Pakistan: Where Nonsense has a life of its own

Where nonsense has a life of its own
Ayaz Amir, The News, November 25, 2011

Ours must be the most insecure country in the world, and the most paranoid. We are terrified not just by our nightmares but our very shadows. And judging by our behaviour we seem to think that the rest of the world has nothing else on its mind but how to undermine the Islamic Republic’s impregnable foundations.

Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz deserve each other. They are of a kind. The BlackBerry evidence leaves little doubt that in the preparation of the memo, which has all of establishment Pakistan in a spin, both were in it together.

But suppose it was not just one memo delivered to Admiral Mike Mullen but a full dozen, would this paper trail have led to the castration of the Pakistani military at American hands? Would the army have been brought under the Pentagon’s control and our vaunted nuclear assets under American discipline? Some assets these, whose possession instead of making us a more confident nation seems to have made us more insecure.

In God’s name what are we talking about? The American lobbying and think-tank scene is full of characters like Mansoor Ijaz. Remember the Iraqi conman Ahmed Chalabi who sold himself to Donald Rumsfeld and his crew as a future leader of Iraq? Washington DC crawls with such self-promoters. All right, he had what is being called an “explosive” memo delivered to Mike Mullen. Did the latter order the Sixth or Seventh Fleet into Pakistani waters? Did American drones start circling over the sites where our treasured nuclear assets are kept?

Mullen’s office did the only sensible thing: ignore the memo. Or do we have anything to suggest that it was taken seriously? Yet here the world’s only Islamic nuclear power, as we never tire of reminding ourselves, has been shaken to its roots by this piece of paper. Mansoor Ijaz must be flattered.

Of course President Zardari’s man in Washington – always more the president’s man than Pakistan’s – had no business being involved in the cooking up of the memo. But we have his ambassadorial scalp, don’t we? He’s always been a cool man, I think a bit too cool, but in a TV programme I was on with him he got a bit emotional and I had to tell him to calm down. What more do we want?

Or is it that his scalp is not enough and there are people whose dearest wish is to see the memo trail go right up to the Presidency? Now that would be some trophy, wouldn’t it? Establishment Pakistan has never hated anyone as fiercely as Zardari, the central charge against him being corruption and cronyism unlimited. All this may be true but, it bears remembering, he is, like it or not, the elected president of the republic.

And, come to think of it, the establishment’s likes and dislikes have never been defined solely by corruption. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was not corrupt but the establishment hated him. Akbar Bugti was a nationalist but Musharraf hated him. The military has had its share of corrupt generals, admirals and air marshals. How many of them have had to pay for their misdeeds?

For complete article, click here


Ayaz Amir is probably the best Pakistani writer. He has the knowledge as well as the perspective. I enjoy reading him ever week!

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