Mosharraf Zaidi: Counter-terrorism through the civil service

The attack on the Lahore police training facility yesterday, which as of the time of this article’s writing had not ended, should wake Pakistan up. There is an existential monster that Pakistanis are unable to acknowledge because of the weakness of their Muslim faith. This weakness is exacerbated by the average Pakistani Muslim’s dependence on unholy mullahs whose money-ing by General Zia, radical Saudis, and the joint efforts of the CIA and the ISI is now proving to be the single gravest threat to the sustainability of Pakistan as an operational entity.

The ostrich-like reaction to terrorism
is driven by the average Pakistani’s inability to debate the mullah, and an unwillingness to invest the effort and time required to tame that mullah. Abandoned and let loose by the “shurafa” that once were able to tame the mullah, and to speak his language, the mullah’s new master–the comfort of Land Cruisers and bottled water–has no scruples.

In the long run, Pakistan cannot be saved until Pakistan’s Muslims take back the mosque. This is not a call to start performing qawwalis in mosques. The faux religiosity of hashish-smoking rock-and-rollers pretending to be holier than thou is as much of a scam as the faux religiosity of mullahs insisting that they are the gatekeepers of Paradise. You cannot win the culture wars against orthodoxy with pseudo-Sufism, any more than the Dixie Chicks can win the culture wars against Mike Huckabee and the righteous American right. You can however beat the orthodoxy with the language of faith. There is, quite simply, no basis in Sharia for any of the violence that has been spawned, financed and executed by the monsters that the world’s best intelligence agencies–whatever country they may be from–helped incubate. To expect those same agencies to somehow know how to conquer a monster to which they are beholden is ridiculous.

But how are Pakistan’s Muslims supposed to take back the mosque when they are scared of going to them? This is the twisted core objective of the terrorists, to completely monopolise religion, and to use that space to pursue their real agenda. And what is their real agenda?

Watching video of Sufi Mohammed make his way from Swat to Peshawar in a jeep marked with the number plate “TSNM – 1” was instructive. The spectacle was only marginally comical. It provided the strangest of insights into Pakistan. The TSNM just wants the piece of pie that it has watched young ACs, DCs, DCOs, SSPs, MNAs, MPAs, DPOs and, yes, even NGOs enjoy to the fullest. It wants the full fruits of state protocol. It wants the flashing lights at the head of the convoy. It wants that the road should clear and traffic should split, in a manner reminiscent of the Prophet Moses parting the River Nile by the grace and kind mercy of the Good Lord. The TSMN just wants the same goodies that the Brahmin bureaucrats, cops and politicians have enjoyed from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and cars for a long, long time. So we should really call what has happened in Swat, for what it really is. It’s the Brahminsation of the shudra mullah. And that explains the outrage of the wannabe-elite bureaucrats at Pakistan’s deteriorating security situation. At its heart beats insecurity. The shudras are trying to take away their black Corollas, their multiple mobile phones, and their vast caches of cash, lying at the bottom of the rent-seeking pyramid.

How do these merchants of fear and slaughter earn the legitimacy to demand and win such concessions, both from the people and from the state?

Largely on the back of the illegitimacy of those that have been enjoying state privilege and protocol. It does not take a genius for a local mullah to point the finger and demonise a twenty-something assistant commissioner, who is more enamoured by his Blackberry than the problems his “subjects” face, never attends the mosque, except Fridays, and is so genuinely sure of himself that he can’t look the common folk in the eye. It does not take much to delegitimise an MPA whose road scheme only benefits the village he is from, and the farmland that belongs to his father. It does not take much to delegitimise a police official who is seen to be corrupt and in cahoots with troublesome patwaris. The rot at the bottom is gently and carefully nurtured by the top of the local administrative structures in this country.

Local administration is in fact a great example of the myopia that plagues Pakistan’s bureaucrats. The real battle over decentralisation, tragically, is that retired one-time DCs and commissioners are so enamoured with their lifetimes of administrative failure that they want their heirs (both genetic and cadre-based) to retain magistracy powers. It is an unmitigated disgrace that crusty old retired bureaucrats somehow burrow their way into the right ear of political leaders to pursue the narrowest of personal agendas.

The separation of magisterial powers from the administrative functions of the district coordination officer (DCO) is a cause of searing pain for the District Management Group (DMG). It is the one thing Gen Musharraf did that was truly intolerable for the DMG and their predecessor CSP cadres. The General’s demolition job on the Constitution does not bother a strapping young DMG lad as much as the taking away of judicial powers that were once vested in the twenty-something boy. This self-centred ethos of the Pakistani civil service, personified by the DMG, but shared across all occupational groups, is ripping the heart out of the state’s capacity to deal with the demonic attacks on this country’s people, such as the one in Lahore yesterday.

This is not to suggest that the bureaucracy is in any way not capable of doing its job. Quite the contrary, in fact. Even after the 1974 Bhutto reforms and their devastating effects on the perception of the civil services as a viable career option for Pakistan’s best and brightest young people, civil servants tend to be tremendously resourceful individuals. Indeed, at the individual level, it is usually hard to find really mediocre people occupying really important civil-service positions. And perhaps that’s just the problem. A Darwinian process of elimination pushes the best people to the top, or it flushes the best people right out of the system. Out of the system, trained civil servants end up serving the narrow interests of whichever donor is willing to pay them the most money. Within the system, the best civil servants spend 20 hours a day serving the strange and sometimes sordid needs of political masters who don’t deserve to sit at the same table as some of their officers, to say nothing of ordering them around. By the time a capable, gold-plated, honest civil servant gets to a position where he can make a real difference, fatigue, cynicism and the competition for good officers between provinces, departments, ministries and the donors conspire to render them useful only in the narrow realm of administrative efficiency.

As bad as Pakistan’s bureaucracy has behaved over the years, the irony is that it is the last line of defence for this country. If the terrorists are able to demoralise, demonise and destabilise the civil service backbone of this country, there will be little but the courage of ordinary citizens standing in the way of the Taliban. While the Taliban will be devastated at discovering just how much the Pakistani people possess of that elusive thing we call courage, we should expect more of our political leaders and their leveraging of civil servants.

President Asif Ali Zardari has once again fallen for his advisers’ flights of fancy, proposing an 80,000-strong national force to counter terrorism. This is a divergent tactic that must stop. Pakistan doesn’t need new structures. It needs the strengthening of structures that exist. There are, after all, capable and honest officers out there, from Azam Suleman Khan, to Tariq Khosa, to Suleman Ghani, to Fazalur Rehman, to Kaleem Imam. It is unbelievable that there aren’t more of the same kind of civil servants out there. There are. Politicians need to stop playing games and start finding and investing in these officers. Time is running out.

The writer is an independent political economist

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 (The News)

2 responses to “Mosharraf Zaidi: Counter-terrorism through the civil service”

  1. civil-military bureaucracy is the cause of terrorism. wasnt it them who were creating Taliban? wasnt these great geniuses like Qudrat ullah Shahb writing editorial likes “A new leaf” when progressive media was being destroyed?
    Arnt these great honest men like Roidad khan rigging general elections???
    Wrnt they busy writing biographies of dictators? like Altaf Gohar???
    This is “diversion tactic” not otherwise

  2. wasnt these great geniuses like Qudrat ullah Shahb writing editorial likes “A new leaf” when progressive media was being destroyed? [Shaheryar Ali]

    Shaheryar Sahab,

    Intellectual Honesty Rules in Pakistan

    You are correct to the hilt, Sir.

    Let me add about another Intellectual Pervert Humayun Gauhar [Editor of General Musharraf’s Book ‘In the Line of Fire] and let me tell all of you about Humayun Gauhar’s Father Late. Altaf Gauhar [an Intellectual Dishonest to the core and worst Time server] . Let me tell the services these Two [Father and Son] rendered for Pakistan. Let me tell you as to what Altaf Gauhar used to say about his ‘ALLEGED’ Translation of Quran [basically commentary upon another Deviant Translator Mullah Maudoodi’s Tafhim] when he was in Jail. Agha Hassan Abidi [BCCI] had officially made Pimping an Institution through a section [BCCI Abu Dhabi Operations – UAE] in his so-called Celebrated Bank of Muslim Ummah and Abidi needed panderer like Gauhars for pimping. Humayun Gauhar’s Father Altaf and his partner Qudratullah Sahab (Shahabn later became Sufis and used to tell as to how he witness the separation of his soul from his body [while alive in a Chapter of his biography Shahabnama)- both Bureaucrats of CSP/ISP Cadres) were the very persons who are the reason of the Collapse of Independent and Vibran Print Media and Journalism in Pakistan way back in 60s.




    During the trial of Ayub’s Information Secretary Altaf Gauhar in 1972, a disclosure was made that quite a few members of the Press succumbed to the corruptive influences of the dictatorial regimes of Ayub and Yahyah. It was revealed that some members of the Fourth Estate were in the pay of various official agencies, doing assignments of purely political character, more often outside the ambit of the institutions they belonged to. Their role was part of the corrupt and unjust dispensation that had to be suffered all these years. Unfortunately, the names of the beneficiaries were expunged from the Court Proceedings.

    The National Press Trust was a brainchild of Altaf Gauhar. To those who were brazen enough to present the naked dictatorship as ‘democracy’, it presented no problem to advertise the scheme for putting a number of important papers under the official thumb, as an enlightened attempt by
    private “philanthropists” to “raise the standard of journalism and editorial policy”. An official compendium of Ayub’s “achievement”, Twenty Years of Pakistan, compiled under the supervision of Altaf Gauhar.

    The Press and Publications Ordinance, 1960, was promulgated when Qudratullah Shahab, a super-bureaucrat, was Ayub’s Information Secretary. During his tenure as the Secretary, Ministry of Information, the Progressive Papers Limited had been taken over. The day these papers “turned a new leaf”, the editorial was written by himself claiming that “distant orbits and alien horizons- far from territorial and ideological boundaries of Pakistan- exercised a progressively increasing charm on the tone and policies of this newspaper (Pakistan Times). Which gradually began to look like a stranger in the house….”.

    The decision to establish the National Press Trust had been taken, which was implemented by his successor. Shahab’s masterstroke was the creation of the Writers’ Guild. He himself was its first Secretary-General, while another Intellectual- Bureaucrat, Jamiluddin Aali (another Darbari Gawayya, not in the book my words) was appointed the Secretary. Three leading business houses of Karachi- Adamjees, Dawoods and Habibs-were marshalled to award “cash prizes” to “deserving writers” in order to “buy and corrupt their loyalties”.

    Ayub during his last days, though a sick, lonely and broken man, did not forget Gauhar’s devotion and services to him. His final deed before vacating the President’s House was to hold a private investiture ceremony to pin a medal on Gauhar. Like his predecessor, Gauhar, since his removal from the corridors of power, has used every available platform to parade himself as the champion of the freedom of the Press as well as the man who had “nothing whatsoever to do” with the curbs on it. Soon after joining Dawn as its Chief Editor, it “dawned” upon him that the “curtailment of Press liberty has done immense harm to the country”.

    During Altaf Gauhar’s sojourn behind the bars during the times of Bhutto, another realization “dawned” upon him, that of Maulana Abul Ala Maududi’s “profound understanding of Quran, the life of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and Islamic History”, the same Maulana he had maligned full blast, when he was occupying a posh room in the Islamabad Secretariat. The Bureau of National Research and Reference, under the Ministry of Information, during the 1964 elections, produced tons of literature against Jamat-e-Islami. Khalid Hassan, at that time Assistant Director (Projection) of the Bureau, writes:

    “It is a bit ironic that the Jamat-e-Islami which Gauhar was to intellectually embrace during and after his internment in the Bhutto years appeared to be the main subject of ‘research’ at the Bureau. I think practically everything written, published and distributed against the Jamat-e-Islami in those days was produced either directly by the Bureau or at its instances elsewhere”.

    Surprisingly, the subjects for translation from Maudoodi’s Tafhim, chosen by Gauhar were “justice, accountability, repentance, tolerance etc”. After a decade, he made another disclosure. Debunking the “religious obscurantists forces”, Gauhar said he translated the Tafhim because “I was sent to prison where I had the Tafhim-ul-Quran not as a matter of choice. It was simply there, the only thing available to me in jail”. Since he had nothing to do he translated it. It had nothing to do with his convictions.

    On the distribution of Secret Funds is described by no other than Former Director of the Public Relations, Khwaja Tasawwur Ali Hyder. Agitated by Gauhar’s interview published in the Hindustan Times in 1981, in which the former Secretary had said:

    “In Pakistan journalism had not really developed the wayit should have. There was a heavy parochial and partisan bias”. The interview had been reproduced in Nawa-e-Waqt. Khwaja Hyder in his long rejoinder writes:

    “In 1967, when I was the D.P.R., stationed in Lahore, Gauhar came to the provincial capital and visited my office…. I was surprised when he asked me to accompany him to the lawns of the office. He was my superior and there were no informal relations between us. While strolling across the lawns, I came to know that he had planted his men in various newspapers, Nawa-e-Waqt and Chattan, the two opposition papers, Gauhar told me we must know the inside working of these papers. For this purpose we should try to ‘hire’ some journalists in these organizations. I was taken aback by his words because I always considered that the PID was a different organization from that of the intelligence agency. Gauhar being an intelligent man himself, felt what was going on in my mind. He politely told me that the ‘hired people’ would be paid from the secret fund. He also told me that a senior staffer in Nawa-e-Waqt was supplying the needed information. After that meeting he visited Lahore twice, broached the subject and came to the conclusion that I could not deliver the goods. Suddenly, on April 14, 1967, I was demoted and transferred to Rawalpindi as the Deputy Principal Information Officer”.

    “2/3 years back in a GEO TV program Capital Talk, Mr. Humayun Gauhar [the actual author of In the Line of Fire by Musharraf]s/ o Altaf Gauhar [the actual author of the Friend not Master] was advocating the case of Presidential Form of Government {Read Dictatorship} and lambasting Bhutto {agreed that Bhutto was not a saint but criticism must be objective} left and right.”

    Somebody must told Humayun some thing about his father and himself as well,

    “If charity was Abedi’s real motivation, then he was hopelssly let down by the people he gathered around him. A classic example of the shenanigans of his associates was the running of the Thirld World Foundation, the Third World Group and its satellite companies, which involved the larger-than- life figure of Altaf Gauhar.

    Gauhar, a long-time friend of Abedi from his early Pakistan days, is immensely well connected. He was secretary to the government in the days of Ayub Khan, and according to those who know him best, he was Khan’s ‘conscience keeper’. Gauhar is reputed to have ghosted Khan’s autobiography. Nadir Rahim describes conceding that Gauhar might have ‘run amok’, he states that at the time he was regarded as a ‘very powerful and seasoned civil servant.

    When Bhutto came to power Gauhar lost favour. Charges were leveled against him and he was arrested. The incestuous bonds, which seem to draw everyone into Abedi’s web, took an exotic twist during Gauhar’s trial. It turned out that Raqaya Kabir, sister of Abedi’s chief financial officer, Masihur Rehman, admitted that she was Gauhar’s mistress. Raqaya and another of her brothers worked for Gauhar in a subsidiary of the Third World Group’s operation called Interspace Communications UK. Despite the fancy title it sold clothes- it was in the rag trade.

    Gauhar was well attuned to Abeid’s predilection for helping the less fortunate and suggested that a Third World Foundation should be established, but again the control from the centre was to be remarkably lax. Gauhar recommended that there should be three trustees: Abedi, Naqvi and himself. But because Abedi and Naqvi had such great commitments elsewhere, it was written into the constitution that they would have no responsibility for the actions and decsicions of Gauhar who was also the secretary-general. Abedi and Naqvi went along with the suggestion, saying from the start that they would be much too busy to get involved.

    Disaffected colleagues said that ‘whenever Gauhar found it convenient he took money from the Third World Foundation and put it into South Publications’ . South Publications’ magazine, South, frequently published eloquent contributions from Gauhar himself before it was finally wound up in 1990. Gauhar’s son, Humyaun, also worked for South Publications, and again according to one board member, ‘Father and son drew large salaries. South Publications were continuously running at a loss. What they were doing was just putting expenses down to charity.’

    BCCI donated $ 10 million to the Third World Foundation and much of it was squandered on lavish conferences in exotic locations like Manila and China. Friends, families and their servants as well as World Leaders and journalists were all put up at the finest hotels, all expenses paid. The gathering were always well attended. Ted Heath, the former British Prime Minister, was a guest at the Manila conference.

    Another worthy cause, which Gauhar invented, was the Third World prize. He persuaded Abedi that it could match the Nobel Prize in prestige. The Prize, like so much of Abedi’s charitable work, looked ethical to those on the outside, but was in fact totally self-serving. There was the loftiness of the ideal – a prize awarded to people who had contributed most to the Third World, with the backing of such figures as Javier Perez de Cuellar, SC OF UNO, Indira Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India. The list of recipients of the $ 100, 000 prize reflects BCCI’s drive from
    international recognition, although as far as Abedi and his self-interest were concerned, who gave and who received probably did not matter, and sometimes, the giver was much more important to Abedi than the recipient.

    1980 Dr Paul Prebish, international development economist from Argentina, with Dr Kurt Waldheim, the UN Secretary General in attendance.

    1981 Dr Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania, was presented with the prize by Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India.

    1982 Zhao Ziyang, the Chinese premier, in a colorful ceremony in Beijing presented the prize to the International Rice Research Institute of Manila.

    1983 Professor Arvid Pardo, the Maltese UN diplomate, received his prize from Belisario Betancur, President of Colombia.

    1984 Willy Brandt, former German chancellor, with the new UN Secretary General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, giving his approval.

    1985 Nelson and Winnie Mandela. The prize was received on their behalf by Oliver Tambo of the African National Congress from the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahatir Muhammad.

    1986 Bob Geldof, for his work in raising funds for Ethiopia.

    1987 The International Planned Parenthood Federation of India received the prize from the President of Brazil, Jose Sarney.

    1988 Gro Harlem Bruntdland, the Norwegian Prime Minister, presented by Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

    But all the time, Abedi was buying influence. The Charity Commission was not impressed by his motives and refused to grant the Third World Prize charitable status. Abedi turned to Cayman Island company to acquire a tax break on the Prize. How much money went into genuine charitable causes was always disputed. A source on the ICIC (International Credit and Investment Company) Foundation board said that Gauhar established a company before the Trust was set up, and the $ 10 million from BCCI went first into that company of which he and his son were directors: ‘One fine morning he [Gauhar] drew $ 7, 200,000 and put it in his personal account in London. When I came to know about it I told him he should immediately refund the money otherwise I would take action. So he refunded $ 7 million but not the $ 200, 000 he said he had spent on work for the prize. Until this day he has not returned the $ 200,000.’ The trustees then informed the Charity Commission about these unusual transactions and suggested it should look more closely at some of the lavish apartments being maintained by Gauhar and his son in London.



    1 – The Press in Chains by late. Zamir Niazi.

    2 – Bankrupt!:The BCCI Fraud by NICK KOCHAN and BOB WHITTINGTON.