The Americans, used to spending millions of dollars on the bodily comforts and protective gear of their soldiers deployed to fight an enemy, seem to be labouring under the illusion that unaided by the US, the Pakistan Army would not be able to fend for itself. It would come begging for their help. They had better put such thoughts aside; the Pakistani soldier is a different kettle of fish. While heading for the war, he is imbued with the sole spirit of the sacred defence of his country and for which he is ready to lay down his life; the means of physical relaxation and self-protection are the farthest from his mind.
Thus, the corps commanders, who met under the chairmanship of COAS General Kayani on Tuesday to consider the situation arising out of the $800 million cut in the US aid for Pakistan’s military expressed the resolve to fight the war on terror with indigenous resources, as they had successfully done in several part of the tribal areas. That, indeed, is how the stern warning of hard line US Defence Secretary Panetta and not-so-mildly-disposed Secretary Clinton needed to be responded. It is worth recalling Panetta’s exact words of admonition: “And they’ve got to know that we’re not going to give out a blank cheque until they show that this is a two-way relationship…..they’ve got to be able to give us their cooperation.” Clinton’s observation pointed to the same obligation, but in less domineering style. The Pakistan Army top brass made it plain that conditional aid was unacceptable. They also expressed anger at the unabated drone strikes. As preparations for Obama’s bid for re-election begin with greater commitment, such noises are likely to become more strident. – Nation