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HUMAYUN GAUHAR | 5 APRIL, 2016

Death During Life: From Jinnah to Zardari-Nawaz


The only good news last week was the capture of a colonel-level Indian spy from its premier intelligence agency RAW and his candid confession on television. He admitted that he repeatedly entered Pakistan through Iran (were our border checks disabled?), was tasked to destabilize Balochistan and Karachi particularly and assist in many a terrorist outrage here. How many more such Indian spies are there is anyone’s guess. But finally we have proof that calling India a state sponsor of terrorism was not only correct, it is much more: a terrorist state. But will the world listen? Of course not: many a western country is a state terrorist itself. It will be business as usual. That shouldn’t stop us from making a big a song and dance of it on the diplomatic front. But we don’t even have a proper foreign minister: the prime minister holds the foreign affairs portfolio and he cannot hide his soft corner for India because of a conflict of interest with his businesses.

It took a press conference by the DG ISPR, Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa to expose the Indian spy on media, with the information minister sitting by, near mute and looking decidedly shifty and uncomfortable and finally running away. The childish idea was to show that he is the boss and the army and what passes for our civilian government are “on the same page”.

So let me deviate again for another week from my articles on life after death to ‘Death During Life’. That is where we as a state have nearly arrived. It is there before all to see. Total loss of governance; total loss of control; total lack of common sense; total economic degradation, bankrupt with our souls mortgaged to the Devil; growing wretchedness, rationed gas and electricity, uncertain air travel, no jobs, no education, no healthcare, no security, no hope… The only thing we have in full measure is corruption, nepotism and obscurant extremists running amok, terrorists of various hues stalking the land, India sponsoring state terrorism all over, the Grim Reaper everywhere.

But for the army the state would have come to a standstill by now. The army’s job is to protect our borders and fight enemies within and without. But because of total government failure the army and its paramilitary Rangers are forced to do much more otherwise there will be nothing left for them to protect. Just consider. The army-Rangers have to:

1. Fight corruption.

2. Fight terrorism everywhere because it is everywhere, with terrorist sympathizers sitting in the federal and provincial governments and in many political parties.

3. Maintain peace in Sindh, Karachi, Lahore, the Punjab, Quetta and Balochistan, Peshawar and KPK especially Swat and Waziristan and everywhere I have forgotten.

4. Protect Islamabad and its obscene ‘Red Zone’ that Sheikh Rashid mistakenly called the ‘Red Light Area’ that houses so-called VIPs and state buildings.

5. Protect the Paralyzed Puppet Parliament.

6. Hold elections, even bye-elections, anywhere and everywhere because of civilian incompetence, danger of politics-engendered violence and the political propensity to rig the ballot.

7. Conduct the much-delayed population census. We don’t even know how many people we are, what sex we are, what ages and where we live, and they talk about development and representation?

8. Take care of natural calamities like floods and earthquakes.

9. Take care of unnatural, manmade calamities.

10. Maintaining law and order during Muharram, Shab-e-Baraat and on any occasion during which violence could ensue.

11. Implement the National Action Plan against militant terrorism and economic terrorism.

12. Provide security to the CPEC and to the Chinese workers involved.

13. Provide justice through military courts.

And so much more that the ‘democratic’ civilian dispensation is unable to do: this is over and above the military’s routine duties, beyond the call of duty. Any wonder that the people are looking to the army again to pull them out of the democratic hellfire? But the army shouldn’t fall for it because in the end it will earn only opprobrium. We rejoice when a bad civilian ruler falls then hanker after him or her and rejoice when they return. They deserve not the government that they get but the government that they want and elect. Let them learn. Meantime, the army is doing well to work behind a civilian facade. It happens in other ‘democratic’ countries too. Read ‘Pentagon’s Brain’.

There was carnage in a Lahore park killing 75. Why? Because it was Easter so terrorists went on a Christian-killing spree but ended up killing more Muslims. Reminds one of Roman times when they used to throw Christians to the lions just for entertainment. There was the demented sit-in by extremists before Islamabad’s parliament paralyzing government and business for four days. Why? To demand that a self-confessed executed murderer be officially declared a martyr can you believe? What a joke they have made of the concepts of martyrdom and Jihad. They are not Muslims. They know nothing of God’s Islam that means Peace. Their minds were full of cleric-spewed garbage. Silence. Then the prime minister finally spoke.

It won’t go down as one of the great speeches in history. Far from it, he gave us his usual meaningless drivel full of well-worn clichés. It was a study of a beleaguered man in his mental bunker with total loss of control, lost look on his face, living in acute denial. He had nothing new to say so he said nothing. The truth is that there is no government in this country. We are living because we are still breathing; else we are as good as dead. What a fall in just eight years of tyranny in democracy’s clothing my fellow countrymen and women. Somewhere along the way our dream turned not just sour but into a nightmare. When the nightmare will be over is anyone’s guess. Is the Pakistan Project morphing again like it did a quarter of a century ago? Will the nightmare be over then? What a nightmare – millions dead, millions more refugees going hither and yon with no one willing to accept them – shades of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine… God forgive us our sins and save us. As I said last week, only Divine intervention can save us now. We are in over our heads.

The prime minister needs to put his own house in order first and I’m talking primarily of the House of Sharif and their henchmen in cabinet. Many are not even on speaking terms. The finance minister seems to be the de facto deputy prime minister. There is talk of a rift between the brothers Sharif and their families, both apparently vying for their political inheritance to establish the Sharif Dynasty of Kashmir. The loot has apparently already having been divided. Does this rift, if it is indeed there, have anything to do with the Punjab government headed by the younger Sharif permitting a huge congregation of extremist exterminators in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Park that lies in the jurisdiction of the Punjab government? How was the congregation allowed to march unhindered from Rawalpindi to Islamabad 7-10 kilometers distance? Once in Islamabad, where was the federal government? Has it misunderstood the acronym of the National Action Plan – NAP – literally and gone for a long nap? Was the Punjab government trying to embarrass the federal government? Or are they just stupid? Never rule that out.

The result is that the federal government is still there but the army has increased the intensity of its anti-terrorism operation in the Punjab that could net many a corrupt, criminal big wig of the ruling party.

All is not lost, though. Question is: how long does it take for an honest, competent, patriotic, courageous, educated, clearheaded leadership to emerge? It can take a very short time. Maybe never. I believe it can emerge because good men and women in this country, especially amongst the youth, are in abundance both educated and those without formal education but who have learnt reality from the School of Hard Knocks that life gives us all. Hard knocks are a great source of learning, for unfortunate is the man who knows no failure, according to Hazrat Ali, for he doesn’t get a chance to know himself and God.

Some good things come out of bad. Having finally launched a belated cleanup operation in the Punjab, the army must go ahead with full speed and vigor without fear or favour. It may not like to take the reins of the country again, but the ‘elected’ government’s incompetence, hypocrisy and the self-interest of politicians are sucking the army in whether it likes it or not. When everyone is double-faced, speaks with forked tongues and promises what he knows he cannot deliver, what chance is there? So it would be wise for the army to prepare a status quo changing plan instead of waiting to dust down the same old and failed standard operating procedure manual.

Finally, the lie of the army and civilian government being “on the same page” is over. The army has launched an operation in Punjab against terrorism, economic terrorism and aiders and abettors of terrorism without seeking the permission of the government. The illusion is over. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and their henchmen and toadies are beside themselves with worry. If the operation goes to its logical conclusion it will reach their doorsteps. To create the illusion of a pro-active government in control Nawaz Sharif has formed a committee (yet another?) headed by – wait for it – the Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah to oversee the army operation. Jesus wept. What a joke. He could be one of the prime targets of the cleanup operation. Who are they trying to fool? There may not even be an army-civilian Apex Committee like there is in Sindh. No point: it only creates hurdles, delays and protects the corrupt. We can no longer afford such farcical pretenses.

To be sure Pakistan too is caught in the throes of the Great Global Change that is taking place, but it is like a rabbit caught in the headlights of the oncoming car because its leaders don’t have the mental capacity to understand what is going on. In America you see fascism raising its ugly head as the Republican Party tears itself apart. The Democrats are not presenting any new sweet smelling rose, with apologies to the pretty lady. The American political system is imploding. Many fear another big economic downturn, bigger than in October 2008.

The European Project may be taking its last gasps. With it will go its fatherless currency the Euro. If there is Brexit it could hasten the end. Whether it damages a bankrupt United Kingdom further or not remains to be seen. The Phoenix that will rise again from the ashes is European fascism, but this time it could be joined by America if Trump or Cruz are elected. As World War II was triggered by the rise of German fascism targeting Jews, the new European fascism will target Muslims triggered off by millions of refugees and migrants driven out of their lands by the bombings of NATO and their own tyrants desperately clinging on to power. Of course the West will never accept that these migrants are of their own making, triggered by their meddling, creating militant groups as false flags and bombing many Arab lands. Their demented misdeeds are coming home to roost. Their propaganda is and will be that it is all the fault of Islam and its ‘Jihadism’. It is not happening for the first time: it has happened before as it has in other lands earlier when Europeans were living in caves so to speak and America was not even an idea. These woes are the result of hegemony run amok, alpha males gone awry.

As I’ve said many times, maps are being redrawn as they were after every World War. It is happening in Muslims countries but there is no gainsaying that Europe’s boundaries will not be redrawn again too, as they were after the two World Wars, the Cold War and now after the War on Terror.

Lights out, good night, God be with you.

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