Back in 2009 Indian analysts feared a military takeover in Islamabad after terrorist attacks on a visiting cricket team in Lahore. Pakistan Army was a better option for negotiations than civilian politicians. The reason for this bizarre admission is, the Generals of Rawalpindi control Pakistan, period. Here is an excerpt from a 2009 political analysis by Daily News & Analysis (DNA) based in New Delhi:
His comment came after the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore on Tuesday.
“Our worst security nightmare is Pakistan collapsing, that is what they (the US) have to prevent first, if their Afghan strategy has to win,” he said.
The world cannot allow Pakistan to fall apart as a splintered country is even more dangerous for the international community.
India found it easier to deal with a military dictator like General Pervez Musharraf, simply because the government knew where the power-centre was. That the civilian government does not call the shots in Pakistan was made amply clear after the Mumbai terror attacks.
“Pakistan imploding is old news, it has been happening for long. It will not collapse right away, but steadily, one brick in the wall at a time,’’ said former diplomat Arvind Deo.
He blamed the US for continuing to throw money at Pakistan and pampering the military to fight against jihadis and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He agreed that India would suffer the most if Pakistan fell apart.
“Jihadi forces are in Lahore fighting to create a pure Islamic state. The civilian government has been unable to stop the tide,’’ said Deo.
Sociologist Dipankar Gupta said, “From the very beginning, Pakistan has not bothered to build institutions. It has relied too much on its security apparatus.”
“It’s a siege within now,’’ said strategic analyst K Subrahmanyam.
“The forces Pakistan had nurtured have now come home to roost. But we must have patience and give Pakistan time to make the right moves. Pakistan’s military was allowed to get away while playing with fire. Now we have to suffer.’’
November 27, 2011, NATO air strikes kill 28 Pak soldiers creating a deep rift between two countries. GHQ responds quickly by suspending NATO supply routes through NWFP, and by calling for the closure of Shamsi airbase used for launching Drone attacks by NATO/US. Earlier, Pakistan’s US Ambassador Hussein Haqqani was removed from his post for getting embroiled in a controversial “Memo” from Zardari in the aftermath of May 2nd US attack in Abottabad (Bin Laden’s excecution). Zardari allegedly wanted US protection fearing a military takeover by the angry Generals.
Things have hardly been normal since independence, starting with a history of military interventions. Political leaders have time and again failed to make much progress either. Corruption by jobless, and quite often incompetent persons, show up in a ‘rags to riches’ story, expensive cars, houses in posh areas and large windfall profits in commerce. Extravagant lifestyles of the rich and powerful politicians demonstrate the perceived benefit of being in politics.
Insecurity, mistrust and disgust for corrupt politicians are further corroborated by the politicians themselves. They accuse their rivals of exactly the same vices that caused public rancor against them, each calling his counterpart corrupt, incapable and treacherous. They provide that much needed credibility for a military intervention, to set things right.
Since 9/11 and the aftermath of the US attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan Army slowly lost whatever prestige it had after its detestable part in the 1971 civil war against East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) followed by an ignoble surrender to India (90,000 Pak soldiers taken as POWs by India). Parvez Musharraf changed sides fast enough to go from holding a “Pak-Taliban Brotherly relationship” to “Talibans are Terrorists” to imprint his name amongst world’s top 10 hypocrites of all time.
What followed was a more deplorable state of affairs for his government. Sectarian in-fighting, terror attacks in mosques, factionalism, political assassinations, disunity, threats of external attacks, all combined to expose General Musharraf’s true nature as a failed con-man. Pakistanis got rid of him, a little too late though. By the end of his rule, Americans had bases in strategic NWFP, Pakistan Taliban added to an existing long list of Jihadists and an economy badly in need of more funding.
Zardari – Gilani duo have pretty much lost their grip on Islamabad, starting with the execution of Bin Laden in Abottabad. Lahore rally of former cricketer Imran Khan drove that point home like a hammer. Satellite TV news programs made that clear as they brought politicians, analysts and academics from differing camps to debate and finally comment on its immense impact. Imran’s rally was quickly followed by Muslim League rally in Faisalabad lead by the Sharif brothers.
The removal of Hussein Haqqani was next. It is not difficult to guess who could have called the shots, especially after successful opposition parties’ show down against Zardari. It would not make sense for Zardari to fire his compliant envoy in the most important embassy outside Asia.
Pakistanis should be getting ready for another military takeover. After Ayub, Yahya, Zia and Parvez it will be Kayani’s turn to try and correct lots of things that went awfully wrong. All hopes are on him, dubbed as a professional soldier par excellence. But Kayani is a product of that same old military school that taught Musharraf backstabbing, Zia bigotry, Yahya barbaric mentality and Ayub egotism. Nothing less than a miracle can alter the time-honored tradition of Army Generals. There is too much at stake for change to happen.
Kayani will be faced with the issue, “what is good for US, is good for Pakistan”, therefore, Pakistan must bend backwards to please the US administration. Pakistan provides bases for US/NATO operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and maybe Iran in the future. It allows US Drones to kill innocent unarmed citizens. Vital supply lines to NATO in Afghanistan run through Pakistan. It protects foreign interests by killing its own citizens under the cover of “anti terror offensive”. They betrayed the fellowship of the brave soldiers.
Pakistan’s future is not in the hands of its Generals. People are making a noise loud enough to reach GHQ, “no more double talking, backstabbing, hypocrites please”. In a country where guns are louder than thunder, people’s voice matter little. It’s the Generals who call the shots, compelling others to obey them by force if necessary. It is this line of thinking that justifies being classified as “trash”. They really have had enough filth from their Generals and politicians alike. It is time for popular revolt to remove a nation’s burden of ambiguity and to usher in an era of internationalism, rule of law and support for righteousness.