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.

Whose war is it anyway?

Quetta shuraSartaj Aziz has stated clearly that ‘Pakistan cannot fight Afghanistan’s war‘ on our own soil. This is an interesting change of policy as for long we have been told that it was ‘America’s war’. The one consistent piece of our policy is that we refuse to accept that it is ‘our war’.

We refuse to accept this war even though Taliban commanders are regularly caught on our soil and even carry official documents issued by our government. Isn’t this the same complaint we make that the Afghan government is doing for India? ISPR said that gate at Torkham border was needed due to Afghanistan permitting terrorists entering Pakistan to carry out attacks. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has accused Afghanistan of supporting TTP, and COAS has even demanded that America bomb TTP camps in Afghanistan.

But what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, isn’t it? Couldn’t Afghanistan say that fighting TTP is ‘not our war’ also? Or America could say the same? We cannot ignore foreign militants inside our borders and expect others to take actions against anti-Pakistan militants inside their borders. Instead of pointing fingers and playing victim, we should face the reality that there are no ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’.  The war is against all terrorists, and it is our war too.

Who knows what is true in this country?

What is fact? What is fiction? In our post-modern democracy it is hard to know sometimes what is black and white. Knowing the reality made even more difficult after listening to statements of officials.

Foreign Affairs adviser to PM Sartaj Aziz has admitted that he has no idea about Pakistan’s role in Saudi military alliance. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar denied any presence of Daesh in the country, then piled confusion on top of confusion by denying that he denied anything. Meanwhile intelligence agencies admitted there is not only a presence but it is growing. After Bloomberg warned that Pakistan is facing dangerous risk of defaulting on $50 billions in foreign debt, Finance Ministry rejected the report as ‘not based on facts‘, however the only point that the Ministry argued was the scale of the default, not the default itself.

Analysts believe that Chaudhry Nisar’s refusal to accept the presence of Daesh in Pakistan is attempt to keep the public in the dark in order to prevent panic. This has become the standard trait of official statements, lying to the public ‘for our own good’. However this is not how a democracy works. If officials worry that the people will panic if they know the truth, how will they react once they realise that they have been lied to since long and have no idea of the truth?

Evidence Against Indian Terrorism: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

In January, government sources reported that Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel “presented evidence to the United States (US) which shows India’s involvement in the various terrorist incidents that have occurred in Pakistan”. However when asked by reporters about this evidence, the US appeared puzzled and said they were unaware of any delivery.

Now questions about the reality of evidence are not coming from Washington, they are coming from Islamabad.

The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was told on Thursday that dossiers given to the United States and United Nations Secretary General on India’s alleged involvement in terrorism in Pakistan did not contain ‘material evidence’.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which met with Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the dossiers instead contained the “pattern and narrative” of Indian involvement.

Sadly, this report did not surprise anyone. When official photos were released of the dossiers being delivered, many commented that it didn’t look like there was much there.

Maleeha Lodhi delivers dossiers on Indian involvement

Creating more confusion, though, was that the same day that media reported Sartaj Aziz’s statement about lack of material evidence, the same media also reported a statement by Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah that “the dossiers contain ‘hard’ and ‘irrefutable’ evidence”.

Which is the truth? Which is a lie? Both Sartaj Aziz and Qazi Khalilullah cannot both be correct. Either there is irrefutable evidence or there isn’t. Both are government officials of the same government, and both are singing a different tune. It is sadly something that we have become immune to. We know we are being misled, but we allow it as long as we are being misled to believe what we want to believe instead of having to face any reality that we don’t like.

The reality of the mysterious dossiers is known only to government high ups in Pakistan and US. The only thing we can know of them is what we are told. In Pakistan, what we are told is contradictory. Maybe to find the truth we should look at what the reaction has been from Washington…which is nothing.

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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