On 11 Sept 2001, when I switched on the TV, I was stunned to watch a scene where an airliner crashed into a tall tower, the tallest in the area within the company of other skyscrapers. Thinking it to be a part of a thrill movie, I thought of shifting the channel to hear the latest news. Then immediately I gathered to my surprise that this actually was the breaking-news of the new millennium; it was no movie; it was a live thrill loaded happening far in the fairyland of the only super-power at the moment. Then came another stunning “flash” on the TV é another aero plane comes and strikes on the obverse side of the second tower, the other twin and a huge volcano é like fire erupts suddenly making the firm, infallible and Herculean 110 stories structures housing the proud WTO crumble in minutes. The events were happening very fast and before the Eventful Hour was out, two other planes had struck in Washington; one at the Pentagon building, the other crashed in Pennsylvania probably enroute to Camp David. The entire world was horrified to see this happen; every one who learnt of it stopped his routine pursuits and locked his mind on the event and its possible repercussions on him individually or collectively.
It was an event of stupendous dimensions. It was beyond human capability, even alluding the conception of the strongest country in the world. As a first reaction, the President of the Super Power talked of the War of Civilizations; the start of Third World War. He asked all the nations to get mobilized under his banner to fight the culprits; he summoned the NATO powers to get ready for the showdown. All these announcements were the aftermath of the shock and exasperation, which had inflicted the US President.
The shock of the event was very great for Mr. Bush. It was indeed a War on America. Nobody in the world, no country on the globe could predict such a happening, which is no doubt beyond human capability to do. Under this great, unbearable shock Mr. Bush found that words would not be sufficient to pacify the great Americans. This explains his frenzy of outbursts at the very outset. It was very natural. Somebody has hurt the “Lion” in its own den, in its own jungle.
The Event notwithstanding its stunning performance amidst the extensive, ultra-modern counter-security apparatuses has caused great loss to the status and pride to US. Mr. Bush, taking this opportunity of grave situation blamed “Terrorism” as the cause and in its wake, he asked for the World’s cooperation to eliminate those who are the perpetrators. Struck with the colossal loss in men and material, Mr. Bush readily received an all-out cooperation without any question being asked. It was a stance of “alliance against the evil of terrorism” where an instantaneously worked-up frenzy carried the day. We who were watching the fast moving, one sided train of events feared any emotional move would put Pakistan on the wrong side. India and Israel were pro- active to bracket Pakistan with Taliban and thus not only isolate Pakistan but also get it listed as a Terrorist state in the entire world. Pakistan could not also be hostile to Afghanistan and thus destroy its internal cohesion. US had openly declared Afghanistan as its main enemy as it had blamed Osama bin Laden responsible for the Event of 11 September. Thank God, Pakistan took the right decision under the circumstances and declared to cooperate with the world community by providing intelligence, logistical support and allowing use of its air space.
Some people feel that by joining hands with US, Pakistan has done a mistake. It is not the case. Imagine, on our East is the huge landmass of India, our avowed enemy who has not reconciled to our existence and who has been wooing US to our detriment and who has an unholy nexus with Israel to destroy us. 11 September 2001 presented an epoch-making event, which both Israel and India would have utilized to get Pakistan declared as a terrorist state; a Taliban-like state and anti é US and anti-west state. They would have got us isolated while India had offered her every thing to US to use against Terrorism-the first target would have been Pakistan, with its many attractive objectives including nuclear capability. No country, in such a contingency, would have come to our rescue. Name one, even the Muslim ones. Under these circumstances, any decision other than the one taken by President Musharraf would have been a “suicide”. People or groups who think otherwise are probably guided by their own agenda. They should reconsider and keep “Pakistan’s survival” the foremost. Had Pakistan taken the side of the Talibans openly, and challenged US, it would have played India’s game. This was precisely the main theme behind India’s offer of all facilities to US before even the US asked for global cooperation. In that case India would have taken over as the Front Line state for the US offensive in the region.
The present course adopted by Pakistan is in fact in favour of the Afghans. Afghans have left their hearth and haven under the open threat of bombardment by the hostile world. Two million refugees are already living on Pakistan’s soil. Many more millions are heading towards Pakistan. No other country is ready to receive the Afghans. Pakistan is their natural destination both on the score of having a precedent and also welcoming atmosphere available throughout the breadth and length of Pakistan where their kith and kins are found in plenty. The question of “Refugees” being human problem will take precedence even over the capture of Osama. US cannot allow millions of poor children with red cheeks; old men and women die in the blizzards of coming winters in the openness of inimical skies. This is a great lever, which Pakistan holds because of its geo-strategic position. Of course, accompanied with it will come many unwelcome guests in the shape of social problems which will become ours if we fail to pre-empt them in advance.
The Pakistan Government in the present international crisis had only two options é either join the World Community, which is supported by all the major powers including US and Russia; NATO and UN Security Council or opt for self destruction of Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Pakistan’s advantage of occupying the most vital geo-strategic position in dealing with Afghanistan by US and its Allies would have been lost if the option of opposing them was chosen. Now Pakistan retains the importance of possessing the strategic position as no other country does. Pakistan’s decision not to break the diplomatic relations with Taliban Government is yet another good step which provides a rare distinction to Pakistan to act as a spokesman for the rest of the world on a diplomatic canvas. A link between Taliban and the UN is provided by Pakistan, to continue talking before using force and to avoid a possible world war. Pakistan, by cooperating with the World Community will save millions of lives of the Afghanis who would have faced starvation and annihilation if Pakistan were warring with the rest of the world. Taliban and those who are welltionhers of Taliban should appreciate that by supporting US in this critical period, Pakistan’s ability to help itself and Afghanistan out of the present trauma has been enhanced and that the option adopted by Gen Musharraf’s government is the best course because it alone serves the interest of Pakistan’s survival and its future.