A Tale of Sacrifices

Pakistan has sacrificed much in order to accommodate the interests of the world’s major powers in the region but it is still accused of playing a ‘double game.

By Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani (Retd) | April 2020

Afghan Taliban militants and villagers celebrate the U.S. peace deal Monday in the Alingar district of Laghman Province. The group resumed offensive operations against Afghan security forces this week, ending a partial truce.

Sacrifice is a voluntary act in pursuit of a cause that often extracts an unintended price.

Our founding fathers indeed sacrificed for the creation of Pakistan. They gave up their comforts, agitated on the streets, and some even landed in jails. Millions died or were uprooted when the movement succeeded.

For the liberation of Kashmir on the other hand, we never made a sacrifice. Though some of us did join the Kashmiris in their struggle and we also made an odd half-baked attempt to clinch the issue, the redline always read: “at no risk to Pakistan”. The price for a lingering crisis still had to be paid. Our commitment, or the lack of it, was made quite clear when in August last year Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special status and we responded only bombastically. We had no money for anything more, or so we said.
Afghanistan is an archetypal illustration of confounding costs and benefits.

The country was accepted as a buffer between the Russian Empire and British India. It continued to serve this purpose when we inherited the Durand Line in 1947—and not only against the Russian successor, the Soviet Union. In our wars against India, Kabul beseeched us to move our troops from the western borders since we needed them direly on the eastern. The Afghans did so because Pakistan provided them the quintessential strategic depth. We were their window to the world and a duty-free source of most of their livelihood. More importantly, if they were again invaded, as so often in the past, millions of them could find refuge only in Pakistan. This foresight has stood the Afghans in good stead ever since.

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