What used to be a store room had been converted into my study. It was lined with books by Mao, Lenin and Marx.
I had turned five earlier that year, living in the house where I was born. It was cavernous and located in the compound of a Power House, which was in turn located on the banks of the Phuleli Canal. The canal originated from the Indus River at the GM Barrage several miles away where we would often go for picnics.
I was afraid to ask Dad what he did. So I asked Mom what he did. She said he was the Resident Engineer for the Hyderabad Electricity Supply Undertaking. Those big words did not mean much to me but I knew he had something to do with electricity, which kept the lights on and which shocked you if you touched a live wire.
Our house was a two-storey structure and we slept upstairs. In the mornings, we were often awakened by the whistle of the engine as the train approached the bridge over the canal that ran past the house.
Then October arrived. One fine morning, I woke up thinking the train was whistling by. But the normal rattling sound of hundreds of wheels going over the tracks was missing. Something else had disturbed the peace. But what was it? My sister motioned towards me and I followed her towards the stairs. Something was the matter with Dad, she said. I felt my lips go numb.
She told me a phone call had come for Dad. It was from the guard. Dad had sounded very agitated during the call and had yelled back something to the guard. Then he had rushed off downstairs in his pajamas to make sure his orders were being followed.
By the time we got to the stairs, Dad had disappeared. But one of his slippers was still on the steps. It was so funny, imagining him running out with only one slipper on. Both of us broke out laughing until Mom called us back to our bedroom.
My sister beckoned me to the bedroom window. We looked down into the compound and at the road that ran through it. At this time of day, it would be totally empty and quiet. In the faint light of dawn, we saw that several cars were parked there. But they did not have wheels and their bodies were much higher from the ground and they were painted in dark colors. Their front lights were on but covered up with wires and leaves. They looked ominous. Tall men all wearing the same clothes and carrying rifles were standing next to them.
Fear gripped me and I was concerned about Dad. My sister did not appear worried and Mom was fine. So I assumed everything was fine.
Soon afterwards, Dad came back and told us to go back to bed. He said everything was fine. By now, I had figured out when not to ask a question. I climbed on my bed and pretended to go back to sleep.
Later, Mom told me that the soldiers had come in to protect the Power House from the bad guys. Who were they? No one was saying and I did not want to ask. She explained what had happened. The soldiers had arrived in a convoy and asked the guard to open the gate. Loyal to his boss, he had refused to take orders from them. He had called Dad to ask for instructions and when Dad understood who was knocking at the gate, he ordered the guard to let them in. They were the guardians of our freedom. Then he rushed downstairs to greet the soldiers.
In the following decade, the memory of that day would be preserved as Revolution Day. General Ayub Khan promised to put the country back on the rails. In four years, the general would become president and give the gift of Basic Democracy to his fellow citizens saying they were not ready for full democracy and that he had to protect the people from themselves.
He would also assume the rank of field marshal. He looked so tall and handsome in that British uniform, with the baton tucked in his side and all those brass medals gleaming on his chest. His English was better than that of the Catholic priests in my school. What was there not to like in him?
We were in total awe. After all, he had said that he was going to keep us safe from the corrupt politicians who had ruined the country ever since it had become independent of the vile British. And he would keep us safe from the horrible Indians who wanted to kill us simply because we were Muslims.
In a year or two, after that fine October morning, Dad was promoted. We moved out of the Power House compound into a house in the Government Officers Residence Colony. But the new house, C-3, was smaller and I did not like it. I really missed spending my afternoons looking at the water flowing in the Phuleli Canal. Once a body had come floating by, causing a huge stir. Once a year, a religious ceremony would take place on the road bridge that was visible from our back wall. At the end, funeral objects would be lowered into the canal and go past our house. It was all so interesting, life by the Canal.
The day came when I was admitted to the St Bonaventure's High School, far away from home where I had been doing home school with Mom for a while now. The school had a big church with statues inside. We did not go inside for fear of becoming Christian.
Dad began to travel all over Sindh since his responsibilities extended to the operation of all the power houses in southern Pakistan. We would help him pack and unpack his bags every few days. Many resident engineers, now called executive engineers, reported to him and called him Sir. The company name changed to the Water and Power Development Authority.
One day Dad told us that a new power station had been built far away from our original house. This one was bigger than the Power House where I had grown up and it was a thermal plant. I did not know what thermal meant but I did not like it.
President Ayub would be coming by for the opening ceremony and a small group of children would sing the national anthem to greet him. I was going to be one of those children. That day came. I must have been eight years old. We sang the song and President Ayub, redder than any man I had seen, looked at us and smiled. It felt so warm, that look in his eyes.
The next year we moved to Sukkur. My sister and I were enrolled in St Mary's High School which was co-educational. She was two years ahead of me. In each classroom, boys and girls sat in different sections but there was plenty of eye-contact. Father Todd was the principal. He had been the vice principal at St Bonaventure's High and coincidently had moved from Hyderabad to Sukkur with us. He liked me.
During recess, one day in late October, I was talking with a group of friends in the school yard. Word arrived that the American president, John F Kennedy, had been shot dead. We were saddened since the president's wife had toured Karachi not too long ago and in the newspaper pictures of her visit, she looked very friendly. On hearing the news of Kennedy's death, one of the boys said something very bizarre: That Pakistan should send a plane and take over the US. Even if we wanted to do it, it did not sound feasible to me, just with one plane. And it was a land so far away. But I kept quiet. He was a bigger kid.
Dad's travels now encompassed the neighbouring province of Balochistan. We went to the garrison town of Quetta with him once, near the Afghan border. That would be the most exciting train ride of my life. The train went through several tunnels and at one point, when it encountered a steep slope, several engines had to push it through. Quetta was full of orchards and we toured them with Mom while Dad worked. We feasted on figs and apricots and plums. The high altitude air was fresh and crisp but dry. For the first time, I applied Vaseline on my lips. We also toured a coal mine by putting on helmets with lights and riding in small wagons.
Our house in Sukkur was located in the Barrage Colony, named after the eponymous structure which lay just a mile away. Originally called the Lloyd Barrage and now called the Sukkur Barrage, it had taken nine years to build. The British viceroy had opened it in 1932. Several canals came out of the barrage and irrigated the Indus River valley.
The British had built the world's largest irrigation network in what was now Pakistan and laid down the vast network of trains that ran throughout the country. They had given us the lovely game of cricket. But the child in me did not understand why we cursed them in the very language they had bequeathed to us.
Not too far away lay the ruins of the great Harappan Civilisation in a desolate spot called Mohenjo-Daro (mound of the dead). We would go there often with visiting relatives. There was not much to see since salinity in the soil had decimated the ruins. Only the foundations remained. But it was a good spot for picnicking. Along the way we would drive through a town called Larkana in which a famous family called the Bhuttos lived.
Summers in Sukkur were very hot. We had no air conditioning and during the first summer my entire body broke out in prickly heat. My classmates did not want to come near me. Mom covered me with some dark mud from Multan and I looked even worse. But the blisters went away.
At night, the servants would move our beds into the open patio and we would count the stars of the Milky Way until Mom would unfurl the mosquito nets and we would fall asleep. Late into the night you could hear the squeaking of the wagons as the farmers returned home from the field. The design was just like what you would see in the museum in Mohenjo-Daro. It had survived unchanged from the Bronze Age.
Our house was across the street from the Tennis Club. We did not know how to play tennis but we knew it was a British invention. Some white kids came by every evening to play. Initially, I mistook them for the British but Mom told me that they were Americans. We would watch them play from across the road and wave to them. Once in a while, they would wave back and we would get a thrill. But we never talked. They were foreign and possibly dangerous.
Pakistani men dressed in shorts would play there as well. Sometimes an important man would come there to have a drink or two. We never saw him play tennis. He was ZA Bhutto, the president's right hand man, whose home we had seen in Larkana.
Bhutto would stay in the staid and elegant Circuit House, which was not too far down the road from our house. We were told it was fashioned after an English manor. We liked him. He was young, dashing and flamboyant in every sense of the term. We did not know then that he was a feudal lord who had no love for the peasants who tilled the soil. Nor did we know that he had been applying pressure on government servants to hire so-and-so. My Dad got his share of notes from Bhutto.
Now it was time for the presidential elections. Ayub was being challenged by a very old and thin woman who we were told was the sister of the Quaid. She resembled a witch. We wanted her to lose. I was a cub-scout and the scout master (who was also our math teacher) told us one day that we would march to the railway station in uniform and line up along the main road to greet the president.
And so we did march. The station wore a festive look, decorated with festive banners carrying pictures of Ayub and Bhutto. All the tree trunks had been painted white up to five feet and looked like school children.
The train took forever to arrive and I almost passed out standing at attention in the heat. Finally a black limousine swung out of the station with the star-and-crescent fluttering on the hood. Ayub had never looked so regal in civilian clothes. Seated next to him was Bhutto, dubbed the 'Lion of Sindh' in the banners. We proudly saluted both of them in our scout uniforms.
Ayub won the elections. We were elated. But there was rioting in Karachi. His son had led a victory procession and it had turned violent.
In April 1965, my Dad and I were stuck in a traffic jam on the approaches to the Sukkur Barrage. An army convoy was ahead of us, barely crawling. I asked Dad why he was not honking at them. He said you never honk at the army. The army trucks were loaded with troops and stood very high up from the ground. Even their engines sounded different. Some soldiers were on the ground, guiding the convoy. They looked incredibly smart and I wanted to be one of them.
Dad told me that troops we were seeing were probably under the command of Maj.-Gen. Tikka Khan and that they were moving towards the border to engage with the Indians, who had been making mischief yet again. They were coming from Quetta which he told me was a garrison town and where the British had established the Command and Staff College which he had pointed out to us when we were there. The short encounter at the Rann of Kutch was decisive and the Pakistani Army prevailed. We were elated.
Then Dad retired. We moved to Karachi, to live in a flat that he had built in 1958, the year of that fine October morning. It was very small, part of a four-unit structure, and had a tiny weed-infested garden. I did not like it. And it had a very complex number: IV/F/4/4.
But then Karachi was Pakistan's biggest city and complexity was to be expected. Even though we had been coming to that teeming metropolis every summer to stay with our aunt and play with our cousins, who were not only the friendliest but also the most intelligent people I knew, it felt odd now to be living in that city.
On the 6th of September the news broke that war with India had broken out. Ayub went on the radio and told us that India had attacked Lahore. Two decades later, we would learn that commandoes of the Pakistani Army had intruded into Indian Kashmir a few weeks prior, provoking the Indians to counter-attack.
The war ended as abruptly as it had begun just 16 days later. We were told we had won. We had conquered more Indian territory than they had, shot down more of their planes, destroyed more of their tanks and killed more of their people. That myth of victory was shattered when Ayub signed the Tashkent Declaration with India in the Soviet Union the following January and all territory was returned. Bhutto broke from him and formed a political party, threatening to "let the cat out of the bag," about how Ayub had sold out to the Indians in Tashkent.
Soon Dad had a new lawn put in (and I would ruin it later while practicing my cricket bowling skills). He also had four lovelyGulmohar (Royal Poinciana) trees planted just outside the front entrance. When summer arrived, I would study in the living room and watch the dappled shadows of the Gulmohar fall on the lawn. Dad subscribed to TIME, LIFE and the Readers Digest so my view of America was heavily influenced by their editorial policy. What used to be a store room had been converted into my study. It was lined with books by Mao, Lenin and Marx and decorated with pictures of these men. Dad was not pleased with my collection but was very tolerant with me, hoping that someday my obsession would burn out.
My Catholic school, St Patrick's High, was far away from home but that was where I went every weekday, first in a car pool and then in the Number 40 bus.
One school trip took us back to Hyderabad, where I had spent my childhood. For some reason the public madhouse was on the itinerary. It fascinated us. In one square, a man had propped himself up on a stand and was giving a political speech. He was also asserting seriously that he was Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan who was assassinated in 1951 while giving a speech in Rawalpindi. In another area, a naked man was terrorising people with his aggressive talk.
On the way back, we stopped at the farm town of Hala, home to a famous Sufi shrine. I had been there before but the boys from Karachi were awestruck. At dusk, we began the long drive home. We were now traversing through a heavily wooded area and our luck ran out. In the darkness, the bus had broken down. There was no other traffic on the road.
It was scary and many of the kids began to cry. Help took hours to arrive. Finally, the bus was repaired and we were taken to a local village and fed omelets and tea. We must have reached our school at daybreak. Our worried Dads were there to greet us.
I graduated from high school and was admitted to Adamjee Science College, one of the best science colleges in the country. My plan was to attend the same engineering college that my brother had done and like every other man in the family, contribute to the engineering profession. But it was soon apparent that I was good in theory and lousy in the lab.
I thought the army would be a good career and began to imagine myself as a major commanding a squadron of Patton tanks. But that was not to be. I was found to be medically unfit because of an insufficient chest expansion, flat feet and knock-knees. So a decision was made for me to study economics, take the competitive exam for the civil service and become the first Faruqui in that profession.
In 1968, Ayub began to celebrate his Decade of Development. Riots broke out all over the country. He was no longer popular. The following year, on one fine March morning, he resigned, saying he could not preside over the destruction of his country.
Yahya's troops arrived on the streets of Karachi and knocked on our front door. They asked us to remove the four Gulmohar trees that graced the roadway because they encroached on the roadway. Dad complied and I cried. As they were being cut down, one could not but help notice that the trees were in full bloom, with their branches draped in flamboyant red.
The arrival of the troops the second time felt so different from the first time. Maybe it felt different because I was 11 years older. Or maybe it felt different because you can't hoodwink the same people twice.
Or maybe it simply spelled the end of innocence.
We would learn later, when Ayub's son would publish his memoirs, that the then army chief General Yahya Khan, had deposed the higher ranking Field Marshal Ayub. Ironically, I would also later read that it was Bhutto who had advised Ayub to become a Field Marshal in the first place so that he would out-rank all general officers and thereby coup-proof himself. Just three years later, Yahya would send troops under the command of General Tikka Khan into East Pakistan, to quell a rebellion that was getting out of control. In nine months, in another war with India, he would lose half the country, thereby bringing the army's arch rival Bhutto to power. Up until then, I had been a diehard Bhutto fan. But his true colors had begun to show through the peasant clothes he would put on for the grand rallies which I would attend with such passion. He talked of socialism while living in the lap of luxury at 70 Clifton.
And worse, for those of us who had turned socialist on his urging, he was going to send his daughter Benazir, who would later become prime minister, to Harvard located in the heart of capitalistic America, a country that had waged a war on the Vietnamese. A war that Bhutto himself had condemned more than once. I wrote a letter to Bhutto in protest and he replied that he could not help me because I was confused, and added: "When the history of this country is written, it will be admitted by our people and by the world outside that no individual has done so much service to the cause of socialism in Pakistan as I have done." He concluded that his decision to educate his children in the US was not incompatible with his political convictions since his children were not in politics.
At 21, I moved to the US and embraced capitalism. It was a hot September day in 1974 when I unpacked my bags in the graduate dorm at The University of California at Davis. In the cafeteria, I met an engineering student from India, by the name of Krishna. This was my first contact with an Indian. To my surprise, he smiled at me, loved to chat about cricket and enjoyed the same foods. He had even grown up in the city (Benares) where Dad had studied for his undergraduate degree in engineering.
What was there to hate in him? I wrote with great excitement to Dad and he wrote back, saying that the best years of his life were spent in India. He and Mom, with my brother, had migrated from India soon after the Great Partition of 1947. They had left the land of their childhood and their dreams in search of a Promised Land.
I had fully intended to return home, and did not know that I was destined to become an American citizen and to be called a foreigner when I would return "home". In a few years, Bhutto would appoint the suppliant General Zia to lead the army, not knowing that one day Zia would not only depose him but eventually hang him.
Decades later, Quetta, that remote garrison town near the Afghan border which we had toured as children with my sister and Mom and Dad, would emerge on the international scene as the headquarters of the Taliban. Today it is a city of fear, where disappearances and targeted killings are the norm.
And Swat, nestled in the foothills of the pristine Karakoram Mountains, where we had gone on our honeymoon in 1975, would become the scene of beheadings and kidnappings and every vile thing known to man.
Or that Abbottabad, through which we had driven on the way to Swat, would give sanctuary to the world's most wanted man, a guest from Yemen who had come originally to fight with the Americans against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and where on one warm night in May 2011 his life would come to an end at the hands of the Americans against whom he had carried out the most dastardly terrorist attack in recent memory.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 12th, 2012.
The Pakistani military mindset
2nd August 2003
While third world military figures , in power or retired make impressive speeches at various forums and think tanks , very few outside their countries understand their mindset and motivation , which by and large is driven by highly personalized and ulterior motives !
Keeping this premise in view it is important to understand the mindset and the personalities of the third world military juntas , most important in this case being the Pakistani military junta !
The British Indian Army which gave birth to Pakistan and Indian armies in 1947 was essentially a colonial army designed for internal security and limited defence of India against external threats .The British ensured that all Indians who came to this organization were from the politically most docile and loyal classes ! In order to keep the Indian officer corps slavish they kept a 50 % quota for Indian Army rankers in Indian Military Academy Dera Dun right from its foundation in 1930-32 .
Layman readers may note that the " lower middle class" as well as the " middle class" by and large are the politically most conservative classes ! Social climbers by orientation , intensely careeristic in outlook and extremely conscious of personal benefits , having none or little of the pride or spirit de corps that made the Prussian junker officer defy Hitler ! In the Russian Civil War many major reactionary White Army leaders including Denikin,Kornilov etc were from humble background ! Similarly all of Pakistan's military rulers less Yahya Khan were from humble background and all brought with them the intense greed and ambitiousness of a man from humble origins with none of the ideological idealism that distinguishes a man of ideology from a social climber !
Now the mindset of the military junta :--
1- Personal motives having priority over all other motives :-- You would find no Manstein or Guderian in them but highly ambitious men who practiced sycophancy with their seniors , hole punchers in US terms , yes men ,masters of personal manouvre in order to get the right report from the right boss at the right time ! They pleased their seniors and they know how to handle balls of any benefactor may it be Bush or Reagan where aid is concerned ! They have no ideology less personal interest !
2- View Wars and International Geopolitics as a means of personal benefit:-- The Soviet invasion ofAfghanistan was a divine and phenomenal lottery for Pakistan's military rulers ! Zia the son of a humble tailor , and many of his generals Akhtar etc siphoned millions of US dollars in private accounts , from theUS aid meant for Afghanistan ! knowing the Americans well , they must have also earmarked good retainers for Zia and his ISI chief in any case ! Serious observers like Selig Harrison and Cordovez have concluded that the Pakistani military junta never wanted that the Soviets should withdraw fromAfghanistan since that would have meant stoppage of US aid ! Similarly 9/11 is a heaven sent opportunity for General Musharraf since it enabled him to get US aid and the much needed US boost to stay in power !
3- Can be coerced and bought if the Bigger players know how to drive them:-- These leaders have price tags and can be manipulated to a significant extent without risking wars like the Iraq war ! This is so because their vision is personal , has none of Khomeini or Osama's ideological agenda ! Thus if theUSA sensibly deals with them with carrot and stick they can be made to conform to US policies !
4- Ulterior motives in prolonging conflicts to get aid :-- These leaders have an ulterior motive that their benefactor super power i.e USA is kept occupied in its war against terror , not because they have any love for Islam , but simply because this would bring them more aid , an important part of which is siphoned into private fortunes ! Thus at a certain covert level these leaders are interested in the terrorist's cause also ! Thus the third world intelligence agencies have many irons in the fire whether it is initiating a terrorist outrage or encouraging one !
5- Increasing reliance on coercive power of state :-- Since these leaders have little or no contact with national aspirations of their masses , they increasingly rely on the coercive power of the state which leads either to a Shah of Iran like situation or strengthening of a Saddam like totalitarian regime ! In both cases it was the fault and mishandling of US policy makers !
6- Role of the Intelligence agencies :-- To buy judges , to blackmail politicians , to start wars of low intensity to get aid , to manipulate low intensity war players for specific ends to please or disturb their super power benefactors !
The USA is dealing with sharp social climber third world leaders who know how to please and how to practice sophisticated ball lifting ! These men have no ideology and can withstand tremendous amount of kicking as they did while pleasing seniors in their military careers ! It is simpler to deal with these tinpot dictators than Osama or Mullah Omar ! If policy makers in the USA understand this fact their task would be simpler !
07 July, 2010
Pakistan-The State with Dual Controls
Understanding Pakistan's Strategic Chaos
UNDERSTANDING WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AFTER 5TH JULY 1977
AGHA H AMIN
5TH JULY 2010
This article written with great conviction was sent to all major Pakistani newspapers ! But afraid of the army no one published it ! Even the so called liberal Salman Taseer who also played a policy of playing safe ! Yet this could not save that clever man from being gunned down !
There is no doubt that Pakistan will be destroyed ! It only a question of how many more years !
Also below this article is a strategic analysis carried out later but now its part two.
It was 4th July 1977, Lieutenant General Iqbal Khan told his headquarters staff that at last Mr Z.A. Bhutto and the opposition alliance PNA had reached an amicable peace settlement. My father, a newly promoted brigadier, was one of his staff.
On 5th July 1977 General Zia, the army chief, handpicked by PM Z.A. Bhutto (against the very advice of the Military Secretary's Branch) delivered the fatal blow; not only to democracy but to Pakistan's future. Martial Law was imposed on 5th July 1977.
While Ayub Khan, although a usurper, had separated the military from politics, Zia's system of things imposed the military over politics. That system unfortunately carries on until today.
Zia's worst action was turning Pakistan into a US-Saudi military base against the USSR.
This he did not because the USSR was a threat to Pakistan but because Zia's military dictatorship was under threat from Pakistan's masses and political forces.
The use of non state actors as state proxies was firmly adopted by Zia as a cheap tool of foreign policy and this policy was reversed by no one, including the so-called very secular Benazir or the not so liberal Nawaz Sharif.
Foreign policy - at least the India and Afghanistan policy - became an exclusive affair of Pakistan's military establishment. No civilian has reversed this policy to date.
The political fabric of the country was deeply and fatally infiltrated, and all politicians became tools of blackmail by the state security apparatus.
Benazir Bhutto, although a popular leader, was compromised in such a way that when she came into power in 1988 and 1993 she dared not interfere with the military establishment regarding Pakistan's India or Afghanistan policies.
A military relationship with the USA and Saudi Arabia was established which bypassed Pakistan's political organs as well as the US Congress or Senate and the Department of Defense. CIA and State Department bureaucrats established a direct hotline with Pakistan's military establishment. This relationship survived despite Clinton and remains to this day.
Sectarian and ethnic divisions were encouraged, thus the creation of Sipah I Sahaba, MQM, the baradari culture in Punjab thanks to the 1985 non party elections etc.
The judiciary was successfully coerced into submission and dissenting judges removed by blackmail and persecution. This has remained a fact despite the Iftikhar Chaudhry phenomena - which was a case of a clash of egos rather than a clash of principles - as the valiant judge took a stand when pushed against the wall over a matter of personal survival, having earlier supported the same dictator in distorting Pakistan's constitution.
Religious intolerance was fine tuned and Ahmadis and Shias targeted. A strict bar on promotion of Ahmadi officers beyond colonel level was imposed in the military which continued from 1977 to 1992.
Hadood laws were introduced and done in words of a direct participant IG Ch Sardar Ali so that Saudis could be pleased and milked into giving Pakistan financial aid.
The sad part is that most of Zia's actions were not reversed.
Benazir came into power in 1988 and 1993 under a secret agreement and abdicated control over a major part of Pakistan's foreign and security policy to the Pakistani military establishment. In 2008 also the PPP was allowed into power by NRO under a shady secret deal and, to date, the PPP has no control over Pakistan's foreign or security policy despite being the de jure ruling party of Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif came near ZAB in being a strong political leader when he sacked a naval and a military chief, but was chastised with years in exile and a compromised return to Pakistan under a secret protocol. The new Nawaz Sharif is a weaker Nawaz Sharif represented by a more pragmatic Shahbaz Sharif in power, whose first rule of business is to ask the military before doing anything.
Thus while Zia's mortal remains were burnt over the Hindu Shamshan Ghat over Basti Lal Kamal on that historic 17th August 1988, his system remains in force with a Pakistan ruled by politicians in name and a foreign and security policy firmly in the hands of Pakistan's military establishment. This ideally suits the USA, the Saudis and Pakistan's military establishment.
The gist of the problem is that Pakistan's civilian political leadership has no clue or control over what Pakistan is doing in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Baluchistan, or the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This explains why the USA has secret agreements with Pakistan's military establishment. It's safe, it's practical and it's a one window operation!
The weak link in this whole chain is the misuse of Islam by Pakistan's civil and military elite since 1947. The bluff was called in 2001 and Pakistan is now in the grip of a civil war (since 2003) with no end in sight. A war which has the potential of destroying Pakistan unless good captains can deal successfully with the immensely adverse wind and waves.
The fatal question is can such an anachronistic arrangement last despite being supported by so called demi-gods like the USA and Saudi Arabia? The answer is no, as proven by Pakistan's ongoing civil war in the killing fields of Afghanistan, FATA,the GHQ attack etc !
Pakistans generals and their apologists can give a million excuses but the hard fact is that Pakistan Army is a master in destroying Pakistan as they brilliantly did under Ayub in East Pakistan and under Musharraf in Balochistan !
5 July 2010
-- Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death." -- Albert Einstein !!!
Pakistans Strategic Mess is USAs Strategic Mess too
1978 Revolution ,Pakistan and Strategic Anarchy--Pakistans uncertain future
Agha H Amin
The April 1978 Saur Revolution was a historic event in modern history.
While the revolution merits a whole book or many volumes , we will just very briefly discuss its salient parts.
Afghanistan status as a buffer state was irrevocably transformed into a state where super powers fought proxy wars.Thus some 98 years of Afghan history of being a buffer state was changed.
Power shifted in Afghanistan from a Durrani-Persianised feudal elite into a more broad based multi ethnic state.The new leftist regime had Tajiks ,Hazaras and Uzbeks previously regarded as second and third rate citizens !
Although the coups major leaders were Pashtuns from Paktia and Khost like the indomitable Aslam Watanjar the PDPA was essentially a mix of Persian speaking urbanised intellectuals organised as Parchamis and a more radiacal Pashtun section from Paghman Khost and Paktia known as Parchamis.The Khalqis were rash , bold , impetuous and radiacal , while the Parchamis were more moderate.
The Saur revolution proved a gold mine for Pakistans illegitimate military junta of Zia which till April 1978 was politically an illegitimate bastard child regime.This regime used the Afghan revolution as a pretext to get dollars from USA and Saudi Arabia.Power shifted in Pakistan from a more progressive PPP regime to a more Punjabised regime dominated by refugees from Jullundhur and Batala etc .
Since this new clique was fatherless and illegitimate it used religion as well as caste as a political tool.Thus it outlawed political parties and Pakistani politics became more ethnic andsub ethnic with Punjab divided into castes as political forces and Sindh divided into urban and rural ! The division of Sindh into urban and rural was a planned reaction by the Pakistani illegal military regime as a counter to the MRD Movement of 1983 which had its roots in rural Sindh !
Pashtuns were used as cannon fodder by the military junta as proxies in Afghan war and thus the seeds of religious extremism were planted in Pakistan .
Foreign policy and all security and defence matters in Pakistan became the preserve of Pakistani military which continues till to date !
All civilian governments which came into power after 1988 elections in Pakistan were remote controlled by the Pakistani military and when Nawaz Sharif tried to assert civilian control in 1997-99 he was removed by a military coup.
It would not be wrong to call Pakistan an army with a country and not a country with an army since 5th July 1977, with a short stint of full civilian control by the second PML N Government from February 1997 to October 1999 !
There is no doubt that Pakistan is a state with dual controls since 5th July 1977 with a civilian co pilot who in reality is a flight steward and a hidden real piolt who controls major financial and security issues !
The imbalance in this situation are three new factors i.e (1) religious extremism which is now on a reverse boomerang course against the Pakistani elite (2) regional centrifugal forces in Balochistan (3) an increased foreign interest in Pakistan where foreign powers led by USA see Pakistan as an anachroninistic and adventurist state .
Five cardinal fact stand out in this scenario , (1) The USA severely lacks long term strategic insight and US policy is run on short term objectives which is well proven from how it behaved after USSR withdrew from Afghanistan and till 9/11 (2) Pakistan alone will not be able to restore strategic stability in Afghanistan or even Pakistan itself .Its military which controls major part of Pakistans financial and security policy is not intellectually capable of understanding the immense complexity of strategy andgeopolitics (3) The Pakistani state will not be able to control Islamic extremism (4) The multiplicity of state and non state actors can lead to severe strategic stability culminating in an India Pakistan nuclear stand off.
The Islamists are far more powerful than they seem ! The Pakistani military is not as clever as it thinks it is ! The Americans are strategically pathetic ! Thus the issue will be decided by random and unforeseeable forces !
Certainly what mean mortals who are in charge of affairs in this whole complex drama want may not happen ! Thus the relative less visible forces will take over !
The scene is thus set for strategic anarchy ! The real danger is that Pakistan cannot afford it but it is heading straight into a diasaster course because it has no able navigator at the highest level !
Saif al-Adel-An Unorthodox and Unconventional Leader
Saif al-Adel is an experienced low intensity conflict man who has seen his apprenticeship in the Soviet Afghan War.
He had a stint with the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
He is known to be a master of the unorthodox and appears to have read Sun Tzu as well as Sun Pin and Ho Chi Minh.His favourite method of attack are explosives. He left Egypt shortly after the assasination of Sadaat a man most despised by Egyptians in 1981 .
After 9/11 he fled to Iran also .And after eating iranian caviar and palao al qaeda and many other sunni extremist groups have discovered that the shias are not as bad as brought out in the much paid by Saudi Arabian propaganda.The way Iran as a state received many Al Qaeda and Afghan commanders after 9/11 has improved the Iranian perception,while prevalent propaganda mostly saudi sponsored and financed was deadly anti shia.similarly the way in which the pakistani state abandoned them for US dollars significantly diminished the respect for pakistani state in al qaeda eyes (although non state actors wholeheartedly supported and sheltered al qaeda after 9/11 in Pakistan).The post 9/11 Al Qaeda is thus more anti Pakistan and anti Saudi and both states are their logical targets.Any one of these go down (as is the aimed AQ strategy) and all US efforts and money wasted in GWOT can be straight multiplied by zero.
He is regarded as close to Iranians as he was in Iran for a long time after 9/11 enjoying official Iranian patronage , a good safe house with ample stocks of Iranian caviar and tuna fish.this makes him more anti saudi and more any anti state.he may bring an ovopen change in al qaeda strategy and intensify the attacks on saudi installations as well as pakistani installations.a younger man who is more into technology and known to have some most unorthodox and unconventional ideas about the ongoing great low intensity war.he will give the corporation a new technical dmension. Demise of Bin Laden has actually given Al Qaeda a new life with a new leader who has no qualms or reservations about attacking Saudi Arabia as well as the Pakistani states.With both states now on the sharp path to decline and both viewed as most despicable and dubious by their own masses , Al Qaeda may now resurge as never before.
They have already redeployed in force in Nuristan,Laghman,Kunnar and Kapisa provinces.
So we are all set for grand strategic anarchy !
HA HA HA
All this was not inevitable but has many links with US faux pas and the most inefficient Saudi and Pakistani states both of which are deeply divided in the war against Al Qaeda.
I have had nothing to do with conventional religion all my life but I can say with conviction that both Pakistani and Saudi states are not just equipped or have the capability to fight Al Qaeda ! The question is not whether it will happen or not but only how many more years they will take in collapsing !
My fear is that Pakistan will not be able to turn around and the same is Saudi Arabias fate ! Pakistan is actually almost a suicide bombers factory with ten thousand potential suicide bombers being produced every day , just because of sheer disgust with exorbitant official corruption ,unemployment , inflation and hunger !
The key stone in any war against extremists has to be good governance in countries which are the major areas of operations.This is seriously missing in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where some 2 % own 80 percent of the wealth and pay just 15 to 20 % of all taxes !
The issue why extremism is growing is not Islam but poverty and lack of equal opportunity !
The reason thus is simply mega corruption and total moral breakdown in both states ! This includes the Pakistani and Saudi armies , intelligence , politicians ,police,para military forces as well as the civil services.
He carried out various oil and gas and electric transmission line studies notably the ADB sponsored CASA 1000 in 2008 and World Bank sposnored re-routing of CASA 1000 at Salang Pass as well as the UAP Line initial study.