INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

July 28, 2014

PEOPLE AND PARTIES (POLITICAL) How People are Fooled

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 6:35 am

parties

In 1999 General Pervez Musharraf received a proposal from a ‘fly by night reformer’ to make a political party of likeminded politicians. The proposal came to my desk in Military Operations for evaluation. I rejected it as a bad move because it proposed to promote a mind-set of intellectually corrupt politicians who are in fact a part and not solution to the problem. As time passed sanity was eclipsed by sycophants. I still maintain my thesis. When General Tanvir Naqvi took over as Chairman National Reconstruction Bureau, he sent over his Staff Officer to my office for some literature on National Reconstruction. I handed him ‘Pakistan: The Unstable State, Edited by Hassan Gardezi and Rashid Jamil. Later I received an acknowledgement call from the Chairman. Those interested in Pakistan’s political evolution must read this book.

Pakistanis glorify the role of Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah but ignore limitations time imposed on him to create a Nation. What followed is Inventive Nationalism based on debatable symbols. Many who joined the League did it for an interest and not a cause. Even today, many who join a popular party do it for an interest. Though a State and constitution exist, the Nation is confused, divided and politically inbreeding.

The politics of Muslim separatism had dark Trojans in feudal support from Punjab and rich businessmen from Bombay. The Pakistan that was visualised in the first session of the Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947 is not the Pakistan that is. Pakistan’s political evolution is characterised by singular emphasis on preserving and perpetuation of elitist interests. With time, neo elitist, all-weather politicians and upstarts have joined the nexus. Constitutionalism laid guidelines and principals for a people centric social contract that was never put to practice. The first 40 Articles of the Constitution of Pakistan have never been enforced with the vigour they deserve. Six decades hence, nothing has changed.

In any democracy, political parties form the strongest link between the aspirations of the people and the state. Though much has been written on the nexus of Feudalism-Bureaucracy-Mullah-Military-Industrialists, political parties that formed the main staging grounds are often ignored. Every political party since 1947 is unrepresentative. Misguided people are made hostage to empty slogans. The biggest tragedy is that the oft maligned left that once represented the working classes is non-existent. Most of its leaders are now pseudo liberals.  

In 1937, All India Muslim League could win just two seats from Punjab and ultimately one defected to the feudal Unionists. This reflects how strong feudalism is. In 1945 majority was built on Christian Minority votes.  After the death of Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the KHOTA SIKKAS galvanised the feudal-mullah alliance. Bureaucracy and military joined them. Ayub Khan’s decade of progress saw this club expand to feudal cum industrialists through award of preferential permits. Zia ul Haq continued the heist by gratifying select groups. During Musharraf’s tenure, a nouvelle generation of these cadres were inducted into cabinets that expanded their presence and influence within the system. Now they are all over, control Pakistan’s consumer economy, form strong cartels and influence good governance. Political parties of Pakistan are a tool of the chain.

According to a study by Omar Farooq Zain of Bahauddin Zakariya University, “political parties are a major ‘inputing’ device, allowing citizens to get their needs and wishes heard by the government. Without political parties, individuals would stand alone. Parties give people the feeling that they are not utterly powerless. In Pakistan, political parties have become a commodity that is readily available to the unconstitutional military rulers and non-representative elites for political manoeuvrings”. He is right because those in power continue to expand their space and deny others. Those out of power perform a peacock dance to attract the establishment. Internal culture of all major political parties is identical. The leftover from the 1935 Act that oversaw the interests of the viceroy continues to be the Achilles Heels of Pakistani politics. Unless this basic structure undergoes, nothing will change.

A glance at the evolution of Pakistan’s political parties has a pattern. Religious parties are backed and supported directly or indirectly by elites. All populist parties have a majority of elitists in higher echelons. They use their money, baradari linkages and the manipulative governance model (Thana and Patwari culture) effectively to manipulate electoral results. Fish rotting at the head is evident from the fact that some rising upstarts are actually police and patwari touts.

Even Bhutto’s (himself an educated feudal) populism was short lived. PPP was the first party that challenged with slogans of Islamic Socialism. Earlier than expected, the cadre of social revolutionaries and leftists was elbowed out by industrial and feudal classes. They rot in oblivion for giving up without a fight. The party still clings to these slogans during election campaigns. With the reign of massive corruptions and nepotism in its three tenures, the party is a reflection of the Orwellian Glass House that has nothing to offer to the sheep that follow it. Through NRO, it has combined with PMLN and its allies to pass constitutional amendments that facilitate corruption and violate the first three parts of the Constitution. Powers once enjoyed by the President under 58 (2) B have been passed on to party leaders who now wield an iron fist over their elected representatives that includes Chief Executives. If Shehla Raza of PPP is correct, the nation is yet to endure the trauma of NRO3 mastered by outside brokers. Surprisingly, PMLQ and MQM who now criticise the system were part of this daylight robbery of the Social Contract. MQM that rose as a challenger to these elitists has joined the glass house.

In any democratic system, political parties forge a crucial linkage between public demands and government support. They articulate this role within an inclusive political system that feels the public pulse, educates and organises its voters and evolves a political hierarchy intrinsically linked at all tiers as their surrogate. The leadership of parties revolves around specific roles for individuals with specific bench marks. The parties exercise internal accountability, democracy and a feedback loop that keeps their supporters linked. In chaotic times they act as public ventilators for change. In power, they become models of good governance.

But in Pakistan, the culture in political parties is opportunist. A long history of inventive nationalism and elitist politics produces leadership around a single individual who assumes an indispensable cultish stature. His word or logic is final. Charisma or clout of a leader is directly proportional to his ability to sway mass emotions with unquestionable obedience. The ‘know it all’ leader sets the agenda from the confines of the bubble he lives in.  He is followed by a group of ever green individuals who bash in his megalomaniac aura but represent elitism. They are chameleons that wait for their moment to strike. Fingers on the pulse of people, specified roles, training sessions, credible elections and bench marks are non-existent.

Effective separations of powers weaken elitist centrality. It introduces an inclusive political system and promotes populism. Local self-government the main engine of socio-economic and political growth and an inseparable part of the state is anathema to elites in political parties. They despise it.  For as long as Pakistan does not produce a true challenging class, neither the political parties nor the system will change?

Democracy in Pakistan will remain a farce as long as political parties and their leadership do not evolve.  

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/26-Jul-2014/people-and-political-parties

July 20, 2014

A TUG OF CONFLICTING NARRATIVES

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 6:16 am

model town

A senior gazetted officer of the Punjab Police manhandling an unarmed woman

Pakistan’s preoccupation with internal turmoil was reflected in the sorry state that Martyr’s Day in Kashmir passed unnoticed. So have the Gaza crises. But even worse, police violated all rules of engagement to subdue Dr. Tahir Ul Qadri’s movement in Model Town Lahore killing and maiming scores. Confrontation raised political temperatures catalysing prospects of cooperation amongst unlikely allies. Given Nawaz Sharif’s mindset, the posturing is not likely to abate till all options in PMLN’s arsenal are exhausted. Conflicting self-serving narratives at the cost of a nation are a poor reflection of a government preparing for two weeks of sustained independence celebrations. This out of blue celebration is reaction to the likely political strikes that may cripple Pakistan. The government does not realise that confrontation with army, media, opposition political parties and constitutionally approved regulatory bodies is not worth the effort.

Political camps in Pakistan seem divided in three blocks. Traditional parties like PMLN, PPP, ANP and JUIF make a strange mix of centrists, leftists, rightists and nationalists. As and when the temperature rises, some of these will slip away leaving the federal government in splendid isolation. Faced with strong opposition on the streets and defection of NRO allies, PMLN will still (or so they think) have many tricks up their sleeves to ward off the crises. They deny they have ceded initiative.

Then, there are the centrist led by PTI both in Parliament and streets. It appears that as the mercury rises; their demand will graduate to a complete overhaul of the system, something that Dr. Qadri’s movement also seeks. This rendezvous with PAT, Minhaj Ul Quran, PMLQ, MQM and APML could create a critical mass for regime change. However, a sustained street agitation will not be possible without the support of the leftists who control trade and labour unions and smaller parties most prominent in Punjab and Sindh. An added factor will be the civil society that like May 11, 2013 may also decide to join the agitation.

PMLN argues it is right. It has the people’s mandate in an almost landslide electoral victory centering Punjab. How else could one explain its absence in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? Opening four constituencies for verification is tantamount to accepting responsibility for rigging. Arsalan Iftikhar and a group of lawyers from Islamabad will try best to ensure that Imran Khan is made irrelevant to the crises. With remnants of Chaudary courts still around, they hope to garner favorable decisions.  But politically motivated judgments will expose the inability of the judiciary to raise questions of law and its willingness to play minion to political expediencies. Faced with street demonstrations and agitation, this could open yet another Pandora Box. Imran Khan and Dr. Qadri will fight back.

Secondly, as a backup PMLN will not hesitate in attacking and slandering the personality of Imran Khan in the manner they did with Begum Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, and Imran in the past. Their smear dons will utilize the last straw to neutralise Imran Khan their main challenger in Punjab, once and for all. The contest will be an ugly reflection of PkPolitics.

Thirdly, as written in the past, this government has applied (or so they think) a stranglehold on Pakistan’s economy.  They have ensured that even if out of power, they will remain relevant by continuing to manipulate the large consumer segment in Pakistan’s economy an explanation why they defanged most regulatory bodies overseeing transparency and good practices. The latest case of Auditor General of Pakistan is worth cognizance.

Fourth, their undeniable linkages within Punjab police and banned organizations will morph in due course of time. If push comes to shove, these forces could wreak havoc to the extent of being counterproductive to the objectives of the armed forces engaged in counter terrorism operations. As of today, this remains the crucial weak link. So far the government has shown no urgency in bolstering civilian capacity and therefore not serious in taking the bull by its horns.

Fifth is the question mark on the ability of the federal government to handle a sustained IDP effort followed by the reconstruction and rehabilitation in FATA. So far no special allocations for this purpose have been made in the Federal Budget. Reappropriations will either have to be done from the PSDPs or loan and development schemes that presently harbour on political bribery. At some point, conflict of interests as cited above, will make pursuit of objectives elusive.

So where does the military figure in this situation?

First the military will singularly concentrate in consolidating its gains in NWA and FATA. In its hearts and minds strategy, a crucial link will be reconstruction, rehabilitation, socio economic development and lucrative incentives for the people. IDPs from SWA and NWA will be incrementally shifted town by town. Army will assist civilian administration in establishing its writ and look forward to the federal government for replacing the archaic FCR. Funds will be a crucial issue. The army will also hope that the government will not denude its focus in FATA by invoking its employment In ‘Aid of Civil Power’ under Article 245 of the Constitution against political unrest and agitation on the streets. If it does, it will be at a cost to the environment the military is shaping to its advantage in the tribal areas; a certain setback.

Secondly, on its part the military would like to complete its pacification operations in FATA and wait for a more conducive political environment before the next phase in urban areas. This time frame could be upset by the government, street agitations and the militants. It is probable that all three would play their part. A lot would depend how the Federal and Punjab Governments handle the challenges to their legitimacy and employ politics to avoid high handed confrontation.

The situation post 14 August could either be politically resolved at a high cost to PMLN’s political credibility or be a replay of mayhem seen in Model Town Lahore. The former is unlikely and in latter, the government would have lost all moral authority. In any case, the government will have to come out of the shadows of rigged elections, low morale of Punjab Police in aftermath of Model Town Inquiry, load shedding, hyperinflation,  rising poverty and manipulative economic handling. This puts it in a Prisoner’s dilemma or a blind tunnel. It may then have lost crucial ground to make positive decisions. The void thus created would be anyone’s to fill.

The worst case scenario could culminate in removal of the government either through persuasion by the establishment or worse an extra constitutional action under law of necessity. Like water, events are most likely to charter their own way.

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/19-Jul-2014/conflicting-narratives#disqus_thread

July 12, 2014

IDP Crises: A Battle Cry against Bad Governance

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 4:56 pm
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As I drove past the new Islamabad airport surrounded by unplanned housings to Bannu, I realised nothing had changed. Parched and scorched landscape, the vintage Khushal Garh Bridge and the dilapidated railway line that once catered to the high speed Hitachi rail cars to Kohat. Though the Kotal Tunnel and Indus Highway are new additions, the poor quality of road engineering, absence of highway police and unchecked lines of overloaded trailers reduced speed to snail’s pace. There is no industry along the highway. Any that existed is long gone. Across Lachi appears a gas field. Geological fables mention huge hydrocarbon reservoirs explored and capped to facilitate cartels. The road across Kurram River passes through a desolate and deserted landscape pimpled with odd date palms. Unlike Karachi and Punjab, modernisation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is imprisoned in a time warp.

The misery and plight of brave hearts abandoned to colonial legacy and phoney battle of elites is heart breaking. Hapless people torn between absence of governance and militancy walked hundreds of miles with animals and poultry. For an umpteenth time, they abandoned households to a hope that good governance and prosperity will finally erase scars of history. Exploited for their patriotism by successive governments, greasy hands of FATA administration, geopolitics, upstart strategists, non-state actors and greedy politicians, hope is not forlorn.  Dehydrated and drenched in intense heat with crystals of salt on their faces, they stand in disciplined lines at distribution points. Tribal Maliks we met say only about 500 families of Gurbuz and Saidzai tribes moved into Afghanistan to relatives. Over 11,000 have since detoured back to Khurram into a camp at Alizai where facilities are far better. Their heart remains in the hope that is Pakistan. IDPs in Afghanistan are barely 500.

Long briefings to officials on PowerPoint fail to animate human trauma; royal entourages disrupt relief. The figure of refugees has crossed 832,000. Officials agree that 30% could be duplications to be verified by NADRA. Errors of family trees and lack of registrations hold back issuance of Zong SIMs to be used for cash distribution and surveillance. An Engineering Division boosted by an Air Defence Brigade has been placed for management and security. For the past 12 days, officers and men have worked overtime to put an efficient organisation in place. Distribution points are testimony to their prowess. Food assistance is abundant with military rations and contributions of World Food Program and UAE Government. Health facilities are wanting. Mobile surgical units placed at the camp are non-functional and disgraceful.

Military used to working on clear directives is stretched between SAFRON, NDMA, FDMA, PDMA and the Provincial Administration. A politically exploitative mind-set prevails. The federal machinery seems to bypass the provincial administration to wield controls. The choice of Bakkakhel Camp (Azb Khan Kili) in FR Bannu lacks imagination. In reality, more than 70% IDPs are spread in Bannu and remaining around DI Khan and Khurram. The entire backwash has spilled into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Federal Government reluctantly and slowly facilitates them.

This battle for the hearts and minds of the tribal Pakistanis must be won because herein lies the stability and integration of a country whose people have been successively subjected to exploitative politics, faulty narratives, inventive nationalism and elitist governance. As member of Pakistan Ex Servicemen Association (PESA) I accompanied Admiral (Retired) Fasih Bokhari with a convoy of relief. We rendezvoused with tribal leaders we had contacts through late Maj Gen Naseer Ullah Babar. Our mission extends to rehabilitation.

The people of FATA are not the only victims. Most Pakistanis have endured the same in varying proportions. The progressive left that relied much on Allama Iqbal and Faiz is confined to drawing rooms. Welfare is no more a priority. The much touted constitution of 1973 has been ignored and subjected to surgical procedures by military and civilian butchers. The social contract of Pakistan is meaningless.

Pakistan politics is a system of the rich, for the rich and by the rich. In order to sustain elites, the first three parts of the constitution comprising Articles 1-40 are circumvented by contradictory legislations. Local Self Government, the most crucial link in socio-economic engineering and good governance and part of the State under Article 7 has neither been promoted by political elites nor pursued by the honourable Judiciary. The parliamentary system with its inherent idea of accumulation of power has been systematically exploited to benefit a few. Conversely, at the grass roots, powers have been separated to facilitate exploitation by the provincial and federal governments. Of late the Judiciary with its selective interventions made a cabal with the old political elites and a media house to maintain the status quo. One case study is the ineffectiveness of all regulatory authorities that oversee transparency and ethics. Their heads were tarnished by a certain media house, removed on various pretext by Judiciary and replaced by handpicked zombies. This method alone drains Pakistan’s exchequer to a tune of Rs.10 billion a day.

So could a corrupt and exploitative system expected to forge a new model of governance in FATA? What do FATA reforms actually mean? In all probability, it will result in half-hearted efforts to preserve the elitists. The methodology will ensure status quo.

Another factor is the ‘intent and action’ of the Federal and Provincial Governments to deal with the expected backlash of terrorism in the heartland. Most militant leaders have melted to reorganise mayhem in major cities. With no mechanisms at successive layers in place and the inability to handle crises sans military amplified in Bannu, counter terrorism operations in urban areas will be ultimately taken over by the military. A logical end is best left to imagination.

This reminds me of a first person anecdote from Kargil. The House of Raiwand thought they would emerge as Lions of Kashmir and privately sanctioned the operation as early as October 1998. In face of adversity they disowned. How else could one explain the reluctance despite rhetoric to appoint a Kargil Commission?

Reluctance in name of civil supremacy will not help. History will take revenge if it comes to eliminating militant havens in Punjab and Karachi. The Prisoner’s Dilemma will get intense. The criminal impasse will leave no option but to hand back the social contract to the people.

Iqbal’s Farman-e-Khuda (Farishton Se) could not be more opportune.

Utho! Meri Dunya Ke Ghareebo Ko Jaga Do
Kakh-e-Umra Ke Dar-o-Diwar Hila Do

Rise, and from their slumber wake the poor ones of My world!
Shake the walls and windows of the mansions of the elites!

It is leaders such as these that Faiz called DOGS.

Ye galiyon ke awaara bekaar kutte

ke bakhsha gaya jin ko zauq-e’-gadaai

Ye chaahein to duniya ko apna bana lein

Ye aaqa’on ki haddiyan tak chaba lein

Koi inko ehsas-e’-zillat dila de

Koi inki soi hui dum hila de

Compiled and written by Brigadier (R) Samson Simon Sharaf in discussions with Admiral (R) Fasih Bokhari on way to IDP camps in Bannu. Email and twitter: samson.sharaf@gmail.com

 http://www.nation.com.pk/columns/12-Jul-2014/meri-dunya-ke-ghareebo-ko-jaga-do

July 9, 2014

Commentary on IDPs In Bannu

Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 5:23 pm
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A pictorial View of our activities in the past three days. Relief situation is much stabilized now.

 See pictures on this link.
A visit to Bannu by me and Admiral (R) Fasih Bokhari Patron Pakistan Ex Servicemen Association (PESA). to share a day with fellow displaced Pakistanis. Admiral Fasih is a retired Naval Chief. A survivor of triple heart bypass surgeries, he had the energy to travel from Islamabad to Bannu with an overnight stay, walk in camps and show the passion and humility of a man who understands his role as God’s Gift to humanity. As Chairman NAB, he was repeatedly strangled by the trio of Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Ch Iftikhar. Was illegally and retrospectively removed by Supreme CourtPlease make donations.
Account Name: Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association. Askari Bank
International Banking Account Number (IBAN): PK41ASCM0000010100239069

July 5, 2014

MOVING BEYOND NRO: An Appraisal of Kayani’s Strategic Calculus

Kayani

PM Gilani was sacrificed by Zardari for his tussle with Gen Kayani. Ch Iftikhar did the trick

What Major General (R) Athar Abbas the ex DG ISPR disclosed in his interview to BBC and subsequently is no sensational disclosure. Over many years, similar opinions emerged in military gossip called langar gup. Pakistani analysts and academicians who seldom made waves on vitriolic media were accurate in opinions. Those who worked with him in planning always feared that he would never outgrow his mind-set. I was amongst few who repeatedly wrote on the subject. In many articles since 2008, I had hinted at the quagmire that was sucking Pakistan.

Though the advent of democracy as best revenge was welcome, democratic conventions and traditions were far from a point of reciprocal trust. COAS as the guarantor of National Reconciliation Ordinance was expected to wield the baton and yet prove he was not over bearing. Here lay the inherent contradictions that were exploited in tandem by Pentagon, State Department and CIA. Mutual suspicions, vulnerabilities in civilian capacity and an overarching presence of US and Saudi influence impacted decision making. The man who craftily manoeuvred himself within this juxtapose was the COAS.

Narratives spun out of yarns by the media and political parties damaged and impeded national reconciliation. Perceptions thus created led people to ignore the dire threats of militancy. Judicial interference paralysed state institutions. Judicial/media interference in accountability made it a cry in wilderness. Corruption increased manifold. Judicial procedures to deal with militancy were non-existent. 1,100 terrorists were released by courts. It took PTI 7 stubborn years to realise that they were backing a wrong Chief Justice. It was always unrealistic to expect the army to mop up operations in North Waziristan and leave the backlash in cities for another day.

In this perspective many officers and men questioned judgements and intentions of General Kayani. They were side lined, superseded, retired or court martialled. Despite accurate assessments and analysis since 2002, why General Kayani allowed this to pass intrigues many minds? A well-meaning critic went to the extent of calling him an actor within a ‘collisional intrigue’, an obvious hint on his extension, domestic political situation and the impact of American and Saudi pressures through NRO. It can be argued that at some stage he became a part of the mess. My latest comment similar to what General Athar said was made on 26 April 2006: –

“Since 2008, many incidents threatened to derail both the democratic process and civil-military cooperation. The memo scandal was built on the argument of civilian supremacy. Incidents like Salala, Raymond Davis and Abbotabad failed to undermine the indispensability of the armed forces to combat and defeat terrorism. Pakistan Army was capable of mopping up Waziristan after Swat. DGISI was in favour of a quick and effective operation. The COAS ruled it out in fear of a backlash in urban areas. From a strategic point of view, this inaction from 2010 to 2013 provided respite to militants and their sympathisers in political parties. The military allowed sub conventional threats to grow. Had it concentrated on operations and not checkmating President Zardari, Pakistan’s political landscape would have been different. Extensions were non-productive.”
Nation: The War Indoors, 26 April 2014

But my arguments are not based on the fortes or foibles of a general. They are rather premised on a fruitless context of Civil-Military debate rife with circumspection that weighed heavily on counter terrorism. For instance, the civilian establishment is still reluctant to formulate an effective counter terrorism policy with legal loop holes plugged. Hawks in civilian establishment see any such reinforcement as strengthening the role of military in civil affairs. Yet the fact that counter terrorism operations in urban centres with civilian led operations can neither be ignored nor postponed is never emphasised. Considering the reluctance in civil preparedness, the viability and cost of such operations always weighed heavily on military planners. In the context of such multi-dimensional threats I had suggested the establishment of a permanent civilian led National Strategic Command Centre (NSCC) to act as the nerve centre that evaluates all forms of threat ranging from physical to psychological warfare.

NRO 1 (and 2) is complemented by a fierce debate on civilian supremacy through formal and informal forums. Though the intention of such studies under PILDAT was noble, discussions were fraught with inability of the civilian participants to comprehend military sociology or suggest viable civilian capacity building road map. Disgusted with media style military bashing that was oft the norm, I walked out of this forum. There was and remains mutual circumspection fraught with narrow outlooks. It is not a good sign.

In the overall context, the whole scenario indicated fault lines that would emerge in multi-dimensional threat kinetics to Pakistan at a heavy cost. Such scenarios had been analysed threadbare in GHQ since 2002. As event unfolded, it was actually a script déjà vu. In an environment heightened by the collisional intrigue leading to 2013 elections, militancy grew, casualties multiplied and civil institutions went into recluse. The COAS as guarantor of NRO sequel was preoccupied with events and king making. My series of articles criticised military planners and suggested measures to build civilian capacity. Events complicated his checkmating abilities to create a strategic limbo. He was unable to sell his logic and remained a bystander to the descent into lawlessness. Soon, a COAS known for his prowess in operation room and a mind-set warped in past, ran out of time.

Most of what was avoidable is now the inevitable. “A genre of post 1971 security officials is expected to contend and clear a backwash they did not create. A wider and intense spectrum of militancy is now visible. The army needs the nation at its back now more than never before” (Nation: The War Indoors, 26 April 2014). I hope it is not warped in the time zone of non-state proxies.

A few weeks from now, Waziristan would be rid of militants. Most would have melted to other places. Emboldened by swift gains of their comrades in ISIS, they would plan their next move in the heartland. Time is of essence. Who reaches first will decide the future of conflict resolution. The roadmap will be determined by the government in power, opposition on streets and military. The initiative and responsibility rests with the federal government. Pakistan runs the risk of passing through the worst times of instability in bloodshed and political dissent.

The government and the new COAS have taken the decision fatale sans civilian preparedness. How the government will deal with a backlash remains a question mark? But realities may change. The incumbent COAS is no guarantor of NRO. The Supreme Court has to grow out of the shadows of Chaudhary Iftikhar. Political parties will have to reset the template of social contract.

General Kayani remained Pakistan’s premier military strategist from 2002-2013, a very long time with 6 years at the helm. His strategic calculus at a heavy human and material attrition will in due course be tested. Only then a judgement will be credible.

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/05-Jul-2014/moving-beyond-nro

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