Pakistan’s proxy war claims 10,000 lives: analyst


Islamabad : As Pakistan’s national defence strategy “appears to have collapsed”, its own proxies — the Taliban and the jehadis — are now waging a war on the nation itself and have killed 10,267 Pakistanis in five years, a leading analyst said Tuesday.

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This is 6,000 more deaths than the total number of Pakistani lives lost in the Pakistan-India War of 1965. “It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions,” Farrukh Saleem wrote in The News.

“Our national defence strategy has long been dependent on the use of the Taliban in the West and the Jihadis pinning down elements of India’s 9, 10, 14, 15 and 16 Corps in Jammu and Kashmir,” Farrukh Saleem wrote in The News.

The article was headlined “Our own proxies on the rampage: 10,000 dead and counting”.

According to Saleem, Pakistan’s tripodal national defence strategy meant maintaining a good 90 percent of its military assets – including the two strike Corps and the IV, X, XXX, and XXXI Corps – along the frontier with India, and “sustaining the Taliban in the West in order to project power into Afghanistan, plus our nuclear deterrent”.

“For some two decades, the military-conceived strategy performed remarkably well,” Saleem noted.

Post Sep 11, “our tripodal strategy came tumbling down like a house of cards. But, we are still in a state of denial”.

“Seven years hence, Pakistan now stands isolated and completely encircled. A mere 100 miles east of Islamabad are six of India’s Su-30MKIs, the most advanced, nuclear-capable, long-range, high-endurance, heavy-class air dominance fighters with multi-mission capabilities”, Saleem wrote.

A hundred miles west of Islamabad are the US Air Force’s MQ-1 Predators, MQ-9 Reapers, the 37-nation International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), the Afghan National Army and NATO forces.

Off the coast of Karachi is the US Navy’s Nimitiz-class, nuclear-powered, $ 4.3 billion super-carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (Pakistan’s entire annual defence allocation is $ 4 billion), Saleem noted.

“After 9/11, we have lost at least two legs of our national defence strategy. As if losing two legs wasn’t enough, our Jihadis and our Taliban, the very tools of our foreign policy, are on the loose. Our ex-proxies are hitting back at the very soul of Pakistan.

“It’s neither about religion nor about tribal traditions. This is an active insurgency whereby our ex-proxies are struggling to suck the soul out of the nation-state called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and then hold physical terrain from where to affect their agenda. Our one-time proxies have challenged the state for control of a portion of its territory,” Saleem maintained.

“The outside world, in the meanwhile, is out to contain us and contain our violence from spreading. Our national defence strategy has long been due for a major makeover. But, we have long been in a state of denial. Pakistan is truly under siege; under siege because of the proxies we keep,” the writer added.