Gen (r) Janjua’s advise for Afghanistan is good advise for Pakistan also

Gen (r) Naseer Khan JanjuaNational Security Advisor Lt Gen (r) Naseer Khan Janjua has found himself widely ridiculed on social media after claiming that US is only a superpower due to Pakistan. However, there are other claims made by the retired officer that are much less amusing. Actually, they should be taken very seriously if we are to ever find a way out of the cycle of madness that we seem to be stuck in.

Gen Janjua also asked at the same gathering, “It is said Pakistan is supporting Taliban. If that is true then why are Pakistani Taliban fighting a war against us?” Is the NSA not aware of the difference between Afghan Taliban and TTP? Is he not aware of the state’s different policies towards these two groups, seeing one as a legitimate political force and the other as an illegitimate anti-state terrorist group?

This brings up another curious point made in an exclusive interview the NSA gave to Geo where he blamed Afghanistan and un-named ‘hostile intelligence agencies’ for hosting anti-Pakistan militants like TTP. Here is what he said:

As a result of the successful conduct of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the terrorists ran for their lives and crossed over to into Afghanistan, where they were hosted by the Hostile Intelligence Agencies (HIAs). After absorbing the initial set back, these terrorists relocated and re-established themselves.

Over time, they have reorganised, regrouped, and recuperated. The recent series of attacks show that they are now well-established and have adequate support of Hostile Intelligence Agencies to restart their heinous activities.

I am not making any disagreement with the NSA’s statement, but there is an important point missing which is that what he is describing is exactly what Pakistan is doing also.

Last year, Sartaj Aziz admitted what was already obvious which is that Pakistan has been hosting Taliban leaders and providing safe haven where they were able to reorganise, regroup, and recuperate. Former COAS Gen Musharraf also admitted that ISI cultivated Taliban to counter any Indian influence in Kabul. In other words, everything we have blamed Afghanistan for doing that has fueled this terrible war, we have admitted doing also!

NSA Lt Gen Janjua said that “continuous way of war, and the intent to gain a position of strength, has made the war perpetual in Afghanistan.” If this is something he truly believes and is not just reciting sweet talking points, the obvious result is for our own state agencies to end our obsession with the way of war and intent to gain a position of strength in Afghanistan. If we are sincere in wanting to see peace in Afghanistan and at home, we need to take our own advise and stop our ‘good Taliban’ ‘bad Taliban’ policies.

Pakistan’s Post-Modern Democracy

Days of 111 Brigade climbing the walls of PTV are over. Modern coups, it seems, are not carried out with guns, but with keyboards. Sophisticated psychological operations have replaced occupations just as national ‘narrative’ has replaced national ‘security’. In our post-modern version of democracy, we are told that terrorists have no base in Pakistan on the same day that terrorists kill our soldiers. We are told that practices like honour killings that kill 1,000 women every year have nothing to do with us, and jihadi terrorism which kills 50,000 Pakistanis has nothing to do with religion. So would we even notice if government officials began wearing khaki instead of civilian clothes?

The answer is obviously ‘no’. Few months ago, National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz was replaced with Lieutenant General (r) Naseer Khan Janjua.

Lieutenant General Naseer Khan Janjua

Now, PM has appointed Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Alam Khattak to replace Mehtab Abbasi as Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Alam Khattak

The word ‘terrorism’ has already been carefully redefined in our society to allow exceptions for ‘pro-Pakistan’ militants like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Now we can add another new definition to the dictionary: Lieutenant General means government official. Welcome to Democracy*, Pakistan style.