Pak pigeons, RAW milk, and a need for real patriots to step forward

Spy Pigeon

As tensions grow worse between Pakistan and India, Indian security forces have intercepted a Pakistani spy pigeon. I should say “another” Pakistani spy pigeon, as this is not the first time India’s premiere intelligence agency has accused its neighbor of Pakistani birds of invading Indian airspace, though it is unclear whether DNA tests were used to confirm the pigeon’s nationality, or if they were carrying some Pakistani candies also.

Indian “intelligence” is not the only one being challenged in these tense times. Our own Defence Minister has accused Indian border forces of carrying out cross-border targeted attacks against Pakistani buffaloes.

Such nonsense provide a light hearted relief at a much needed time, but the real need of the day are people with the courage to step forward and stand up to the hyper-nationalists who are beating the war drum. As usual, these hyper-nationalist warmongers hide behind a mask of patriotism and fake “pro-Army” slogans while what they are proposing is that our soldiers get killed in order to boost their own pride and egos. Notice how many of the loudest “patriots’ are always chomping at the bit for war from their computer keyboards in the US, UK, or UAE. Even those who are in Pakistan declare they are ready to sacrifice…from their accounting desk.

War with India will not be a one-sided affair where Indian forces simply run, or lay down and die. Our soldiers are willing to sacrifice their lives, but it is an offer that should not be taken lightly. It should only be as a last resort, not a means to make you feel good. Real patriots are those who appreciate their soldiers sacrifice enough not to waste it satisfy their own egos.

Worse, the easy talk of nuclear war is the very definition of insanity. Do you think angels will cover Pakistan with their wings? No, what will take place will be devastating.

Let us laugh at the jokers telling stories about spy pigeons and martyred buffaloes, but we must also realise that war is no joking matter.

The blame game

Not my fault

Pakistan faces severe threats and challenges and we have suffered more than anyone in the world. This we are reminded of often. This week we have also been reminded of the second part of our national identity which is that we are not responsible for any of our problems. We are only the helpless victims.

Yesterday PM’s Foreign Advisor Sartaj Aziz accused former Ambassador Husain Haqqani of being responsible for failure of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts. This is not the first time that a government official has given this excuse as Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has also blamed Husain Haqqani for his own failure to secure F-16s.

This may be a national emergency. If the entire diplomatic corps including even Gen. Raheel’s ceremonious efforts can be completely undone by a single person sitting in a think tank, what hope have we of ever overcoming our troubles? Is all of Pakistan unable to overcome one man?

Today we are also reminded that Pakistan has been abandoned by the whole world to face terrorists on our own. This was declared by no less than Army spokesman DG-ISPR Gen Asim Bajwa. However, this statement left many scratching their heads in confusion. Didn’t the US give Pakistan Army billions? Didn’t the US kill TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud, capture TTP commander Latifullah Mehsud and hand him over to Pakistan Army? Isn’t US still funding Pakistan Army?

It is true that Pakistan is facing a declining relationship with historic allies including the US. However facts are facts and it is simply too much to say that we have been ‘abandoned’ yet. It is also unrealistic to blame a scholar for all of our problems. So why are we facing such a difficult time, and if we are not exactly ‘abandoned’, why are we becoming more isolated? Ironically, the answer may have been given by Husain Haqqani himself:

“Pakistan’s difficulties in the US were the result of years of supporting ‘jihadis’ and making excuses that are having less and less effect on Americans. Moreover, Pakistan’s dependence on US aid made it susceptible to changes in the US national mood and attitude,” elaborated Haqqani in the statement released.

Our top leaders, especially those at the level of Minister and General, need to give an honest assessment of our situation and take responsibility for putting the nation back on the right path. Blaming others and playing helpless victim will fix nothing. We need real leadership that is willing to speak the truth and take necessary action.

Khawaja Asif’s Attack on Shireen Mazari Symptom of Larger Problem

Khawaja AsifI don’t usually agree with Shireen Mazari on political matters, but I have always admired her as a strong woman. She has always handled herself and managed to keep up with the boys in our political arena which is not known for its politeness. This is why it was all the more shocking to me when none other than Shireen Mazari herself was reduced to tears on the floor of the National Assembly after suffering a humiliating treatment by Khawaja Asif. After being held to account in the media for treating a woman in such a manner, the Defence Minister finally issued an apology. However, he did not apologise to Shireen Mazari, he apologised to the National Assembly.  Many people are commenting on Khawaja Asif’s terrible behaviour, but I believe he is not the only one to blame. Was his attack really a surprise? Not because Mazari deserved it. Never. It was not a surprise because it is only another symptom of the epidemic of woman hating in this country.

How much do we have to hate women to burn them alive? This was not an accident. Women are set on fire in this country like trash. It happens more often than we are willing to admit. When women are not set on fire, they are raped. Even school girls are not safe from rapists. Rapes are even recorded and shared for entertainment. Incidents of violence against women are soaring in the land of the pure. Even those who are supposed to protect us are involved. Is it any surprise? Our clerics teach that treating women like dogs is the will of Allah.

Khawaja Asif’s attack on Shireen Mazari is inexcusable. He is a government minister who behaved worse than an illiterate street urchin. It is no surprise to me, though. I am old enough now that it is what I expect from most men. Khawaja Asif’s apology tells everything you need to know. He did not apologise to the victim of his attack, because one does not apologise to a woman. He didn’t even say that his behaviour was wrong. He said it was ‘improper for a political worker’. Until we accept that such behaviour is not only improper for politicians, but for any man, how can we as women expect to be treated as fully human, much less full citizens?

Manohar Parrikar: Diplomatic Equivalent of Internet Troll

Manohar Parrikar

Civil society activist Jibran Nasir recently noticed something on Twitter which understandably outraged him. Spokesperson ASWJ Hafiz Oneeb had posted the following Tweet:

Jibran Nasir was understandably upset and asked why Army was meeting with members of banned militant groups. The question could have been thought to be shouted into the wind, but thankfully it was actually heard and even responded by no less than the officer pictured:

Army was not “meeting” with ASWJ but warning them. ASWJ used the photo with a fake caption as part of their psychological operations to make people doubt their armed forces. It is a classic “divide and rule” strategy, but this time it was failed because the officer who was being defamed was alerted and able to give the correct view. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

Could a similar strategy be taking place with Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s shocking statements last week that suggested that India is promoting terrorism in Pakistan?

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