Time for the state to regain its strength - (with thanks to Nizami Khaled)

I have been saying for some time that the real problem in Pakistan is the weakening of the state. This weakness has manifested in many instances but most prominently in the non-arrest of 'Dawn leaks' culprits. How did this nuclear power state come to this pass is the question that we must ask ourselves. It has been engineered so cleverly that many amongst us have wittingly or unwittingly taken part in it. We will be celebrating our 72nd independence day in a few days and still the debate goes on as to what was the founding principle for creation of Pakistan. We have always been looking outward for intellectual stimulation. The leftists of the 60s and 70s, with due respect, were nothing but mouthpieces of socialism. The prose and poetry of the time dwelled upon empowerment of the masses and equality, as espoused by that political thought. Peoples Party took up the notion and made it a part of its manifesto, we all know how! There were however two glaring disparities in that thought process. One, that the masses in the most ardent socialist countries were not empowered. Two, the ideology was in itself on the diminishing end of its life. So, the intelligentsia and the political elite were professing an ideology that itself had a life span of less than a century and also they could not see that it was about to be demolished because of its inherent flaws. Death of Chairman Mao and implosion of Soviet Union dealt the fatal blow to that flawed ideology. What were the reasons for love of that ideology in Pakistan? obviously money and self aggrandizement that came with it and it has been laid bare by the information explosion.

Then our intelligentsia fell in love with democracy without considering its prerequisites and lack thereof in our society. The politically inclined individuals also started singing the same tune as they considered it to be the surest and quickest means of grabbing power, given the lack of education and horizontal divisions in the society. Thus a system of government, suitable only for educated and emancipated societies, was introduced in our illiterate and divided society and the opportunists took full advantage of it. These individuals had no inclination to install democracy and indeed did not possess the qualities of being democrats. Thus emerged the politicians that in their private lives were anti thesis of democratic principles and only used the democracy to ascend to power. The epitome of this mindset was the fact that one champion of democracy (ZAB) had his opponent kidnapped so he may not be able to file his nomination papers for election, because the former wanted to be elected unopposed. The assemblies, by and large, became the abode of landlords, waderas, pirs, anti social elements and down right criminals just because they had the clout to inspire or intimidate the population in their respective fields.

Having tamed the population they shifted their focus to entities that could disrupt their bandwagon and these were state institutions particularly the army. In this category they considered army to be their final target as repeated efforts to penetrate it and make it pliable had been unsuccessful. All other institutions could be manipulated and engineered through bribes and inducements but not the army because of its inherent institutional strengths. Thus started the blame game that descended to gutter depths during the governments of MNS. I am not at all saying that army has not been part of some problems of Pakistan but the politicians still take the top positions in this context. Propaganda was the tool mostly used for the purpose of tarnishing the image of the army. This propaganda acted as a double edged sword, on the one hand putting the army and other state institutions on the back foot and on the other shifting the focus of the populace from politician's failures. After all, having been in power for more that 35 years or last ten years in continuation, if the politicians cannot perform the simplest of tasks; collecting and disposing domestic garbage, they need a diversion. To give an example of this propaganda, General Musharraf is blamed to have acceded to all the American demands, post 9/11, because US Secretary of State said so in his book. The general masses do not recall and every intellectual and political commentator takes care not to mention that the same person told a white lie in the United Nations as to the presence of WMDs in Iraq, an assertion which formed the basis of US aggression against Iraq. As to military involvement in state affairs, I will cite two examples. Afghan invasion is the biggest US political and military undertaking of the last two decades. When asked about the future of this US politico-military undertaking, the US President on more than one occasions publically said, "General Patreus will decide". President Obama pledged to dismantle Guantanamo Bay prison (a CIA facility) during his election campaign. He remained president for 8 years but that facility is still in tact, why? because the US establishment was against its closure! Anyhow, this relentless propaganda has put the army on the back foot and hence the weakness of the state. Pursuance of treason case against General Musharraf is part of this propaganda campaign otherwise every government functionary from a patwari to the Prime Minister indulge in breach of the constitution on a daily basis. International establishment has also aided and abetted this onslaught on the army through phrases like 'do more' and other more acrimonious utterances. It is with a clear manifesto that Pakistan Army is blamed for all the ills affecting the region. Our political analysts and experts blame that Pakistan Army considers Afghanistan to be our strategic depth and acts to ensure it remains so. They do not see that the events of past two decades exactly prove that point. They do not seem to be bothered if US lands its forces in that country, thousands of miles away from homeland, saying that it is in their strategic interest, while many of us question our own strategic interests in that country.

The current political thought that has been imported and implanted in Pakistan is to tarnish the image of army and the premier intelligence agency and weaken these to the extent that they are unable (God forbid) to counter the external machinations. It is the only army in the recent history that has defeated terrorism, the very terrorism that was thrust upon us by these very foreign entities. That is a huge success that runs counter to the alien plans for us and for this region. Once again the same format is in play as was adopted by erstwhile Soviet Union, that is to bribe and induce the so called intellectuals to take up their agenda. International media and particularly the press has aided this propaganda by printing pieces that malign the army without providing a shred of evidence. The only exception to this has been the BBC Hard talk where the interviewer sought proofs for what the interviewed was alleging. Steven Sackur went to the extent of saying, "you are supporting someone who has been proven guilty by the courts". That, to me, was exceptional when seen in the context of daily ridiculing of court decisions in Pakistan. Unfortunately once again our intellectuals have taken the bait as well as the hook and sinker. It is a sad reflection on the intellectual (in)capabilities of this nation that we always seem eager and willing to propound foreign political thought. The earlier intellectual failures took decades to manifest but this one will be much short lived and the actors will be exposed sooner than anybody might think.

The hue and cry in the aftermath of the recent elections is also directed towards discrediting the army. The push to discredit the judiciary has been going alongside. If any person thinks that the utterances of Nehal, Danyal and Talal were individual outbursts, he should see a neurologist or some other doctor concerned with the functioning of the brain. Discrediting the NAB is another essential ingredient of this smear campaign as it has started doing what it is supposed to do. Politically targeting Imran and calling him a pawn of the establishment is another pillar of the strategy. The role played by our national media is also questionable to say the least. It has given air time to these characters in the name of debate and extracting opinion. It has continuously provided oxygen to such characters through airing their venomous utterances that hit at the very roots of Pakistan. The so called 'baghi' of Multan, currently in no political position, was provided air time when he asked as to what the army had done during all the years. No one asked him as to what the politicians had done during all these years except to literally wreck the future of our generations. The role of the media must be seen in the background of President Obama's admission that US spends millions of dollars on Pakistani media. Our national media should take a hint from Western particularly US media, when despite being clearly indulging in outright invasions of target countries, the media do not utter a word against their armed forces and mostly refer to them as 'men and women protecting our freedom'.

However, fortunately for Pakistan, this bandwagon of these criminals and imposters has been disrupted. The cries of foul play and of boycott and agitation is the last ditch effort to revive the clinically dead body of this dirty politics that nearly undid Pakistan. It is now a no holds barred fist fight as the discarded political philosophy of discrediting the institutions makes its final attempt to remain relevant. It is earnestly hoped that the dirty games and anti state activities of this criminal political entity will be brought to the knowledge of Pakistanis and that all responsible will be punished to the hilt. There is no room for NROs and secret deals. All that transpires must be open and transparent. Do not make the mistake of trusting the words of anyone of those who want to cut a deal. It is about time that the state asserted itself against the crimes of all those who hide their dubious activities behind the fašade of democracy, who pillage and pilfer, who spread venomous narratives, who target state institutions and those who sing in chorus with them. It is time for the state to come out of the fear of propaganda. It is time to defeat the blackmail that the state has endured. It is time to ensure protection of the future of Pakistan.

Posted on Aug 06, 18 | 6:28 am