Not only unique, astonishing too

by Kamran Shafi

Often have I made the point that we Pakistanis are a quite unique people. Uniquely unique actually, in almost everything we do. I mean including badmouthing other people after heaping the vilest abuse on them.

I mean talking big about sovereignty, whatever that particular bird is, whilst our leaders tramp about the world begging bowls in hand.

I mean waxing eloquent about how the Kerry Lugar bill (now law) takes away our honour, sovereignty (there is that bird again), and shame, and makes us ‘furious’ as some of our Guderians and Rommels recently were. Yet we simply do not have the gumption to say to the Americans that we do not want their aid under these conditions.

Seeing the antics of the security establishment and of its sympathetic hacks in the recent past, I must say we are a quite astonishing people too! Just the other night I was watching a person who shouts from the rooftops that he and his outfit are masters of ‘immaculate deception’ as if it is something to be proud of, on a talk show belly-aching about how the Americans demonise us, in his own words as ‘a so-called ally’. I ask you!

What, pray, have we done to deserve the likes of this man who, in the Commando’s time, was his foremost mouthpiece and propagandist? Er, was Musharraf not the exact same person who was Dubya’s toady; even saying once that the US president had not asked him to remove his uniform so why should he?

Is he not the one who, according to the dictates of the ‘agencies’, deliberately took one step forward and three back in the war against terror and who thus made the struggle against the terrorist yahoos that much more difficult? Is Musharraf not the man who helped make the situation in Fata and Swat what it is today? Is it not a fact that the moment the country thankfully saw his back the elected government’s writ began to be applied in areas where it had disappeared altogether?

Is it not astonishing, indeed fascinating, to see this man and others of his ilk now criticise the present government for accepting the Kerry-Lugar law when Musharraf accepted all kinds of American dictates and conditionalities when accepting huge American moneys during his time in power? Of which, please note once again, something like $3bn are said to be missing.

Or is it the case that those conditionalities were acceptable because there was no mention of the supremacy of the elected civilian dispensation in matters related to the security establishment? That at the time, because our Rommels and Guderians held sway so all was well with the conditionalities?

And what do you think Musharraf is doing while Pakistan convulses and writhes in pain as a direct consequence of the mindless policies of our security establishment? He is giving lectures to unknown colleges in the US and interviews to the Urdu press in the hope that he will find space in the press back home.

In his latest foray as reported on the front page of a newspaper on Oct 7, he says words to the effect that he is a commando lying in ambush; waiting for the right time to strike. He also said, ‘The country is near destruction, but I am not responsible for it.’ When asked about Mushahid ‘Mandela’ Hussain, the Commando said he had no ‘standing or worth’. This, about the secretary general of his own party, one that he hopes to lead in the future, mark please.

I wonder if Secretary Clinton is aware that she has been renamed ‘Hallary’ Clinton by the Pakistani media, even our English-language channels. Be which as it may, she carried herself with great aplomb and a surefootedness that only comes with intellect, experience and a deep study of the problem at hand. Indeed by trying to understand the psyche of the people one is dealing with.

It was great to hear her say it like it is, for we have long been hearing American envoys saying things merely to please their ‘tight’ buddies, mostly army dictators and their henchmen.

According to news reports one of the most direct remarks she made to a group in Lahore is, ‘I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they [Al Qaeda leaders] are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to.’ This statement in and of itself is probably the most important of all the statements the secretary made whilst in Pakistan for it says, in other words, ‘If you don’t know, why don’t you know’?

Thank you, Ms Clinton, and well said, for I have oft asked this same question of our security establishment. Every right-thinking Pakistani who is up to here with the tripe that is strategic depth, so assiduously pursued by the Pakistani security establishment and its hacks over the last 30 disastrous years, is gratified that you said it like it is. And right to their bullying faces.

End piece: The bombing of Peshawar’s Meena Bazaar, a bazaar frequented by women and children, devastated me like nothing else could. These are the Mujahideen fighting the infidel, for God’s sake? Are the godfathers of these yahoos satisfied with their handiwork now that the whole country is aflame, or is there more strategic death ahead for us?

Article originally appeared in DAWN on Tuesday, 3 November 2009.

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