Pakistan’s strategy in the coming days, weeks, and months would be to portray themselves as being left to fend for themselves after the withdrawal of US troops, and that they will be bearing the brunt of the fall out of a failing Afghanistan and the resultant melee and chaos, intelligence sources reveal.
Internal communication within Pakistan government circles is to play on this narrative as aggressively as possible and try and gain sympathy from the global community.
The objective is to gain ingress into the larger civilized world and be accepted as a nation that is striving to keep the world safe. They would thus draw in economic aid, long-term financial aid, get off FATF, establish a closer association with the EU and US, make a dent on the Quad, the sources said.
The Pakistan narrative of being the victim will see a build-up in the coming days and will be visible in print and electronic media as part of a massive PR exercise.
The sources said that the ISI has a clearly charted out plan for long-term sustenance of its association with the Taliban and to ensure a smoother reign of the Taliban than before. While this will be more difficult than they can perceive, they would keep some fault lines open for the mishaps by the Taliban. They would claim credit for the successes and good work of the Taliban and render the flaws to internal woes and an element of sympathy from the global community they would depend on.
They would eventually play the line that they are left to handle an apparent mess that the US and the European countries failed to control, sources added.
Pakistan National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf expressed concern over the worsening situation in Afghanistan on Friday, terming it “extremely bad and out of Pakistan’s control”.
Dawn news reported that while briefing the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, he warned of an impending risk of an attack by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, who, he said, could enter the country disguised as refugees.
Yusuf said Pakistan was very concerned about the changing situation following the US drawdown and would be adversely affected by the growing violence and civil war in Afghanistan.
“The region’s peace is conditional on peace in Afghanistan,” he added.
Yusuf further said that the Afghan government needed to work on improving relations with Pakistan if it wanted peace in the country.
“(Also), I don’t see the US offering a financial package to Afghanistan and in that case, only Pakistan can provide a trade route to the landlocked country,” he said.
The NSA stressed that the UN Refugee Agency needed to set up camps for Afghan refugees.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also briefed the committee, saying that Pakistan intended to suggest power-sharing in Afghanistan to avoid civil war. He added that in case of a civil war in Afghanistan, Pakistan would not be able to handle the influx of refugees. He further stated that Pakistan wanted 300,000 refugees in the country to return to their own countries.
“The situation in Afghanistan is worsening and holding Pakistan responsible for the (worsening) situation was not fair,” he said.
He added Taliban had objections over Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s participation in negotiations, adding that they were “intelligent and had grown wise” over time.
He claimed that the Taliban had changed after the Doha talks.