The ‘Ghairat Brigade’ and the hyper-nationalism

By Kamran Shafi
Tuesday, 10 Nov, 2009

…Meanwhile back at the ranch, what is now increasingly known as the ‘Ghairat Brigade’ proceeds apace with its denunciation of the elected government in particular and politicians in general. The Internet is inundated with stories about the corruption of all politicians; the inefficiency of the only government in Pakistan which seems to be doing a half-decent job — the Punjab government; and of the selling down the river of Pakistan, its nuclear assets, its sovereignty et al, by the ‘bloody civilians’. Scenarios predicting the imminent fall of the government, followed by the wrapping up of the whole shoot are doing the rounds of the drawing rooms of the rich and the famous, what I call the Beautiful People.

Yet, just look at the shenanigans of the newest godfather of the ‘Ghairat Brigade’: “I said to the Americans, ‘Give us the Predators.’ It was refused. I told the Americans, ‘Then just say publicly that you’re giving them to us. You keep on firing them but put Pakistan Air Force markings on them.’ That, too, was denied” — Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, former chief of the army staff, Pakistan Army, in a most recent interview with Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker. I ask you!

Where is the ‘Ghairat Lobby’ now when Musharraf’s subterfuge to trick the Pakistani nation has been made public: whilst going all the way with the Americans in allowing the drone attacks, asking them to camouflage their drones in PAF colours. Yet his acolytes have the gall to put the blame for drone attacks entirely on the present lot?

The Commando has also had (one of his) comeuppance(s), however. Asked if he had met any senior Obama administration official, he said, “I did not ask for a meeting because I was afraid of being told no.” Well, serves him right.

What else can I say but that sense should be knocked into the knuckleheaded, actually venal and dishonest establishment and its paid hacks by the lay people of this country who are up to here with being fed the worst tripe for the past 60-plus years; who are at the end of their tether with the sickening and ever shrill crescendo of blame and accusations and the strictest censure of politicians, and only politicians.

Case in point, a move in the Senate of Pakistan initiated by Senator-for-Life Wasim Sajjad: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law and treaty, and undertaking or conditionalities agreed with any foreign country, the president of Pakistan shall certify in January each year on behalf of the government of Pakistan to each house of parliament that the sovereignty and honour of Pakistan have not been compromised in any manner whatsoever, that no compromise has been made on security (sic) or effectiveness of the nuclear programme of Pakistan; that no understanding has been reached with any foreign country for interference in the change of command or promotions in the Pakistan armed forces or in the structure or role of the security forces of Pakistan; and that no conditionalities have been accepted from any source.”

He also said that the KLA (Kerry Lugar act) raised many concerns and caused serious worries in almost all civil and military circles’. Er, is this Senator Waseem Sajjad the same person who allegedly carried the army’s message to the Supreme Court these many years ago? I ask you, again!

To end, might I refer to friend Cyril Almeida’s question of last week: “Can our politicians ever make it work?” Yes, yes, yes, Cyril, provided our democracy gets the time it takes to grow and flower and prosper, to which endeavour all of us must be party by saying with one voice: “No matter what, never another army take-over!!” Otherwise we are lost.

PS May I one more time say to the leaders of Pakistan’s largest parties, President Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif: stay together and defeat the anti-democratic forces, or get ‘sorted out’ one by one. Particularly to Asif Zardari may I say yet again, “You don’t need four months to get rid of the 17th Amendment. All it takes is two days!! Do it!” (Source

Rejecting hyper-nationalists
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 (The News)
Mosharraf Zaidi

No one doubts that Pakistan has enemies. No one has legitimately made an argument that any country is particularly interested in Pakistan for noble or selfless reasons. And no one that can be taken seriously can defend politicians and their enablers as they slavishly tout talking points that have no basis in the South Asian Muslim narrative around which mainstream Pakistan’s values and ethos are constructed.

The hyper-nationalist discourse that seeks to locate Pakistan’s problems in Zionism, Indian spies, or American development assistance, however, is not nationalist at all. How can anybody, who really cares for Pakistan, be so wickedly unaware of the potential dangers of targeting foreign correspondents? How can anybody that cares for Pakistan continually attempt to inject Pakistanis with the heroin of blaming ‘the other’? How can anybody that cares for Pakistan so consistently defy and deny any attempt to inspect and assess the damage that Pakistan does to itself? How can anybody that cares about Pakistan surgically delegitimise questions about the accountability of mercenaries hired to protect diplomats?

When Pakistanis that love their country read the hyper-nationalist press in Pakistan, or watch pundits spew irrational and unsubstantiated allegations on television, they need to resist embracing the warm comfort of blaming ‘the other’. The overwhelmingly vast majority of Pakistan’s problems are a direct consequence of decisions made by Pakistani individuals, groups and organisations. The dangers of allowing conspiracy theories to go unchallenged are not just intellectual. Daniel Pearl lost his life because of a delusional, conspiratorial and escapist culture among extremists. Pakistanis, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, should have nothing but contempt for this culture. It certainly must not be allowed to expand its influence. And being rational about the threats Pakistan faces does not mean you are being unpatriotic. Quite the opposite.

Resistance to hyper-nationalism must begin with rejecting it, and end with registering that rejection in writing. Write a letter to every newspaper and television channel and raise your voice. The depth and seriousness of Pakistan’s fragile middle class voice rests on it. We cannot allow this voice to be hijacked by the hyper-nationalists that concoct malicious and dangerous lies to appeal to our patriotism. (Source)