January 5, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — sharafs @ 4:15 pm


There is a Chinese saying by Sun Tzu, “If you know yourself and your enemy, you need not dread the result of thousand battles”. But what would one say about a political culture that neither knows itself nor its enemy? Does it merit the credentials to govern a country whose pressing problems evade it, where escapism is a political stratagem, where megalomaniacs with soft ears bask in the aura of courtiers while nincompoops spin yarns with splendid abandon? This is a political culture unwilling to learn, research or debate. The long list of wants reminds me of a childhood poem:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost,
for want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

Pakistan is imploding and rulers do not seem to care. Juxtaposed in conflicting narratives, Jinnah’s vision is eclipsed. Ever since the dawn of ‘democracy as best revenge’, federal and provincial plans, akin to the nail, lack vision, depth and detail.  The brass-tacks of good governance and national priorities resemble a jumbled meccano set that can be shaped for the worst. To be incompetent is pardonable; to be callous is criminal tantamount to complicity. The czars just do not have the mettle, urge or time to know or learn. Each is a victim of one’s own subjective experiences. Fallacies of generalisations insulate them from reason and logic. Critical thinking is non-existent. Flattery is music, dissent unpardonable.

The dons who grace the constitutional avenue and assembly chambers have unlearned the habit of even reading tabloids, not to mention serious books. After all, journals and policy papers are too dry to digest for those who have more appetite for raw power and aggrandisement. The complete surrender to internal egos created by a deficit called vulnerability propels them to a psyche of self-preservation followed by a self-belief that they are invulnerable and indispensable. News strips, odd tweets, smart phones and gossip are their best source of information. Administrative and intelligence paraphernalia remain preoccupied keeping tags on rivals and potential stragglers. Incriminating information is handy for blackmailing. These desi Al Capones have an insatiable appetite to blackmail or bump off dissent.

Introspection and self-correction is conspicuously absent. Why do it when the entire consequence of faulty decision making can be masked by rhetoric, conspiracy theories and political justifications. Two wrongs always make a right. For them, it is prudent to substitute the solitary moments of yore with political concubines who amplify the illusions and provide the pompous and megalomaniac aura that makes the toughest succumb to innate instincts. Democracy a la revenge runs on whims and not well thought policies. As the country gets weaker, the leaders of political parties armed with the lethal eighteenth amendment wield a whip against any dissent. A train of opportunists, beneficiaries and fly by night reformers followed by most obedient servants buzz around the whip master with a constant flow of melodious chatter. Inside the termite hill, workers of various descriptions bloat the invincible queen incapable to ventures for a ground check. As the plot deepens, the spirals in sinkhole get fiercer and deeper. Democracy of mutual back scratching makes it incumbent to stamp the mouse even if there is a tiger at the door.  After all, stamping means more activity and noise.

How could one define the incompetence, callousness and apathy of Pakistan’s politicians in the aftermath of a new found National Action Plan in post Peshawar tragedy? Despite repeated declarations of a counter terrorism policy forged through copy paste of Protection of Pakistan Ordinance and Anti-Terrorism Act, it transpired that the government was never serious in implementing it. There never existed a working or viable plan to complement military’s isolated campaign against terrorism. Two weeks have been wasted by political parties on military courts while the onerous task of perceiving threat levels, typologies and objectives have yet to be understood. The perceptions being created pre suppose that military courts will become the death knell for terrorism. As a result the entire debate on counter terrorism is obscured either willingly or by default. The braying from Larkana suggests, it is deliberated by all beneficiaries of NRO and Charter of Democracy. The crocodile tears for the children of Thar, Sargodha and Peshawar reflect innate animal instincts.

The government is avoiding taking the bull by the horns. The entire process of successive all parties’ conferences are to create delays and complications in the execution of counter terrorism plans. Else the government should have shown immediate urgency and resolve in setting up the legislative, executive and judicial oversight mechanisms to complement counter terrorism operations. The fact that the government circumvents the issue means that either it is incompetent to take on the onerous challenge or wants to delay it.  The country is indeed at war but the rulers do not wish to fight it. Some take solace in the statement that it was the army that created these monsters and therefore must eliminate them. The dirty laundry belongs and belongs to the army.

This absence of political will and credibility in backdrop of political rhetoric reminds me of another nursery rhyme:

A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds
And when the weeds begin to grow
It’s like a garden full of snow
And when the snow begins to fall
It’s like a bird upon the wall
And when the bird away does fly
It’s like an eagle in the sky
And when the sky begins to roar
It’s like a lion at the door
And when the door begins to crack
It’s like a stick across your back
And when your back begins to smart
It’s like a penknife in your heart
And when your heart begins to bleed
You’re dead, and dead, and dead indeed

It is incumbent on the bleeding, mourning and bruised nation to rebuild a temperate willpower and national consciousness to back patriotic forces against the Merchants of Venice seeking pounds of flesh. Like the nursery rhymes, it is time for basics.

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


1 Comment »

  1. An excellent study and timely too!

    Sir, there is an unwitting conspiracy of the ‘witless’ Trio – our Clergy, the Vested Interests (Ashrafiyya) and the Ruling Class (Malukiyyat) in serving their insatiable ‘gluttony’ at the cost of our poor, ignorant and subjugated people. More Machiavellian and purposeful alien power, may be two, are at work to keep them at it and destroy the only core strength of Pakistan – its armed forces!

    Unfortunately, our armed forces are also being eroded by seeping corruption and indolence of their hierarchy…….

    Young and the understanding section of our people have lost faith and patience and risen in loud but peaceful protest against the loathsome and merciless acts of terrorism, particularly targeting the dependents of the armed forces personnel and the hapless civil society. Thats how ‘Dharnas’ of the PAT and PTI aroused all-out support and created history……

    The unfortunate massacre of children and teaching staff of Army Public School and College at Peshawar, has provided an emotional tool to this Trio to oblige PTI to call off ‘Dharna’ and their fast spread campaign of arousing the people by ‘Jalsas’ in other major cities.

    Army leadership may have shown some awakening that has forced these “treacherous scoundrels” to work up the farce of legislation in the Parliament, primarily putting off serious and purposeful planning to get at the roots of this malaise, both internal and external. Establishment of the Military Courts may fill the gap of the non-functioning judiciary (Why do we have them at all?); however, the banishment of the TRIO must be brought about and only SYSTEM CHANGE can do it. PTI needs to do some real serious ‘In- House’ study.

    PTI should understand their ‘putting off’ time-wasting trick and they better do their ‘in-party’ comprehensive study and analysis on the subject determining “threat levels, typologies and objectives” as pointed out by Samson Sharaf and chalk out the strategy to banish this curse, for good.. I hope the armed forces have also done their home-work by now!

    Comment by Sher Suleman — January 6, 2015 @ 6:08 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: