Challenging the Anti-Pakistan Narrative of Carlotta Gall, Husain Haqqani and TV Paul
By Riaz Haq
The intent of this article is to carefully assess, analyze and challenge the narrative about Pakistan being offered in a number of recent books by authors like Indian-American Professor TV Paul (Pakistan: The Warrior State), New York Times' Carlotta Gall (The Wrong Enemy) and Mr Husain Haqqani (Magnificent Delusions), former Pakistani ambassador in Washington. Here's the essence of their narrative:
1. Partition of India was a mistake. In 1947, many in the US, the UK and India believed Pakistan would not survive and the partition would soon be reversed.
2. Pakistan has been lying to the United States to get aid since its inception in 1947.
3. The US has provided massive aid but Pakistan has not delivered anything substantial in return.
4. The duplicitous Pakistan game continues to this day.
5. Pakistani military is the main villain. It uses the pretext of threat from India as an excuse for Pakistan being a national security state.
If one really analyses this narrative, one has to conclude that Pakistanis are extraordinarily clever in deceiving the United States and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride for over six decades. It raises the following questions:
Question 1: Given the belief that Pakistan would not survive, how did the country defy such expectations? What role did its "villainous" military play in its political and economic survival? What does the history say about rapid economic development of Pakistan under military regimes ?
Question 2: Wouldn't any country that suffered a military invasion by its much larger neighbor and its break-up be justified in feeling threatened? Wouldn't such a country build deterrence against further adventures by its bigger neighbor?
Question 3: If the standard Western narrative is correct, why have successive US administrations been so naive and gullible as to be duped by Pakistan's politicians and generals for such a long period of time? Is it not an indictment of all US administrations from Harry S. Truman's to Barack H. Obama's ?
Question 4: What role did Pakistan play in the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union?
Question 5: What price has Pakistan paid for facilitating US military operations in Afghanistan? How many Pakistani soldiers and civilians have lost their lives since 911?
Please read the following posts on my blog:
1. Straight Talk by Gates on Pakistan
When asked by US Senator Patrick Leahy during a US Senate hearing on Pakistan as to how long the US will be willing to "support governments that lie to us?"
"Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four-and-a- half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done." - Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates June 2011
2. US and Europe Must Accept as a Legitimate Nuclear State :
When asked about US policy options in Pakistan after President Obama assumed office in 2009, here's what US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote in a cable leaked by Wikileaks:
"The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". - US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009
3. Pakistan's Economic History
Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nation's existence. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s, according to eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s until the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade.
Although Pakistan is in the midst of multiple crises of economy, energy and internal security, it has survived, even thrived, for many decades after its independence. Its economic growth rate has exceeded its neighbor India's for most of its history since 1947. Initially, the US aid of as much as 10% of its GDP was very helpful to Pakistan's development. The US aid has been decreasing over the years. It now accounts for less than 1% of Pakistan's GDP. As to US-Pakistan ties, Pakistan has been supportive of US interests when such interests do not directly conflict with Pakistan's. An alliance should not mean compliance, and it's true of all US alliances. The interests of US and its closest allies in Europe and elsewhere do not always converge on all issues. Pakistan is no exception.