Has the military lost control?

Gen Hamid Gul with jihadi militants

Despite losing over 3,000 soldiers and 40,000 civilians, there was always some confidence that GHQ had a plan and that, when the final accounting was complete, Pakistan would be stronger and better positioned. Use of jihadi groups as proxy fighters in Afghanistan and Kashmir may have resulted in some tallies in the liability column, but these would be more than made up for in the final summing of the assets column. Since the past few weeks, however, the wheels seem to have come off and security analysts are quietly pondering the unthinkable: Has the military lost control?

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Hermann Goering would be proud

“Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

“There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

“Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

– Hermann Goering, 1946

Borzou Daragahi, Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times, posted on Twitter on Friday that “Anti-film protests part of organized effort by power hungry extremists to promote local Islamist agendas and undermine moderates”. In other words, craven opportunists are exploiting the religious sentiments of the people to create a ‘siege mentality’ in which global forces led by the familiar bogeys – America and Jews.

As if on cue, Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Munawar Hasan began Tweeting himself:

Syed Munawar Hasan Tweets

What is extraordinary about Munawar Hasan’s claims is not only that he is clearly repeating disinformation, but that he did so just after being given the updated information:

Not only did the JI chief not correct his previous Tweet, he continued repeating information that he knew was not true. One can forgive someone for being misinformed, but to willfully misinform others is simply lying. So why would a supposedly pious man like Munawar Hasan knowingly misinform people about something as sensitive as who was behind a blasphemous and offensive film? The answer might be found on the streets of Karachi.

JI protest Karachi

It is, after all, much easier to rally unwavering support for your political agenda if you can point to a Zionist-American conspiracy against Islam than it is if the culprit is a convicted Egyptian drug cooker.

Munawar Hasan, however, was really just following in the footsteps of another Islamist totalitarian, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who issued an address on Thursday blaming “the antagonistic policies of the Zionists and the US and other heads of the global arrogance”. And, just as with Munawar Hasan, Ayatollah Khamenei gives himself away at the end:

Muslim brothers and sisters must know that this desperate move by the enemies in the wake of the Islamic Awakening is a sign of the grandeur and importance of this uprising and heralds its increasing growth.

These are just two examples, of course, and each of them must be sending cases of sweetmeats to Khaled Abdallah and the hardline Egyptian clerics who brought the unknown film to the attention of the world. That’s the saddest part of this who tragedy. At its core, it was never about love for the Prophet (PBUH), it was about the lust for power and control. Hermann Goering would be proud.

Raymond Davis Case Closed: Time To Move On

Raymond DavisWhen Raymond Davis burst onto the headlines in a flash of broken glass and gunfire, the nation became immediately transfixed. Here was the blonde, white American ex-Blackwater CIA operative that the conspiracy theorists of the Ghairat Brigade had been warning us about! The Americans immediately claimed diplomatic immunity, and the response was a predictable gasp from both the left and the right.

There were two popular responses to the question of diplomatic immunity and the fate of Raymond Davis. The jihadi solution was to set aside any pretense of reason, justice, and law and order and simply hang the man in the street as an act of vigilantism.

The second came from the more reasonable-sounding crowd who repeated ad nauseum that everyone should ‘let the courts decide’ and demanded that the Americans respect the ruling of Pakistani justice.

For example, here is the statement of JUI-F.

“The Islamic laws clearly provide that a person, after proving to be guilty, would have to undergo the punishment, Qasas, Diyat etc under Sharia,” said JUI-F’s Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.

He explained that the judicial process is obviously of Pakistan as an accused would have to pass through the process in accordance with the law of the land where he commits a crime…”The only acceptable option is to let the courts decide about the fate of the arrested US national in accordance with the laws,” he responded to a question.

Letting the courts decide was also the stated opinion of COAS Gen Kayani – an opinion termed “total commitment to rule of law in the country” by The Nation.

Reaffirming total commitment to rule of law in the country, the top brass of Pakistan Army Wednesday supported decision of the government that case of US national Raymond Davis was a sub judice matter and let the court handle it.

In fact, The Nation was quite explicit in its own support for the courts to decide. On 6 February they even published an editorial with the headline, ‘Leave it to the courts’.

Is it intolerable for the bipartisan delegation for a Pakistani judge to decide the fate of an American? The need to leave the judiciary to decide is highlighted because the investigator in the case has determined that excessive force was used.

Even JI deputy chief Liaquat Baluch said that the Americans should allow the courts to decide.

“Why is America hell bent on trampling on Pakistani law and its judicial system? We will forcefully protest if he is released without a court order,” Jamaat-e-Islami deputy chief Liaquat Baluch told Reuters.

Now, of course, the court has decided. Justice has been carried out according to our own laws and customs, and not American or Western jurisprudence. Qisas & Diyat Laws were invoked, blood money has been paid, the families have issued a pardon, and the accused has been acquitted by the courts and released.

So, everyone who demanded to let the courts decide based on our own laws and customs is satisfied, right? Of course not. This is Pakistan.

No, instead you have everyone complaining that the court came to the wrong conclusion. If this is the case, why bother with courts at all? If courts are supposed to come to a pre-determined conclusion no matter what, then they are not courts at all but just a sham. Law and order is about process, not outcome. Justice is about means, not ends.

There were some groups that made very clear that they had no interest in real justice – that no matter what, their blood lust must be satisfied. These groups include TTP and JuD.

If Pakistani courts cannot punish Davis then they should hand him over to us,” said Azam Tariq, spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban movement of Pakistan).

“We will give exemplary punishment to the killer Davis.”

The entire Raymond Davis affair was a disaster from start to finish. People are still talking about the effect on national dignity, but that was a no-win situation also. Recognizing his claim of diplomatic immunity would stoke a media firestorm that threatened riots and violence that would humiliate the nation on the world stage. Not honouring our commitments under the Vienna Conventions would make us appear untrustworthy to other world powers. In the end, the court managed to side-step both of these possible disasters in an artful and just decision under our own laws.

As for the Americans, whether or not Raymond Davis was entitled to diplomatic immunity, the incident was humiliating for them. And with this outcome, the Americans had to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as our courts, laws, and customs. Raza Habib Raja makes this excellent observation on Pak Tea House.

Now if indeed the families of the victims have accepted the compensation and Mr. Raymond has been released after compensation has been paid, then frankly it is a win win situation. Although I know some may disagree because they desperately wanted to see Raymond publicly hanged but a thoughtful analysis would reveal that in fact USA has not been able to bully Pakistan and eventually had to resort to proper legal means and had to compensate the families. Of course this fact would not be acknowledged by the media but if the families have accepted the compensation then it is a moral victory of Pakistan while preserving its realpolitik concerns.

The only people who didn’t get their wish were the Taliban who weren’t ever interested in ‘justice’ but only wanted to quench a blood lust. These are the same Taliban who are mercilessly killing our own people, violating our own sovereignty, and trying to replace our own laws and customs with their own. Do we really want to find ourselves infected with their same blood lust?

Village schoolAfter dragging on for far too long, the Raymond Davis case is finally closed. It’s time to focus our attention on more important matters. Like the urgent need to address the education emergency in our country. We can tell our children about how the Americans could not bully us, and how through our own laws we found justice. But we cannot, we must not dwell on this episode. Our children deserve a better future than one obsessed with ghairat and America. We need to stop looking backwards, and start looking to the future of our country. The Raymond Davis case is closed. It’s time to put that same energy that we spent in putting down America into building up Pakistan.