Friday May 24, 2024

South Asia under threat – peace not war

By Senator Rehman Malik
March 13, 2019

Sitara-e-Shujaat, Nishan-e-Imtiaz

We the under developed countries call ourselves as independent sovereign states but even today we are forced to play in the hands of world powers and international financial institutions because of our economic crises. Our governments are run through remote control strategies as they have tagged our national affairs with their indispensable financial supports particularly to South Asian countries.

We know wars bring destruction and miseries for the nations as their infrastructure is destroyed, death tolls rise and economy is paralysed. The world has seen miseries and irreversible losses experienced from World War-1 to World War-ll and Hiroshima until today has not gone out of the memories of the WW-II. Nuclear weapons have grown by leaps and bounds endangering the world by every passing day.

USA has suffered from every war including world wars, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria and now continuous suffering in Afghanistan but it still continues to pursue its geo-politics and other world agendas. India and Pakistan have equally suffered badly in 1965 and 1971 wars but the tension between both the countries continues even till today. Although India suffered equally but it has not created any mechanism to contain war mongering by its leaders including current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

We, under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, won our movement to get our independence both from British imperialism and the Hindu hegemony to safeguard our political and social rights as an independent nation. The world will continue to experience wars and tension because of the greed to grab the resources as well as by putting civilisations at the course of clash through their ill-conceived environments. Pakistan has always stood for peace and not war.

The question is as to whether South Asian countries are really independent? I ask all leaders of South Asian countries if we are really independent in handling our affairs as sovereign states/nations or we have been crippled by the powerful ones, through their financial might, making us helpless. We have witnessed the invasions of the countries under different pretexts either under fear of terror or economic assaults.

We witnessed in recent history as to how erstwhile USSR forced its troops to Afghanistan in 1979, which ignited war between USA and USSR. We have seen how Afghanistan became a battlefield and it is still suffering endlessly with continued internal and external wars. This war has destroyed its economy and brought horrible level of social injustice. Not only Afghanistan, but this war also affected adversely the entire South Asia. It is important to note that most troubled region continued to be Middle East and South Asia where we see the presence of USA in different roles to promote its geo-politics with the assistance and help of India.

Similarly, Syrian economy has been devastated because of sanctions, destruction and dislocation associated with the Civil War duly created by the West. In 2018, the World Bank estimated that about one-third of Syria's housing stock and one half of its health and education facilities had been destroyed by the conflict. According to the World Bank, a cumulative total of $226 billion in GDP was lost due to the conflict from 2011 to 2016. Besides, there has been $14 billion loss of infrastructure and economy of Yemen due to civil war till now. These three wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have almost destroyed the economy of that region. The combination of Arab Spring followed by these wars basically created regional instability creating room for western arms sale.

What I am trying to press is that world powers take the first step in order to instigate tension within a country or bordering countries and internal insurgency followed by planned border escalations and then proper war by using air strikes & insurgency created through various militants groups. The use of arms increases in the long drawn war and it helps to increase the sale of defence production. If there is no war there can be no sale of weapons. The increasing world powers influence in South Asia is, in fact, destabilising the regional peace and India is aspiring to emerge as police officer of the this region.

The instability and anarchy in the said countries do not end with sale of arms but goes beyond arms where the nations lose their infrastructure and economy as well. At this very moment, IMF and World Bank jump in as part of the pre-planned mandate by their masters and offer loans putting the nations under heavy debts forcing them to take dictation, which is, in fact, a first step to control the country through management of economy. Pakistan can be considered as one of the top victims of this model of Control by the world powers and international financial institutions.

The war of borders is now becoming obsolete and war of economy & war of space via drone are the modern tools to control and invade the required countries. It is not only Pakistan but also entire South Asia & Middle East countries are suffering through same processes.

This new trend of war through economic tools and space war technology has been created by the world powers where the powerful countries fight to protect their economic interests through alliances with each other and the world has seen these alliances of military might in Afghanistan and Iraq. It looks that now the war is gradually transforming into fights of “Economic and space war technology Zones”. The war is going to be of targets from space to space and space to ground. The countries with Arial target capabilities will dominate the third world, in future, through fear. South Asia including China is, therefore, at risk.

We the South Asian countries got independence and now mistakenly thinking that we can decide our economic and administrative policies as free sovereign states but it is not true in the presence of IMF and the World Bank acting as our rulers. These rulers have the towering ability to summon the elected PMs & presidents and dictate the future of the countries as per their own terms. In reality we are still the salves of IMF duly controlled by world powers.

Countries in South Asia need to think as to how they can protect themselves in the future. We look independent but we are tied hard with the economic debacles. We suffer under heavy loans and continued to get suffocated in the hands of world powers.

Saarc was created to make South Asia a block of nations to work for more regional cooperation and to create more harmony within the members’ states but it failed to perform as per its defined charter. India has crippled its function because of its effective hold on Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh. All these countries need to rise above the Indian influence and work for “No war pact within the Saarc countries,” which is the need of the time to gain more confidence within the member states. Saarc needs to have its own Economic Support Programme as an alternate to IMF & World Bank enabling the members states to reduce the reliance on these two institutions.

I hope that we may wake Saarc up in a bid to play some lead role to make an independent block fighting our poverty and social injustice.

The writer is Chairman of Think Tank "Global Eye" & former interior minister of Pakistan.

@Email: rmalik1212@gmail .com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA