Socialist Worker

Pakistan: the West exported the terror

Issue No. 2213

IN Pakistan, where millions of the world’s poorest people are desperately battling to survive the aftermath of torrential rain, the words of David Cameron ring hollow.

Whole villages have been swept away by floods that cannot be diverted because money for even the most basic infrastructure is instead put into the hands of the military.

The victims are at the mercy of pestilence and disease. Yet these facts seem of little concern to Cameron.

Last week he clumsily attempted to win contracts in India for his business friends by accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to back the war in Afghanistan, and instead “promoting the export of terror”.

The truth is that, since joining the “war on terror”, Pakistan has been an importer of terror.

Prior to 2004, when the US’s placeman president General Musharraf signed up to George Bush and Tony Blair’s Afghanistan disaster, suicide bombing was unknown in Pakistan.

Today, as the Pakistani army launches daily mortar bomb attacks on its own villages along the Afghan border, they are commonplace.

There were more than 500 bomb blasts last year—greater than the combined total in Afghanistan, India and Iraq. Some 30,000 Pakistanis, mostly civilians, have been killed in an attempt to “drive out terrorists” and clear threats to the US supply line that runs from the port of Karachi to Afghanistan.

Hundreds of thousands have fled the fighting and continue to eke out an existence in squalid camps—refugees in their own country.

Add to that the US attacks on Pakistani villages that kill innocent civilians with remorseless regularity, and the growing anger with president Zardari, Cameron and Barack Obama becomes easy to understand.

Now, the monsoon disaster has further exposed the hypocrisy at the heart of the war.

How is it that a country that says it cannot afford to build flood defences or transport vital food and medical supplies can spend billions on advanced weaponry to kill its own people?

How is that Pakistan has helicopter gun ships but no helicopter ambulances to reach villages that have no roads?

The answer to these questions lies with the powerful in the US and Britain. Our ruling classes have encouraged Pakistan’s arms spending, knowing that US and British firms will do most of the supplying.

Our politicians have granted legitimacy to Pakistani dictators, just so long as they do their bidding.

When Pakistanis have taken to the streets to demand peace, democracy and the redistribution of wealth, our rulers have brokered deals to replace one puppet tyrant with another.

Cameron insists ordinary Britons are threatened by Pakistan. The truth is that by insisting on continuing the “war on terror”, he has made us all targets.

Stop the War, “Time to go—troops out of Afghanistan,” demo: 20 November, central London. Visit www.stopwar.org.uk


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What We Think
Tue 3 Aug 2010, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2213
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