Consumer by Utopia – The Proxy Wars

November 6, 2017 Asia , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan , POLITICS

Reuters photo

 

By

Zeeshan A. Shah

 

As the American and NATO forces slowly diffused out of Afghanistan, possible outside funding sources for Pakistan shifted focus from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been by and large – the biggest outside financier and investor inside Pakistan since the late 70s and early 80s, when we stood surrounded by the dark ages. Saudi Arabia is also responsible for the greater proxy war being fought inside Pakistan.

Governments through the years have remained loyal to this country, at the cost of regional and inner country conflicts, some of which have been triggered, manipulated and funded by the Kingdom. Religious tensions and turmoil remains dominant within most parts of Punjab, Balochistan, KPK and inner Sindh. Countless measures have been taken and failed tremendously. The Pakistan Peoples Party was the only Party in history which may have remotely defused the Saudi Arabian influence over the country’s politics, but that was only for a short time.

Unfortunately, Iran’s influence has been considerably marginalized in the current government setup by ensuring the previous relationship-building measures were reduced to zero. Saudi Arabia is back in business with Pakistan, as we are all for borrowed aid, funds, loans and political support. The recent government follows the all-rich-all-powerful male chauvinistic approach by endorsing “might is right“, leading to a non-consultative approach towards political management, social welfare, health, education and governance.

With CPEC in sight, we need connectivity across the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hurmuz to ensure smooth sailing across the Arabian Sea and also to cross check on China becoming an overpowering presence inside Pakistan.

Meanwhile, In Pakistan, corruption has taken a toll on people especially in Sindh where the political reins have been handed over to the already checkered PPP, MQM troika. These people are money launderers, thieves, plunderers, dysfunctional governments and corrupt. While being in government for almost over a decade, they have failed to bring about any positive development in ensuring justice, healthcare, safety, food and water security and law and order. They have eaten away billions of dollars acquired in the name of development and have gobbled up the money, distributing them through countless illegal agencies, political groups and individuals. Accidents keep happening, robberies continue unabated, kidnappings for ransom, mafia controls – all these hideous agendas are protected by elements within the government.

After continued failure, the country’s transparency system fails to hold any senior government officer bearer as accountable by law, as constitutional, legal and ethical management is no more. We are a morally intolerant country being run by the corrupt and patronized by external elements, making way for Pakistan to be the ultimate place for proxy rule. The Proxy is well contained through the Kingdom’s more than generous financial support to Pakistan.

Pakistan sends approximately 10,000 military personnel annually on UN missions. This is in addition to those dispatched to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. The arrangement is beneficial both for the armed forces and the individual as part of the salary is retained by the military. Given the possibility of a reduction in the UN’s requirement for peace-keeping missions, the Arab states will become important for Pakistan’s military as a lucrative posting for its personnel. Furthermore, the US$ 1.5 billion and more money that may be contributed by other Arab states is welcomed by the military as a source of financing that will keep the organization afloat.

Though the Pakistan military is never short of funds, it has not had major modernization since the 1980s. It needs equipment for which money is essential. Plus, the Army would be rendered less productive in time if all the wars fought were dissolved and peace actually endured, leaving no justification for the Armed forces to justify the huge umbrella funds earmarked for them every year. Such is the reason why the Indian and Kashmir issues remain unresolved as both countries want war funding, leaving nothing for development of any sort.

History is full of examples where repressive rule has led to powerful armies, less social development, local government corruption, social injustice, greed, capitalism, health care crisis, poor education and massive human rights violations. Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Russia, Turkey and Pakistan. We are surrounded by foreigners, least of all friendly countries who have harbored for years on Pakistan soil using our airports, land routes, forests, mountains and sea routes to flourish their greedy desires, drug trades, illegal human trafficking, militancy and divisions based on religious strife. It’s a never ending saga of corruption and greed.

Pakistan’s government leadership must stop taking refuge under Saudi Arabia, despite more than ample claims being proven that some of the major militant attacks inside our country were financed by the Kingdom, whether partly or in full. Why are hunting licenses given to the Saudi Arabian royal family? Surely, the government is not concerned about the welfare of the overseas Pakistanis who work there as laborers? The real reason the governments do not take action against this proxy warlord is because the leaders of the present government have not just spent a considerable amount of time in Saudi Arabia, they also have financial investments in the country and financial connections with the Saudis. Past governments of the Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto regime had contacts in the Arab world with the former eating out of the Saudi basket while the latter ensuring permanent roots within the UAE and its ruling royal family.

Gwadar remains the key to progress for Pakistan where crisis needs to be resolved in the Baluchistan province. If Gwadar port becomes fully operational it could have severe effects on Dubai and other regional ports, undercutting value chains for the Arab world, hence they would rather see the province divided.

Is Pakistan sleeping with the devil or the devil’s advocate? To rise for Pakistan is to rise against Proxy nations and governments and head forward for an unusually powerful reform structural change that would take us out of this war crisis. Pakistan as a country is living in a constant Utopia, consumed by it totally. This has to change sooner or later.

 

 

 

 

Zeeshan A. Shah

The writer is a Director at CNNA Pakistan – a leading advocacy institute and is an expert on International Relations and Education Policy.

With over 150 publications in major local and global social media & newspapers, he has been instrumental in producing over 5000 radio broadcasts aired globally.

A thought leader, environmental journalist, media broadcaster and a change maker with an acute focus on development affairs & education for Pakistan.

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