INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

January 25, 2014

T’Error Policy

Image

 

The folklore of five blind men describing an elephant through the experience of touching has diffused to all cultures and schools of thought. The lessons of the parable are so objective that even Rumi included it in his poetry.  The story illustrates a range of limited truths that lead to falsifications meaning that subjective experience though true is inherently limited in reaching a totality of truth. It explains the fallacies of generalisation and specialisation with incomplete information to reach wrong conclusions. The parable provides insight into the relativism, opaqueness or inexpressible nature of truth; and the behaviour of experts in fields with deficit information, lack of communication, and respect for different perspectives. Yet the five could sit together, share experience and reach an accurate description of an elephant. National security policy, or counter terrorism policy or whatever is being drafted with subjective experiences shall elude the national consensus. It will open cracks and wounds that shall take ages to heal. The weakness demonstrated by the state in acting against militancy has emboldened militants and Pan-Islamist in Pakistan. In some ways, they are the soft political face of militants.

 

The parable has a lesson for Pakistan’s policy makers. No national policy can be made by a select team of individuals who lack the larger experience and requisite intellectualism to perceive the broader picture in the accurate perspective. Policies by very nature are inclusive; promote national consensus and an overall national well-being. In the ultimate, they build National Power that dictates the short, mid and long term objectives for national cohesion and development. The spirit of these objectives then flow into the full spectrum of policy to provide national security in terms of economics, welfare of the people, exploration of resources and responsibilities of federating units.  Pakistan’s continuous problems of governance and insecurity prove that the country despite six decades has yet to evolve a meaningful consensus. Fissures in Pakistan’s politic and social body have widened after each major event. 

It is also a concern that Pakistan’s parliamentarians, scholars, strategists and opinion makers have never been assembled under one roof to draft a national policy that touches each sinew of our existence. For instance, the US national security policy is led by economic objectives through full spectrum domination. Their naval, air and military policies are designed to achieve access and consolidation of US economic interests. Military interventions are only a means to achieve these objectives.  What is Pakistan’s core interest? 

It is a concern that though Pakistan’s political gurus, bureaucrats and military establishment may be on the verge of repeating the past with alacrity; and in the process exclude the broad based ‘national consensus and aim’ in the fight against militancy. It will open up many more wounds. 

First, it is debatable what exactly the government is trying to enunciate against militancy. Is it a counter terrorism policy, a national security policy or a narrative encompassing the vision of egalitarianism under the principals of democracy, freedom, equality and social justice? Seeing in chronology since May 2013 and after the APC declaration in September 2013, the prevailing methodology is a probably a military led firefighting plan sans support mechanisms and complementary accessories. This means that Pakistan will remain vulnerable to expediencies, exploitation and outside interference. The military maybe very good at its own job and perhaps even succeed in clearing North Waziristan within a few months; but what then? Who and how will the spill over be combated in urban centres? Does that state have the ability to surveil every sleeper cell hidden in least probable of places as also within the ranks of their political apologist? If not, do we wish to create a Syria like situation in Pakistan in which respite could only come after we have abandoned our most prized assets? 

Secondly, Pakistan cannot have a National Security Policy if it is not an appendage to a National Policy synchronising elements of national power on a continuum of a systemic baseline beginning from the relatively stable gradations to fleeting opportunities of national character, leadership and morale. This involves national consensus, imaginative subservient policies, parliamentary oversight and popular support. It implies therefore that national security policy is an adjunct of the broader vision and not an end in itself. In crises such as this, it is not the military but the national leadership that has to be on one page and prepare the nation to brave odds however ugly they may get. Barring a debatable APC resolution that ignores sectarianism and the constitution, there appears no consensus to synergise the masses. Federal relations with Sindh are sour and with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa non-existent. The prime minister despite a request of over three months has yet to grant his regal audience to the chief minister of KP. In the press leaks, there are already rumours of imposing emergency in some parts of KP. If this be the logic, then what about Karachi, parts of Balochistan and the heartland of Punjabi Taliban. There is a looming danger that the treatment of political opponents will be selective and subjective. 

Thirdly, in the fourth generation warfare, the military is just one instrument of violence that can be utilised for the ends of policy. Hence the corner stones of any security policy will be the defence policy, technology, economics including logistics and the people. In case these elements of strategy what Clausewitz calls the Trinity and Michel Howard the dimensions, all military plans are likely to operate in a vacuum and become a ‘Swat Syndrome’ in a long drawn conflict. Singular reliance on military forces will create psycho-social reactions likely to further polarise the society. It may lead to a civil war with some rightist parties under duress, succumbing to the temptation of exploiting militants as political instruments. Recall that post 9/11 and thereafter, violence in Pakistan increased. It means that the lessons of 1971 and Lall Masjid must not be lost. Military plans have to be restricted solely to a military role and complemented by a full spectrum policy that exploits military success through other means. 

Fourthly, capacity building or lack of it is the most pressing challenge. In case military and law enforcement operations begin in earnest and succeed, how does the civilian establishment intend positioning itself within the spatial void for an enduring peace. As civilian inability in Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Mohmand, Orakzai, Khyber and South Waziristan indicate, civilian peacekeeping and pacification operations will be a tall order for administrations that have neither been trained nor taken into confidence for an onerous mission. Pull-out the army and militants will regain their positions! If this be the baseline, how will the civilian governments deal with the reactionary rise in urban terrorism, a scenario that keeps surfacing in Karachi? Certainly not with the existing composition of police who are subject to political tinkering, are poorly trained and badly led. If the primary mission of policing is elevated to urban fighting, it implies organisational reforms, re-equipment, training and an entirely new outlook. Nothing has been done so far. 

A broad spectrum policy also warrants rehashing the entire intelligence mechanism down to the level of a union council with checks and balances. Judicial and political oversight has to be built at every tier to ensure that personal vendettas do not override mission concerns. At the provincial and federal levels, appropriately empowered parliamentary committees with judicial oversight will have to ensure that the use of force, internments and trials though not public are transparent and justified and that law is not used for witch hunt of opponents. 

Lastly, timings are of crucial importance. If the policy is implemented forthwith, it will result in knee jerk reactions and create internal/external complications. External sponsorships and funding of militants will tax the foreign office. It will also impact on the withdrawal plans of ISAF and suck Pakistan into a dangerous situation. 

Prudence demands that the government should continue surgical sting operations in selected areas that keep militants on the move negotiate with those who are pliable and build its capacity to crack the toughest nuts. In the interim, it must get onto the serious business of framing a broad spectrum policy, shore up capacities against vulnerabilities and start thinking beyond its political gains for national solidarity. Peace in Afghanistan will become an important pre requisite. Only then will a fight against terrorism bear fruits. 

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson.

Email and twitter: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

http://www.nation.com.pk/columns/25-Jan-2014/t-error-policy

COGNITION: THE ENEMY WITHIN

Image

In a presentation to General Pervez Musharraf in 1998, I had recited a few versus written by me. The theme was that, ‘like my country, I am at war within myself. I am my biggest enemy’. Those were that days when the COAS was a chum of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ready lock, stock and barrel to back the government in fast track socio-economic development.

Pakistan had recently become a declared nuclear power. Delivery systems were being tested with remarkable frequency. Pakistan’s hopes of political autonomy were laid to rest by freezing of foreign currency accounts. Pakistan’s economy was plummeting and the country was under international nuclear sanctions.

Within the region, Pakistan’s backing of Afghan Taliban and inducted fighters in Kashmir continued relentlessly. During in house discussions I singled out Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan and use of non-state actors in Indian held Kashmir as acts that would return like daemons to haunt. Nuclear Pakistan was behaving irresponsibly filliping the choice of operations other than war against an ambitious but a politically and economically unstable self. International research organisations were churning out papers on crises management if a nuclear armed state went unstable. To compound matters, nuclear Pakistan with a declared ‘First Use’ deterrence initiated the Kargil Conflict; a limited war under a nuclear shadow. Pakistan proved to the world that a limited conventional conflict between nuclear rivals was possible that later opened gates for armed intervention like cross border incursions and drones. Pakistan found Kargil too hot to handle and abandoned ambitions of exploiting a vacuum in Indian held Kashmir. The misdeed was reciprocated by a cantankerous dismissal of a COAS and the resultant coup by a coterie of generals whose memories were still fresh with the Kargil guilt. Pakistan’s isolation engineered by its very own was complete but for Twin Tower attacks.

Many saw 9/11 as a blessing in disguise for Pakistan with an opportunity to break away from past policies and concentrate on nation building. The Kargil planners were still around and would ensure that a paradigm shift if any would be a camouflage for a new word inserted into strategic glossary, ‘Assets’. The state with a multi bipolar disorder continued to follow a policy of shielding and preserving its assets. The strategist’s key word was no more Kashmir but Afghanistan.

In this prolonged conflict the so called assets have run lose and jeer at the faces of their past mentors. Pakistan’s interests have narrowed down to supporting one group within one ethnicity in Afghanistan. All others are either enemy or potential ones. This in turn has created crises of ethnic and sectarian vulnerability within. Growing radicalism has helped gel extremist elements in a society where no one is safe. Militants have permeated every sinew of society with threats hanging like Damocles Swords over the heads of national leaders. Anyone anywhere can be assassinated. The conclusions are grim.

Within Pakistan’s politic body, cognition of impending threats is opinionated and diverse. The perception does not flow from the dangers to the nation but personal or political vulnerability. Methodologies to deal with this menace are divided, leaving a gaping hole in the national reconciliation. The lack of consensus and abundance thereof of political jargon has resulted in creating a National Crisis of Cognition, leaving the field wide open for militants to exploit. This phenomenon inhibits recognition of impending dangers and consensus in dealing with the menace of terrorism. While some political parties safe in their hideouts continue to demand swift military action against terrorism, others hold out an olive branch drenched in blood each time the terrorists strike. Lost within their fantasies of a fantastic self, the typology and dissection of the real issue is a subject all parties deliberately avoid.  

Notwithstanding General (Retired) Kayani’s belated admission that it is ‘Our War’ the military or a part of it still sees the Afghan conflict as a brinkmanship that will succeed. With dates of US withdrawal approaching and US rapprochement with Iran, somebody will have to get down to the serious business of counting how many eggs are left in the basket. If Pakistan succeeds in its walking on the edge policy in a post US withdrawal Afghanistan, it would have once again performed an impossible Houdini Act. But the multitude of internal kinetics suggest otherwise.

Afghanistan poses another dilemma. The prolonged conflict in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with diverse strains of home grown and foreign militants has paradoxically helped identify foreign support bases comprising both state and non-state actors outside the traditional rant of US global ambitions. Would it be astute on part of Pakistan to get involved in a proxy sectarian conflict that majority of Pakistanis do not support but which the governments in the past are guilty of. So if the matrix of trade-offs and choices are exercised, chances are that it will be another shot in the foot with the hunter becoming the hunted.

Realistically, it is not FATA but Karachi that gives a measure of what Pakistan could become. The diversity of crime and lawlessness in this city is beyond description. Most political parties in the province either have armed militant wings or get support from militant group. To perpetuate their activities, TTP is a convenient punching bag. Sectarian and sub sectarian groups operate with remarkable abandon. Mafias, extortionists and criminals criss-cross within these organisations with convenience. The police and local administration is highly politicised. This lethal brew has not reached a boiling point because the interested parties have more stakes in the limbo than outright anarchy. Yet it could, if any one of the interested party pulls the trigger. With a compliant local administration, the same scenario can be replicated in major urban centres of the country.

As predicted, the APC on terrorism is proving to be another stratagem and farce to fool the people of Pakistan. Despite intelligence agencies, a credible messenger has yet to get any message across. On the other hand the starting point of negotiations if any are related to stopping of drone strikes by USA and release of prisoners who have their hands soiled in the blood of thousands of Pakistanis. Knowing that both are equally improbable, the stalemate continues to add to uncertainties within us.

Civilian institutions in the Swat Case Study have yet to develop the capability to supplement military operations with effective passive peace keeping. The same would be true of other urban centres where the violence could hypothetically conflagrate. Military and LEAs in their present capacities and capabilities would provide limited defensive shields. The absence of an urban counter terrorism apparatus and quick reaction forces would denude the reaction capabilities of the existing law enforcement structure. Even if such a structure existed, the biggest compromise would be the integral and affiliated militant wings of political parties; Hence the reluctance to formulate a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy.

Military action against the militant hideouts in FATA would be complete in three to four months but result in only a battle won. Who will win the war? Victory will only come if the state, its machinery, judiciary and political parties move in tandem; something that does not appear probable in the existing state of affairs.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson.

Email and twitter: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

 

UNKNOWN MARTYRS OF DARK ALLEYS

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 5:02 am

Image Tere haunton ke phoolon ki chahat mein hum

Dar ki kushkh tehni pe ware gai

Tere haaton ki shamon ki hasrat mein hum

Neem tareekh rahom mein mare gai

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Karachi over years has become the Rest Area of militants groups of Pakistan. Whenever TTP groups operating upcountry are under threat, they melt away into this mega city providing ample hideouts.  Steadily, the presence of these groups has strengthened in areas like Sohrab Goth, MangoPir and Gadap. In addition to the monetary aid that supports these groups through illegal channels, Karachi has also become the financial life line. Kidnappings for ransom, extortion, looting of banks, cash transfer armoured cars and armed robberies are the common methods used to shore funds. These groups also hijack expensive containers and sell off the proceeds in the illicit markets.

Recently, Karachi was the turf where TTP under Sanjana fought fiercely against TTS to deny them space. With election of Maulvi Fazal Ullah as the new TTP chief, the two may once again be moving closer to collaboration and hence higher levels of violence. Others have also found common grounds with these groups and travel to Waziristan and Kunar for training and re-equipment. Various groups of Baloch separatist are the paramount amongst them.

But the growth of TTP militants in Karachi is a recent phenomenon that gathered impetus during the Swat and SWS operations. This is the time when the federal and provincial governments looked the other way and bolstered their own armed groups.

Armed gangs, sectarian and ethnic outfits with killer squads operated in the city for decades. Years ago, the ethnic violence of Karachi merged into the Shia and Sunni militant rivalry complicating law enforcement. This militancy later conflagrated to turf wars between sub sectarian groups, armed wings of political parties, criminals bred out of poverty and unplanned urbanisation, armed thugs, extortionists and Baloch separatists. Speculations are rife that TTP now offers its services for kidnappings, suicide bombings and IEDs across the counter at an agreeable price.

Once the government began to make effective use of switching off cell phone services during critical periods, the terrorists and criminals were bound to come up with alternative methods of remote control demolitions. They initially used infra-red remote control handsets with a limited range but have since progressed to more advanced methods. In an op-ed in 2013, I had raised the question that, ‘The use of remote control detonations in Karachi and Balochistan is a reminder that either the militants are changing their tactics or new ones have entered the melee’ (Nation:  Pakistan’s uncertain portals January 10, 2013). The fact is that both have happened. Use of sophisticated demolitions is a challenge that LEAS will have to face in their fight against militancy.  These devices have been frequently used against the army with telling accuracy. The police are a target of this menace in KPK, Balochistan and Karachi. They say in LEAs, ‘Never stop if you find a straggler on a roadside’ something easily said than done in an overcrowded city.

The list of high profile officers of the armed forces and police killed by terrorists is long. It includes Lieutenant General Mushtaq Beg, four Major Generals, many brigadiers and colonels, IG Safwat Ghafoor, DIG Fayyaz Sumbal, SSP Malik Saad, SSP Khurseed Khan and SSP Hilal Ahmad. SP Chaudhary Muhammad Aslam Khan is the latest in the list of police officers who laid their lives beyond the call of duty. I fear that a few days from now as the media hype diverts to another issue, the heroics of Chaudhary Aslam will be a forgotten story and the case filed in the stack of unresolved mysteries. Perhaps, we would never know the method of his death and how he became a timely target during an unscheduled movement?

Unlike the militaries that continuously upgrade tactics and doctrines and thrive on regimental and corporate sense; the Pakistan Police Force is a victim of limbo and opportunism. Karachi Police has almost lost its entire leadership cadre of 1992 to targeted killings. KPK in the past ten years has also lost most of its die hard police cadre to terrorist attacks.  

Pakistan Police faces crises that curtail organisational potential and leadership due to outside interference. It has been tinkered by political parties, bureaucracy and judiciary. Despite such massive interference, low morale, lack of training and poor logistics, many officers and men of the Pakistan Police Service have performed their duties par excellence. Frequent tinkering, transfers, OSD culture and uncertainty have inhibited the growth of regimentation and corporatism crucial to a top grade law enforcement unit. Pakistan Police has neither been equipped nor had time to train for fighting urban terrorism. Despite such prohibiting limitations, a small cadre of go getters living on the edge and flirting with death continue to bring laurels to a service that is least recognised and cared for.

It is not uncommon for policemen to get blown away while carrying out manual body searches or get trapped in inextricable encounters in tactical ambush sites or be overwhelmed with superior firepower. These men have taken major hits in KPK, Balochistan and in a confused and half-cocked counter terrorism policy and a war disowned in Pakistan.

The scene of the site where SP Chaudhary Aslam embraced shahadat with two colleagues suggests diverse opinions. Remote Controlled Demolition placed on the roadside and a suicide vehicle ramming into the police vehicle are the two common theories being propagated regarding the method. But the absence of a crater or parts of a suicide vehicle suggests differently.

What if a suicide bomber and an accomplice carrying a bag of explosives were hiding behind the road divider who lunged at the last moment; or if the vehicle was already fitted with a device on it’s under carriage? The absence of a crater and the propulsion of the ill-fated vehicle to over fifty feet suggest that an explosion did take place below the under carriage. This could have either been a pre fitted undercarriage bomb that lifted the vehicle and threw it over 50 feet away, or a bag thrown below the vehicle that exploded. The fact that the SP was on an impromptu mission and not a pre-planned operation rules out meticulous planning for a road side ambush. Yet these target killers are known to trail their targets for weeks and wait for their moment. If these be the case, then the entire investigation of the incident will take a new direction. Or will it?

Pakistan’s chequered history of such unresolved murders with an obvious motive is precedence. Till today, no one with conviction can conclude why Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had to die the way he did on a roadside. Prime Minister Liaqat Ali’s Death remains a mystery. The explanations of two assassination attempts on President Pervez Musharraf lack detail. I am still convinced that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a fail-safe, deliberate and meticulously planned operation and that the Handle Theory is a fraud.  Will this latest incident also become part of these unresolved mysteries and gather dust? But one thing is sure. In every case there was inside complicity. 

We admire Chaudhary Aslam and hope that all announced compensations find their true destination.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson.

Email and twitter: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

 

January 4, 2014

Musharraf: TRUTH AND CONTRITION

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 2:09 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Image

Truth is the first casualty in war, but not due to any conscientious effort. The fog of war, lack of accurate information, limitations of judgement, fear and cognitive constructs thereof eclipse reality. Planning for the unforeseen, most dangerous and most likely is factorised. No plan works to perfection. Stereotype soldiers have a propensity at rigidity and err in applying timely and effective modifications. Such soldiers, with impregnable walls of exclusivity around them dry up from inside and regress. Soldiers, who evolve as they grow, apply correction courses and turn out to be good leaders. Pakistan’s military leaders were no different. General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf despite his initial sparks turned out to be no different.

USA produced over 31 soldier presidents amongst them great names like George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln to name a few. Only Richard Nixon erred. But then USA has some of the best institutional support mechanisms of the world, rallying a team that backs statesmen. Pakistan has none.

Pakistan lacks such a framework for both its military and civilian leaders. The seesaw culture has produced opportunist, self-centred and family lineages of individuals who have patronised institutional corruption and social decay. Military or civilian, these leaders build a   megalomaniac aura around themselves at the cost of the state and people.

Pakistan’s never produced a leader who displayed traits of statesmanship. Military dictators lacked insight and foresight and were predisposed to see in black and white around their indispensable self. Despite judicial legitimacies and constitutional indemnities, military rulers lost their plots sans military corporate. Positive socio-economic indicators of their initial tenures notwithstanding, they fell prey to short term expediencies with long term ramifications. The wall of military corporatism and a select coterie of ambitious generals were invariably replaced by a group of evergreen advisors and sycophants who helped create grandiose narcissism of splendid isolation. Built around an autocratic self and absence of inclusiveness, this evolution ultimately overtook legal, democratic, moral or interpersonal commitments and, hence, the delusional impetus of indispensability.

General (Retired) Pervez Musharraf self-belief that he has returned home to deliver is one such effect of delusionary impetus. Abandoned by fair weather friends and advisors, Musharraf is finally realising that he is neither indispensable nor impervious. Earlier, his concentric advisors pushed him to pursue drives like belief, aggression, lofty and imitated emotional expressions of compassion, sympathy, sociability, patriotism and morality to no effect. His political comfort zone alien to his soldiering career was treacherous. His dream of being indispensable to a vulnerable country he loved was fading away. This must have been his thought train on way to the court and later AFIC. Sick, he was finally going home.

In many aspects, General Musharraf’s coup was popular. Some of his fiercest critics could not hide their glee. Many politicians who were not from the traditional stock came out openly in his support. Even Benazir Bhutto tacitly endorsed the coup against a party that left no space for others. As airwaves swept, his popularity grew with his short lived Jinnahist mantle. The rising public approval took its first brunt with an ill-conceived referendum. His omnipotent nightmares of legitimacy were addressed by the Supreme Court. Rather than become a true reformist, he collected a rag tag of have-nots to forge his political constituency that failed and betrayed him. After the initial surge of his reformist agenda that bore fruits, he was moving into isolation, haunted by his legitimacy rationale. It haunts him even today.

Musharraf’s edifice was built on a house of sand. His advisors were small men unworthy of trust.  His re-appointed media czar never had the motivation of creating a sustainable media perception. His ISPR spokesman stuttered and lacked wisdom. Fake personal loyalties replaced professionalism. Old time pals of yore resurfaced. Tariq Aziz was given extensions but was effectively elbowed out in economic decision making by Shaukat Aziz and Waqar Masood, the incumbent Secretary Finance. Lt. General Hamid Javed was picked from oblivion to become his chief advisor and extended. There were other circles of advisors that revolved around his social contacts, bridge parties and admirers. Loyalists with loud mouths were side lined. Extended horses never had the steam and gusto. They were stereotypes who had nothing to offer.

Perhaps, the worst was his handpicked Finance and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The military establishment was never in favour of him but was overruled by Tariq Aziz. The then DGMO Maj Gen Shahid Aziz himself a staunch Jinnahist never trusted him. Economic policies he framed were detrimental to Pakistan’s long term economic security. Between 1999 and 2002, Pakistan witnessed an economic revival mainly due to the Central Bank policies and money changers. But there were Trojans at work. IPPs with tax exemptions had recovered investments and begun remitting profits and outsourcing costs abroad. New energy manipulators had arrived. To ensure their windfalls, the supply of petrol, oil and lubricants had to be cartelised. PSO was reorganised to create a floating threat of a circular serpent that could devour the entire national wealth. Lt General (Retired) Shahid Aziz read the plot but was ignored. Small time entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector were diverted to consumer led cheap imports.  Consumerism with its euphemism of trickle down was the easiest method to gobble unsterilised foreign exchange. Remittances were grabbed back through rising import bills and consumerism. At a time when rupee needed appreciation, it was devalued. By 2007, when President Musharraf was pre occupied with the judiciary and elections, the bubble was ready to be deflated through the circular debt window. The rising inflation, resurgence of sugar and wheat cartels, energy crises and power failures created an anti-Musharraf sentiment. No government since 2007 has had the courage to look into this monster and rein it. PSO remains the holiest of holy cow being groomed for privatisation.

At the other end are the rich ruling elites of this country with eyes on getting richer. Systemic reforms are anathema because they counter their financial interests. The land of abundance will continue to be sucked by elites while Musharraf’s trial offers a good diversion from problems the government is shy of addressing. It also gives them an opportunity to put their nemesis in a negative frame to widen the civil-military divide. Musharraf is a fodder to brew ascendency akin to Memogate. Despite calls of caution and rationality from most parties in the opposition, this indirect confrontational approach is a manifestation of the megalomaniac self. How many gates will Pakistan survive?

Treason in Pakistan’s constitution begs a new definition to include other methods of subverting a state than what Musharraf did in 2007. Truth and contrition is a much saner option towards making amends in history. If skeletons have to be undressed, it must be so, through the entire course of Pakistan’s opportunist constitutionalism. Otherwise, this entire exercise will turn out to be an ill-conceived witch hunt.

Brigadier (Retired) Samson Simon Sharaf is a political economist and a television anchorperson.

Email and twitter: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

http://www.nation.com.pk/columns/04-Jan-2014/truth-and-remorse

Blog at WordPress.com.