• Saleem Qamar Butt

Pitfall of being a cat’s paw (Part-II)


A large number of Pakistan Armed Forces personnel including police are deployed overseas as part of the United Nations’ peacekeeping missions. In 2010, an estimated 12,000 personnel were serving abroad, making Pakistan a large contributor of troops to the UN. Pakistan Navy has been a major participant of Combined Task Force 150, based in Bahrain, established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping associated with terrorism in the Horn of Africa. The point to ponder is that how many of these deployments have served Pakistan’s or Muslim countries’ interests or a human cause? Nowhere in the world the UN peace keepers, makers or enforcers are really required to be deployed than in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine and above all in Kashmir purely for saving the human catastrophe. During active conflicts some of the notable contributions by Pakistanis troops include: During the Six-Day War, Pakistani flying ace Saiful Azam shot down two Israeli aircraft and was awarded Jordan’s Order of Istiqlal and Iraq’s medal of bravery, the Nut al-Shujat as well as becoming the only Pilot with kills against two air forces (India and Israel) and highest shooter of Israeli aircraft to date. Battle of Mogadishu (1993): More commonly known as Black Hawk Down, a Pakistani soldier was killed and two Pakistanis were wounded in support of United States. It is high time that our government immediately reviews our commitments with all Western, Arab countries and UNO and give precedence to national pride, honour, respect and bigger geo-economic interest over petty monetary interests that suits individuals more than the state Black September in Jordan: Then Brigadier Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (later Chief of Army Staff and President of Pakistan), played a key role in planning the offensives in this conflict in support of Jordan. Operation Gothic Serpent (Somalia): One of the deadliest attack and encirclement of UN forces (also comprising Pakistan Army troops), later relieved by a heavy rescue convoy of US, Pakistani and Malaysian troops. Grand Mosque Seizure: Pakistani Special Services Group led the charge to free the Mosque of the militants, by flooding the mosque and using electrical charges.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan_Armed_Forces_deployments – cite_note-18 Unified Task Force (Somalia): After the killing of several Pakistani peace keepers in the task force, the task force’s mandate was changed to using ‘all necessary measures’ to deliver humanitarian aid resulting in mission success and is regarded as a success. Being mindful of the fact that it will result in raising many eye brows of past, present and future beneficiaries of such deployments, the spade must be called a spade rather than camouflaging it in diplomatic parlance and in sophisticated linguistic wraps. The above deployments and roles played notwithstanding, the moot questions is to what extent this has served the national interest of Pakistan or served the human and moral commitments of a sovereign state and what in return has Pakistan got by fighting Arab’s conflict and sending forces abroad for protection of borders and kingdoms of so called friendly Arab countries for some cheap oil on deferred payments or on some other charities that does not add much to national economic sustenance except raising life style of cheap labour and soldiers sent as rented force under sugar coated rubric; nevertheless, severely undermining national pride and prestige of a brave and proud nation. Is there any other example where Armed Forces of a sovereign country fight for other countries less as a coalition like NATO for common strategic objectives? Ironically, when Pakistan was looking towards OIC and these friendly Muslim countries to condemn India for abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and declaring Kashmir as part of India, salt was rubbed in our and Kashmiri wounds by conferment of highest civil awards to Indian Prime Minister Modi (known as Butcher of Muslims in India and architect of genocide in Kashmir) by KSA, UAE and Bahrain with massive investments in India, which has hurt and baffled Pakistani public as well as some if not all government top officials as regards Pakistan’s services to these countries and their most untimely and negative response to the human catastrophe in Indian occupied Kashmir.

That underscores the central point of contention of this piece that Pakistan’s appeasement even by spilling most precious blood of its officers, soldiers and civilians for such friendly countries is taken as a given by them, but in their decision making, cliché like front line state, best non-NATO ally, brotherhood, friendship higher than Himalaya and deeper than ocean etc don’t matter. It is high time that our government immediately reviews our commitments with all Western, Arab countries and UNO and give precedence to national pride, honour, respect and bigger geo-economic interest over petty monetary interests that suits individuals more than the state. It is so ironic that people in your life who say, “I am always there for you”, are the ones that walk away first. It is time to say, “My attitude depends on how you treat me.” No more role of a Cat’s paw.

AUGUST 28, 2019



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