Mian Saifur Rehman has written a piece of exceptional analysis, laying the facts plainly before anyone who will read them. He has done such an excellent job that there is not much more than can be added.
It’s about time we realised the reality that the dangers to the country are from within more than dangers from one or two foreign countries and their agencies. The solid fact must not be overlooked that no inimical agency of the world can operate so freely, frequently and at the spot of choice and against the personality of choice without facilitation from inside Pakistan. Then, unfortunately, a large number of our people, especially those hailing from some areas within the tribal and semi-tribal belt and in some parts of southern Punjab and southern Pakistan (meaning Karachi and Balochistan) possess the inherent tendency of dealing with others through gun. They subdue the people around them or those in business with them with the show- and use- of weaponry and flee to safe havens that have, however, squeezed in tribal belts following the Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Now these people have started taking refuge in ‘other parts’ of the country with the tacit- or sometimes open- support of people who mistake terrorists for Jihadists fighting a holy war which, in fact, is not at all a holy war but simply a madness-driven bloodbath unleashed by Muslims against Muslims. This is the most painful aspect of the whole terrorism saga that Muslims are eliminating Muslims just for no reason or rhyme. No religion allows the killing of any human being in this manner. A faithful has no moral, religious, social or legal right to kill any other human being, let alone faithful from any faith. If all owes to some conspiracy, regional, local or global, the conspirators are superb people (or outfits, if not institutions like RAW etc) that they have been successful in putting a wedge in the unity of people who stand committed to one faith. But these conspirators are less to blame than our own brethren who become their tools. Even strategically and for all practical purposes, little can be done (something can be done through counter-espionage and other similar acts but that won’t be too much advisable or frequently practicable) about foreign conspirators.
It should be noted that this wisdom has been published while the nation is in the midst of celebrating the lives of two Generals Hamid Gul and Ziaul Haq who are more responsible than most for creating the sad and dangerous situation we find ourselves in. If Pakistan is to live, it is the ideology of these jihadi Generals that must be finally buried with them.
Seymour Hersh’s sensational 10,000 word report on the Abbottabad raid was met by most analysts, including this humble blogger, with something of a smirk. While he described the official version of events as a story that “might have been written by Lewis Carroll”, his tale itself seemed to be filled with deep rabbit holes. However, things began to quickly take a turn as additional sources from the shadowy world of spy agencies began to confirm portions of his story. First came NBC News report that said that “a special operations officer and a CIA officer who had served in Pakistan…and a third source, a very senior former U.S. intelligence official” all confirmed that “a retired Pakistani military intelligence officer” helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden and that “some officials in the Pakistani government knew where bin Laden was hiding all along”. Then came a second report where investigative journalist Carlotta Gall said that this part of Hersh’s report was also in line with what she was told during her research in Pakistan:
I learned from a high-level member of the Pakistani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset. After the book came out, I learned more: that it was indeed a Pakistani Army brigadier — all the senior officers of the ISI are in the military — who told the C.I.A. where Bin Laden was hiding, and that Bin Laden was living there with the knowledge and protection of the ISI.
I will not pretend to have any insights into this. Like everyone else, I am watching the story unfold before my eyes. There is one thing that has captured my curiosity, though. In dismissing Seymour Hersh’s report, many analysts both in Pakistan and abroad, criticised the reporter for relying so heavily on former DG-ISI Gen Duranni. He retired from service 20 years ago, they explained. He may be good at getting himself on TV, but he’s not privy to such details of covert operations. Now, though, it’s not just Seymour Hersh whose story is being confirmed, it’s Gen Durrani’s.
Musharraf’s confirmation of Army support for Taliban is particularly important in the context of facts revealed by Wikileaks documents a few years ago. One leaked document discusses the involvement of another former General, Hamid Gul, in supporting Taliban. According to one document, “It was not known whether Hamid Gul was acting with the knowledge or consent of ISI, or whether any portions of ISI were aware of his activities.” While the knowledge or consent of secret agencies will always be difficult to prove beyond any doubt, it would be fairly naive to believe that Hamid Gul’s pro-Jihad activities were done without at least tacit approval of the Army leadership. Hamid Gul has described himself as “an ideologue of jihad“. It is increasingly apparent that he is not the only General who subscribes to this ideology.
Nawaz Sharif has lifted the ban on death penalty, and Gen Raheel has signed the death warrants for six convicted terrorists. The reaction has been fairly predictable, with right-wing hypernationalists beating their drum to hang someone, anyone, in the streets and left-wing human rights activists worrying about whether death penalty makes us no better than the killers we are killing. I have a different opinion than either of these. I’m not going to lose any sleep over whether a terrorist loses his life. Hang him if it makes you feel better. Hang him from a lamp post if something about that makes you feel more like a man. But don’t expect me to be there cheering it on, either, because it won’t matter. It won’t make one bit of difference.
Hafiz Saeed is at his usual antics, holding rallies to spread imperialist ideology and instigate war with India under the banner of his so-called ‘charity’. In a response on Twitter, one person commented that “Sooner rather than later his mask was going to slip”. The truth is, however, that Hafiz Saeed’s mask has been off since long. It is only our blindfold that remains firmly in place.