HM was first, “ With billions of dollars that they have at their disposal, what stops the Chinese from just buying off the locals in Balochistan and POK and prevent all this bloodshed and delay ? “
“ If Chinese have billions of dollars, US can print trillions even at the cost of damage to it’s economy that such an action might bring. In case of POK, Chinese have displaced people from dozens of mountainous villages where land suitable for farming and rearing cattle is at a premium and constructed their colonies and roads. The people who have lost their lands have nowhere to go and make a living outside POK as they don’t have full rights as other Pakistanis. Even those who haven’t lost their lands directly have suffered due to pollution, land-slides, flooding among other side-effects brought upon by indiscriminate Chinese activity in a fragile eco-system.
As for Balochistan, things could’ve been much better if Pakistani army officers were kept out of the compensation process. Balochis alleged that army siphoned off a lions share of the money that was given by the Chinese and they were left with nothing. When Chinese attempted to talk directly, Pakis brought in their H & D (Honour and Dignity) issue in to play and also screwed up everything by picking up needless fights. Same thing happened in POK too.”
PM asked the next question, “ Is Chinese presence in Balochistan and POK in anyway related to attack on PPP rally? “
“I only have a theory sir.” Anagad replied hesitatingly.
“Let us hear it.”
“ Pakistanis have been going slow on Gwadar port route due to US pressure on Beg and the civilian government.US has been sponsoring psy-ops for quite some time against the project by questioning whether anybody except the army and it’s stooges will gain anything out of this, covertly of course. Beg regime was already under enormous domestic and international pressure due to corruption charges and this whisper campaign forced him to tow the US line. Work on route in Balochistan was halted many times citing environment clearances, land ownership issues and so on much to the annoyance of Chinese.
Although it seems kind of far fetched, one of the quickest ways to get the work completed as soon as possible is to have their own puppet in control instead of a US controlled one. For Chinese, there is nobody better than General Asgar for this job. They’ve been propping him up for quite some time now as a counter to US influence. They planned to use him to push their agenda after Beg stepped down, but Beg’s 3 year extension put a spanner to their plans. Chinese wouldn’t let their investment go down the drain and will do anything within their ability to retain their influence and activate that route. They don’t see it as an option but a vital necessity. They’ll do anything to weaken Beg and install their own man. This near fatal attack on Naqvi is a big blow to the public moral and image of army. Something that General Asgar and Chinese really want.”
“Why don’t Chinese try buying off Beg instead of playing such dangerous games? “ Home minister inquired.
“ Well, I don’t think that they didn’t try that. We know for a fact that 2 senior PLA generals visited Beg many times over that last 2 years, ostensibly for the same purpose you mentioned and also to pressurise him to stop training and infiltration of ethnic Uighur militants into XinJiang. But Beg knows too well that he and PPP government can’t last a day without US support.
As for Uighur militant issue is concerned, he is powerless to oblige China without messing up US plans. It’s not like reign of Musharraf when Pakis were able to use terrorists for their own means even when pretending to fight them in exchange of money and military aid. Americans have wisened up to the duplicity and perfidy of Pakis and have kept everything on a tight leash. They want to get out of Af-Pak as soon as possible and allowing Chinese controlled Asgar to rule Pakistan will make a graceful exit impossible for them.”
“So it seems like US and China are fighting a proxy war , each one using Pakistanis as pawns. “, PM said with a wry smile.
“ But not without serious consequences for us.” Defence minister interjected. “A US-China battle ground in our nuclear armed neighbour is a nightmare. But I don’t think any one of the two will be foolish enough to destabilise the country, it being in tatters as it already is.”
“ Agreed. I don’t think that either US or China will enter into direct conflict with each other. But their cat-and mouse games are sure to cause serious unrest. It could even result in a civil war. I don’t
want to even think about that.” DM said with a shudder.
PM asked Angad, “ Why Asgar has not tried to initiate a coup against Beg till now ? Or Beg tried to defang Asgar ?“
“ It sure seems like a quick fix, but both are serving army men and any such move by either of the two will surely cause division within army ranks and a very likely civil war. With nukes in picture, nobody knows the consequences. Even without nukes, it’s a lose-lose condition for both, unless something unexpected happens, “ Angad replied
“Unexpected like ?”
Angad paused for a moment before speaking, “ Like Beg willingly hands over the reigns to Asgar in exchange for a guaranteed safe exit and large sum of money. Or Asgar dies, in that case there is nobody senior enough in Paki army hierarchy that Chinese control to challenge Beg. But Asgar has good contacts with many Islamist terrorist organisations and most worryingly with army wing in charge of the nukes from his pre-9/11 days.
Beg can also postpone the elections , impose martial law and cut the wings of Asgar by arrest or other means. On the other hand, if Beg dies, power is still in hands of civilian government and they can demote or dismiss Asgar. But I seriously doubt that Asgar and his Chinese allies will let it happen.”
“So, what does it mean for us ?”
“In case of a civil war, anything from terrorist strikes to a full blown war to deflect the attention. Threat of a nuclear attack blamed a rogue commander or terrorists is very likely. Chinese will surely
try to take advantage of the situation. “
“ A stable Pakistan is in our interests after all !” DM remarked bitterly.
“I dare say it’s not. If we play our cards right, we can use the instability in Pakistan to cut down China to it’s size as well as rid ourselves of the shackles of terrorism and nuclear blackmail that
these two threaten us with.” Angad responded eagerly to a approving nod from the army chief, General Zoravar Singh.
“ Interesting”. DM replied, “What are our options ? ”
“ I believe our service chiefs already have a plan that they can explain much better than me “
PM turned to the 3 chiefs who so far had been listening to every word intently and spoke, “ Lets hear it gentlemen.”
All 3 chiefs shared glances with each other and nodded a silent agreement . General Zoravar Singh leaned forward on his chair and began explaining their battle plans to a fully attentive audience.