Recently a short clip from the interview of Prime Minister Imran Khan that he gave to an American journalist went viral. He gave a statement in reaction to a question asked by the journalist. “Absolutely Not!”, he categorically stated. Without keeping in view, the question, anyone can judge that the interviewer got bewildered after hearing this. This is not an ordinary moment, and it has come after the happenings of almost two decades and it is the same US establishment that was asking Pakistan to “Do More!” some years ago.
Biden administration announced in April 2021 that American troops will leave Afghanistan till September 2021. In May 2021, Pentagon officials gave a statement that Pakistan will keep providing air and ground access to the American military. The Pakistani Foreign Office categorically rejected that there are no American bases in Pakistan. Now Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that Pakistan will not allow any American bases in Pakistan. Pakistan has been providing bases to America during “Afghan Jihad” and after 9/11. Due to these reasons, America nominated Pakistan as its major non-NATO ally. The conditions changed after two major events in 2011 when two Pakistani check posts were attacked by American drones. Consequently, 28 Pak Army soldiers embraced martyrdom. Similarly, America disrespected the sovereignty of Pakistan in the Abbottabad incident in which Osama Bin Laden was assassinated. Pak-America relations went on lowest level after these two incidents and NATO supply was also blocked due to this reason. There has not been any cooperation between the two countries from 2016 to onward. Moreover, the aid of Pakistan was stopped by the American government. Following on the major non-NATO ally status was also terminated in January 2021 by the American senate. Till that time, Pakistan had understood that due to the American war on terror Pakistan has not only born economic burden but also thousands of Pakistanis lost their lives.
The question arises why America needs bases in every country of the world and as a matter of fact, it has already more than 800 bases in 80 countries. The answer is America does this to maintain its global political supremacy and to keep a control on the global economic resources. In the case of Pakistan, the official reason is to carry out counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. But the unofficial reasons can be understood when we look at the geographical location of Pakistan. The basic unofficial reason may be to counter China’s rise from the soil of Pakistan. The other reason may be to stop the revival of Russia to bound its activities on global level. The third reason may be Iran which is a neighboring country of Pakistan. Another unofficial reason may be to neutralize the Pak-China friendship and to keep control of the Middle East.
The short-term advantages of giving military bases to America may include economic aid, military aid, up-gradation of Pakistan Navy, deal of Gunship Helicopters and so on. But in a long run, it will deeply affect the security situation in Pakistan. The Taliban Leadership has also warned all the neighbors of Afghanistan that giving bases to America will affect their relationships with Afghanistan. The most significant factors that indicate that Pakistan will not give bases to America include the credibility of Imran Khan, Priority of Pakistan to keep good relations with the Taliban, and Pakistan would never want to make its relations bad with China, Russia, and Iran on the cost of these short-term advantages. On the other hand, the foreign policy of Pakistan is changing from Geo-Political to Geo-Economic. So, this demand should not be materialized.
Currently, Pakistan is not ready to give bases to America, but we also must consider the manipulation tactics of America. America may manipulate Pakistan in international institutions like FATF, World Bank, IMF, and others. But when we see the long-term effects, we come to know that Pakistan without American bases would be a more worthy place to live. So, Pakistan would “Absolutely Not” give any military bases to America.
Author: Zain ul Hassan
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pakistan Strategic Forum.