United States' choice of Pakistan as an ally in its
"war on terrorism" provides the spectacle of
the two leading terrorist states on Earth "fighting
terrorism." The U.S. has killed more than eight
million people in the Third World since 1945, while Pakistan
slaughtered almost three million
Bengalis in the Eastern wing of the country in 1971. This
caused the break-up of the state,
with East Pakistan separating and becoming Bangladesh.
1951, Pakistan's main purpose has been to act as the U.S.
government's South Asian terrorist
arm, serving to destabilize the former Soviet Union, India
and Afghanistan, and crushing
all attempts at domestic democracy. Washington's
instrument has been the Pakistan army, which U.S. officials
have called "the greatest
single stabilizing force in the country." Its major
"military" campaigns have been launched
against its own unarmed people.
after Pakistan's independence in 1947, the U.S. provided
$411 million to establish its armed
forces. When the country's first democratic elections
scheduled for 1958 threatened to reduce
the army's power, General Mohammed Ayub Khan, the
commander-in-chief, cancelled them
and took over the government in a coup. This created a
military dictatorship that continues
to this day.
became a U.S.-financed garrison state, spending 80% of its
budget on the military, which
massacred thousands of people and ensured that most of those
not killed continued to be
mired in poverty and illiteracy.
was an actual employee of the U.S. State Department, which
paid him an annual salary of U.S.$16,000.
There is little doubt that the U.S. government was
"fully aware" that the Pakistan army
was planning a coup. A few years after the 1958 coup, Sardar
Bahadur, Ayub's brother, alleged
that the CIA had "been fully involved" in the
declared Pakistan to be Washington's "most allied
ally," and explained his takeover by claiming
that "Democracy cannot work in a hot climate."
Ayub allowed the U.S. to use Pakistani air
bases for the CIA's U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union.
The U.S. also controlled a signals intelligence
facility near Peshawar which monitored Soviet military
servility prompted John Foster Dulles, the U.S. Secretary of
State (during the 1950s), to call
Pakistan "a bulwark of freedom in Asia." As Milton
Bearden, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan,
recently put it, "[Pakistan is] the only country in
South Asia that always did what we asked."
Pakistan government's terrorism has mainly been perpetrated
against its own people, with the
U.S.-armed and trained military unleashing genocidal wars on
all those who dared oppose its
dictatorship. With U.S. arms, training, military aid, and
encouragement, the Pakistan army butchered
half a million to three million Bengalis in 1971 when their
popular, elected, left-wing leadership
had the temerity to demand provincial autonomy.
officials reacted to this slaughter by thanking General
Yahya Khan, the Pakistani military dictator,
for his "delicacy and tact." As one eye witness
described it, the army in East Pakistan was
"like a pack of wild dogs," killing "on a
scale not seen since the Third Reich." One thousand
were murdered in a single day at Dhaka University alone.
"Women were raped or had
their breasts torn out with specially fashioned
knives," one journalist (who fled) reported.
did not escape the horror: the lucky ones were killed with
their parents; but many thousands
of others must go through what life remains for them with
eyes gouged out and limbs roughly
East Pakistan (which constituted half the country) did not
prevent the army from attacking
another province only two years later. In 1973, four
Pakistan army divisions assaulted Baluch
tribal communities in the province of Baluchistan, wiping
out "mountain villages and nomad
caravans." Like the Bengalis, the Baluchi political
leadership was elected, popular, leftwing, and
also wanted autonomy.
fighter-bombers and U.S. Cobra helicopter gunships pummeled
unarmed Baluch civilians
for five years. Of the 5,000 Baluch men, women and children
captured by the army in 1977,
95% were "brutally tortured." As one account put
it: "Apart from the standard practice of severe
beatings, limbs are broken or cut off; eyes gouged out;
electric shocks are applied, especially
to the genitals; beards and hair are torn out; fingernails
ripped; water and food are withheld."
Pakistan army has provided Washington with an instrument for
crushing or hindering progressive
social movements, not just inside Pakistan, but also in
South Asia. India's nonalignment and
the good relations of both India and Afghanistan with the
Soviet Union were anathema
to Washington, which deployed Pakistan against both
a left-wing government came to power in Afghanistan in 1978,
the U.S. decided to overthrow
it, using Pakistan as a conduit. The New York Times
described the main objectives of
this government as being the implementation of land reform
and the expansion of education for
women. Afghan Islamic fundamentalist groups (known as
Mujahideen) in exile in Pakistan were
covertly armed by the CIA and Pakistan's Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) and sent into Afghanistan.
Brzezinski, National Security Adviser in the Carter
administration, knew that this policy
would, as he put it, "induce a Soviet intervention in
Afghanistan." Brzezinski stated in a recent
interview: "That secret operation was an excellent
idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians
into the Afghan trap." Once the Soviets invaded in
December 1979, the U.S. poured $6
billion in military aid to the Mujahideen through Pakistan.
The ensuing war destroyed Afghanistan,
ending all hope of progressive reforms.
the withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989, Afghanistan became a
centre for U.S. and Pakistani backed international
terrorism. Islamist fighters trained there poured into
Central Asia and India, aiming
to create a pan-Islamic state stretching from Kashmir to
Kazakhstan. The Taliban was a CIA-ISI
creation as well, and its relations with Washington only
soured when the two failed to reach
an accord on sharing the oil riches of Central Asia.
to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky at the University of Ottawa,
"Since the Soviet-Afghan war,
recruiting Mujahedin to fight covert wars on Washington's
behest has become an integral part
of U.S. foreign policy. A 1997 document of the U.S. Congress
reveals how the Clinton administration
had "helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic
base," leading to the recruitment through
the so-called "Militant Islamic Network" of
thousands of Mujahedin from the Muslim world.
"The 'Bosnian pattern' has since been replicated in
Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia."
has long been the kind of Third World state that Washington
detested. It had close relations
with the Soviet Union, followed an independent foreign
policy, opposed Western imperialist
adventures, and created a significant public sector
industrial base and a protected domestic
economy which included two communist states (West Bengal and
Kerala). The U.S. response
has been to "bleed India" through Pak-istan's
support for secessionist insurgencies in order
to open up the Indian economy to American penetration.
the 1980s, Pakistan trained and armed Sikh militants who
fought for a separate homeland in Indian
Punjab. Today, in the disputed state of Indian Kashmir,
Pakistan has been "sponsoring terrorism"
for more than a decade. Islamic militants trained and armed
in Pakistan and Afghanistan
have been fighting for Kashmir's integration with Pakistan,
leading to about 60,000 deaths.
October 1, 2001, these groups exploded a car bomb that
killed 38 people (most of them civilians)
near the state legislature building in Srinagar. On December
13, 2001, two Pakistan based terrorist
groups attacked the Indian parliament in New Delhi. Fourteen
people were killed,
including five of the terrorists. India moved half a million
troops to its border with Pakistan and
the two armies--both possessing nuclear weapons--still stand
on the brink of war.
doubt heavy-handed Indian policies have alienated Sikhs and
Kashmiris, and India is guilty of
massive human rights violations in Kashmir; but, as The New
York Times put it, "Since 1994, the
role of native Kashmiris in the insurgency has diminished as
heavily-armed outsiders from Pakistan
and Afghanistan have stepped up the violence."
insurgencies have sapped India's ability to build its
economic infrastucture. This, according
to one observer, has "slowed the pace of growth and
development, and precipitated demands
for rapid privatization and reliance on foreign
rewards for being a U.S. terrorist arm in South Asia have
been lucrative for the Pakistan military's
officer corps. During the war against the Soviets,
Afghanistan supplied 60% of the U.S.'s heroin. Pakistani
generals "were deeply involved" in this drug
trade, and three of them were counted
amongst the twelve richest generals in the world.
most prominent was General Fazle Haq, known as
"Pakistan's Noriega." Haq was appointed
governor of the Northwest Frontier Province (bordering
Afghanistan) by General Ziaul Haq, Pakistan's military
dictator during 1977-1988. As governor, Fazle Haq was in
charge of Mujahideen
military operations. He also protected the production of 200
heroin labs near the border.
In 1982, Interpol identified Haq as "a key player in
the Afghan-Pakistani opium trade."
who had $3 million in his bank account, was protected from
drug investigations by Zia and the
1993, Raoof Ali Khan, Pakistan's representative to the UN
Commission on Narcotics, said that
"there is no branch of government where drug corruption
does not pervade." The CIA reported
to the U.S. Congress in 1994 that heroin had become
"the life-blood of the Pakistani economy
and political system."
trafficking is just one part of the Pakistani military's
parasitism. The armed forces own an airline,
sugar mills, chemical plants, a cereal factory, and several
hospitals. Officers and their families
are supplied with free servants, education, and medical
care, and the best real estate in
large cities is reserved for them.
price for their country's being a U.S. terrorist base has
been paid by the Pakistani people, who
for 55 years have been massacred, tortured, denied education
(the illiteracy rate in Pakistan
is 90%), medical care, housing, adequate nutrition, and
political rights. Pakistan ranks near
the bottom of the UN's list of countries by every measure of
human development, including
infant mortality, life expectancy, the poverty rate, and the
population growth rate.
India and Pakistan almost perpetually on the brink of
nuclear war, continued subservience by
Pakistan to U.S. dictates exposes its oppressed people to