Leader of Bayghairat Brigade – Jihadi War Monger Hamid Gul

The term ‘Ghairat Brigade’ has been used sarcastically to describe those media talking heads that chatter on endlessly about the national honour without actually doing anything to improve the nation itself. ‘Honour’ for them is nothing but a rhetorical weapon used to distract people from real issues. The sarcasm, however, seems to be lost as these hyper-nationalists and pseudo-patriots have responded by terming people who want to see a modern and successful Pakistan as Bayghairat Brigade. If the government is not going to conduct a full investigation into how Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, maybe we should do our own.

The past few days I’ve been getting links to this video of some American conspiracywala talking to none other than Gen. Hamid Gul on the phone about how the whole thing was a fake. Somehow because he’s talking to a gora people think it must be a legitimate show. The guy Gen Gul is talking to, though, is not a real journalist, he’s a conspiracy theorist whose other guests include “experts” on how the world is being invaded by ‘reptilian shapeshifting’ aliens from outer space. Actually this is probably the best program for Hamid Gul to appear as a guest. He fits right in with the other clowns.

What is worst about Hamid Gul, though, is that he’s not just another paranoid schizophrenic ranting about alien invasions. He’s a former DG ISI who has been actively encouraging an invasion of Pakistan by foreign jihadis and their alien ideology.

In 2010, Al Jazeera asked Hamid Gul about evidence from Wikileaks that points to Hamid Gul aiding the Taliban. Of course, he immediately dismisses this evidence as the product of Afghan intelligence, RAW and Mossad. The Al Jazeera anchor jokes about this ridiculous claim saying, “they must be very busy with 90,000 reports”. Oh, maybe Al Jazeera is infiltrated by RAW and Mossad too!!!

Hamid Gul says that he’s merely a simple retired man who may have moral support for the Taliban but “there is no physical dimension to it”. Really? The Wikileaks documents revealed, for example, that far from no physical dimension, Hamid Gul was meeting with militants in South Waziristan. And he has physically joined rallies with Hafiz Saeed also.

Hamid Gul with  Hafiz Saeed

Actually, when he’s not in the hot seat, Hamid Gul tells a completely different story .

General (r) Hamid Gul is another maverick gung-ho about Iftikhar Chaudhry’s restoration. But he also makes the peaceniks mad with his call for jihad and continues to spread his ‘poison’ against America. “I am controversial. People either hate me or love me,” he blusters. Gul wants Shariat enforced in Swat “but it must be based on the Holy Quran which does not prohibit education for girls.” The ex-ISI chief is Taliban-friendly: “Their resistance is keeping the wolf (US) away from the door,” he says. As a sympathizer of Osama bin Laden, he declares: “In the absence of evidence (that he masterminded 9/11), I’m not prepared to call him a blood-thirsty animal.” And hence, he’s chums with beards of all shades and size who want to take Pakistan back to the age of jahiliya.

And for providing only moral support with “no physical dimension”, Hamid Gul knows intricate details about al Qaeda attacks against Pakistan.

The suicide bomb that targeted the hotel in the heart of the capital, killed at least 53 people and injured more than 266 others, a short distance from the country’s parliament building.

There were conflicting reports that Pakistan’s political and military leaders were expected to dine at the hotel on Saturday night and changed their plans at the last minute.

Former Pakistani spy master, Retired Lt. General Hamid Gul said that the militants had watched their target for days and then selected a vehicle carrying construction materials and loaded the vehicle with over 600 kilogrammes of explosives.

Jalaluddin Haqaani and Hamid GulEven today he openly provides plans for supporting militants live on TV. On Khari Baat he said that as a professional soldier he recommends that cutting off supply lines for 15 days would defeat the international forces in Afghanistan. Are these the words of a retired man or a rogue element? After all isn’t it his old friends from the glory days that he’s still supporting?

One of the common points being made is that the US and Pakistan don’t trust each other and that the Americans think there are some elements connected to ISI that are against cooperation. Why would they think that? Maybe because the former DG ISI is going on live television almost every day and giving these statements! Honestly, I find it hard to believe that Gen Pasha and current ISI were involved with Osama. What would they gain from this? But current officers need to stop protecting people like Hamid Gul who have clearly gone rogue. Loyalty is one thing, but aik gandi machli pooray talab ko ganda kar deti hai.

Hamid Gul is no patriot. He’s a washed up war mongering jihadi who has done more harm to Pakistan’s honour than any liberal writer. How many Pakistanis have to be killed by Hamid Gul’s old war buddies before playing jihad before we stop defending these guys. Whatever honour Hamid Gul had in the past is gone. He is the worst of the Bayghairat brigade and should be treated as such.

Who let Osama in the gate?

Abottabad compound

As the days pass and the fog clears, the story of what happened on 1 May is starting to come out and it’s not looking great. The day after a group of American commandos crossed the border and killed Osama bin Laden who was living comfortably in the shadow of Kakul, the usual sources reported that hundreds of Pak Army men participated in the strike. Now we know that wasn’t the case at all. As the facts come out and we get the details of who knew what and when, we need to ask an honest questions not only about this one incident, but how our assumptions made it inevitable. These questions might be embarrassing, but let’s face it – we’re already embarrassed. We should seize this opportunity to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Ghairat brigade’s conspiracywallas are down to the bottom of the barrel with their saying that Osama wasn’t really killed and that the strike was a pretext to invade Islamabad. This habit of hiding from the obvious truth has gotten so bad that 66 per cent urban Pakistanis think Osama was not killed while 100 per cent al Qaeda admits Osama was killed that day. And if the US wanted to invade Islamabad, wouldn’t they have done this when Osama was here? Now that they took their man and left, it seems any pretext has left also. It’s time to give up the conspiracy theories and closing our eyes to uncomfortable truths and take a good hard look at how we got here.

First, we need to be honest with ourselves. If Osama is a pretext for invasion, who put that pretext in Pakistan? Who made Abbottabad such a place that terrorists feel it is a good place to openly hide from detection? Because, let’s be honest, if the world’s most wanted terrorist wasn’t living in our country, the Americans would never have had an excuse for coming in the first place. The military says it wants to reduce the American footprint in Pakistan. Good. But we’re never going to reduce the American footprint until we reduce the jihadi footprint also.

And don’t talk to me about Americans stealing our nuclear assets either. In case you haven’t heard, America has it’s own. It doesn’t need ours. The only concern any American has about our nuclear assets is concern that some Osama jihadi lunatic is going to steal them. We say that will never happen, but we also said that Osama would never be safe here either. If you want the Americans to stop eyeing our nuclear assets, get the jihadis to stop eyeing the same. As for our sovereignty, well, I don’t know why people are declaring the death of sovereignty in 2011 when Osama bin Laden killed it five years ago.

Second, we need to take an honest look at this intelligence failure. The Americans are suspicious of this excuse and with good reason. I got an email from a friend saying that ISI’s job is to monitor the borders only, so it’s not their job to know who is doing what inside the country. I laughed out loud. Are we so willing to lie to ourselves this boldly? If ISI is not supposed to monitor inside the country, someone better tell them that. So how did they miss the giant jihadi elephant in the room?

The line that officials appear to have settled on is that it was an intelligence failure. Just like the RAW intelligence failure that resulted in 26/11 and the US intelligence failure that resulted in 9/11. In the weeks after 9/11, US officials were targeted by envelopes containing anthrax. Ten years later, the case is still a mystery. So intelligence agencies are not perfect. In the words of an unnamed ISI official to BBC, “We’re good, but we’re not God”.

Though there is some truth to this – even the CIA admitted it was not 100 per cent certain he was there – such an answer hasn’t satisfied many people. As anyone will tell you, the ISI is pretty damned thorough. How does the world’s most wanted man hide in plain site? How bad does the intelligence have to be to miss this? Looking back, the answer may be as obvious as bin Laden’s hideout. ISI didn’t find bin Laden because they weren’t looking for him.

Najam Sethi says that according to his research, the ISI arrangement with CIA was to allow the Americans to monitor Al-Qaeda while we focused on TTP and RAW. Which makes sense – isn’t this what the US has been complaining about with their ‘do more’ mantra? That we’re not focusing attention on the bigger problem of jihadis and only taking on the ones that attack us directly so we can build yet another Hatf? Our response back has consistently been that we have our own priorities.

Was it mere coincidence that when ISPR finally released a statement days later, the statement warned India?

The Forum, taking serious note of the assertions made by Indian military leadership about conducting similar operations, made it very clear that any misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly. There should be no doubt about it.

The Americans are baffled by claims that the military and intelligence agencies had no idea Osama was in Abbottabad. How could this be? How could it be possible that Osama was living in Abbottabad for five years and the military did not know? Perhaps the intelligence agencies didn’t find him because the intelligence agencies were not looking for him. Not even thinking about him. Instead, our intelligence has been focused like laser beams on India. We haven’t been looking for al Qaeda militants because we’re not concerned about al Qaeda militants. We’re looking under every rock and in every shadow for RAW agents.

Of course, not looking for Osama doesn’t mean that he was supported. It just means that he wasn’t a priority. And to the establishment, Osama has never been a priority. The only priority in their narrowly focused view has been India. Is it any coincidence that while ISPR was issuing this clear warning to India, militants plotted another attack on innocents in Quetta? Which Hatf is supposed to stop militants?

Gen Kayani has ordered a full investigation into the intelligence failure that allowed the world’s most wanted terrorist to live for five years under the very noses of the military. This is the right response, but the question must go deeper than simply looking for a scapegoat.

Sacking a general is not going solve the problem so long as retired generals are running around preaching jihadi ideologies to the masses. Once the Americans discovered that Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan, nobody was going to keep the Americans out. We need to be less worried about who was on guard when the Americans stormed in – we need to be asking who let Osama in the gate in the first place.

A Call for Introspection!

It is time for our country to face the very bitter truth: Pakistan has been humiliated by the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist in a small garrison town a mere two hours from Islamabad.

We have failed spectacularly, and in so many ways.

Our highly-acclaimed intelligence agency, the ISI, pleads ignorance, saying it had no idea bin Laden was comfortably living in Abbottabad. President Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser has said it is “inconceivable” that bin Laden did not have a support system within Pakistan. For those who would dismiss this as Western plots to discredit Pakistan, our direct neighbor and friend, Afghanistan, is saying the same thing.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday, Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said bin Laden’s hideout would have been known not only to a “strong” intelligence agency such as Pakistan’s ISI but even to a “very weak government with a weak intelligence service.” He said the ISI faces many questions that need answers.

Our army (which receives a quarter of the national budget!) failed to notice in their own neighborhood what the United States was able to track from a world away: the suspiciousness of a singular house in a well heeled town with no front-facing windows, no phone line or internet connection, and with 18-feet walls along its perimeter.

Our civil society has failed on a very human level. Lawyers, just as they celebrated the depraved Mumtaz Qadri now prove their gross lack of morality by offering funeral prayers for bin Laden, alternating between the usual “Death to America” chants by the rent-a-crowd.

Our conspiracy-oriented media is too busy proclaiming the US raid violated our sovereignty to even realize the Saudi terrorist plotting and financing terrorists from our soil for five years was exploiting our sovereignty. The same pundits who speak of “ghairat” until they are red in the face cannot seem to see there is no honor in praising a mass-murderer, a man whose followers have wreaked such devastation in our country for years.

One has to wonder, is there something wrong with the Pakistani mindset?

Where have we gone wrong as a nation to arrive at this disgraceful day of honoring terrorists, tolerating bloodshed?

Our inability to think things through rationally has always been our national flaw. When have we ever calmly analyzed our crises and had a beneficial conversation in our media leading to a resolution? Our failures in 1971 were swept under the rug; instead we vilified India and left the matter at that. We have never scrutinized our actions in Kargil, because to do so, the elite say, would be an abomination.

Enough is enough. We are at an enormously difficult time in our country’s history. To become a respected civil society, and to share a seat at a table of the world’s successful democracy, we need lucid, logical debates. That is the only way to stabilize and prosper. The maniacal yelling has to stop. The India, US, Israel bashing has to stop. The conspiracy theories have to stop. We have to realize our thinking has only harmed us, and we simply have to change. Our priorities, and our commitment to those priorities needs to be affirmed by all our people.

As Shahid Saeed writes in his impassioned post, “The oped writers, the TV anchors and the pundits are busy answering the questions that either the west has or the old savraynayeteee. They are missing the point. There is good that holds for us in this. Beat the line of military accountability and civilian led reform.”

Many questions will arise from the Osama bin Laden killing, and we will have to face the answers. Pakistan’s future very well depends on how successful our present introspection will be.

The true meaning of Ghairat

Irshad Ahmed Arif’s piece in Daily Jang of Monday titled Toollu expressed rather eloquently the righteousness of Ghairat Brigade, and it took me back to my childhood days.

A gentleman on our street was a famous alcoholic. For some time he was able to hide this problem. He had a decent house, a respectable salary, a nice car etc at one point in life, but just as with any other addiction, his life started spiraling downwards. He would miss deadlines for things, arrive late for work hung over and always be short of money. But the man would never face the fact that his drinking habit was causing his problems. Rather it would always be someone else’s fault, or somebody conspiring against him. It wasn’t long before he lost his job. Not long after, he had to sell his big car and ultimately his house. That guy kept on blaming his downfall on one thing or another but his ego wouldn’t let him admit that his own alcoholism was the root cause of these tragedies in his life.

My father on the other hand, is a very hard working man who was living on the same street with this family at the time. Since our house was not on the main electricity transformer for that particular street, we had more electric outages compared to everyone else. I remember complaining to him how inconvenient that was and at times caused hindrance in performing homework or other daily activities typical to that of a teenager. It was embarrassing. Some of the other fathers had rigged cables into the main transformer to overcome the problem, and I begged my father to do the same. My father sat me down and said, “My son, I know you are frustrated and inconvenienced by this. It will not always be this way Inshallah. But there is no honour in cheating. We should acknowledge our shortcomings and face the challenges, not try to always find the easy way out of things”. That sentence stuck with me ever since.

To me it seems like Mr. Arif is trying to find the easy way out here by implying that what he stands for is extremely honorable and dignified and those who disagree with him do not care about honour and dignity. A major portion of his article is dedicated to showing disdain towards the west and it would also seem that he is a little confused on what Ghairat actually is. Ghairat is a word of Pushto origins and it means the integrity of an individual. It is not just sticking to your principles but acknowledging the reality as well.

Mr. Arifs latest piece talks more about how the “Ghairat” attitude is absolutely justified rather than explaining the issues related to the current political scenario (why we need aid or what other possible solutions to the national issues might be) and he fails to mention the repercussions that might follow if we stuck to his convictions out of a sense of stubborn pride.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe pride honor and dignity are extremely important but let us not confuse Ghairat with the difference between right and wrong. Ghairat should never become a cover up of ones shortcomings or wrongdoings. An example would be that I do something illegal like park my car in a no-parking zone. A cop comes and gives me a ticket and asks me to move my car. I say no, as my “Ghairat” does not permit me to because admitting to it would mean I’m cowing down which belittles me and how can a petty police constable belittle me?

Same is what is happening between the Ghairat Brigade and the west. An American politician or general says that some elements are supporting militants and this should stop. Ghairate Brigade’s reaction is to pretend that it is an insult to suggest that there are elements supporting the militants or making excuses and pretending that militants are only attacking because of Americans in Afghanistan. Or they will even say that there are not militants and that suicide bombings are ‘false flag’ attacks by CIA.

Till date, we have seen so much fabrication in the name of religion and culture that we have ended up looking too emotional and sentimental as if we cannot handle issues with reason. It’s a shame because today’s ghairatmand doesn’t feel the need to improve our education because westerners have a hold on subjects like Sciences and English. He is keen however on having a translator translate all these books and accruing all the advantages from these “Gora” subjects. These “ghairatmands” follow none of the virtues ordained by Islam (patience, peace, love) and are keen to point out conspirators, traitors and “agents”.

Where is the Ghairat in keeping an underpaid servant who can barely feed his family or shooing away the little kid selling flowers or newspapers at the traffic signal? It is this egotistical self-loving attitude that we need to say goodbye to. We need to focus on education and modern skills and try to find honor dignity and respect by constructive means.

The true Pakistaniat is shown not by individuals complaining and whining but by the ones silently toiling away in the forms of engineers, government salaried doctors, community members and social workers etc to strengthen the infrastructure of our country. Maybe they can tell us the true meaning of Ghairat.

Sunday Cartoons

I’ve long believed that the jihadis and the anti-democratic right-wing were reading from the same script. They all use the same fear tactics to keep the people distracted and paralyzed. The Western right-wing uses Islam as a bogey just as our own right-wing uses America as a bogey. But they have been reading from the same script for far too long and now the people are starting to notice that it’s just a trick. The people of Arab countries are demanding democracy, and those of us who have it are not giving it up. I thought these two political cartoons today really described the situation quite well.

Jihadi confusion on peaceful revolutions

Glenn Beck's Islamaphobio

What’s most interesting is that the cartoon about Glenn Beck could just as easily be about Ahmed Quraishi and the rest of the Ghairat Brigade, only replace ‘Muslims’ with ‘America’ and ‘Marxist Caliphate’ (whatever that means) with ‘hegemony’!