Having played games over terrorism for several years, Pakistan's military establishment now faces a crisis of credibility with the United States, despite their close military and political bonds.
The gap between Gen. Pervez Musharraf's promises and his refusal to deliver has widened to an extent that his long-time benefactor feels compelled to warn him to behave, or else, suffer the consequences of playing a double game, including stoppage of military and economic aid.
While Vice-President Dick Cheney bluntly told him to cooperate with NATO forces in flushing out Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who have infiltrated southern Afghanistan, both Houses of the US Congress have passed resolutions pressing Islamabad to do more than it was doing in the fight against Islamist extremists, who have crossed over in hundreds from sanctuaries inside Pakistan and are trying to destabilize the country.
Nobody believes that the so-called peace deal entered into by Gen. Musharraf with Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders and their tribal sympathizers has the remotest chance of success. In fact, Al Qaeda and Taliban training and related facilities have increased as a result of the "surrender" deal.
Washington now seems to be considering reducing its dependence on the ability of Musharraf to fight terrorism and taking recourse to alternative strategies. It has replaced the commander of its forces in Afghanistan and the appointment of Gen. K. M. McNeili has been welcomed by the Afghan Government. "We will quit neither post, nor mission until the job is done," he said on the eve of launching the much-awaited Spring offensive against Taliban in Helmand and other southern provinces.
With President Hamid Karzai having gone to town condemning Pakistan for promoting terrorism to destabilize his government, his Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta publicly accuses Islamabad of "using terror as its foreign policy. Under Taliban, Pakistan virtually controlled 80 per cent of Afghanistan's territory," and it is trying hard to establish its hold once again. He regrets that some countries are "rewarding" Pakistan with economic and military aid even after getting solid proof of its active involvement with Al Qaeda and Taliban.
At any rate, Musharraf has been put on notice by the United States which is unprepared to stand any more nonsense about his involvement in promoting Taliban and Al Qaeda. It is time for him to change to prevent Pakistan from sliding into mayhem and anarchy.