in the future on many levels, from security cooperation to economic development. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
You have grievances against Pakistan? What grievances? Your complain that Mr. Musharraf was not complaint enough. You complain that the Mr. Zardari is not obsequious enough? The “do more” mantra has brought untold misery on Pakistan and Pakistanis. You are sowing the seeds of bombs and bullets in the hearts and minds of future generations of Pakistanis. Yes you have gotten a few criminals–but at what cost? The cost of the tears of those killed by drone bombs is not worth the lives of the evil terrorists that you claim have been killed by the drone bombings. The number of suicide bombings in Pakistan is tied to the frequency of drone attacks. the more you attack FATA, the more Pakistanis die in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
Mr. Gates, its not worth it.
Today, Pakistan and the United States are allied against a common threat. As the people of Pakistan are all too aware, violent extremists attack innocent civilians, government and religious institutions, and security forces – all in an effort to undermine this country and its culture. The tremendous sacrifice of so many Pakistani troops – nearly 2,000 in the last three years – speaks to both their courage and their commitment to protect their fellow citizens. It also speaks to the magnitude of the security challenges this country faces – and need to for our two nations to muster the resolve to eliminate lawless regions and bring this conflict to an end. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
Your praise for the Pakistani Army runs hollow in the face of your comments in Delhi and Washington. It doesn’t matter what you say about Pakistanis in Islamabad–it matters what you say about Pakistanis in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Flattery in Karachi is useless when you berate Islamabad in Delhi.
Your statements in Delhi resonate in the ears of Pakistanis. You can continue to bomb FATA, and praise in Islamabad. You can continue to ridicule Pakistan is Delhi, and you can continue to berate Pakistan is Washington. You will continue to loose your credibility.
Mr. Gates if you put down Pakistan in India, you should not bother to write letters to Pakistanis.
The United States and the rest of the international community understand the gravity of the situation and applaud Pakistan’s drive to restore peace to all parts of the nation. To this end, the United States has increased efforts to help the Pakistani military develop the capabilities – and acquire the equipment – necessary to deal with a threat of this size and complexity. This effort includes revitalizing our military exchanges, education, and training programs. With all of our military-to-military relations, the guiding principle for the United States is doing whatever we can to help Pakistan protect its own sovereignty and destroy those who promote the use of terror in this country and plan attacks abroad. At the same time, the US recognizes that military aid alone will not help Pakistan solve the problem of violent extremism, and has, accordingly, expanded civilian assistance to invest in the potential of the Pakistani people. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
The rude Mrs. Clinton will be in Pakistan in a few weeks, with the same agenda–attack North Waziristan, allow India transit facilities and abandon the Iran Pakistan pipeline. If the US wants Pakistan to abandon the Iran Pakistan pipeline, it should offer Pakistan the same nuclear deal that it offered Bharat.
No Nuclear plants–no deal!
You called the US foreign policy of the 80s “a grave mistake”. Twenty years from now your own policies today will be colossal errors. Of course your sentence “the United States is doing whatever we can to help Pakistan protect its own sovereignty and destroy those who promote the use of terror in this country and plan attacks abroad” runs hollow. The CIA activities in Khost, the CIA’s Xe contractors, and proliferation of personnel in the government will also be depicted as grave errors by future generations. Remember Vietnam? Remember the Shah?
The US is not doing enough. The US has not provided Apache and Chinook helicopters to the Frontier Constabulary ()FC). The US has not provided bullet proof vests, MARVs, jeeps, and machine guns to the frontline of the war on terror–the FC. The FC is fighting the war with bare knuckles and slippers. The US has not armed the Frontier Corp with drones, F-22s, and F-35s. How can the Pakistan Army fight the evil doers when the bad guys have better arms–stolen or purchased from US armouries in Afghanistan or supplied by India or Israel; all in your knowledge.
One just went away, one is here, and one is coming–all to put pressure on Pakistan to open up transit facilities to Bharat (aka India) and to force Pakistan to back out of the Iran Pakistan pipeline. This is not the first time that the USA has put pressure on Pakistan. In the 80s successive weak governments were pressured to abandon the Nuclear and missile program. None did. Pakistan is today a Nuclear state which has prevented Bharat (aka India) from transgressing the sacred land.
The US Department of Agriculture was in Islamabad ostensibly to assist the Pakistani farmer. His real agenda was to force Pakistan to allow Indian trucks to rumble through Pakistan. Bangladesh is under similar pressure and against all odds she is resisting as much as it can.
Ambassador Holbrooke is here pressuring Pakistan to abandon the pipeline–which is so very essential for Pakistan’s energy needs. Holbrooke is suggesting an ephemeral plan for LNG in the future. He has also thrown out a bone about $1 Billion in aid for energy. All this is hocus-pocus. Pakistan must build the Iran Pakistan pipeline and link it up to China. The LNG plant if needed should be set up to export LNG containers in the open market. One does not need American aid to build a LNG plant, once the pipeline has be set up. This is a matter of national security for Pakistan
I know there is concern that an increased US presence in Afghanistan will lead to more attacks in Pakistan. It is important to remember that the Pakistani Taliban operates in collusion with both the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda, so it is impossible to separate these groups. If history is any indication, safe havens for either Taliban, on either side of the border, will in the long-run lead to more lethal and more brazen attacks in both nations – attacks of the kind that have already exacted a terrible civilian toll. Maintaining a distinction between some violent extremist groups and others is counterproductive: Only by pressuring all of these groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge for good – to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
With all due apologies, your tense is wrong. US presence has and continues to create more attacks on Pakistan. An increase in US forces will lead to an exponential increase in violence in Pakistan. You bomb the Pakhtuns in Afghanistan. They run for cover on the border areas. You bomb them in FATA then they rush to the cities.
Even as our countries deal with the great challenge along the border, the United States recognizes Pakistan’s important regional and global leadership role – especially on matters like combating piracy and illicit narcotics trafficking, two areas where Pakistan has already made valuable contributions. One of the chief reasons for my visit is to develop a broader strategic dialogue – on the link between Afghanistan’s stability and Pakistan’s; stability in the broader region; the threat of extremism in Asia; efforts to reduce illicit drugs and their damaging global impact; and the importance of maritime security and cooperation. In all of this, Pakistan can play a central part in maintaining good relations among all countries in Asia – a precondition for security in this part of the world. The News. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 CIA Director, Robert M Gates.
Your ‘wink, wink nod, nod’ to India allows Delhi to send mercenaries to cross the Afghan border and blow up Pakistani civilians. You want the Pakistani forces moved from the Eastern front to the Western front–but are silent when General Kapoor sends threats across the border. You add insult to injury when you say that the Kapoor threats are personal opinions and not Indian Policy. However you do not repudiate on Quick Start and Cold Start Strategy plans that are supposed to be carried out under the umbrella of Nuclear Arms. You say you support Pakistan. However you sign Nuclear deals with Bharat, and rebuff your Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA), Pakistan.
My visit comes at a critical time for the region. Many challenges remain, but I believe there is reason for hope and optimism. With common goals and collaboration on a range of issues, a new generation of Pakistanis and Americans is learning what it means to be long-term allies, partners, and friends – united in an effort to renew and strengthen the bonds of trust between our nations. Our commitment to Pakistan’ Thursday, January 21, 2010 Robert M Gates. The writer is US secretary of defence. This article is exclusive to The News.
You are right, your visit to Pakistan comes at a critical time. There is still time to change course. There is still time to salvage the relationship. There is still time to prevent a Iranian type of revolution. There is still time to take corrective actions. There is still time to fix Afghanistan. However it must begin with transparency, and integrity. If the US favours Bharat, and if Washington continues to bomb Pakistan–the coming divorce will be nasty. If the US continues to allow Bharat to export terror from Afghanistan to Pakistan, there is no chance that we can have peace in Asia.
We implore you to stop the bombing, and we urge to expedite the implementation of and US-Pakistan FTA. The establishment of ROZ, the construction of 60,000 schools in Pakistan, the hiring of 70,000 teachers, the establishment of 100 American Universities, the development of a dozen dams and 5000 hospitals–these are the needs of the Pakistani people. These come at a small cost. Once relief, education is synonymous to the Stars and Stripes fluttering atop hospitals and schools, the US will once again enjoy universal friendship in Pakistan. Your “commitment” to Pakistan must cater to these needs not just the needs of Delhi.
Thank you and Best Regards,
Moin Ansari PMP, MBA, ITILP, SSigmaMBB, CME