'Afghan mess has spilled over to Pak'

hursday’s coordinated attacks on separate police facilities across Pakistan have intensified calls for Islamabad’s withdrawal from the US-led
Afghan mess has spilled over to India. (Reuters)
war on terror in Afghanistan, which its opponents believe was the real cause of “mayhem in Pakistan”.

Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who has over the years become the most vocal critic of America’s involvement in Afghanistan, said as long as imperialistic forces are stationed across the Durand Line, Pakistan would continue to bleed.

“We’ve more Pashtuns in Pakistan and they empathise with their brethren across the border and support their yearning for freedom”, said the politician, who has been aligned to hardline Jamaat-I-Islami. “The Afghan mess had spilled over to Pakistan”.

He said Islamabad shot itself in the foot when it allied with the US and started bombing its own people. “Now we’ve a situation where the entire Pashtun population has turned against us”, he said. He said Pakistan has no homegrown policy on countering the mess. “It’s following the failed US policy of carpet bombing people that has long turned to be counterproductive”.

The Oxford-educated cricketer said the Pakistani rulers starting with military dictator Pervez Musharraf have been taking dictation from the west, because the US is bankrolling them. “We had no violent Taliban before Islamabad allied with the US’s Afghan disaster”.

He said the Taliban are no uniform outfit and that the entire issue had become messy. “There are our own tribal people who have genuine grievances but the Taliban has become hotchpotch with all sorts of criminals joining them.’’

Khan said Musharraf started the war which Pakistanis don’t consider was for them. “No Pakistani was involved with al-Qaida and now when you’ve this impression that our rulers are fighting US war, we have landed in this mess”.

He said Pakistan was getting nothing out of the war. “Compared to $80,000 spent per head on American soldiers per year, around 12,0000 Pakistani soldiers fighting American war get just $900.’’

He said that the only way out for Pakistan was to pull out of “somebody else’s war”.

Imtiaz Gul, author of ‘The Al Qaida Connection: Terror in Tribal Areas’, agrees with Imran in part and says Pakistan is always asked to do more but now it’s the time for the international community to do more for Islamabad.

He called on India to support Pakistan instead of pushing it around. “Pakistan has paid a heavy price for its war on terror. We’ve lost more than 2,000 people in last two years and Indians should understand and support us.”