Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pakistan - A Nightmare

On the background of brazen militant attack on Pakistani Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi, few nightmare scenarios come to mind:

1. Militants get hand on the nuke information and mounts an attack on some nuclear facility. Militants actually capture a nuke or two and the news sends shock wave through world capitals. America sends a crack force of 5K soldiers on the site and along with remaining Pakistani State Loyal forces, starts the immediate counter attack. In an emergency UNSC meeting, China and Russia side with America to make the necessary military intervention in Pakistan. American navy moves all sorts of assets in Arabian Sea with space and on surface abilities to stop any rouge nuke missile flying from militant control. The battle rages for some 1 to 2 days with a full blood bath. Remaining Pakistani State imposes complete news black out and all subsequent news are relayed only in controlled manner. After lot of American blood nukes are controlled.

2. Despite Pakistani court finally indicting Lakhavi yesterday and some other LET perpetrators of various terrorist attacks, main power brokers, in LET are still at large. These power brokers align with stupid political parties in Pakistan, like of cricketer Imran Khan's party, to ignite further anti-American sentiments for various American Aid Conditions proposed. Political situation goes out of hands and millions of Pakistanis are mobilized by these fundamentalist political parties to literally bring down moderate Pakistani government. Extremist Political Party in conveyance with some major component of Pakistani Army stages a coup and captures the power and nuke control. It starts rattling the region by flaring up Kashmir dispute with India on eastern side and starts alliance with Taliban on Western side. America and rest of the world powers can hardly do anything and the world sees the rise of another Iran, except that it is much more dangerous with actual nukes in hand.

3. Part of Pakistani Army and ISI aligns with some political faction of a Western region of Pakistan and declares independence along with some additional area from Afghanistan. Under the counter insurgency plans adopted by American forces and the policy adopted where by premium is placed on securing certain Afghan population rather than land; there are no American forces while such secession is taking place. With armed forces of thousands and some air power, this nascent rogue independent state is able to hold the fort with embattled Pakistani Army for months as well as American forces. With the inability of American forces, for various domestic, logistic and UN political reasons to clamp down this rebellion for months; the quasi nation state provides necessary cocoon to nurture and plot another terrorist attack either on India or America. With an attack on India, India starts the war with Pakistan. With an attack on America, finally America is forced to start another ground attack.

The point is number of such nightmarish, Halloween type scenarios can be visualized. Clearly, adding 40K forces to Afghanistan as per the General McChrystal plan is not the solution here and nor will it address the challenges posed by this unstable region. For those American Politicians (Sen. McCain for example) to demand and behave as if the key to region's success lies in just more boots in Afghanistan is literally being irresponsible.

So it is imperative that American establishment throws away the bunker view of what is happening in this region. With the attack on Pakistani Military HQ, there cannot be any more dire warning than the dangers emanating from there. America needs to get deeply involved in Pakistan and at least need to move along what has been laid out in Kerry-Lugar bill. The bill demands that:
- military chain of command is exposed to America,
- military budget of Pakistan is revealed,
- Pakistan helps to dismantle nuclear weapons networks operating in the country, and
- cracks down terrorists (otherwise loose the financial aid),
- does not use American funding to attack India.

But the nagging issue is whether even this will be sufficient or not. For example, as like CIA and American Media did in case of Iraqi militants, it may be needed to publish a running list of 'whose who' of Pakistani militant gang and publicly track taking down of these members one by one. America needs to pressurize remaining Pakistani state in taking out these militants in some 'time bound' manner.

Will all this be sufficient? What more is needed? Resolution of Kashmir mess? Will India come on board? For example, will India accept to formalize line of control as the international border? Will Pakistani Establishment accept that? In other words those of Pakistan who politically depend on keeping alive Kashmir controversy, will those agree? Or identifying such folks early and removing them is the key? Will China co-operate in all this?

The thinking so far as has been Kashmir is a hard knot to solve, it is better for America and the world to by-pass it and just box the situation in Af-Pak region. But doubts are starting to come whether this can be any more possible or not. In immediate term, 'boxing of the problem' is necessary, but every passing day indicates the need to start the parallel track of diplomacy on Kashmir issue. May be in the coming visit of Indian PM to Washington, ice is broken on this topic.

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