Blaming others, ignoring own faults India vs Disinformation 11 Oct 2022 Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

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Blaming others, ignoring own faults India vs Disinformation 11 Oct 2022

          When Pakistan’s Punjab faced severe floods in Aug-Sept 2014, they blamed India for releasing additional water from its dams. Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the terrorist group, LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), termed it as a war launched by India. The reason for blaming India was mainly to divert minds from Pakistan’s own fault lines in managing its water resources. Pak’s Meteorological Department, on the contrary, claimed the floods were due to heavy rainfall, not Indian actions.   

The Third Pole, an organization dedicated to providing information about the Himalayan watershed and its rivers, in an article of 10 Sept 2014, titled, ‘When will Pakistan stop blaming India for its water crisis,’ stated, ‘Experts blame the government’s weak water management policies and poor flood control systems. They also point to the country’s lack of water storage facilities, which means floodwaters are wasted every year.’ It also quoted Dr Parvez Amir, a former member of the Pak Prime Minister’s Task Force on Climate Change, ‘The danger of climatic change is imminent. It cannot be evaded by burying our heads in the sand and placing all blame on India.’ Pak, as usual, did not act.

The Dawn in an article of 19 Sept 2014 titled ‘Our side of the flood story,’ quoted Chaudhry Mazhar Ali, a retired Punjab irrigation official and researcher, ‘Instead of blaming India, we must accept that we were not prepared for floods. Can anyone tell me what we have done to reduce the intensity of flooding after the 2010 deluge? Absolutely nothing.’ Nothing remains the buzzword even in 2022.

Blaming others for its own follies comes naturally to Pakistan. A case in point is the current floods.

Addressing the recently concluded Shanghai Cooperation Organization council of heads of state in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, stated, ‘The devastating floods in Pakistan are most definitely climate change induced. It is the result of climate change, cloud outbursts, and unprecedented rains, combined with hill torrents coming down.’ Subsequently, addressing the UN General Assembly he stated, ‘The undeniable truth is that the calamity (floods) have not been triggered by anything we have done.’ Pakistan claims the floods are a fallout of climate change, of which Pakistan’s contribution is claimed to be less than 1%.

          Grist, an NGO dedicated to climate solutions in an article titled, ‘Is climate change to blame for the Pakistan floods,’ of 16th Sept 2022, mentioned, ‘research found that the devastation in Pakistan was driven largely by the country’s outdated river management system and how close people lived to floodplains. A high poverty rate, along with political and economic instability, made Pakistan unprepared to deal with the magnitude of this year’s monsoon rains.’

          It also quoted a researcher, Ayesha Siddiqi from the University of Cambridge, ‘It is important to remember that this disaster was the result of a vulnerability that was constructed over many, many years and shouldn’t be seen historically as the outcome of one sporadic sudden event.’ A Sindh activist, Noorulhadi Shah, stated, ‘Sindh was deliberately flooded, now the water has been withheld until external aid is fully received. What will be done after receiving aid in its place? From the Sindh government to the establishment, there is no plan for dying humanity.’

          Pakistan continues to display its helplessness to aid flood victims and has been exploiting the calamity for funds. It requested the UN to launch a global aid effort, while rejecting aid from Bangladesh, on the pretext that accepting assistance from Dacca may undermine their global image. Simultaneously, if rejected demands for transhipment of aid through India. Pak clerics destroyed vegetables sent by Iran denouncing it as Shia aid. If their desperation was genuine, they would never have acted in this irresponsible manner.   

          Another permanent Pakistan lie is its losses due to its involvement in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), which included the US deployment in Afghanistan. Pakistan announced it suffered over 70,000 dead and USD 150 Billion economic damage on account of its participation in the GWOT. How did it arrive at these figures remains a mystery. Pakistan never deployed a single soldier nor participated in any operation other than housing the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership on its soil as state guests.  

Its casualties were mainly due to attacks by the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) which rose from the ashes of the flawed attack ordered by Musharaff on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in Jul 2007. The TTP is an amalgamation of small terrorist groups, then being trained by the Pak army to operate in Afghanistan. They turned their guns on Pak because their members were mercilessly killed in the Lal Masjid attack. Till 2007 Pak was largely terrorism free while accepting US financial support for providing them land and air access.

In 2013, while Pak’s interior ministry stated that their losses due to terrorism from 2002- 2012 were under 13,000, the Pak media claimed 40,000 and politicians on the global stage mentioned many more. All this without participating in a single operation. Pak only employed its security forces to arrest and hand over global terrorists on intelligence from the US thereby claiming bounty on them. Osama Bin Laden was eliminated on Pak soil and the Taliban leadership was housed in Quetta, where their families still reside.  

The Pak DGISPR, Major General Babar Iftikhar, mentioned in a press briefing in Jan 2021 that the Pak army has eliminated 18,000 terrorists in the past two decades. He added that simultaneously there has been an 86% decline in terrorist strikes since 2013 and 97% decline in suicide attacks since 2009. Iftikhar added that Pak lost 83,000 lives in the GWOT. His own statistics display that these casualty figures are fudged. 

Even financial losses, announced by Pak leaders are phony as neither any logic nor breakdown ever been given to justify them. On the contrary, Pakistan received billions of dollars from the US as military aid and bounty collection, most of which went into the pockets of the military and political leadership. The Pak Tribune, in an article of 06 Sept 2017 stated that till then Pak had received USD 33.4 Billion from the US. Donald Trump mentioned in a press conference when stopping aid to Pakistan, ‘They were getting $1.3 billion a year.’ Pakistan, so used to pocketing free global funds termed his decision as ‘ungrateful.’ 

At every stage in its history, Pakistan has been exaggerating its losses with the intention of seeking global aid while refusing to acknowledge its own inactions. Its population suffers because its leadership fails them. It is time for the global community to call Pakistan’s bluff and push it to reveal its faults rather than exploit the suffering of its populace. Funds being allocated must be employed to establish anti-flood measures under strict global monitoring rather than landing into pockets of the military and political leadership. The local populace will anyway only receive a trickle.