ISLAMABAD: After having sacrificed over $85 billion and more than 50,000 lives in the US war on terror, Pakistan is now finally preparing to get out of Washington’s war.
Political differences apart, both the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his hot contender for the post-May 11 government, PTI’s Imran Khan, have made it clear that Pakistan would be driven out of the 12-year-old “war on terror”.
Both the political leaders, in their separate statements, have unambiguously rejected the policy of use of force and military operations against the local Taliban to check extremism and curb terrorism. Instead, they have openly supported initiating dialogue with the local Taliban.
The two top contestants for the future premiership have conveyed their “no” to the war on terror.Imran Khan has repeatedly pledged during his ongoing election campaign that if he came into power he would get Pakistan out of war on terror. On the issue of drone attack, Khan took an aggressive stance by announcing that under his ruler the drones would be shot down if found violating Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said Pakistan should reconsider its support to the war on militancy and favoured negotiations with the Taliban. Rejecting the use of force as has been the policy since 9/11 to check extremism, Nawaz said the military’s campaign against the Taliban was not the best way to defeat insurgency. “I think guns and bullets are always not the answer to such problems,” he told Reuters in an interview.
After 2005 earthquake, the Military Intelligence was informed by a field officer that US was allegedly fueling extremism in different parts of KPK and Fata including Swat. The report said the FM radios were also sponsored by a foreign NGO whereas hundreds of radio sets were distributed in Swat. However, neither Musharraf nor the MI did anything in this respect. Later Swat became the focus of the whole world because of extremist activities, which led to a massive military operation. Extremists fled to Afghanistan and the Pakistan Army contended that they looked after by the allied forces in Afghanistan to carry out attacks on Pakistan security forces across the border.
In their background briefing, Pakistani defence officials name foreign players for fueling extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. However, despite all this and even after the last parliament through unanimously adopted resolutions, at least two, demand of the then regime to get out of war on terror, Pakistan never got itself out of this war. It was the State Bank of Pakistan that had said that Pakistan’s economy had been facing a loss of Rs3 billion every day and Rs93 billion every month due to the highly controversial war on terror during the first 46 months of the last PPP regime.
The State Bank of Pakistan had calculated a total loss of $68.9 billion till June 30, 2011 to economy due to the war on terror. However, after seven months of the current financial year this figure was estimated to have risen to almost $78 billion (Rs7020 billion=Rs7 trillion). Now, this figure is estimated to have crossed the figure of $85 billion.
Apart from compromising its sovereignty inviting terrorism, Pakistan also sacrificed more than 50,000 people including soldiers and other law enforcement personnel but in return received peanuts.
The money received under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) is considered a disbursement of what Pakistan spends on the war on terror; therefore, is not reflected as aid. Official figures prove that against its demand of around $13 billion under the CSF, Pakistan till 2011-12 received only $8.6 billion since 9/11.
According to official figures, the loss to the country’s economy due to war on terror was $28 billion during the first six-and-a-half-year after 9/11 and during the tenure of General Musharraf but this heavy cost of the so-called war on terror jumped to $78 billion — an increase of $50 billion (Rs4500 billion) under last PPP regime’s first 46 months tenure.