Pakistan — you reap what you sow

The Seed

When General Zia ul-Haq led a coup against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977, and subsequently hanged him in 1978 under the pretence of plotting to kill political opponents, it was then that the present deplorable state of Pakistan was etched in to history in advance.

Irony of irony was that Bhutto himself chose ul-Haq as the Chief of Army in 1976 despite his lack of seniority thinking more senior officers posed greater threat to his survival. But then the history of Pakistan, and indeed the Muslim empire in South Asia is replete with blood letting by benefactors and family members of those that greatly helped them. Aurangzeb, effectively the last Mughal Emperor of India, executed his brother Dara Shikoh and put his father, Shah Jahan — of Taj Mahal fame — under house arrest until his death.

The Soil

Zia ul-Haq started off supremely unpopular both at home and abroad. However, it was the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets that saved his illegitimate presidency. The United States, who had decried General Zia up until that time had no other option but to support him to in turn get support for their agenda in Afghanistan. Zia also courted the Islamic ideologues in Pakistan and abroad. This allowed him stability at home and cash pouring in from United States — to support the destruction of the Soviets at any cost — and Saudi Arabia — to spread the Wahabi form of Islam –  a most conservative form of Islam. Money from both sources funneled to the Islamic ideologues who set up Madarassas to train the mujahedeens that spread across Afghanistan and later became the Taleban and Al Qaeda.

Zia, true to the history of Pakistan, died in a suspicious plane crash in 1988 ensuring that Pakistan’s record of blood letting at the top continues unblemished.

If you are listening to the news about Pakistan and wondering how the country got in to such a quagmire and morass, look no further than the form of Islam prevalent in Pakistan — everyone at the top, be it a democratically elected Leader or a General, behaved in dictatorial form assuming they know the best and any opposition needs to be stamped out with ruthlessness. It is with same righteous indignation that Taleban and Al-Qaeda attack anyone who doesn’t agree with them. All profess to be the true defenders of Islam, all say they are killing in the name of Islam. All have only one thing in common — intolerance.

Leave alone dissent, they cannot handle a difference in opinion. The word “Pakistan” means the “land of the pure.”  Given the genesis of Pakistan as a country it is only obvious that the people who coined the name considered Hindu majority India not pure. Such is the debased thinking.

The Fruit

For the last 30 years, Pakistan has used Taleban and a constellation of other Islamic terrorist groups as a shadow army in Afghanistan and against India.  All this while the Taleban and the rest have been growing in strength and ambition.  Al Qaeda made its ambitions global and Taleban made it regional — imposition of Sharia law in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and I am sure they have dreams of expanding to Central Asia and parts of India. 

 The ISI — Pakistan’s CIA and FBI combined, the Army, the politicians and the mullahs all encouraged and supported the shadow army for multitude of reasons in this diabolical game.  

Despite its over the top rhetoric about being tough on terrorism, the Bush administration was rather soft on Pakistan and was completely stumped by the cunning of the Pakistani administration led by General Musharraf and allowed them to play its double game of taking billions of dollars, while supporting the enemy and only showing token catches all this time. Pakistani administration always used the the gambit of being stuck between a rock (fierce anti-US sentiments) and a hard place (Hit Taleban too hard and conflagration of Pakistan and a complete loss of control) beautifully. 

However, when one is playing with fire, it is only a matter of time that hands get burned. What Pakistan did not realize is the mortal danger is more to Pakistan itself than to the US. Taleban and Pakistani state had to come to head — the US gambit, to me, was always to make sure Pakistan realizes Taleban’s danger to themselves. In this, Pakistan only accelerated the goal of self-realization by allowing Taleban control of the Swat region back in March ’09.

Now, you can read articles like “A cobweb of myths” at the Dawn, one of Pakistan’s major newspapers. Even six months ago this would have been unthinkable!  I believe Pakistan and Pakistanis are finally waking up to the truth of what they have done to themselves.

In regards to the current state of affairs — I see Pakistani Army relatively easily wresting control of areas under Taleban control. However, I do see a few years of civil strife within Pakistan and serious attempts by Taleban to destabilize Pakistan with the State never really losing control.

All in all this is a necessary chapter, though unfortunate for the innocents caught in the war, in the story of Taleban’s elimination.

I am not to hopeful about Pakistan in the long run however. The problem in Pakistan is a wide chasm between what Pakistan really is and what its people perceive the country to be. There is a deep psychosis at play with multiple layers of illusion and just like with individuals so with countries — only those who grasp their reality and then work hard from that as a starting point to improve end up being successful. Pakistan is not on that trajectory.


2 Responses

  1. Bravo – Somebody (by the syntax, from the subcontinent) knows what is going on in Pakistan. The U.S government certainly didn’t know or they didn’t care, but billions of dollars later…….

  2. Well said “what you reap what you sow” but sooner we get over the illusion that they are waking to realize even a bit, the lesser it will harm. The Mumbai incident suggests that it is not just the non-state actors but the cover from the state actors which needs to be tackled boldly to uproot the problem, so far piling tons of monetary aid in light of humanitary cause is making the situation only worse, as the true intention of state actors are questionable beyond doubt.

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