By Bishop, Dr. Rev. Timotheus Nasir
The Vice President,
The Secretary of State,
The Senators and Congressmen, and
The People of the United States of America.
This is in response to the news article published in New York Times
We the people of Pakistan were shocked to know about the "Terrorist Attack" on World Trade Center in New York and Pentagon building at Washington D.C. The entire Pakistani nation condemned these barbaric attacks that resulted in loss of innocent lives and property. The entire Pakistani nation was stunned, sad and sympathetic to the people of United States. The President, General Musharraf and other high level official of the government of Pakistan sent their messages of condolence to the United States. Hundreds of Thousands of common Pakistani citizens like me sent their message of sympathy to the government and the people of United States and we still stand with the government and the people of the United States in sympathy, grief and sorrow.
Most of the people of Pakistan still in state of shock over the terrible tragedy of New York and Washington D.C got another shock when we learned that the government of United States has immediately pointed its finger at Pakistan for being indirectly involved in Tuesday's acts of terrorism and put forward its demands "only" to the government of Pakistan with a note that Pakistan has "no third option", yes or no. This demand from the government of the United States is unrealistic and one sided. I personally consider this demand as an insult to a long time friend of the United States. At the same time the report by Celia W. Dugger of the Associate Press is highly, objectionable extremely derogatory and an insult to a sovereign state.
Let me first ask the learned reporter, "How do you define terrorism"? Every nation and person has a different definition of terrorism suiting its own conditions. The attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon are rightfully defined as "terrorist attacks" but what measures did the government of the United States used to point its finger at Pakistan and to "order" Pakistan to cooperate in its military actions against Afghanistan or let me say "Talibans".
Osama Bin Laden may be the "prime suspect" in recent terrorism in United States and I will take up this topic latter, but it must be remembered that the Talibans or the government of Afghanistan is not a "provincial government" of Pakistan that what ever we will tell them they will abide by it. We do recognize the Taliban government but let it be clear to all nations of the world that we DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT rule Afghanistan or Talibans. We have had our problems with Talibans ever since they came to power. Our diplomats have been mistreated by Talibans and so were our people.
We must face the facts and see what happened in past 23 years. Pakistan never enjoyed good relations with Afghanistan. King Zahir Shah was very close friend of former Soviet Union and India. So was the assassinated President of Afghanistan "Sardar Dawood". After 28th April 1978 no regime in Afghanistan was close or friendly to Pakistan. Till the Soviet intervention in the last week of December 1979, Pakistan had no influence over Afghan governments. Noor Muhammad Tarakai, Hafeez Ullah Amin, Babric Karmil and Dr. Nujeeb Ullah were no friends to Pakistan. We were forced to take more than 3 Million Afghan refugees on humanitarian grounds.
We still have more than 2.5 million Afghans living in Pakistan. Our economy is shattered; we have law and order situation and so many other related problems due to the presence of Afghans in Pakistan. The United States was eager to get involved in Afghan conflict indirectly through Pakistan, its life long friend in this part of the world. The United States needed to avenge Viet Nam and we found the Americans ready to provide what ever was needed to defeat and dismantle the Soviet Union. It was United States that provided funds, military hardware and training to "Gallant Mujahadeen" the name that was given to all those who were fighting against the Soviet Union. (I suggest seeing the movie Rambo Part III and reading these words at the end on the screen). The United States was aware of the fact that these "Mujahadeen" were fundamentalist Muslims and at that time these fundamentalists were the need of the United States. Therefore Pakistan was dragged in the war of United States against our will and intentions. For long Ten years we faced the might of Soviet Union, our cities and territory was bombed, we were the targets of "Skud Missiles".
We were forced to fight the American war and once we the Pakistani people succeeded with the help of "Islamic fundamentalist" elements in side Pakistan, the United States backed off. The Soviet Union withdrew and disintegrated. The American objective was achieved now the "Gallant Mujahadeen" was renamed "Islamic fundamentalists" and latter "terrorists". The so-called "Free World" forgot the newly freed Afghans and their lifetime friend Pakistan. Afghans were left in political and economic instability. The task that was taken up by the United States was left unfinished that resulted in unstable Afghanistan and troubled Pakistan.
Immature Afghan leadership was abandoned. These people knew how to fight their enemy but had no idea how to rule their country. This paved the way for "hard line" Talibans who came like a storm and destroyed whatever was left in Afghanistan. We very much believe that initially the United States helped Talibans to create further instability in the region. Our President General Zia Ul Haq along with most senior military officers was blasted in air on 17th August 1988 along with American Ambassador and American Defense AttachÃƒÂ©.
The United States never cared to investigate this "terrorist" act against Pakistan. It was moral obligation of the United States to help Pakistan and Afghanistan to rebuild their political and economical structure, yet the United States did not care. In 1990 while Pakistan was a close ally of United States, President Bush refused all military and economic assistance to Pakistan on unconfirmed "nuclear issue". We were in Saudi Arabia side by side with United States yet sanctions were imposed on us only after One year of Soviet withdrawal and disintegration under the pretext of "Pressler Amendment". We could not find any justification of the attitude of the United States. What we did for United States and which is forgotten is listed below. Supported United States against Communism through SEATO and CENTO.
Provided Air Base so that United States can fly U2 Missions over Soviet Union and China. (When an American U2 was shot down by the Soviet Union, Mr. Nikita Khurusheif Marked "Peshawar" as his first nuclear target in the world). Did not "walk into Indian held Kashmir" which was empty during the Sino Indian conflict in November 1962 on the request, orders or instructions from President John F. Kennedy. Sent troops to Korea during Korean war (Medical contingent). Sent troops during Gulf War. (After the war, Pakistan Army remained in Kuwait and Pakistani officer was Second In Command there under US commanded troops and still under US sanctions). Sent troops to Somalia. (Our soldiers were killed and wounded while cooperating with the United States).
Sent troops to Bosnia, East Timor, and in Africa.
Now I would like to take up Kashmir. The entire region of Kashmir is internationally recognized disputed territory. We have so far fought four wars with India including 1999 Kargil war. The disputed status of Kashmir is very much on United Nations record. The people of Kashmir are fighting war of freedom from India since last 54 years. There does not exist any "International Border" in Kashmir only "Cease Fire Line" or "Line of Control". In absence of an International
border, how can India and United States have agreed on "Cross Border Terrorism" the term recently invented by India and accepted by the United States? How come the "Freedom Fighters" have turned into "Terrorists"? If the people of Pakistan are giving moral support to these freedom fighters, what sin are we committing? On the contrary, India a "new US friend" is involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan; their Intelligence Agency "RAW" is planting bombs in our market places, shopping centers, bus stands and other public places. Indian Army is killing Kashmiri people daily yet the United States and rest of the world remains quite on this constant act of terrorism by India in Pakistan. This sounds strange that acts of terrorism are committed by India, and Pakistan is under consideration of being labeled a terrorist state! This is outright hypocrisy on the part of the "Civilized" world. The Kashmir issue has to be redressed by the international community.
We rather I have my reservations against United States and the United Kingdom for harboring and providing safe haven to those who are wanted by the courts in Pakistan. Mr. Altaf Hussain, who is behind the killings of thousands of innocent Pakistani people in Karachi including American citizens or employees, has been recently given British nationality. Can you help Pakistan for repatriation of Mr. Altaf Hussain from United Kingdom? Can you arrest Mrs. Benazir Bhutoo to Face trail in Pakistan for financial misappropriations during her regime? Can you repatriate all who have robbed and looted Pakistan to stand trail in Pakistan? We can give you the information regarding these people who are involved in "economical terrorism" in Pakistan.
Now I will take up Osama Bin Laden. This man Ossama Bin Laden a millionaire from Saudi Arabia according to my information was picked up by the CIA, trained and sent to Afghanistan to fight Soviet Union. After the war, CIA and the United States only know what happened to his relationship with the CIA and the United States. His name came to lime light on 7th August 1998 after American Embassies in East Africa were bombed and in retaliation United States bombed Afghanistan on 20th of August 1998. This bombing was carried out through the Pakistani air space and few missiles hit Pakistan. Then the United States did not bother to seek permission from Pakistan to use its air space.
As far as Pakistan is concerned it was an un-provoked act of terrorism by the United States. This angered people of Pakistan and the United States made Ossama Bin Laden a "Hero" for some people of Pakistan. Letter what Laden did, Pakistan has nothing to do with it. There is no evidence that the government of Mr. Nawaz sharif and President Musharaf had any contact with Bin Laden. Now to drag Pakistan into World Trade Center and the Pentagon terrorist attacks is not understood by most of the people of Pakistan. The United States leadership is not only dragging Pakistan in recent acts of terrorism in New York and Washington D.C but putting pressure on Pakistan to "provide America" Ossama Bin Laden or to face serious consequences. This demand is not justified. Ossama Bin Laden may be involved in recent terrorist attacks on United States but the United States has yet to prove it and more important the United States has to prove the links between Pakistan and Ossama Bin Laden and the WTC and Pentagon bombing.
It sounds strange that in less than 24 hours Washington has jumped to the conclusion that Pakistan is harboring Ossama Bin Laden or is supporting Talibans in Afghanistan and Talibans are so obedient to Pakistan on Pakistan's demand they would say, "Right Sir, here is Mr. Laden" take and hand him over to the United States. No Mr. President this is expecting too much from Pakistan. Please find time to visit Pakistan, we have enough problems in the shape of Afghans in Pakistan. Ossama Bin Laden was your man. He might be having friends in CIA and Pentagon, have you taken this possibility into consideration? Your military schools trained the pilots who hijacked the Four Air Liners. None of them has a Pakistani name or identity according to information provided by your media. Any Pakistani does not know how Bin Laden operates for sure. Yet demanding use of our air space, military bases and other facilities is not justified. It might be too early to "hit Pakistan" unless we presume that you were looking for an opportunity to erase Pakistan from the world map that has been provided to you on Tuesday the 11th of September. I do not claim that Ossama Bin Laden is not involved he may be but surely Pakistan is not involved in Tuesday attacks on World Trade Center or the Pentagon. Or has ever harbored any "terrorist'.
Ossama Bin Laden might be the "prime suspect" but other possibilities must not be over looked. Let us see the role of Israel.
In 1967 Arab Israel War, Israel attacked and damaged an American battle ship in the Mediterranean Sea killing many of its crewmembers. What did the United States did to punish Israel? Nothing even American people were never told about this act of terrorism officially. What did United States did after the massacre of Sabira and Shatella Camps in Lebanon? At this moment Israel is deeply involved with Palestinians and other splinter Palestinian groups. Every day the world quietly watches the dead Palestinians.
Every day there is shooting and bombing of Palestinian areas by Israel army. Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Arial Sharon has a history of terror behind him. To divert world attention from his atrocities Arial Sharon could master mind the terrorist attack in New York and Washington D.C. and having fair rather definite chance of getting away could play this gamble. This aspect must not be ignored.
There are many Arab "Jihadi" groups; I hope you have monitored their activities. The possibility of North Korea. The United States bombed Yugoslavia; there could be a retaliation from hard line Yugoslavians especially when Mr. Malasowick is under going a trial of war crimes. Have you considered "Drug Mafia" of South America? The terrorists in Central America and Southern America? There may be a possibility of involvement of these groups. And lastly, have you considered the dissident people in United States such as David Qurash The Dallas university shooting in 1966 lot of other innocent people shot in schools and churches and people like Mr. Timothy who blew Oklahoma?
Mr. President, please do not push Pakistan too much. You have declared "War" against terrorism, we will fight this war too for a safe world peace, shoulder to shoulder with you and all other peace loving countries but please restrain from jumping to hasty conclusions for the sake of justice and world peace.
I very much hope that the leadership and the people of the United States will give a serious view to what I have tried to convey through this message. The New York Times report on "An Uncertain Ally" is also sent along with this message. Please see who is "An Uncertain Ally" Pakistan or the United States of America?
With deepest grief for the victims of World Trade Center and the Pentagon tragedy and sympathy for their relatives and friends.
Dr. Rev. Major (Retired) Timotheus Nasir
The United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan.