INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

October 7, 2013

PAKISTAN’S DELIBERATE DECONSTRUCT

cartoon-pakistan-army-concerned-about-india-and-not-talibanTerrorism in Pakistan cannot be brought to an abrupt end through violent means. Most explanations about the strains and motivations of militancy though true are not universally applicable. Just like politics makes strange bedfellows, umbrella militant organisation will ally with any group or country prepared to challenge their enemy. This includes nation states, romantic revolutionaries, donor organisations, criminals, sectarian killers, ethno nationalists and extortionists. They will remain in concord as long as their interests converge. Any divergence of immediate interests is unlikely. A full military action will forge stronger bonds. A single pronged military strategy will worsen the issue by catapulting to other regions.

An efficient terrorist organisation like TTP also needs an economy with logistic chain management. These lines are both interior and exterior. In most cases, the remittance lines converge on Pakistan’s so called friends and allies. They either have vested interests or are suspicious of Pakistan’s double play. Drying up logistics needs a concerted domestic and international effort; possible but improbable.

Few realise that the mainstay of TTP is an ideology based on a divine reward. The brain washing of its foot sloggers is effective. They consider themselves as Fedayeen who brave risks and suicides to attain the next level of heavenly perfection. Brainwashing as a counter strategy will need considerable time, effort and a complementary narrative that does not exist. This narrative revolves around the deconstruction of the deconstruct narrative followed by reconstruction of Jinnah’s Pakistan. The looming danger to personal safety is so real and credible that politicians are hesitant to explain this dream. Where is the ideology that will defeat the militant ideology?

Deconstruction of the Idea of Pakistan began much before 1947. The religious right after the 1857 Mutiny opposed the movement of progressive Muslims that later became All India Muslim League. The right with Mohan Das Gandhi as its leader led the Khilafat movement while the League opposed it. League was seen as a product of modernity and an agent of the British Raj. Jinnah was projected as a pork eating drunkard, a stigma attached to every progressive Pakistani even today. The battle lines of what afflicts Pakistan were drawn over 150 years ago. Some elements of religious orthodoxy always considered Islamist modernists as infidels. Realities have not changed.

Pakistan became a possibility after two major events. First, the Congress rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan leaving no option within an Indian Union for majority Muslim rule. Secondly, in Lahore Resolution, the League ceded its high moral ground of representing Muslim minorities in Hindu dominated areas in favour of Muslim majority rule. This has had enduring scars on the political economy of the country and a volatile situation in Karachi now intrinsically linked to the situation in FATA. Battle lines are already drawn in this theatre.

Unfortunately, the Pakistan that Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah pursued vanquished with his mysterious death. The religious right that opposed the creation of Pakistan swiftly moved into the void to occupy the ideological space. Military coups with religion providing political legitimacy speeded this deconstruction. Pakistan’s role as a bulwark against communism and the mock Jihad in Afghanistan strengthened militants into a formidable private army. This indoctrination was filliped by hard-core Islamists from world over promptly provided sanctuaries in Pakistan for legitimacy. It raised the levels of sectarian/ religious intolerance and violence.

Arabs with rich inflow of petro dollars wrested leadership of these groups. The war against godless USSR was won. Post USSR withdrawal, these Arab fugitives when faced with isolation in the West and Middle East devised plans of their own. Middle Eastern countries kept them busy lest they threaten them. The non-proliferationists needed them for their own justification. These militant groups needed a theatre to vomit their vigour. For Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir were spaces wide open to keep the issue at bay. Within a piped vision, Pakistan moved into the trap with hands full; a dagger in one and a nuclear button in the other. Western and hostile intelligence agencies penetrated and used them from the Balkans to Chechnya. Within the minions, Pakistan became an exercise in handling non state actors. Pakistan became a delusion within its own pipe dream.

9/11 changed the paradigm. Under international pressure, Pakistan was forced to halt activities in Kashmir. The war of hate perpetuated through indiscriminate bombings in Afghanistan, daisy cutters, use of depleted uranium bunker busters provided the opportune propaganda to identify an enemy and declare war. A war against the Zionist Neo Con America provided the most attractive war slogan. USA was more than ready to add fuel to fire. USA’s drone strikes in FATA provided the needed emotional backlash to kill the infidel and its ally. Pakistan led by General Pervez Musharraf took a hasty U turn and joined the enemy ranks. Seen as a conjoined twin of Pentagon, Pakistan Army was now the enemy. The monster Pakistan helped midwife moved inwards to the womb the bore it. Rand’s thesis of ‘Ugly Instability’ changed to ‘Descent into Chaos’. Pakistan became a threat to itself. Nuclear Pakistan’s stability became a global concern. Back home, with extremism having penetrated every sinew of society, an unstable and corrupt political system with a constant overhang of internal insecurity precluded a befitting counter strategy. The deconstruction of Jinnah’s Pakistan was complete. Any credible leader daring to challenge the script would be made an example.

By opening negotiations with Afghan Taliban in 1996, Benazir Bhutto made a sincere effort at deconstructing this pipe dream. In a meeting in 1996, she told the scribe that Pakistan would remain hostage to international actors till such time Afghan Taliban were not moderated. She nearly did it the night she was sacked in November. She pursued this dream when Mullah Omar agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to a neutral Muslim country. She came back in 2007 with an invigorated elixir to be assassinated.

Perhaps, during his exodus General Pervez Musharraf meditated his mistakes. He came back voluntarily to make his contrition and amends. He is most likely to rot in jails.

The third person who has affirmatively moved towards the destruction of this Deconstruct is Imran Khan. He was side lined during the highly contentious elections. With majority of Pakistanis on his side, I pray that Divine Providence and luck favour him. There is no alternative because all other leaders share a piece of the pipe called dream.

The writer is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist. Email: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/columns/05-Oct-2013/pakistan-s-deconstruct

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