By Farman Nawaz
“U.S. Spy History Is Older than the Nation Itself” was the title of news story published in ABC News on Oct. 7, 2005 written by Michael S. James. The title of this new story well describes the nature of US and its policy to illegally obtain information of other nations. As US is involved in these heinous activities since long so she is also proficient in denying the facts. The same we are observing in the case of Raymond Davis. But Raymond Davis may possibly add another fail spy story to ‘US spy history’.
At the moment US is pressuring Pakistan to release Raymond Davis and even US threatened Pakistan of deterioration in defense relations. This threat is significant in the sense that why US talked about the defense relations. Instead of halting diplomatic relations the threat of defense relations reveals the identity of Raymond Davis. This event is the explicit show of intensity of mistrust in Pakistani and American intelligence agencies. The Zardari call for round tale conference reveals Pakistan’s intention to handle the issue tactfully. Though media is discussing the possible release of Raymond Davis but things seem going in opposite direction. Pakistani establishment has the stamina to tolerate US pressure. Though Pakistan’s dependence on US will twist its arm to cooperate with US but on the other side US history reveals that her harassment of other nations in this matter did not bear fruits. Here I am just narrating two events of US failure.
The U-2 incident occurred during the Cold War on May 1, 1960. An American spy plane was shot down over Soviet air space. The US government at first denied the plane’s purpose and mission, but then was forced to confess its role as a covert surveillance aircraft when the Soviet government produced its remains and surviving pilot, Francis Gary Powers. The incident was a great embarrassment to the US and prompted a marked deterioration in its relations with the Soviet Union. Initially the American authorities believed there was no evidence left of either plane or pilot and tried to convince the Russians the U-2 had been a weather plane. However, the Russians then produced Mr. Powers alive and well claiming he had admitted spying for the CIA. Gary Powers was sentenced to 10 years in a Soviet prison and had been freed from prison in exchange for a Russian spy jailed in the US.
Similarly on March 31, 2001, a US spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea, killing the pilot and landed at a Chinese air base on China’s Hainan Island. Chinese troops boarded the plane, ignoring a Pentagon warning to stay off the plane. 24 American crewmen were taken into custody by the Chinese. A day after Chinese president Jiang Zemin demanded that the US apologize for the crash of a US spy plane and a Chinese fighter jet that cost the life of the Chinese pilot, Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed US “regret” over the death of pilot Wang Wei. The next day, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Powell’s expression of regret is not enough; it again demanded a full US “. It was a foreign policy crisis for US administration.
Soviets and Chinese properly highlighted the issues of US spy planes and they were successful to make the US kneel down. The case of Pakistan is different. First of all Pakistan is totally dependent upon US for its defense and other budgetary expenses. Secondly Pakistan has not still decided what to do with Raymond Davis. The dilemma of Pakistan is whether to release Davis as “Goodwill gesture”, or to exploit the situation to plead its case of defense requirements and economic disparity.
But release of Raymond Davis can affect Pakistan internal politics. Undemocratic forces can make this issue a final nail in the government’s coffin. The environment of Tunis and Egypt can easily be created here in Pakistan. Government is well aware of the consequences of any possible release of Raymond Davis. On the other hand if Pakistan wants to exploit the situation like Russia and China so it will have to show courage like them. Then Pakistan will have to highlight the issue on international platforms and to show its annoyance over the issue.
Information provided to Pakistani media reveals that Pakistan is determine to disclose the identity of Raymond Davis. But US on the other side is trying to avoid reaching such an extent because US is well aware of the consequences. Then on one side US will be bound to accept Pakistani demands, secondly it can damage the repute of US in international politics especially war on terror can take a new dimension here in Pakistan and its neighborhood. Pressurizing tactics can compel Pakistan to revise its war on terror policy. Pakistan inclination towards regional powers can shatter the dreams of permanent US bases in Afghanistan too. If US wishes to see long term relations with Pakistan, it will have to accept the decision of Pakistani courts. Freeing Davis by force can pave way for extremists to occupy Islamabad.