20 April 2024 08:53 AM



“We are Sliding Back to the Bhutto-Zia Era: One Grave, Two Claimants”

A Rope Long Enough

It is said that if you give a madman a rope long enough to hang himself, he will soon hang himself. Nawaz Sharif is committing political suicide yet again and is close to hanging himself. He is bringing the issue to a choice between himself or Pakistan. The choice is obvious; for the loser its only a matter of time, though I hope the grave is only political. We cannot suffer another physical ‘hang until death’ situation again, for the consequences with deform and mutilate our coming history. Killing does not solve any problems but creates new and worse ones. Political defeat or death is the sensible and mature thing to hope for.

We are accused of creating a furor by overreacting to disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s assertion in a specially arranged interview with pet journalist Cyril Almeida of DAWN newspaper (what, not him and DAWN again? — talk of being “reckless”. I sometimes wonder whether it is Nawaz who is committing suicide or DAWN) that the Mumbai attacks of 26/11 were, in fact, felicitated by Pakistan? Or “non-state” actors from Pakistan who could have been prevented by state actors from carrying them out that led to 150 deaths? The implication here is that 26/11 was planned and implemented by the Pakistan Army and the ISI and thus Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism. In so doing Nawaz parroted the usual Indian and U.S. narrative that Pakistan is a sponsor of terrorism and terrorist state: look who’s talking. Both Jesus and Krishna wept. Nonetheless, Nawaz’s ill-considered interview has given them the excuse to do Pakistan down. One feared Indian military action along the border or the LOC or even along the western border via Afghanistan once we get a not-fully-empowered caretaker government. A skirmish along the Sialkot working boundary instead in progress as I write: 3 children and 3 women dead already. Isn’t it utter madness to incite a well-armed nuclear state of 220 million people who will unite with alacrity and fight to the last man and woman and child and win in the end. Problem is that both India and the USA are led by mad egomaniacs while we have only a charade of government: our de jure prime minister says that Nawaz Sharif is his real prime minister, would you believe? Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is trying to defend his prime minister’s demented statement without a smidgen of credibility, because after his pathetic attempt his real prime minister owned up to the interview as published and made him sound like a right ass. Abbasi is even more tragic than I expected.

Any wonder then that Pakistanis and their media became highly inflamed and the Indian media had a hysterical field day? No wonder many Pakistanis are asking that Nawaz be tried for High Treason under Article 6 of the constitution and for violating the Official Secrets Act. But before doing anything rash, in anger or in haste, let us pause a while. Let’s not get impatient; Nawaz will reach the end of the rope by himself.

To help understanding, if I told you that former U.S. President Barrack Obama had told the Washington Post that the 9/11 attacks were not the handiwork of Al Qaeda but a brainchild of a CIA-MOSSAD false flag operation to create justification for attacking and destroying the Muslim world — from Pakistan with its nuclear arsenal, Afghanistan and the Middle East to Muslim North Africa. Wouldn’t Americans go ape? Wouldn’t their media go into a frenzied overdrive? They would, wouldn’t they? They would also ask for Obama to be tried for treason. Our reaction is normal — just what you would expect. Sorry Obama, I was just creating a fictional situation in your country and asking how Americans would react to help understanding of our reaction. I have no doubt about your patriotism.

Regardless of whether the 9/11 attacks were or were not carried out by Al Qaeda, as so many people including Americans still question, the 26/11 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks were certainly not the brainchild of Pakistan. For what purpose: to provide justification for action, military or economic, against Pakistan, which could now happen? Read Elias Davidson’s book ‘The Betrayal of India’ in which she asserts that 26/11 was an Indian false flag dastardly deed to put the blame on Pakistan.

Nawaz’s interview did not happen suddenly or thoughtlessly but was specially arranged. Cyril Almeida was flown in to Multan in a special aircraft arranged by the de facto government and, if photographs are to be believed, treated to a sumptuous meal seated next to Nawaz Sharif. Thus Sharif could not have said what he said in the heat of the moment but said it by design. Brother Shahbaz Sharif is right: whoever arranged the interview and encouraged Nawaz Sharif has to be an enemy of Nawaz and unwittingly of the State. No, the purpose was to put the army or establishment, call it whatever you will, under so much pressure that it would find an exit for Nawaz Sharif from his present grave legal difficulties. It backfired. It has increased Sharif’s difficulties manifold. For one, his party is fraying fast at the edges and all over. Two, there may yet be a treason case instituted against him after the elections that I cannot for the life of see him winning, even if his “celestial forces” voted for him as they used to. He is done.

Takes me back to the old Bhutto-Zia days when it was said the there is only one grave and two claimants. The inevitable outcome was foretold: Bhutto’s execution because he who wields the sword wins (though in the end Zia too lost). It was most unfortunate, for it changed the course of our history for the worse. We got the Bhutto princess and then her corrupt husband and may still yet get her reluctant son who has had ‘greatness’ thrust upon him. In many ways Bhutto brought it upon himself, by appointing Zia as his army chief thinking he was is an obedient stooge; by refusing Zia’s offer of exile and telling him that he would make bootlaces out of his moustache. But Bhutto was different from Nawaz: he was fired by a sense of history and his place in it. Nawaz is fired by a sense of his right to rule by hook or by crook. He is a right royal dotard surrounded by bigger dotards. Is there no one who can knock some sense into his head?

(Humayun Gauhar is an analyst, Editor in Chief of Blue Chip magazine and Senior Fellow of the NUST-Global Think Tank Network based in Pakistan)