The Bajwa Doctrine: Pakistan Army chief pushes back against US pressure in Afghanistan, threats of funding cuts from Donald Trump

Pakistan's generals, particularly General Qamar Javed Bajwa, think their country has done more than enough to secure neighbouring Afghanistan and is not intimidated by the threat of US funding cuts, according to an analysis entitled 'The Bajwa Doctrine', published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a leading British think-tank. In the document, Pakistan's generals spell out their vision for the future of US-Pakistan military relations under the administration of President Donald Trump.

Pakistan's Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. PTI

Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa. PTI

According to a report in the New York Times, a little more than a year after Bajwa took command, he has left no doubt as to who is in charge with there already being talk of the "Bajwa Doctrine" in which the army chief's vision is being reflected in Pakistan’s approach to foreign and domestic policies. According to a report in GeoTV, the document, which was published on Thursday, said Pakistan appears far more confident than it was when the George W Bush administration threatened the then-president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf that they would bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" if it didn’t comply with American demands.

The RUSI report said the United States has been making the same threats since but “gone are the days of timidity and scurrying to please the Americans” and that the Bajwa Doctrine suggests the Pakistan Army should not 'do more', but rather the world must do more, according to the GeoTV report.

Dr Javid Iqbal, penning an editorial for Greater Kashmirwrote: "The establishment in Pakistan has ruled out the strategic shift US wants the Pakistan to make, as it is widely taken to be against Pakistan’s strategic interests. Repeated call of ‘Do more’ by US has been squarely answered with ‘No more’. It is already being called the ‘Bajwa Doctrine’ implying army chief being adamant that any inclination to do more will mean moving Afghan war into Pakistani territory."

Dr Huma Baqai, writing for the Pakistani Observer, stated "The thrust of the doctrine is that the effort Pakistan military has put in since 2001 to counter terrorism on its soil and in the region must be both appreciated and recognised. The repute of Pakistan is not at stake anymore, it has changed for the better and Pakistan military has worked very hard and given a lot of sacrifice to make it happen and in 2018, America needs Pakistan and not the other way round."

"Post 9/11, Pakistan helped the US more than any of its NATO allies. The reward unfortunately is public humiliation now and then. President Trump’s tweak was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The new thinking in Pakistan is, it’s time to change the equation. The message from Pakistan is loud and clear. The army has restored Pakistan’s stability. Afghanistan’s stability is the responsibility of Afghan government and US forces," she added.

Suhail Warraich, writing for The News, stated: "Believing in the importance of the Constitution, the doctrine wants to ensure the proper respect of all the institutions of the State. The years of collective experience of the military have proved that the supremacy of law is a major deterrent against terrorism. It is a considered view of the command that the capacity of civilian institutions like Police, Civil Services and civil intelligence agencies needs to be enhanced for strengthening the country."

"The Bajwa Doctrine seeks total peace on western borders and wants to make Iran and Afghanistan as its allies. Gen Bajwa has tried to rekindle the deep friendship with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the USA who were unhappy with the Nawaz government for different reasons," he added.

According to an editorial in the Daily Times: "Where the RUSI report does get it right is that under the so-called Bajwa Doctrine, Pakistan has to a large extent reclaimed the terror narrative. Both the civilians and the men in khaki have (rightly) said that the time for us to do more to fight enemy combatants is over; it is the world that should now assume this responsibility."

However, the editorial added that the one thing which stood out from the RUSI report is that international experts still have not quite got to grips with understanding Pakistan and that just as the US had not changed its post 9/11 policy, neither had Pakistan.

'Stop blaming Islamabad for US failure in Afghanistan'

In February, Bajwa claimed that there are no safe havens for terrorists in his country and asked the US to stop blaming Islamabad for its failure in Afghanistan. Bajwa asked the American leadership to instead search for the reasons for its failures in the war-torn country.

In January, Bajwa said Pakistan would not seek the resumption of suspended US military aid and it felt "betrayed" by critical statements made by American leadership against Islamabad's fight against terrorism. President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of providing safe havens for terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network fighting in war-torn Afghanistan.

On 1 January, Trump tweeted that the US had "foolishly" given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but "lies & deceit." Washington has confirmed that it will withhold nearly $two billion in aid to Pakistan.

With inputs from PTI


Updated Date: Mar 19, 2018 18:30 PM

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