The death of 24 Pakistani soldiers on 26/11/2011 in NATO air attacks has further deteriorated Pakistan-USA relationship. Pakistan has stopped NATO supplies to Afghanistan through its territory and has asked USA to vacate the Shamsi air base given to it in 15 days. Its army chief has vowed effective response. Pakistan has complained to UN and has decided to skip Bonn Conference on 5/12/2011 on the future of Afghanistan. China and Russia have come in support of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s double game in Afghan War has been clear for years. In recent months Americans have openly mentioned ISI’s role in Afghanistan. ISI has scuttled peace efforts. Afghan Taliban gets support from ISI. Afghan Taliban attacked American Embassy in Kabul and assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani. Osama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad for six years. Pakistan claimed it was fighting Taliban without mentioning it was fighting Pak Taliban hostile to it and supported Afghan Taliban hostile to Afghanistan.
NATO forces are predominantly American forces. NATO wants to quit Afghanistan by 2014. It is better if they quit Afghanistan before that and leave it to Afghans to solve their problems. Afghans take money from whoever gives them. When Hamid Karzai was asked about getting money from Iran he said they take money from Americans also. Najibullah was betrayed by his people when he could not give them money. He took shelter in UN compound. When Taliban attacked UN compound and hanged Najibullah UN did nothing. USA and other NATO forces were quiet. Economy is the problem in USA and Europe. Let NATO countries spend their money to solve their people’s problems.
India should remain neutral in this hostility between USA and Pakistan. India has nothing to gain by taking any side. Pakistan has abetted terrorism against India. When India was the victim USA was not on India’s side.
If the army takes over Pakistan there should be sanctions against Pakistan. If China and Russia veto such a proposal in UN, other countries can impose sanctions on their own.
For long India said ISI was behind terrorist activities in India. USA was quiet. For some years Afghanistan said ISI was behind terrorist activities in Afghanistan. That included Indian Embassy. USA was quiet. When American Embassy was attacked USA spoke. Americans wanted Pakistan to take action against Haqqani group, veritable arm of ISI, or they will act on their own.
India should have acted on its own. USA has its interests. It will not act in favour of other countries unless it is for its own advantage or there is a lobby in USA that wants USA to act in favour of another country like Jewish lobby’s support for Israel. ISI got away with crimes against Indians and Afghans and became bold enough to attack Americans.
Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was once ISI chief, threatened retaliation if American soldiers entered Pakistan. He said Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan and a nuclear power. It meant Pakistan will drop nuclear bombs on American soldiers. It halted American entry in Pakistan. Drone attacks are different matter.
It is unlikely ISI will stop its operations against Americans. Pakistan wants to control Afghanistan. Many Pakistani’s feel time is on their side, Americans will have to leave Afghanistan and after that Pakistan can dictate terms to Afghanistan. If USA stops assistance they can get it from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has emerged as a force. They have troops in Bahrain and have supported Saleh in Yemen. Saudi Arabia will support Pakistan against USA. China may sell arms to Pakistan but will not give assistance.
Some Pakistani politicians are not happy with ISI sponsoring terrorism but as long as army dominates Pakistan they cannot do much. When army domination ends Pakistan’s government can put an end to ISI activities. That does not seem possible in the near future.
It is a shame that some politicians want mercy for criminals whose mercy petitions are rejected by the President. Some months back a Sikh terrorist’s petition was rejected and Akali and Congress politicians from Punjab wanted mercy for him. The terrorist had gone to Supreme Court and wanted his petition to be settled one way or other and after the rejection he has gone to court challenging the dismissal.
Now some politicians from Tamil Nadu want mercy for three Tamil terrorists. It is perverse for Karunanidhi to ask mercy for Rajiv Gandhi’s killers claiming Rajiv Gandhi would have shown mercy under similar circumstances. Rajiv Gandhi did not die alone. Fifteen innocent people, including nine policemen on duty, died in the blast. No thought is given to them. The terrorists have appealed to Madras High Court on the ground of delay in decision. Karunanidhi, Vaiko and other politicians who oppose death penalty had lost elections.
Part of the problem is that India had wrong people as Presidents. The delay in deciding on mercy petitions started with K. R. Narayaran who did not want to reject any mercy petition. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam rejected one mercy petition and after that refused to reject. Pratibha Patil did not want to reject mercy petitions for three years and ten months. Governments of the day did not act against them and MPs did not impeach them.
Delay in deciding mercy petition is not cruel. There is no double punishment. Delayed time is bonus for criminals. They get to live longer. There is no anguish or psychological trauma. There is hope.
Jayalalitha said she has no power to pardon and the criminals can go to President again. Subramanian Swamy said the overwhelming majority of people in Tamil Nadu want the three hanged. There is no question of showing any compassion beyond normal process.
It is strange that High Courts entertain petitions related to death penalty decided by Supreme Court and rejected by President. There should be a ban on such things. There should be only one mercy petition and hanging should take place soon after rejection.