Post-OBL Pakistan: Why doesn’t coward Zardari bell the fauji-jihadi cat? – by Mahvish Afridi

Osama bin Laden's presence in a Safe House in the military garrison city of Abbottabad proves that Pakistan army and Al Qaeda are not two separate entities.

While some sincere friends as well as some die-hard haters of the PPP are currently advising the Zardari-Gilani government to ‘make full use of the rare window of opportunity’ by questioning and undermining the GHQ-Al-Qaeda collusion, it is important to understand the current power equation in Pakistan and the lack of an enabling environment to reign in the almighty military establishment.

In my considered view, going against the military establishment is going against more than half a million trained blood thirsty jihadis, aside from a rabid media and judiciary, a fickle, shallow and deeply compromised urban intelligentsia and of course the godfathers of it all, our Pak fauj (army) with its trillion dollar financial assets and  12% of Pakistan land.

The PPP and ANP have already lost many of its leaders and activists. I think civil society (also known as fake civil society – FCS) should step up to the plate. After all, they are always claiming that it was they who restored democracy through their valiant struggle with Jamaat-e-Islami, PESA (ex-servicemen’s association), Sipah-e-Sahaba, PTI and PML-N. They had to endure the horrifyingly scary TV commentary of Faisal Raza Abidi and the millions of the absent PPP jiyalas who did not think much of their Lahore-Rawalpindi Jamaat Islami-dominated movement after July 2007.

As per the narrative of Pakistan’s civil society, it was not the years of negotiations which allowed the late Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan and contest the elections after a guarantee that politically motivated charges against her mother, husband and herself be dropped.

For them, it was the immense bravery of a one-eyed Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry who stood up to one weakened general (Musharraf) at the behest of another ascending and powerful general (Kayani). In this movement, they did not have to rally behind another allegedly corrupt Bhutto with a bad fashion sense, wearing Sufi amulets and hanging out with smelly folks. In the Lawyer’s movement, they had the advantage of exercising their warped moral outrage in support of judges who had supported and legitimized one military dictator for nearly a decade before deciding to throw in their lot with his successor, General Kayani.  The irony of marching under the shadow of Al-Qaeeda banners whilst (mis)appropriating the poetry of dead leftist-progressive poets was somewhat lost on Pakistan’s (Fake) Civil Society.

We agree that the PPP and its silly and smelly supporters are just not worthy of “capturing the movement” after the military establishment was caught with its pants down on the OBL operation by the Americans.

No, the only people who are worthy of being part of such a moment are those who always hated the PPP and often supported the generals who helped rid Pakistan of the Bhuttos.

So while Zardari and Gilani typically cower before the generals to save their government, freedom and their lives along with that of their families, we feel that civil society should take a stand against the Generals and their media and judiciary proxies.

We are fully confident that the Jihadis who killed Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti will not have the courage to do anything more than shower petals on civil society – just like they did with CJ and Taseer’s murderer, Qadri. After the the current (and temporary ) disgrace of the security establishment, this civil society is now the only pure group  (in their own perceptions) left in the land of the pure. Only they have the ability to wash out the sins of the army and splash the resulting dirty water on the PPP government. Only they can do it…

Further points for consideration:

1. The Power equation in Pakistan heavily loaded against PPP by virtue of the Teen Jeem (generals, judges and jihadis)  network.

2. Lack of an enabling environment where FCS (liberal proxies of the ISI), judges, media, rightwing politicians (PML N, PTI, JI) are all virulently against PPP

3. Backdrop of Kargil where even a Prime Minister with the judges under his thumb (after he and his party thugs stormed the Supreme Court premises) Punjabi ethnicity and “2/3” mandate was casually flicked aside after the security establishment suffered an embarrassment of similar proportions in Kargil and were disgraced internationally.

4. The current civilian government has slowly created democratic space inspite of the lack of support from fake civil society and should not risk losing this space on the basis of the goading of a feckless and insincere FCS.

5. By welcoming the Operation against OBL and by taking on the PML N and therby indirectly, the establishment, the PPP government has created a crucial difference between themselves and the establishment; all credit to Yusuf Raza Gilani, Rehman Malik, Husain Haqqani and Asif Zardari. This they did inspite of having been dictated to by the establishment which is commendable.

6. FCS (some liberal writers and activists) are very shallow in its denunciation of the military establishment. While they are encouraging (in fact harassing and daring) the PPP government to take a suicidal stance against the all powerful military establishment, deep in their heart they are focused on only one point agenda, an early removal of the PPP government through shortest possible means.  This is proven in the selective criticism.  The PPP leadership should ignore their advice at all costs!

This is the same FCS that participated in a selective campaign against one weakened general and NOT the institution that was represented by this general. They have rarely, if ever, spoken against the concept of “Strategic Depth” that provides official cover to the Jihadi adventurism of the security establishment.  When PPP leaders leaders like Benazir and its stalwarts and ministers were killed by the Taliban and the Jihadi organizations connected to it, this fake civil society barely talked about the blowback effect of Strategic Depth that has claimed the lives of 35,ooo Pakistanis and made the women and children of FATA hostage to the Taliban and foreign Al Qaeeda mercenaries who use them as human shields!  Their entire narrative smacks of a vague and ambiguous denunciation of a phenomena (extremism) without really being specific as to how the players are.  The only specific and clear parts of their narrative is their contempt for the elected leaders of the land and their abuse for Zardari. Today, they just want a cosmetic denunciation of the generals and the resignation of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gillani for the sins of the security establishment.

Rising above the din of the cacaphony of rubbish and insincere advice, one came across the rare voices of sanity like Kamran Shafi, whose  current article for DAWN very correctly concluded that the generals should be made to clean up their own mess.  When Messrs Zardari, Gillani, Haqqani and Rehman are coming to the defense of the ISI, they could well be communicating the following:

It is now clear to the world that you, our security establishment, cannot continue with your double games.  However, instead of committing political hara-kiri by adopting a confrontational stance, we have given you the same space that you never afforded us or the rest of the country that does not benefit from the Strategic doctrine of Jihad Inc.  You can accept this and use the moderate factions with the army and ISI to wrap up the policy of strategic depth.  We, on the other hand, will clutch you in an embrace so tight that it reduces your ability to derail the democratic process any further by making us indispensable to your future survival.  Our space has increased and we ill not surrender it by a reckless short term manoeuvres.  You have been exposed on a global level and we don’t need to stretch you to a breaking point as you have attempted to do to us and failed….



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