Islamabad via Beijing


By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)

In our Pashtu culture the concept of mediator has always played a positive role in fabricating acceptable proposals for the opposing parties. Not only decades old enmities but business disputes are very easily resolved through arbitration. But the condition for successful arbitration is the trust of the opposing parties in the mediator.

The reason for decades-long enmity between India and Pakistan is their inclination towards different camps during Cold War era. There was no acceptable mediator available to them. India openly opposed arbitration because of the fear of influence of US on Pakistan and ultimately on ‘Mujahidin’ and Kashmiri political leadership. Now, as Indian capitalists have joined the global capitalism thus India has shifted its weight towards US camp.

Therefore we see genuineness and trust in Pak-India dialogues though apparently mediator is not visible in these negotiations. But some analysts have different opinion about the present Pak-India negotiations. These circles consider these negotiations as a compulsion of Pakistani establishment because of the feelings of insecurity on Western border.

The US does not feel the need of a mediator to negotiate with its non-NATO ally Pakistan. But Pakistan being frightened of US hidden intervention in Baluchistan and FATA, is now reluctant to trust US in future. The events of Raymond Davis and NATO supply clearly explain the Pakistani establishment point of view. It may seem a bargaining tactic from Pakistan but I think it is not a bargaining tactic as US would have taken any decision in case of bargaining.

I think at this critical situation, when public opinion is also created against NATO supply, US must try to find a neutral negotiator. Arabs are not considered neutral in Pakistan because public is aware about US influence on Arabs Sheikhs. But China is considered a tested friend and an intellectual nation here in Pakistan. During the last visit of the President Zardari to China, Chinese leadership advised him to tackle the NATO supply issue wisely and to avoid confrontation with US as only US interests are not at stake in Afghanistan. Other powers are also worried about the stoppage of NATO supply.

When I heard this news I thought it is only a political tactic to cool down the burning issue of NATO supply in Pakistan. Pakistani President might seek help of China to issue a statement to calm down the public outrage in case the government opens the NATO supply. It may be a truth but I think we must see the statement from another angle.

Actually China has openly expressed its desire to show to the West that China can mediate and Islamabad is easily accessible via Beijing. Now, the question is why China openly and positively interfered. May be Pakistan is no more able to confront US pressure and to compel US to come to its terms that is why Chinese shield is placed before US or the other possibility is that China wants to show that China is the main player of the region.

But whatever it is a fact that when two parties are not able to find the solution then it is better to handover the matter to arbitrators instead of using pressure tactics. If US removes the glasses of superiority and self-righteousness then it can see that it is not only the matter of US and other powers but the interests of Afghanis and Pakistanis are also at stake. China may be the competitor of US in global capitalism but here in this matter Chinese help can assist US to maintain its superiority and respect in the region and can help in honorable militarily exit from Afghanistan as well as the present deadlock. Chinese option will also help Pakistani government and establishment to face its public in case of opening NATO supply.

US must feel the gravity of the situation. Pakistan – a dependent nation – is showing its anger to US. It must open the eyes of US leadership. The situation in Afghanistan – though in American hands – but can change rapidly. The recent positive statement of Taliban about India is the indication of increasing hold of local powers in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan’s intentions of sharing its interests with the local powers.

It is a fact that one day, may be very soon, landlocked Afghanistan will come out of Western domination and come close to regional powers for its survival but that will be serious blow to US interests. Today China can provide an opportunity for an honorable militarily exit from Afghanistan. But the point is that does US realize the reasons of its military collapse.

 

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