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Posts Tagged Bad Government

War? With this Team?

Islamabad diary
Friday, January 24, 2014 



We are in a state of war, even if Punjab and the national leadership from Punjab find it excruciatingly difficult to recognise this reality. From 1947 onwards the land of the sacred rivers didn’t prove itself very good at nation-building. Now with a different set of problems facing the country it is proving even less good at nation-saving.

The forces of disorder and ‘Islamic’ conquest are on the march and the Punjab-led state of Pakistan has gone into a trance, fervently hoping that by itself, by some miracle of the heavens, the danger will pass…leaving its prosperous trader-leaders free to expand their business and industrial empires.

Trader-politicians exist but they are for normal times. Pakistan’s current paladins have been elected for sure and with a heavy mandate too, but the fact that despite this mandate they present a picture of utter confusion, only proves what is frequently said about them: that while smart enough in some things – business and trade, for instance – giving the nation leadership and a sense of direction in these trying times is not their cup of tea.

On a war footing we should be. This is what circumstances dictate but this is where our troubles start. For, in all honesty, with the Sharifs, Dar, Nisar, and Asif sitting around the table, is this anyone’s idea of a war cabinet? Would anyone have made Churchill war leader in 1940 if he had been a baron of trade and industry as our present leaders are?

Since this lot came to power seven months have gone by and the Taliban have recovered from the death of Hakeemullah Mehsud and are once again on the offensive. And we don’t know what to do. The realisation is gaining ground that, perhaps, there is no running away from this fight and that whether we like it or not we shall have to take a stand. But our hearts are not in this enterprise. You just have to look at Nawaz Sharif and company. Do they look as if they are leading a nation at war? 

Doing something is a long way off. They can’t even find the right words. So what is to be done? Or do we assume that history’s lessons are for others, not us? Don’t we remember Yugoslavia? Do we forget what happened to the Soviet Union? Don’t we have eyes to see what is happening across the Middle East, in Syria most notably where civil war rages and, but for Russian support and Bashar al-Assad’s determination, the country would long ago have splintered?

Excoriate Assad for other things as much as we may like but spirit and resolution even his detractors will have to grant him. He and his wife and children continue to stay in Damascus even as sections of the city have turned into battlefields.

Sooner or later fight we will have to. Even if we want to bury our heads in the sand the Taliban are pushing us so hard that our sleeping ghairat (honour) will have no choice but to wake up and do something. How strange the workings of this ghairat? On fire at the merest mention of drones, completely unmoved even as the Taliban make Christian martyrs of us by slapping one cheek, then the other, and from Nawaz Sharif downwards our leaders behaving like the best of Samaritans.

Incidentally, mark how diabolically clever our American friends are. All the while that the Taliban recharged under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah are into their current offensive – striking here, there and everywhere – they haven’t carried out a single drone attack. If they had we would have forgotten the Taliban, raised the banner of Islam and rushed at the Americans, blaming them for our troubles. Since they have not, we stand deprived of our best excuse, so much so that the drone word these past couple of weeks seems to have disappeared altogether from the pulsating fury of our national discourse. Clever of our American friends. 

But the question remains, who leads the national effort? Those who can’t bring themselves even to say the right words? That’s our problem…a Mustafa Kemal situation but no Mustafa Kemal, a battle for survival without plan or resolve, leaders muttering pieties, wringing their hands, their confusion deepening by the day, their hearts not in this fight, their hearts elsewhere – the price of chicken and eggs (yes, poultry one of their latest preoccupations), private trade deals with Turkey and China. So it goes on.

The Punjab leadership is concerned only about Punjab…that too that sliver of middle, prosperous, motorway Punjab, while the rest of the country burns at the edges and for lack of leadership sinks deeper into listlessness and depression.

Therein the contradiction – a nation finally ready for taking this fight to the finish but a leadership without spirit or spine. It had to take some civilians injured in the RA Bazaar bomb blast to tell the prime minister and army chief in no uncertain terms when they came visiting the Military Hospital to teach the Taliban a lesson. One of the injured used the Punjabi language’s most endearing phrase about sister relationships to describe the Taliban. But again the old problem: if your forte is bank loans and factories, how do you become a war leader? There are no switches you can pull to bring about this transformation.

That’s why we are living in a dangerous moment because the leadership problem could bring the whole edifice of our shining democracy tumbling down. I hate saying this but where there is a vacuum – in this case a vacuum of leadership – something is bound to fill it. Or disorder reigns and things fall apart. Foreign examples are telling enough but our own history is also instructive. There were many causes for the breakup of Pakistan in 1971 but inadequate leadership was one of them. Yahya Khan was an intelligent man, in his day a brilliant staff officer. But the events he was called upon to deal with were too big for him.

Our present leaders graduated from the ISI’s school of political tactics way back in the 1980s and 1990s. The bible they were taught was anti-Bhuttoism at which they proved very good. These are different times. Only Kemalism, a firm turning away from the medievalism of the past 30 years, can save Pakistan. But of that there are few signs.

One notion we should disabuse ourselves of. All-out war does not mean hitting one’s head against a wall. It does not mean an assault on North Waziristan without adequate preparation. It means, first of all, a change of national attitude, a stiffening of national resolve, a focusing on the essential instead of the secondary (a dictum of Hitler’s which he forgot when he attacked Russia without finishing matters with Britain). It also means the army bidding farewell to the complicated scripture of good and bad Taliban.

Are the Taliban fighting for municipal autonomy that the bozos of this administration and Imran Khan want to negotiate with them? Do the Taliban want provincial status for Fata that the appeasement brigade wants to talk to them? They want not a piece, they want the whole, something our political geniuses find hard to understand.

We should be studying Munich and the history of the Second World War. Chamberlain was a better politician than anyone in our appeasement brigade. But he misjudged Hitler as Chamberlain’s Pakistani successors, none more so than the Punjab-centric leadership, misjudge the Taliban.

Is Pakistan’s cause hopeless? No, it can be redeemed provided we solve the riddle of leadership. As the French anthem, the Marseillaise, proclaims: to arms, citizens, form your battalions, let impure blood drench our plains. Who infuses the armies of the republic with this spirit?

Email: winlust@yahoo.com

Ayaz Amir has rightly pointed out that power today lies in the hand of those who believe in TAP SE TE THUSS KARSE ,
then how  can one expect out of this leadership of  these Jali Punjabis  to face the on slaught  of those who are out to die.
Prior to this Gohar Ayub has throughly exposed the  dirty face and cowardice  character of gang of corrupts  in his book Glimpses into the Corridors of Power.

You are right actually Punjab is breeding them that is why they never condemned them openly and sealed their dens. If I can point out where are they in Punjab then why not GOP. Jhang Dadu
Khairpur Tamewali Muree up north and other parts of the country.
It Is so well defined article by Ayaz. 

If you see history, every invader came from the north. Less the british.  So all threats come from khyber and move down through Punjab to Delhi. So what we call punjab is actually a

land of darbari folks.

Yes sir to every invader and please move on to delhi for better  rewards.

This time round , the new invader has already made inroads in punjab and thats why the punjabi leadership want to close its eyes and hope they will go away


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