Pakistan’s problems exceed Wikileak

by UmairJ on 12/13/2010 · 10 comments

Wikileaks did not do as much damage as was first speculated. Unlike the Iraq war logs and top-secret information leaked concerning the war in Afghanistan, these cables did not hold any information that could harm innocent civilians. Wikileaks did however tell us what we already knew about everyone – the Arab dictators do not like Iran because they are Shia’, and because they symbolize freedom from tyrannical rulers. They also managed to shed light on Pakistan, revealing that the government is very uneasy with sharing any information about their nuclear program with the United States, and of course emphasizing the infighting that reminds us all of how sad the state of a nation in 185 million people call home really is.  It also reminded us that the elite only cares about expanding their own power whilst gaining American approval. Like Arif Rafiq pointed out in his article for Foreign Policy, the only protagonist from the Wikileaks story in Pakistan’s case is certainly Anne Patterson.
Patterson is quite blunt about the situation in Pakistan, claiming that any American solution must include the broader question concerning Indian influence within the region. The situation between Pakistan’s elite is quite pathetic to be honest. Patterson does though do a pretty darn good job of juggling a military general, who in reality is in control of the country, a paranoid president (for good reason), and American military ambitions within the region.
Speaking of Pakistan, it seems the cables do a good deal of showing how paranoid the nation is concerning American influence. Almost everyone has subscribed to one conspiracy theory or another, and they all involve (at least for the most part) America and its ability to control Pakistan’s leaders for the worst. But that’s not really the case; Pakistan did gain nuclear weapons amidst severe American opposition and they continually refuse to share any information concerning their nuclear weapons program. Chinese influence is also growing, and plans of building more nuclear reactors have gone ahead even with European and American disapproval.
So why is there so much paranoia and why does America get more credit than it might deserve? Even Patterson is surprised, “The fact that a former Prime Minister believes that U.S. could control the appointment of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff speaks volumes about the myth of American influence here.”

I do not want to sound like Fatima Bhutto, but a lot of the problems are down to the military and political elite, and their inability to, for even a second put their own interests aside for the betterment of the nation. American paranoia and hegemonic oppression in Pakistan is because of the incompetence of Pakistani leaders. These leaders instead of realizing that they must fix themselves blame the problem on external forces, ex. Afghanistan, America and Indian spies.  Pakistan as a community of people has become so disillusioned that we will go to such great lengths to prove that it is the fault of others and not our own infighting that is causing such troubles. A prime and absolutely embarrassing example this is the fresh of the stand false publication of Wikileak cable documents stating that India was supplying funds to rebel groups in Balouchistan. This may be true, but what is not true and has been easily caught by the Guardian is that this was not written in any of the cables that Wikileaks has released.

Wikileaks has embarrassed Pakistan, because at the end of the day the ruling class in Pakistan is waging a puzzling civil war when the disintegration of the nation should be the only priority. But corruption and the lust for power are a bad combination – as is in Pakistan’s case, they can have such an effect on people.
So Patterson is no longer the American Ambassador to Pakistan, but it seems Pakistan still has the same problems. Unfortunately Assange cant solve these problems by just leaking diplomatic cables that are, if only, just as interesting as Upper East Side Manhattan and Gossip Girl.
As the title states, Pakistan’s problem are much worse than what Wikileak could ever tell us; a lack of proper revenue (that should usually come from income tax), a constant militant problem in FATA, the high possibility of another suicide attack (which seems to have become a norm for that country) are just some of the problems. The list can go on, and Pakistan is quickly running out of solutions, and its proponents, if there are any, are running out of excuses. The United States has to find a solution to the war in Afghanistan, and quickly, as Pakistan’s external problems can only decrease once that happens. The Taliban are (unfortunately?) here to stay – even Obama has changed his mission plan in Afghanistan to “disrupting, dismantling and defeating Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies.” The Taliban could well be part of some sort of power sharing deal in the future.
It will be really ironic if the Taliban do come to power, because like I have said in previous posts, Pakistan would be right all along, and it could add another check to the (growing) list of issues in which they have defied the Americans and succeeded.

Yet Pakistani leaders still vie for American support… Ironic indeed.

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– author of 22 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Undergrad in Political Science and History. Main area of interest include, Kashmir, Pakistan and Islam and contemporary Middle East in general.

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Balbir Singh Sooch-Sikh Vichar Manch December 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm

WikiLeaks on expected lines: Wikileaks did not do as much damage as was first speculated.
Test of Diplomacy and Mighty Power of US Though Might Is Always Right
By Balbir Singh Sooch, Advocate, Ludhiana
Will It Prove To Be Like Testing, Testing, Testing the Mighty Power of the World?
The release by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified U.S. documents including official use of the Nicknames of world leaders, even though they may be outdated, has legally, diplomatically and otherwise put the US in a very serious diplomatic test the world over.
We know that India and Pakistan have been used to listening to the US reciting their shortcomings. Those shortcomings include the truth about their immorality, diplomacy, falsehood, doublespeak, double standards under the garb of their being tolerant, weak, and admittedly among the most corrupt, lawless, unethical and directionless regimes in the world.
Now, India, Pakistan and other countries may use these disclosures as a diplomatic whipping stick and possibly a blackmail exercise against the developed countries especially against the US, to cover up their shortcomings and immorality.
The US now has to listen all the criticism against them with great diplomacy and at the same time gauging their strength in all respects including the mighty power they wield as the unchallenged superpower.
Balbir Singh Sooch, Chief and Spokesperson, Sikh Vichar Manch

John doe December 14, 2010 at 4:54 am

Govt. of Pakistan / ISI will probably be much more embarrassed at the proof of state-sponsored terrorism now spilling out of its acknowledgements… now they’ve admitted that a suicide bomber was on the ISI rolls…

Steve Magribi December 15, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Umair..Have you considered the “possibility” that if the Taliban could come into power in Afghanistan, they might also be able to come into power in Pakistan?

Then, would the super smart, “outsmarting the Americans”, Great Pakistani leadership….really be outsmarting whom?

Maybe the last joke will be on Pakistan?

Please consider this when you remember the 2000 or so Pakistani innocent people killed in terrorist strikes this year by Islamic Insurgents, while at the same time the same Pakistani Government runs terrorist missions into India, Kashmir, and Afghanistan.

This game of Russian Roulette Pakistan is playing on itself may turn out ugly in the end….for all of you…

UmairJ December 15, 2010 at 11:47 pm

The situation is quite ironic, these insurgent groups are fighting for Pakistan in India, yet Pakistan believes it is in their own interest to keep funding them and also those that cause strife within their own borders.
We have to remember that there are a different groups, and these groups are not united by any means, so when Pakistan funds LeT to fight in Kashmir, and fights the Pakistani Taliban within Waziristan, we cannot just look at it as Pakistan is fighting one terrorist group, but funding another. The purpose of the two groups is entirely different and that is how the government is dealing with them.

As for running these missions in Kashmir, it is a little naive to think that the problems will stop once Pakistan stops funding militia groups, Kashmiris are agitated and no longer want to be with India, Afghanistan is a mess and corruption is a greater problem within the country at the moment.

The Taliban will not come into power in Pakistan, because the military, is a lot stronger than one can see, and the United States will never allow such an action to take place. Its pretty simple. The chances of a military coup are much higher than the Taliban ever taking over Pakistan, these reports are exaggerated.

Finally, the Pakistani leadership is taking a gamble with the Taliban just like America is taking a gamble with everything that they have decided to do in Afghanistan. Petraeus is realizing that Afghanistan is not Iraq and the same tactics will not apply. Therefore, this isnt a russian roulette, unless international relations as a whole is a card game in your opinion. But I do agree, that Pakistan has to fix its own problems otherwise they will run into problems that could not hold solutions.

Steve Magribi December 16, 2010 at 8:45 am

Umair…Understand your points…

The whole situation is not ironic…IF you are one of several thousands killed…tragic is a better word. No?

IF you are gambling…as Pakistan is with its own population, and trying to contain the spread of an ideology shared by ALL groups, then in my opinion it is a severe form of Russian Roulette…

The main difference is the American Soldiers can go home after one year…the Pakistani unemployed or marginal farmers in Sindh or Southern Punjab cannot.

Which side will they be on later?

You think it is the military…I am not sure….Thus let’s see which side the cards fall or which bullet is in the chamber as they squeeze the trigger with the lives and futures of 180 million citizens of Pakistan at stake.

Scary games they are all playing these days.

Umair December 18, 2010 at 10:40 pm

Honestly Steve,

I hope it is the military, because if it is not Pakistan is of course screwed. But I do not trust the military, and I hope I never have to, because they epitomize the word ‘cluster f***’.

Corn December 16, 2010 at 11:28 am

Just interested: the argument that Wikileaks has put innocent civilians and informants at risk – especially with the Iraq and Afghanistan docs – is quite standard. I have been wondering whether this has actually happened, whether there are cases out there where one can reasonably trace harm to life or livelihoods of individuals to the disclosure of their names by the Wikileaks docs? I’ve been scanning the media for such reports but didn’t find any. Is this just me? I thought this might be the place to ask…

UmairJ December 18, 2010 at 10:43 pm

If you read some of Joshua Foust’s stuff, he discusses this issue in more detail. The problem is not whether the informants have been hurt as a result of Wikileaks, but will they in the future. And if you do read the Iraq war logs, and those on Afghanistan, there are names of informants that have not been omitted.

So if they are hurt now, or 5 years from now, it is going to be possible, because the names and whereabouts of these informants have been made public knowledge.

shine December 16, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Steve Magribi, you are portraying Wikileaks as if these are from a divine book and can not be incorrect. Far from that, these cables were sent by American diplomatic staff that has nominal understanding of local traditions, values, and the nature and psyche of people of the regional countries. The recent example of their knowledge and understanding is the news about fake Mullah Mansoor that enjoyed good food and took millions of dollars with him. At best, all the terror charges that you are hurling on Pakistan are opinions of naive diplomatic staff. Think of the situation when Wikileaks would reveal ISAF indulging in terrorism against the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those leaks will not be just the opinions. Rather these will be documentary proof of war crimes committed by the invaders. That will be really a disgrace for Western powers, the self proclaimed champions of human rights that are apparently waging a war against terrorism. You need not worry about Pakistan. You need to get ready for the humiliation that is slowing advancing towards occupying forces.

Steve Maghribi December 21, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I am worried about both countries…point by point..

A. ISAF- I totally disagree with the tactics and strategy and activities of ISAF and the CIA Drones into Pakistan. This we can agree on. The recent operation in Kandahar was no better than scorched earth, much like what I saw when the Russians did the same thing in 1985.

I do in fact consider Drone operations to be close to criminal as people are sentenced to death, many innocent, without trial or even accusation. Drone operations must be stopped and now.

B Pakistan is in a crazy place currently. The Government is not functioning and it is rapidly losing the support of the population. I fully expect the situation to continue to degenerate whatever the view on Afghanistan might be of the ISI. Afghanistan is a minor issue compared to what is happening in Pakistan now.

C. The Pakistani population is anti US and anti Pakistan Government. Supporting one group of jihadis is the same as supporting them all. The Government does not realize the REAL threat to the future is the Jihadis, and nothing else.

Supporting Jihad in Afghanistan is the same as supporting jihad in Pakistan now. So Pakistanis need to decide whether to support jihad in both countries or resist the jihad in both countries. The war is now one war not two wars. Same cause, Taliban Wahabi Government in both countries. One War.

D. Even if your “occupation forces” leave, the Jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan will continue. So Shine, which side are you going to be on when the “bad ISAF” finally leaves?

I am worried about both countries. Sorry.

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