What do people like Ahmed Quraishi want to achieve by writing mindless articles that only show the shallowness of their intellect? His piece that appears in our very favorite, The News on July 5, 2010 starts from the theme of “Valkyrie”, talking about a coup d’état in Pakistan.
One little point I want to make for Ahmed Quraishi. Look at what PPP governments get for our military: in 1993-94, BB successfully lobbied for the Brown Amendment to get arms and ammunition that was stopped by the Pressler Amendment. Even this time, getting the F-16’s albeit small in number, is no mean achievement. We are a cynical nation who do not appreciate what has been achieved but question what could have been achieved which was never achievable!
The next intervention
The News, July 5, 2010
This time it won’t just be the takeover at the President’s House and the Prime Minister’s. There could also be the jamming of cellular telephone network and the temporary blocking of Internet. PTV could reign over the broadcast signals once again after a long time, at least for a few hours if not more. Unlike the past, this time some of the politicians will not take it lying down. The Pakistani state is at its weakest and a weak state invites trouble. Power-grabbers are many, and this time around they have direct contacts and deals with outside powers. These powers are already sitting in and around Pakistan.
Things should not come to this but the steady march toward a national failure is fast eroding the optimism that marked the election of February 2008. To be sure even the Pakistani military is not ready for this kind of an intervention. Not now at least. The military is content that Washington has seemingly ended its double game of using the politicians to undermine the military’s influence. America is now talking directly to the army and is no longer solely dependent on Mr Zardari and Mr Haqqani [nor has it ditched them yet but that’s a story for another day].
This situation might suit the Pakistani military, for good reasons. There is no question that Mr Pervez Musharraf left behind a sordid strategic situation where Pakistan was relegated from confronting a worthy adversary like India to fighting insurgencies that popped up from nowhere, and the PakMil, as the Americans like to call it, was demoted to cleaning up the American mess. Since Mr Musharraf’s escape, the Pakistani military leadership did a tremendous job of juggling many balls in the air and gradually improving Pakistan’s geostrategic position over the past two years. This transformation is a credit to the Pakistani military leadership.
But getting Washington to stop conniving with the politicians and deal directly with the military looks like a temporary reprieve and a shortsighted solution to extracting Pakistan from the mess of the past eight years. Pakistani people want a change in strategy, not tactics. They want their military to opt out of the Musharraf-designed and foreign-guaranteed political arrangements of 2007. They want their military to stop accepting small bribes, like the sale of the F-16s that come with humiliating conditions. The national mood can be gauged from the fact there was little jubilation over that news.
We have no enmity with the United States at all. It’s just that our alliance with Washington in Afghanistan has come at the expense of Pakistan’s national interests and the list of damages is too long. Granted that the Obama administration is doing damage control. But it’s too little too late. Our so-called allies in Afghanistan continue to harm our strategic position and yet we let them off the hook with a strategic dialogue and some coins and PR stints.
Supreme Court’s many interventions to help people get justice from overbearing and incompetent government departments [the details of these interventions, especially in smaller cases that don’t make headlines, are truly breathtaking] shows two things. One, how bad things are and, two, that Pakistanis can bring a turnaround.
We need a government and a military that won’t sell Pakistani citizens to foreign governments, won’t be complicit in drone attacks that kill more innocent Pakistanis than any valuable ‘targets’, won’t allow criminal syndicates make billions out of the ISAF and US Afghan-bound containers, and won’t jump up and down in glee over weapons we bought with our own money yet can’t choose where and how to use them.
Pakistan also needs to shed the apologetic attitude over our nuclear capability. Stop saying we only built them because India did it. We have our legitimate space of economic and strategic interests and we will protect it by all means necessary. Some assertiveness won’t hurt.
None of the above requires a military intervention. There are options short of that. But a change of mindset is imperative. Someone will have to take charge in Pakistan. And it’s better if we do it than let outsiders and reactionaries occupy the space.
The writer works for Geo TV. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org