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 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative. Saeed A Malik.

 National Government Has Become An Absolute Imperative

Saeed A Malik

 

From 2008 onwards, the central aim being pursued by the governments in power stood naked and exposed, without a shred of modesty nor any sense of shame. This central aim was to loot Pakistan. There is therefore a direct correlation between the exponential rise in Pakistan’s national debt and the assets of its”leaders”. Our national debt is not just a serious issue. It is potentially a catastrophic one. This is not a matter for speculation which may be argued against, for this a mathematical reality. The figures are out there. Our debt is known and so is our income. It is also known that we do not have the income to repay our debt, the first installments of which are due from us in 2018. Non-payment means bankruptcy. And bankruptcy means economic sanctions at the very least. To avoid these sanctions a pound of Pakistan’s flesh will be required by the lenders. And one does not need to guess too hard that this pound will include our nuclear assets; an end to CPEC; and a free hand in Baluchistan. In short Pakistan will lose its defense capability; will be truncated for all practical purposes; and its only chance to get out of its present economic mess will die the death of an unrealized dream.
In short, the level of corruption in Pakistan and the huge national debt this has spawned, are existential threats to the viability of our independent existence.
There is also a nexus between the looted money and terrorist funding. Our leadership has therefore given us the twin gifts of economic catastrophe, and its financial support of terrorist groups. Either of these gifts would have been enough, in the long run, to have taken Pakistan down. But coming together, their lethality could well wring Pakistan’s neck.
It is often suggested by the apologists for the government that the real cause of our debt is the costs incurred due to the war against terror, whose smooth execution has actually been hindered by the government i.e they have stood with the enemy in this war.
Be that as it may, the fact is that the almost seventy percent fall in the prices of oil has more than met the costs of the war on terror. The cost however which cannot be met is the cost of economic terrorism waged by our leadership against our country.
But the immensity of the theft that was visited on Pakistan leads one to ask, how could this have even been possible? The answer to this question is a very simple one for those that have the honesty to face the problem squarely without blinking. This situation is the direct result of the “system” which is trying to masquerade as a democracy. The public representatives elected to parliament are not elected to legislate and govern. They are elected to loot and plunder the state, because the very order is based upon a ” returns on investment” system. In short this is a system where “madate” has come to mean a mandate to loot and plunder. The logic being spewed by a frothing Nawaz Sharif to proclaim his innocence tells us that this interpretation of “mandate” is the one he goes by.
Under this “system” the one seeking a seat in parliament has to first make an investment, which begins with his purchase of a ticket from those who supposedly give us our “democracy”. A person who “invests” ten crores to get elected, comes motivated to earn fifty crores if elected. Thus the “system” is rooted and founded on theft and villainy. And that is what should be expected from it.You cannot expect to sow bramble, and hope to get roses.
At the level of a political party, this system metastasizes into a vast criminal enterprise, which was what both Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were running. The mechanics of this “system” are very easy to understand. To commit economic fraud on your country you cannot do it alone. You need to be facilitated. And this facilitation is done by the secretary of your ministry. And so you get yourself a corrupt secretary. And here begins the undermining of the bureaucracy. Pretty soon you have placed all such institutions which can help you make or hide money [like the FBR, SECP, OGDC etc etc] under corrupt bosses. With the passage of time the whole civil service  becomes diseased, ministering only to you at the cost of national interest.
The second enterprise you embark upon is to give yourself immunity from the law and any form of accountability. For this you subvert the police, the FIA, NAB, and any and all such organizations which can hold you accountable, going right up to the judiciary.
To make the “system” work without any challenge, you also co-opt the political opposition into this criminal enterprise and sign with them a “Charter of Democracy.”
Lastly you want to ensure that the elections that are held, return you to power each time they are held. For this you rig the election commission, as well as the interim governments sworn in to hold elections, and take help from your man in NADRA. And lastly you amend the constitution to further strengthen your immunity from accountability and to ensure your perpetuation in power. This has divided the country between a rotten “elite”, and the hopeless rest, and driven the state to the margins of extinction.
By the time you have “achieved” all this, the “system” that you have brought about, stands in direct opposition to any form of accountability and therefore against this central pillar of democracy: while a mangled constitution stands opposed to national interest. The situation therefore is so created, that any citizen who stands with national interest, will per force have to oppose the constitution. This is the sorry pass where the combined exertions of Zadari and Nawaz Sharif have dragged the nation to.
The only institution which could not be subverted by this duo, despite their best efforts, was the Pakistan Army, and lately, a rejuvenated judiciary. But sadly, the army, which guards our national security, stood back and allowed the very foundations of the state to be undermined by mega corruption, without moving a muscle to thwart it. Without this negligence to duty, we could not have reached this stage.
The system which uses the label of democracy but is geared to breed only criminals, needs to go and new one put in its place. The only way this can be done is to eliminate, as far as is possible, the promise of monetary gain from political office, so that increasingly such people enter politics, as are committed to serving the people and the country. The most important single step in this direction is to reform the civil service and the police. Each of these must have their own secretariats to deal with the promotions and postings and transfers etc of their cadres, so that no minister can have in his ministry a secretary of his choice. These postings should be done entirely on merit by the service itself. If the officer who facilitates the corruption of a minister is denied to him, theft and chances of it will greatly be reduced; while a relatively independent police force, largely operating without political interference, will take away the comfort of immunity which is now being enjoyed by all the ministers.
Any constitution and system of laws is predicated on the assumption that those sworn to uphold it, will be the last ones to undermine it. But in our case these are the very people who have mangled the constitution, and they subvert the spirit of what is left of it, on a daily basis. And there is little to hold them accountable.
Just examine the situation that this criminal enterprise has brought about. We have a prime minister in parliament; we have one in Jati Umra to whom all the ministers report; and we have one in the shape of Maryam Safdar  whom all the ministers who once constituted her “gaali galoch” team, report to. Together these three prime ministers have one aim in common i.e they are all committed to undermining and conspiring against the Supreme Court and the Pakistan Army, the only two institutions left standing. They are openly violating every legal norm, and the relevant articles of the spirit of constitution in doing so. This, then is your “system” which, it is daily alleged, is in danger of being derailed.
This is a joke that has lost its hilarity and must now be terminated.This system must not only be most assiduously derailed, but mercilessly beheaded. Pakistan is in the grip of a dire emergency. This emergency should be recognized and declared before further harm can be done to the state. This is the job of the President, the C.J and the Army Chief, who should join together to come to the aid of the state. They must bring to an end, this criminal enterprise about whose criminality little doubt remains. They must not allow it further tenure to commit grievous wounds on the state.The President should announce national emergency and the formation of a National Government while the supreme Supreme Court must give radical new interpretations of law to give legal cover to every such measure as is deployed towards salvaging the state. And the Court must invoke all relevant articles of the constitution to take assistance from the Army to stem the current rot.
The National Government should 
— as the first order of business,immediately put every suspected criminal on ECL pending investigation and trial.
–form, with the help of the Supreme Court, summary courts to try people for corruption. The proceedings of these courts should be monitored by the Supreme Court.
–define mega corruption and institute death penalty for it, convertible to life imprisonment in case the convict repatriates wealth stolen from the state.
–set in motion efforts to retrieve Pakistan’s stolen assets stashed abroad.
–suspend the 18nth amendment of the constitution, and issue ordinances to give legal cover to its actions.
–dismiss the large numbers of civil servants and police officials who have acted as personal servants of people exercising political power, to the detriment of the state. And retrieve from retirement such officers of these services who had a reputation for integrity and ability, and place them in the most important slots ravaged under the present dispensation.
–set in motion reforms of the civil and police services so that these institutions become independent of political masters of the future.
–do electoral reforms.
–issue an ordinance to the effect that all citizens under any indictment in a court of law, may not take part in any political activity till cleared of the same.
–ensure that elections to parliament are held no later than eighteen months, but those fighting such elections must sign a declaration that if elected, they will sign into law all such ordinances which have been issued by the national government.
–among the first orders of business, get into negotiations with the Chinese government, on a bail-out package, should Pakistan not be able to meet its international debt obligations.
–define mega corruption and include it among national security imperatives, and create an institution where it can be monitored,freely debated , and killed in infancy. A national security council could be such a forum.
–define a minimal politcal role for the army insofar as national security issues are concerned. The army and its heft are a reality. To treat this reality as non existent, is to hobble the system through imbalance. It is this imbalance which has resulted in the present situation. Had there been a functioning and effective national security council to take up corruption issues at their incipient state and squelched their further progress at that stage, things would never have reached their present pass. A very good example here would be the huge LNG scandal. The press reported it when this fraudulent deal was being hammered out. It could have been killed in childhood, but it was allowed to prosper. And now it will kill tens and thousands of our children because of the consequences of poverty it will visit on so many additional families.
In the past, army generals have moved in to redress an emergency situation. Emergencies are temporary phenomena, but the generals made their reigns permanent. And the Courts gave legal cover to the generals to get away with it. This did immense harm to both the army and the country. Now here is a chance for both the Judges and the Army to redeem their past, and to give their country a future.
I would like to end this with my essential premise i.e any system founded on a” return on investment” basis must per force subvert every mechanism of accountability. And if accountability is destroyed as a result, call this system whatever you may, but it cannot be called democracy. Such a system is designed for loot and plunder with immunity. And this has been levied on Pakistan with unprecedented zest since 2008, while the leaders got exponentially richer at the cost of the state, to the hypocritical applause of bought out “intellectuals”, who continued to call this hands off mayhem, a “democracy.”
P.s. The most  malign and effective adjunct of the criminal enterprise is NAB. If the Supreme Court is really serious about seeing its orders being implemented, they must begin with throwing the book at Qamar Zaman Choudhary. They must take the space away from petty hoodlums which they are using to do incalculable harm to the state. And the Court must follow and put away in jail, all those who have committed contempt against it, and are continuing to do so. This will take the pith out of Nawaz Sharif’s “revolution”, and reduce the insignificance, which should always have been his station in life, but for Gen Jilani’s one egregious mistake. Legal action against Nawaz Sharif’s section commanders will take the wind out of the potential anarchy which is being sought to be built up by him, and the instability craved by him will be stayed.
Saeed A. Malik.

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The Hatred of British Against Pakistanis and Indian-History Revisited by Shashi Tharoor

 The Cruelty of British Colonialists Against People of South Asia

Pakistan and India

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Mistakes & Accomplishments of Gen Pervez Musharraf Asif Haroon Raja

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Mistakes & Accomplishments of Gen Pervez Musharraf

Asif Haroon Raja

The Army, paramilitary forces and the police are fighting the US dictated war on terror since 2003 but have yet not been able to completely root out terrorism. I will be frank in stating that the Army was not mentally prepared, trained, equipped, acclimatized and motivated when it was suddenly launched to conduct irregular warfare in South Waziristan (SW). As a result, its performance for the first five years was not up to the mark and it suffered reverses. The Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took advantage of it and managed to gain influence over 18 administrative units in the northwest and became a powerful force to reckon with. A state within state was created in Swat while SW became the main base of operation with its tentacles in other six tribal agencies. Another important factor behind not so good performance of security forces was the double game played by the so-called friends of Pakistan that were on the quiet supporting and creating space for the very terrorists Pakistan was asked to fight. 

Gen Pervez Musharraf was appointed Army chief on October 6, 1998 and soon after he ventured into Dras-Kargil inside Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), which is quite intriguing and raises many questions. It strained civil-military relations and led to the downfall of Nawaz Sharif. As DGMO under Gen Jahangir Karamat, in his operational briefing to the then PM Benazir Bhutto in 1996, he had presented Kargil plan and was keen to execute it. (1). She trashed it realizing its consequences.

Commenting on Kargil conflict in 1999 which had brought the two nuclear rivals close to war with nuclear overtones, Musharraf proudly proclaims, “Our maneuver was conducted flawlessly, a tactical marvel of military professionalism; a plan for plugging gaps between our positions was formally presented and approved towards the middle of January 1999. (2).

According to Lt-Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz who was heading ‘Analysis Wing’ of ISI during the conflict: “The Kargil war was an unsound military plan based on invalid assumptions, launched with little preparation and in total disregard of the  regional and international environment”. (3). Late ex-DG ISI Gen Hamid Gul was also of the view that a military operation without a clear political purpose was like shot in the dark and Musharraf should have faced court martial for his harebrained adventure.

Kargil operation was undoubtedly a brilliant tactical maneuver which caused paralytic effects on the Indian military, but it failed in achieving the objective of de-freezing and internationalizing the Kashmir issue as had been contemplated. It should have been planned in entirety and not as a piecemeal operation. Helped by the US and G-8, India converted its tactical defeat into victory on the media plane.    

 

Musharraf took over the reins of the country on October 12, 1999 after dethroning the elected government of Nawaz Sharif through a military coup. He wore the hats of President, Army chief and CJCSC and remained in full power till October 2007 after which he shed off his military hats and finally abdicated his President seat in August 2008 and went into exile under an agreement in April 2009. He made a political party All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and returned home to take part in May 2013 general elections. Not only he was put under house arrest and on Exit Control List, he was debarred from contesting elections. He was charged with several cases which included Benazir Bhutto murder case, Nawab Akbar Bugti murder case, Lal Masjid case and subversion of constitution on November 3, 2007. The last case has been termed as an act of treason and comes under Article 6 of the Constitution. He underwent the embarrassment of media trial and also suffered the stings of hate from his opponents.

After about three years of ordeal, he proceeded to Dubai for medical treatment of his backache and the Supreme Court and the federal government facilitated his exit. The media has been highlighting his wealth in foreign banks/offshore companies and people are asking questions as to how he could amass so much of wealth. Courts are pressing his lawyers to produce him and have issued non-bail-able arrest warrants. He is often seen on the TV channels and known for his power of arguments, he keeps telling his side of the story in reply to number of accusations made against him.  

Mistakes made by Musharraf. Taking stock of his nine years tenure, Musharraf had committed mistakes but he also had done good things. It will be in fitness of things to first dispassionately have a look at those accusations that exist in public memory. Just to recapitulate, I am tabulating these here. First the accusations made against him:

  1. He and his team had no plausible reason to oust a democratically elected government and takeover power.
  2. He should not have accepted all the seven demands of the US after 9/11 and that too without consulting others. He gave in to the US demands too quickly, and cheaply, which set into motion a slippery path for Pakistan, its social fabric, politics and institutions and because of which we are still suffering.
  3. His reason to succumb to US pressure and accept all the demands was that he had been threatened that in case he decided not to side with the US, Pakistan will be bombed to ‘Stone Age’ has triggered a controversy. In his autobiography, “In the Line of Fire” on page 201 he writes: “When I was back in Islamabad the next day, our DG ISI, who happened to be in Washington, told me on the phone about his meeting with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. In what has to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made, Armitage added to what Colin Powell had said to me and told the DG not only that we had to decide whether we were with America or with the terrorists, but that if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age. This was a shockingly barefaced threat, but it was obvious that the US had decided to hit back hard”. (4).

But apparently, both of these statements are not correct. There is now enough evidence to prove that there was no direct military threat made to Pakistan. George Bush, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage have all denied in their separate memoirs that they ever threatened Pakistan with military action, let alone the threat of bombing it back to the Stone Age. (5). In his book “Bush at War” at page 59, Bob Woodward writes: “at I: 30 P.M. on 13th September 2001, Powell called Musharraf” and “Musharraf to Powell’s surprise said that Pakistan would support the US with each of the seven actions”.

In 2006, when Bush was asked about the threat made against Pakistan, he claimed that the first time he had ever heard of it was when he had read a report of Musharraf’s remarks in that day’s newspaper. “I guess I was taken aback by the harshness of the words,” said Bush. “All I can tell you is that shortly after 9/11, Colin Powell came in and said, President Musharraf understands the stakes and he wants to join and help root out an enemy that has come and killed 3,000 of our citizens. I don’t know of any conversation that was reported in the newspaper like that. I just don’t know about it”. (6).

  1. Musharraf’s sudden U-turn on Afghanistan and betrayal of Muslim brothers of Afghanistan was flawed and Pakistan is still paying a heavy price for it through blood and flesh. Even now, a resurgent Taliban don’t trust us.
  2. Sending regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) in 2003 at the behest of USA to flush out Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers was in violation of the 1948 Agreement with the tribesmen, and it triggered insurgency in FATA.
  3. He shouldn’t have given a free hand to the CIA and FBI from 2006 onward to track Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. It gave a free hand to the foreign and regional agencies to establish their inter-connected network in Pakistan amongst the aggrieved tribal elements and religious groups. CIA got office space in the ISI headquarters, Pakistani civilians were bombed with drones, and Blackwater agents roamed freely all over Pakistan until Musharraf was replaced by Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. It was this ‘network of agencies’ that subsequently played havoc with Pakistani lives and targeted key institutions.
  4. Allowing CIA to use Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan for drone strikes helped CIA to bolster BLA, BRA and BLF in Baluchistan and to create space for the launch of TTP in FATA.
  5. Rather than working on his 7 point agenda which had germs of success, his option to create a King’s party comprising of turn coats from other political parties and who were tagged with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases was selfish and politically motivated – and eroded whatever good work NAB had been doing. His much trumpeted across the board accountability, both horizontal and vertical went for a six.
  6. Change of policy on Kashmir was a blunder which gave a severe blow to liberation movement in occupied Kashmir. APHC was divided into two factions and Pakistan’s age-old stance based on UN Resolutions was compromised. It antagonized the Kashmir focused Jihadi groups and they chose to join hands with TTP.
  7. Pak military gave a befitting response to Indian aggressive posturing after carrying out a false flag operation on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001 and carrying out biggest troop deployment along the border after 1971 followed by a military standoff for next ten months.
  8. Indian military withdrew without achieving any objective, but Musharraf caved in on political/diplomatic front under the US pressure. He banned six Kashmiri Jihadi groups and froze their accounts, ceased firing in Kashmir, and gave a written unilateral commitment that Pakistan will not allow its space for use for cross border terrorism. He agreed to allow India to fence the entire length of Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir.
  9. In response, Vajpayee signed peace treaty with Pakistan in January 2004 and assured that all outstanding issues including Kashmir will be resolved through composite dialogue. This was in fact a big trap and Musharraf fell into it.
  10. India quietened the eastern front but on the quiet opened western front and used Afghan soil for carrying out massive covert operations to destabilize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan. Additionally, it used eastern front for people-to-people contact but in reality was meant to launch Indian cultural invasion and rob the youth of its fighting spirit and sink it in the pool of fun and frolic.
  11. Rather than making a change in strategy on Kashmir, Musharraf unilaterally changed the Kashmir policy by announcing out of box solution and depriving Pakistan of its principled stance based on UN resolutions. He thus gave a severe blow to freedom movement in Kashmir which in that timeframe had peaked.
  12. While he kept doing more and more, he never realized that USA, India and Afghanistan were not friends but playing a double game; and that Pakistan was not an ally but a target. His yielding to ‘do more’ policy to please the US – often acting in cahoots with India – was detrimental to Pakistan’s interests.
  13. Musharraf’s “Concept of Enlightened Moderation” (apparently drafted by Henry Kissinger Associates) was in contravention to Objectives Resolution and Quaid-e-Azam’s dream of making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. In his apparent bid to show soft face of Pakistan to the world, he strove to make Pakistan a secular state. This open declaration of secularism hurt the aspirations of the people of Pakistan and ended up igniting storm of religious extremism
  14. Sacking of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry in March 2007 was a wrong move which triggered lawyers’ movement and led to his fall.
  15. The other mistake he made was going out of the way to politically strengthen MQM about which I am sure the ISI and MI Directorate would have given sufficient information about its linkage with RAW since 1989. It was a miscalculation which he thought was in his own self-interest, but it was his worst sin, which caused grievous harm to Karachi, Pakistan’s economy and jolted Pakistan.
  16. National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was his biggest blunder which cleansed the entire leadership of PPP involved in mega corruption and 8000 leaders and activists of MQM involved in heinous crimes. Condeela Rice was the moving force behind NRO which envisaged Musharraf-Benazir sharing power for next five years. It enabled the US and the UK to empower their dream team of PPP-MQM-ANP from which it was to execute the final phase of their gory plan of making Pakistan a compliant state.
  17. Musharraf paid no heed to the emerging energy crisis and despite holding all the levers of power and repeatedly pledging that he will construct the Kalabagh dam, he didn’t do so. Answering a question of Dr. Moeed Pirzada on 11th September 2016, Dunya News, he stated about Kalabagh dam: “We couldn’t construct Kalabagh dam due to political situation”. Factually, he aborted the decision to construct Kalabagh Dam after receiving a call from MQM chief Altaf Hussain. The latter is of course remote controlled by foreign agencies and India not wanting Kalabagh dam at any cost must have twisted his arm. But Musharraf oblivious of all that continuously nurtured Altaf Hussain’s MQM during 9 years of his regime.
  18. Although he claims that the Americans never interfered in high rank military postings during his regime, George Bush disclosed in his autobiography that Musharraf resigned from the post of chief of army staff, lifted the emergency and held free elections upon his strong suggestion”in the fall of 2007.( 7 ).
  19. He took official jets to set out on tours of Europe and America on promotional campaigns for boosting the sale of his book “In the Line of Fire”.
  20. Musharraf’s disclosure in the book that the US had paid millions of dollars to Pakistan for capturing Al Qaeda operatives was a humiliation for the country. Under the US law, they cannot give prize money to any government or institution, and the Govt of Pakistan has denied receiving any such payments.
  21. He couldn’t be more wrong when he tried to drag ethnicity as one the key factor for his selection as Army chief. On page 136 of his book he writes “It could be that such affronts on my part made the prime minister realize his folly in selecting me for my position. He had probably thought that being the son of immigrant parents, I would acquiesce in his demands ___ that I would feel insecure and vulnerable and do his bidding.”

Musharraf’s Achievements

He broke the isolation of Pakistan and made it relevant. He strengthened state corporations. After a long time the Railway and PIA became profitable organizations and the Steel Mills for the first time in its history earned largest profit. Inflation and prices remained within limits and value of dollar didn’t cross Rs 60. GDP was above 7% and foreign exchange reserves were increased from $ 3 million to $ 14 billion. Pakistan for the first time in its history came out of the noose of IMF and foreign debts decreased from $ 38 billion to $ 34 billion. Foundation of Diamer Bhasha dam was laid in his time, which was not pursued by the successor political regime. Ghazi Barotha project was completed during his time. There was no shortage of gas and load shedding was minimal. There was boom in property and stocks were bullish.

Al-Khalid tank was developed into a main battle tank and joint manufacture of JF-17 Thunders was undertaken which was quite an accomplishment. He established Strategic Plans Division (SPD) and placed all nuclear/missile related setups under it, which formulated comprehensive nuclear doctrine and gave the concept of minimum nuclear deterrence. Surface to surface, air to air and air to surface missiles were radically improved and work on cruise missiles and drones was initiated. Three Agosta submarines were upgraded and given capability to fire nuclear warheads while remaining 400 feet submerged in sea, giving Pakistan second strike capability. All nuclear facilities were made safe and secure under foolproof multi-layered security system compatible with international standards. Despite the fact that Dr. AQ Khan had passed on designs of old centrifuge to Iran, Libya and North Korea, Musharraf handled the crisis well and disallowed the IAEA to inspect our nuclear arsenal or to interview AQ Khan.

With regard to the oft repeated charge that Musharraf buckled under pressure and cheaply gave in to Colin Powel’s demands, in hindsight I may dare to say that it was not altogether a sellout as generally perceived. Had he refused, the US that had made up its mind to attack Afghanistan and the whole world including the UN was supportive of the military venture, would have taken on Afghanistan and Pakistan in one swipe with its air power as was suggested by India and Israel. Pakistan air force with 700 to 800 aircraft was in no position to counter the aerial cum cruise missile threat of US-NATO having 30,000 warplanes and sophisticated technology. The US-NATO airpower was in good position to destroy our communication, economic, defence infrastructures and nuclear plants.  

Our missile technology was not potent enough to do any damage particularly when the US had satellite jamming and imagery capability. Indian military for certain would have activated the eastern front to engage our ground forces once the PAF, tanks and strategic assets had been taken care of by the US B-52s, Daisy cutters, stealth helicopters and cruise missiles.

As regard the accusation that Musharraf ditched the Taliban at the behest of Washington, the Taliban had no choice but to withdraw and abandon Afghanistan in the face of systematic carpet bombing. They had no means to fight against air power. Had Pakistan been bombed and pushed to Stone Age, the Taliban could not have taken shelter in FATA/Baluchistan, regrouped and then waged a resistance war. It was simply impossible for the Taliban who had been forsaken by the world to carryout sustained struggle for 14 years without receiving training, weapons, equipment, funds and guidance and safe havens for the leaders. Haqqani network in North Waziristan and Quetta Shura could not have functioned at their own. Had it been otherwise, how come Pakistan handed over more than 3 dozens Taliban leaders to Afghan government in 2013 and 2014? It was not possible for Mulla Omar to remain off the radar all these years. He died in April 2013 but these news were learnt in July 2015.

Another accusation against him is that he antagonized the tribesmen by sending regular troops to FATA. Had he not done so, the ISAF troops would have certainly barged into SW to hunt Al-Qaeda as was being threatened. Such a move could have jeopardized the regrouping of Afghan Taliban to wage resistance movement against occupying forces.

Musharraf was also accused of hobnobbing with Israel and holding a meeting with Israeli PM In Turkey, but at the end of the day he neither recognized Israel nor opened up diplomatic relations despite lingering rumors.  But this statement of former and late Israeli President Shimon Peres cannot also be disregarded. “As a good Jewish boy, I would have never dreamed that I would pray for the safety of Musharraf, the president of Pakistan. That is a most unexpected experience.”(8).

I guess Musharraf’s best move was to push forward the Gwadar project with the help of China in 2002, which FM Ayub Khan wanted to develop as a port after he had purchased it from Oman in 1959, but Shah of Iran requested him not to do so. One reason of triggering an armed insurgency in Baluchistan by USA was Gwadar seaport.

His next best move was to sign Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project agreement. Commissioning of this project would have provided India its 40% gas need. India walked out of it not only because of the US pressure and the lure of civil nuclear deal with USA, but also because of the fact that it would have effectively neutralized India’s blackmail through water terrorism. In case of India blocking Pakistan’s water in the three rivers, Pakistan could have retaliated by blocking the vitally needed gas.   

In hindsight, weighing the mistakes and achievements of Gen Musharraf, I leave it to your judgement as to who played a better double game and who had the last laugh.

References:

(1).Interview with “Third Eye Television” 2003

(2). In the Line of Fire, Page 90

(3). Daily Mail 2013, Qaswar Abbas

(4). In the Line of Fire, p 201.

(5). Bush at War by Bob Woodward, p 59.

(6). US threatened to bomb Pakistan back to “the Stone Age” By Kranti Kumara and Keith Jones, September 2006

(7). Decision Points, Autobiography by G.W Bush.

(8). Newsweek magazine, 5 November 2001, Washington

The writer is a war veteran, retired Brig, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum Pakistan. He regularly takes part in TV talk shows and seminars and delivers lectures. asifharoonraja@gmail.com 

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Pakistan’s Founding Fathers 1940. What were they thinking?

 

 

What were they thinking?

Dr.Adil Najam

March 1940: What were the Founding Fathers of Pakistan thinking about the minorities 

Tomorrow we will go through the motions of celebrating Pakistan Day. With song, slogan and sincere banality we will commemorate the single most important founding document of our republic.  
A document that too many of us have never read. A document that too many others believe they know so well that they do not need to read. A document whose eventual impact its drafters could not have imagined. A document whose intent seems lost on those whose lives it transformed.

Today, let us (re-)read that document. 

March 22, is not a bad day to do so. The 27th Annual Session of the All-India Muslim League actually began in Lahore on March 22, 1940, at what was then called Minto Park and has since been renamed Iqbal Park. 

Although we celebrate Pakistan Day on March 23, formal discussion on what was originally called the Qarardad-e-Lahore (Lahore Resolution) began on March 22, it was formally proposed by Sher-e-Bengal (Lion of Bengal) Fazlul Haq on March 23, and was not officially adopted until March 24. Newspapers of the time dubbed it the “Pakistan Resolution” (Qarardad-e-Pakistan), and from then onwards that is what it became.

The resolution itself is not very long: a little more than 400 words, five paragraphs. Ambiguous as it was designed to be, it is remarkably well-crafted.

The first paragraph sets the context by “approving and endorsing” decisions already taken by the Muslim League’s Council and Working Committee. Importantly, it “emphatically reiterates that the scheme of federation embodied in the Government of India Act 1935, is totally unsuited to, and unworkable in the peculiar conditions of this country and is altogether unacceptable to Muslim India.”

The second paragraph is also about context. It very strategically reminds the viceroy that he has already agreed to reconsider the 1935 Act and goes on to very clearly assert that “Muslim India will not be satisfied unless the whole constitutional plan is reconsidered de novo and that no revised plan would be acceptable to Muslims unless it is framed with their approval and consent.” 

It is the third paragraph that lays out the substance of what today’s Pakistan has come to see as the gist of the resolution. It deserves to be quoted in full: 

“Resolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.”

Much, of course, has been written about this part. Stanley Wolpert (Jinnah of Pakistan, 1984) points out that “Pakistan was not explicitly mentioned; nor was it clear from the language of the resolution whether a single Muslim state of both “zones” had been envisioned or two separate “autonomous” independent states.” Also ambiguous was the role of the ‘centre’ and whether these states were to be part of a larger federation or not. 

But all of that was to come much later as history overtook events as well as intent. We were still, then, in 1940; 1947 had not yet been imagined; and 2014 was unimaginable.

To me, however, the fourth paragraph is equally insightful about what was on the minds of our founding fathers on that spring day in Lahore as they debated the resolution amidst a crowd of over 100,000. This paragraph – which remains poignant in terms of today’s Pakistan – also deserves to be quoted in full: 

“That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultations with them and in other parts of India where the Mussalmans are in a majority adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.”

The final paragraph – in carefully crafted language – gave authority of the League’s working committee to settle the details of whatever was to happen within the “basic principles” of the resolution. 

It seems to me that there were only two ‘basic principles’ in this founding document (as contained in the third and fourth paragraphs).

First, independence – whether of a single or multiple states; whether within or outside of a federation – of the Muslim nation. Indeed, this principle of ‘nationhood’ – and a total rejection of wanting to be seen as a religious or communal minority – was the centrepiece of Jinnah’s long and powerful presidential address on March 22, 1940; exactly 74 years ago, today. 

Stanley Wolpert has described the speech as “truly a stellar performance, worthy of the lead role he alone could command” and the Times of India reported that “such was the dominance of his personality that, despite the improbability of more than a fraction of his audience understanding English, he held his hearers and played with palpable effects on their emotions.” 

However, it is not his style but the substance of what he said that is of import today: the rejection of a communal minority status and the demand for nationhood: “The Musalmans are not a minority. The Musalmans are a nation by any definition. The problem in India is not of an inter-communal but manifestly international character, and it must be treated as such… the only course open to us all is to allow the major nations separate homelands.”

The second principle – an emphasis on minority rights – may surprise the modern Pakistani reader of the resolution but flowed directly from the first even though it was more difficult to reconcile. Historian Ayesha Jalal explains these “contradictions between Muslim interests in majority and minority provinces” at length in her very elegant analysis (The Sole Spokesman, 1985). Indeed, the resolution did not fully reconcile this contradiction and history went on to play its hand as it did. 

But let us return now to 2014. Reading the text today, one finds an implied promise our founding fathers had made on our behalf: that the rights of minorities would be safeguarded. They were concerned, quite clearly, about the rights of Muslims in what would eventually become India, but in reaction to that concern they had explicitly made a promise in this founding document about the rights of non-Muslims in what is now Pakistan. It is a promise that remains unfulfilled.

So, what was it that our founding fathers were thinking of as they met in Lahore 74 years ago? A desire for independence so that our sense of nationhood could flourish. And an attention of the rights of minorities as only those who have been minorities themselves can appreciate.

Divided, torn, scarred, untrusting, angered and gnawing at each other as we are today, maybe we should be thinking of the very same things again.

The writer has taught international relations and public policy at Boston University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and was the vice chancellor of LUMS.

Twitter: @adilnajam 

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It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’- By Audrey Truschke

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Aurangzeb Alamgir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir-Muslim History Distortions by Hindus in India

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is High Time for India to Discard the Pernicious Myth of its Medieval Muslim Rulers as ‘Villains’
By

Audrey Truschke

 
Whatever happened in the past, religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. It is thus disingenuous to single out Indian Muslim rulers for condemnation without owning up to the modern valences of that focus.
 
The idea that medieval Muslim rulers wreaked havoc on Indian culture and society – deliberately and due to religious bigotry – is a ubiquitous notion in 21st century India. Few people seem to realise that the historical basis for such claims is shaky to non-existent. Fewer openly recognise the threat that such a misreading of the past poses for modern India.
 
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor (r. 1658-1707), is perhaps the most despised of India’s medieval Muslim rulers. People cite various alleged “facts” about Aurangzeb’s reign to support their contemporary condemnation, few of which are true. For instance, contrary to widespread belief, Aurangzeb did not destroy thousands of Hindu temples. He did not perpetrate anything approximating a genocide of Hindus. He did not instigate a large-scale conversion program that offered millions of Hindu the choice of Islam or the sword.
 
In short, Aurangzeb was not the Hindu-hating, Islamist tyrant that many today imagine him to have been. And yet the myth of malevolent Aurangzeb is seemingly irresistible and has captured politicians, everyday people, and even scholars in its net. The damage that this idea has done is significant. It is time to break this mythologized caricature of the past wide open and lay bare the modern biases, politics, and interests that have fuelled such a misguided interpretation of India’s Islamic history.
 
A recent article on this website cites a series of inflammatory claims about Indo-Muslim kings destroying premodern India’s Hindu culture and population. The article admits that “these figures are drawn from the air” and historians give them no credence. After acknowledging that the relevant “facts” are false, however, the article nonetheless posits that precolonial India was populated by “religious chauvinists,” like Aurangzeb, who perpetrated religiously-motivated violence and thus instigated “historical injustices” to which Hindus can rightly object today. This illogical leap from a confessed lack of reliable information to maligning specific rulers is the antithesis of proper history, which is based on facts and analysis rather than unfounded assumptions about the endemic, unchanging nature of a society.
 
A core aspect of the historian’s craft is precisely that we cannot assume things about the past. Historians aim to recover the past and to understand historical figures and events on their own terms, as products of their time and place. That does not mean that historians sanitize prior events. Rather we refrain from judging the past by the standards of the present, at least long enough to allow ourselves to glimpse the logic and dynamics of a historical period that may be radically different from our own.
 
Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”
 
In the case of Indian Muslim history, a core notion that is hard for modern people to wrap our heads around is as follows: It was not all about religion.
 
Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him.
 
Regardless of the historical motivations for events such as premodern temple destructions, a certain percentage of modern Indians nonetheless feel wronged by their Islamic past. What is problematic, they ask, about recognising historical injustices enacted by Muslim figures? In this regard, the contemporaneity of debates over Indian history is crucial to understanding why the Indo-Islamic past is singled out.
 
For many people, condemnations of Aurangzeb and other medieval Indian rulers stem not from a serious assessment of the past but rather from anxieties over India’s present and future, especially vis-à-vis its Muslim minority population. After all, one might ask: If we are recognising injustices in Indian history, why are we not also talking about Hindu rulers? When judged according to modern standards, medieval rulers the world over measure up poorly, and Hindu kings are no exception. Medieval Hindu political leaders destroyed mosques periodically, for instance, including in Aurangzeb’s India. Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs” for one reason: They were perpetrated by Hindus rather than Muslims.
 
Religious bigotry may not have been an overarching problem in India’s medieval past, but it is a crucial dynamic in India’s present. Religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. Non-lethal forms of discrimination and harassment are common. Fear is part of everyday life for many Indian Muslims.  Thus, when scholars compare medieval Islamic rulers like Aurangzeb to South Africa’s twentieth-century apartheid leaders, for example, they not only display a surprising lack of commitment to the historical method but also provide fodder for modern communal fires.
 
It is high time we discarded the pernicious myth of India’s medieval Muslim villains. This poisonous notion imperils the tolerant foundations of modern India by erroneously positing religious-based conflict and Islamic extremism as constant features of life on the subcontinent. Moreover, it is simply bad history. India has a complicated and messy past, and we do it and ourselves no justice by flattening its nuances to reflect the religious tensions of the present.
 

Audrey Truschke is a historian at Stanford University and Rutgers University-Newark. Her first book, Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court will be published by Columbia University Press and Penguin India in 2016. She is currently working on a book on Aurangzeb that will published by Juggernaut Books.

 

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