Veteran U.S. Army Colonel, Lawrence Sellin, has expressed concerns over growing economic and military alliance between Pakistan and China.
Sellin, who has served in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Africa, said that Americans need to recognise that Pakistan is not a friend of the United States, but a staunch ally of China.
“The threat is from China in the form of the Pakistani-Chinese alliance. China’s aim is to dominate South Asia, first economically based on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and then militarily using its alliance with Pakistan to establish military bases on the Balochistan coast. Those bases would provide a critical link between China’s military facilities in the South China Sea and its naval base in Djibouti at the entrance of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal” Sellin told ANI.
“Chinese naval and air bases on the Balochistan coast would control the vital sea lanes of the Arabian Sea and northern Indian Ocean and threaten another strategic chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz. A successful implementation of the Chinese-Pakistani plan would mean isolation of India, which is not at all advantageous to the international order,” he added.
Sellin believes Pakistan’s target is to make CPEC project, the flagship of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, as successful, which is why Balochistan is a strategic centre of gravity.
Since the launch of multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, there has been a sudden rise in the human rights violations in Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The human rights violations against the Baloch are a global-scale abomination. It originates from official Pakistani state policy to suppress ethnic self-determination. Pakistan is the Yugoslavia of South Asia, a collection of ethnic areas that never significantly interacted, cobbled together after the partition of British India to form a state using religion as a basis of national identity”, said the U.S. Army veteran.
“The policy for societal cohesion, largely promoted by the Pakistani military, has been opposition to India and additional “Islamization,” the latter being accelerated by Zia ul Haq starting in the late 1970s and fueled by the Iranian Revolution of 1979,” he added.
“Ethnic suppression has been conducted either directly by the Pakistani military and intelligence service, the ISI, or through proxies, mainly Islamic extremist groups and common criminals. The campaign of oppression has been widely used against the Baloch, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Muharjirs, Hazaras and religious minorities”, said Sellin.
He strongly criticized Pakistan for targeting ethnic minorities and providing safe haven to dreaded terrorists.
“The Taliban and Haqqani Network are multinational proxies of Pakistan employed to wage war against Afghanistan in order to make it a client state of Pakistan. Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba are terrorist groups given safe haven in Pakistan and used as instruments of Pakistani foreign policy”.
Sellin believes that instability in Afghanistan is the creation of Pakistan.
“Former chiefs of the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, and some Pakistani politicians have admitted and sometimes bragged that they created the Taliban. After the U.S. and NATO invasion of Afghanistan, most of the Taliban fled and were given safe haven in Pakistan. The Taliban are not solely Afghan or Pashtun.
At the time of the invasion, it was reported that most of the Taliban were Pakistani nationals. Since then, the Taliban have maintained a huge support infrastructure inside Pakistan for housing, training, command and control, financing and medical treatment, for example, reportedly in the Quetta Civil Hospital and private clinics”, said the Afghan war veteran.
“It has been a tough and inconclusive fight for the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan for reasons including Pakistani support for the Taliban; Pakistani control of the supply routes to Afghanistan; and the U.S. and NATO mistakenly conducting a counter insurgency operation in Afghanistan when it was actually a proxy war waged by Pakistan”, said Sellin.