Archive for the ‘In the Line of Fire’ Category

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پرویز مشرف کے خلاف اوریا مقبول جان کے کالم ‘‘امت مسلمہ کا مجرم’’ کا جواب

January 22, 2014

بزعم خود، قوم کے مصلح اور مذھبی فکر کے داعی جناب اوریا مقبول جان نے مورخہ ۱۱ جنوری 2014ء کو اپنا گمراہ کن کالم بعنوان ’’امت مسلمہ کا مجرم‘‘ لکھا اور سابق صدر پرویز مشرف کو شدید ترین تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا۔ یہ کوئی نئی بات نہیں۔ موصوف اس سے پہلے بھی سابق صدر کے خلاف اپنے دل کی بھڑاس نکالتے رھے ھیں۔ اظہار رائے ان کا حق ھے، اور اس سے انہیں کوئی محروم نہیں کر سکتا۔ البتہ جب کالم نگار اپنے قلم کو مذھب کی سیاھی میں ڈبو کر کسی کی کردار کشی پر اتر آئیں اور قارئین کو جذباتی طور پر یرغمال بنا کر حقائق مسخ کرنے یا انہیں توڑ مروڑ کر پیش کریں، تو اس کا جواب تحریر کرنا، اور ان کو آئینہ دکھانا ھمارا حق ھے۔

یاد رھے کہ کچھ ماہ قبل، قوم کی ہونہار اور قابل فخر بیٹی ملالہ یوسف زئی کے خلاف موصوف اوریا مقبول جان نے نہایت ڈھٹائی سے ایک فریب آلود کالم لکھا اور اس کے بعد مختلف ٹی وی چینلز پر بیٹھ کر ملالہ کے خلاف لوگوں کو اکساتے رھے۔ گزشتہ دنوں، موصوف نے قائد اعظم کی ۱۱ اگست 1947ء کو قانون ساز اسمبلی میں کی گئی معرکتہ الآراء تقریر کو متنازعہ بنانے اور اسے سیکولر طبقے کی سازش قرار دینے کے لئے ایڑھی چوٹی کا زور لگایا۔ ملالہ یوسف زئی کے معاملے میں اسی بلاگ پر ایک مدلل جواب تحریر کیا گیااور اوریا مقبول جان کے فریب کا پردہ چاک کیا گیا۔ اسی طرح بیشتر دوستوں نے قائد اعظم کی تقریر کے اصل حوالہ جات، تاریخی اور ناقابل تردید ثبوتوں کے ساتھ پیش کئے اور موصوف کو بے نقاب کیا۔اپنی روایتی بد دیانتی کے تسلسل کو جاری رکھتے ھوئے ۱۱ جنوری کے کالم میں اوریا مقبول جان صاحب نے سابق صدر پرویز مشرف کے خلاف عوام میں نفرت اور اشتعال دلوانے کے لئے نہ صرف حد درجے دروغ سے کام لیا، بلکہ حسب سابق مذھب کو اپنے اس مزموم مقصد کے لئے استعمال کیا۔ یہ تحریر موصوف کے گمراہ کن کالم کے جواب میں پیش کی جارھی ھے، جس میں ان کو ایک بار پھر آئینہ دکھا یا جائے گا۔

واضح رھے کہ اوریا مقبول جان کو اس بات سے غرض نہیں ھے کہ پرویز مشرف پر چلنے والا مقدمہ کتنا عرصہ چلتا ھے یا اس کا کیا نتیجہ نکلتا ھے، لہٰذا اس تحریر میں اس مقدمے اور اس کے سیاسی، جمہوری یا آئینی نکات اور پہلوؤں پر کوئی گفتگو نہیں کی جائے گی۔

کالم نگار نے اپنی تحریر کا آٖغاز ایمل کانسی کو امریکہ کا دشمن اور پاکستانی قوم کا ھیرو قرار دے کر کیا۔ گویا ان کے نزدیک اس بات کی ھرگز کوئی اھمیت نہیں کہ پاکستان کا کوئی شہری دوسرے ملک میں جا کر قانون کو اپنے ھاتھ میں لے اور قتل و غارت اور دھشت گردی کرتا پھرے۔اس کے بعد فرار ھو کر واپس پاکستان میں آچھپے اور دنیا بھر میں اپنے ملک کو شرمندہ کروائے۔ ان کے نزدیک ایسے افراد ھیرو ھیں۔ ان کی اس منطق کی بنیاد پر پاکستان کے جن نام نہاد سپوتوں نے دھشت گردی کے ذریعے دنیا بھر میں اس سرزمین کو ذلیل و خوار کیا ھے، وہ تمام بھی پھر ھیرو ھوئے۔ اگر اوریا مقبول جان کے فلسفے پر عمل کیا جائے، تو اس امر میں رتی بھر شبہ نہیں رھنا چاھئیے کہ پاکستان ایک عالمی دھشت گرد ملک ھے، جو دنیا بھر میں بدمعاشی، بدامنی اور قتل و غارت کرنے والے افراد کو اپنا ھیرو سمجھتا ھے۔ اگر یہ الزام اس قوم کو قبول ھے، تو بسم اللہ کیجئے اور اوریا مقبول جان کو امور سلطنت سونپ دیجئے۔

Orya - I

ذرا آگے چلئے، تو اوریا مقبول جان کا جذبہء جہاد و قتال سے بھرپور قلم یہ الفاظ اگلتا ھے

‘‘اسامہ بن لادن کی شہادت ابھی کل کی بات ھے۔۔۔’’

Orya - II

ناطقہ سر بگریباں ھے، اسے کیا کہیے؟ ایک عالمی دھشت گرد، جس نے دنیا بھر میں جہاد کے نام کو قتل و غارت کا ھم معنی بنا دیا، کی ھلاکت کو کالم نگار ‘‘شہادت’’ قرارددے رھے ھیں۔ امریکہ دشمنی اور طالبان پرستی، ایسے ھی تشدد پسند ذھن پیدا کرتی ھے، جو نہ صرف اسامہ بن لادن اور حکیم اللہ محسود کو، بلکہ امریکہ کے ھاتھوں ھلاک ھونے والے کتے کو بھی شہید قرارد دے ڈالیں۔

اوریا مقبول جان، کیا آپ کو معلوم ھے کہ اسامہ بن لادن، عالمی دھشت گرد تنظیم القاعدہ کا بانی تھا۔ کیا آپ جانتے ھیں کہ 1992ء میں جب سومالیہ میں پانچ لاکھ افراد قحط کے ھاتھوں مارے گئے، تو اقوام متحدہ کی قراردادوں کے تابع وھاں ریلیف آپریشن کا آغاز ھوا۔القاعدہ نے اس مشن میں حصہ لینے کے لئے جانے والے امریکی فوجیوں کو مارنے کی غرض سے دو بم دھماکے کرائے۔ ان میں کئی زخمیوں کے علاوہ ایک آسٹریلوی سیاح اور ایک ھوٹل ملازم ھلاک ھوگئے۔ بعد میں القاعدہ نے ایک فتویٰ جاری کیا اور دھشت گردی کی اس کاروائی کو اسلامی حوالے سے درست قرارد دیا۔

کیا آپ کو معلوم ھے کہ امریکہ میں غیر قانونی طور پر داخل ھونے والے رمزی یوسف، جس نے 1993ء میں ورلڈ ٹریڈ سنٹر پر حملہ کرکے چھ افراد ھلاک اور ھزار سے زائد زخمی کئے، نے افغانستان میں واقع القاعدہ کے ٹریننگ سنٹر سے ٹریننگ لی تھی۔

کیا آپ کو یاد ھے کہ 1996ء میں اسامہ بن لادن نے امریکی صدر بل کلنٹن کے قتل کی منصوبہ بندی کی۔

کیا آپ بھول گئے کہ 1998ء میں اسامہ بن لادن نے امریکی فوجیوں اور شہریوں کے قتل عام کا فتویٰ جاری کیا اور اسے مسلمانوں پر فرض قرار دیا۔ اس ضمن میں انہوں نے القرآن الحکیم کی متعدد آیات بھی پیش کیں اور گویا ثابت کیا کہ (نعوذ باللہ) اسلام ایسی درندگی اور قتل و غارت کا حکم دیتا ھے۔

اوریا مقبول جان صاحب! کیا آپ فراموش کر گئے کہ 1998ء میں امریکی ایمبیسیوں پر حملوں میں القاعدہ نے سینکڑوں افراد کو ھلاک اور ھزاروں کو زخمی کیا۔

واضح رھے کہ القاعدہ کی دھشت گردی کی یہ چند مثالیں 9/11 کے سانحے سے پہلے کی ھیں۔ بعد میں ھونے والے فساد کے بارے میں سب ھی جانتے ھیں، لہٰذا ان کا ذکر پھر کسی وقت پر موقوف کئے دیتے ھیں۔ اسامہ بن لادن کو شہید قرارد دے کر اوریا مقبول جان نے ان تمام دھشت گرد کاروائیوں کو درست اور عین جہاد قرار دیا ھے۔ ھمیں امید ھے کہ وہ خود یا کم از کم وہ اپنے بچوں کو بھی ایسا ھی مجاھد بنانا پسند کریں گے۔ اگر آج بد قسمتی سے دین اسلام کو دھشت گردی سے منسوب کیا جاتا ھے یا اسلامی دھشت گردی کی تکلیف دہ اصطلاح وجود میں آئی ھے، تو اس کا سہرہ اوریا مقبول جان جیسے مبصرین اور ان کے پسندیدہ دھشت گردوں کے سر جاتا ھے۔

اپنے گمراہ کن کالم کو جاری رکھتے ھوئے موصوف، سابق صدر پاکستان پرویز مشرف کو امت مسلمہ کا ملزم قرار دیتے ھوئے لکھتے ھیں

‘‘اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، تو مشرف جمہوریت کے نہیں امت مسلمہ کے ملزم کی حیثیت سے کٹہرے میں کھڑا ھوتا۔۔۔’’

Orya - III

حیرت بالائے حیرت۔ اوریا صاحب! اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، تو آج آپ کا نام و نشان بھی مٹ چکا ھوتا کہ کیسے دیدہ دلیری سے ایک شخص دین اسلام کا لبادہ اوڑھے، جھوٹ اور منافقت کی ملمع کاری کئے اس قوم کو فریب دے رھا ھے اور اپنے قلم کی آبرو بیچ کر ایک انتہا پسندانہ نسل کی آبیاری کر رھا ھے۔ اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، تو آپ کو کبھی عالمی دھشت گردوں کو شہید کہنے کی جراءت نہ ھوتی۔اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، توآپ کو کبھی میرے دین اور رسول برحق صلی اللہ علیہ و آلہ وسلم کی پاکیزہ اور انسانیت پرست تعلیمات کو قتل و غارت سے آلودہ کرنے والی دھشت گردی کو جہاد کہنے کی جسارت نہ ھوتی۔ اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، تو میرے پچاس ھزار ھم وطنوں کو شہید کرنے والی تحریک طالبان کی تعریف میں کالم لکھتے ھوئے اوریا مقبول جان کو بیس مرتبہ سوچنا پڑتا۔ اگر یہ امت زندہ ھوتی، تو موصوف کوشام میں بغاوت کرنے والے القاعدہ کے بے رحم جنگ جوؤں کو حضرت امام مہدی کا سپاھی قرار دینے کی ھمت نہ ہو پاتی۔ یہی تو رونا ھے کہ یہ امت زندہ نہیں۔ اس امت کا زندہ نہ ھونا ھی آپ جیسے بے ضمیر اور فریبی لکھاریوں کے لئے آکسیجن ھے۔

پرویز مشرف پر وار کرتے ھوئے اوریا مقبول جان لکھتے ھیں،

‘‘تم نے چار سو سے ذائد مسلمانوں کو پیسے لے کرآگے بیچااور پھر اس پر اتراتے بھی رھے۔’’

Orya - IV

آپ کی پیشہ وارانہ اور عیارانہ چال بازی پر افسوس۔ گویا آپ کے نزدیک پاکستان،کسی طوائف کا کوٹھا ھے کہ جب جس کا جی چاھے ، چلا آئے اور اپنی ھوس مٹا کر لوٹ جائے۔

محترم! پاکستان ایک جوھری طاقت ھے، کوئی عام رہ گزر نہیں۔ کسی غیر ملکی اور بالخصوص کسی بھی دھشت گرد کو ھرگز یہ حق حاصل نہیں کہ وہ سرحد عبور کر کے یہاں اپنی کمین گاھیں بنائے اور یہاں سے کسی دوسرے ملک میں تخریب کاری کرتا پھرے۔ کیا آپ مجھے یہ حق دیں گے کہ میں آپ کے گھر کا دروازہ پھلانگ کر آپ کی اجازت کے بغیر اندر داخل ھو جاؤں اور وھیں اپنا ڈیرہ ڈال کر بیٹھ جاؤں؟ افغانستان اور دوسرے ممالک سے عسکریت پسند اور دھشت گرد، بغیر کسی دستاویز کے غیر قانونی طور پر جب پاکستان میں داخل ھوں، تو اس کا منہ توڑ جواب دیا جانا چاھئیے۔ یہی پرویز مشرف نے بھی کیا۔ اور ایسے دھشت گرد جن کی عالمی اداروں اور حکومتوں کی جانب سے باؤنٹی یا سر کی قیمت لگی ھوئی تھی، ان کو بر وقت کاروائی کر کے پکڑا گیا ۔ ایسے تمام دھشت گرد عناصرکو جب ان کے اپنے ممالک نے واپس لینے سے انکار کیا، تو انہیں ان عالمی اداروں یا حکومتوں کے حوالے کر دیا گیا، جنہیں وہ مطلوب تھے۔ ظاھر ھے کہ ایسا ھی کرنا چاھیئے تھا۔ مگر کیا کریں کہ اوریا مقبول جان، کمال معصومیت سے اسے ایک ھی جملے میں یہ کہہ کر ختم کردیتے ھیں کہ پرویز مشرف نے پیسے لے کر مسلمانوں کو آگے بیچا۔

In the line of fire - Page 237

حقائق سے کوسوں دور اور طفلانہ جذبات سے مغلوب کالم نگار آگے لکھتے ھیں

اس مملکت خداد پاکستان میں اور یہاں بسنے والی امت مسلمہ کے اخلاق و اقدار کو بگاڑنے، ان کے اندر فحش کو عام کرنے، ان کے مدرسوں اور مسجدوں پر ٹینکوں سے حملہ کرنے اور ان کی عورتوں اور بچوں کو بموں کی آتش میں بھوننے کے الزامات اس سے سوا ھیں، لیکن ان پر کوئی آواز بلند نہیں کرتا۔

Orya - V

یہ جملے لکھتے ھوئے کالم نگار مبالغہ گوئی کی سیڑھی پر کافی اوپر تک چڑھے ھوئے محسوس ھوتے ھیں۔ بہتر ھوتا کہ وہ ان نام نہاد الزامات کی کچھ تفصیل بھی لکھ ڈالتے، تاکہ ھمیں اس کا تجزیہ کرنے میں سہولت رھتی۔ خیر،ھم اوریا مقبول جان صاحب سے یہ پوچھنا چاھیں گے کہ معصوم اور نا پختہ ذھنوں میں جنت کے باغات اور شہد کی نہروں کے کنارے پر بیٹھی ھوئی توبہ شکن حوروں کا اشتباہ انگیز تصور ڈالنے والوں کے بارے میں آپ کی کیا رائے ھے۔ ان حوروں کے لمس اور صحبت کو پانے کی ھوس میں خود کش حملہ آور بن جانا کیسا فعل ھے؟ اگر تو یہ سب بہت اچھا اور عین اسلامی ھے، تو آپ اس جہاد میں عملی طور پر حصہ کیوں نہیں لیتے۔ کیا آپ پر جہاد فرض نہیں ھے؟ کیا وجہ ھے کہ آج تک آپ کے کسی بیٹے نے جہاد کے میدان میں خود کش حملہ نہیں کیا یا تحریک طالبان کے وحشیوں کی طرح کسی کو زبح نہیں کیا؟

اور اگر یہ سب کچھ بہت برا اور غلط ھے اور اسلام کی تعلیمات کے منافی ھے، تو پھر آپ کا قلم ان نام نہاد جہادیوں اور خود کش حملہ آوروں کی تعریفیں کرتا تھکتا کیوں نہیں ھے؟ آپ کو پرویز مشرف کی وجہ سے امت مسلمہ کا اخلاق و اقدرابگڑتا ھوا تو دکھائی دیتا ھے، مگر مساجد، امام بارگاھوں، مزاروں، گرجا گھروں اور بازاروں میں دندناتے ھوئے خود کش حملہ آوروں سے دین اسلام کا چہرہ اور اقدار مسخ ھوتی محسوس نہیں ھوتیں؟

Lal Masjid

آپ کا ذھن رسا مدرسوں اور مساجد پر ٹینکوں سے حملے ھوتا ھوا تو دیکھ لیتا ھے، مگر افسوس کے ان کے اندر براجمان تکفیری دھشت گرد دکھائی نہیں دیتے۔ بات بے بات مذھب کو اپنے مذموم مقاصد کے لئے دلیل کے طور پر استعمال کرنے والا کالم نگار ،مسجد ضرار کا واقعہ کیوں بھول جاتا ھے، جہاں میرے رسول صلہ اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم کو میرا رب خود یہ کہتا ھے کہ اس مسجد سے مسلمانوں کو نقصان پہنچایا جا رھا ھے۔

کیا موصوف اوریا مقبول جان کو یہ معلوم نہیں کہ لال مسجد اور ان جیسی کتنی ھی مساجد اور مدرسوں میں ھزاروں افراد کو دھشت گردی کی تربیت دی گئی اور پاکستان بھر میں خود کش حملے کرنے کے لئے پھیلایا گیا۔

Al-Quran - Surah Al-Tauba

پرویز مشرف کو امت مسلمہ کا مجرم قرار دیتے ھوئے اوریا مقبول جان یہ کیوں بھول جاتے ھیں کہ سورہ النساء میں اللہ تعالیٰ خود فرماتا ھے، ‘‘اے ایمان والو! اللہ کی اطاعت کرو، رسول کی اطاعت کرو اور اولی الامر کی اطاعت کرو۔’’ کیا کالم نگار کو یہ معلوم نہیں کہ پرویز مشرف اپنے دور حکومت میں پاکستان کے اولوالامر تھے؟ کوئی انہیں پسند کرے یا نہ کرے، ان کی پالیسیاں درست ھوں کہ غلط ھوں، ان سب سے قطع نظر، وہ اس مملکت کے صاحب اختیار تھے ۔ کیا آپ نہیں جانتے کہ اسلام میں یونٹی آف کمانڈ کی کتنی اھمیت ھے۔ اگر آپ کی طرح ھر شخص اپنی ڈیڑھ اینٹ کی مسجد بنا کر دوسروں پر یا حاکم وقت کے خلاف فتوے دینا شروع کر دے، تو کیا یہ وطن کی خدمت ھے یا قوم کو تقسیم کرنے کی سازش؟

Al-Quran - Surah Al-Nisa

کیا موصوف کو معلوم نہیں کہ سورہ المائدہ میں اللہ تعالیٰ ایک انسان کے قتل کو کل انسانیت کا قتل قرار دیتا ھے؟ کیا موصوف یہ نہیں جانتے کہ سورہ البقرہ میں فتنے کو قتل سے بھی بدتر جرم قرار دیا گیا ھے۔ کیا موصوف کو یاد دلانا پڑے گا کہ ان واضح احکامات کی موجودگی میں دھشت گرد کتنے قبیح جرائم کا ارتکاب کر رھے ھیں؟ کیا ایسے درندوں کو صرف اس بنیاد پر درگزر کر دیا جائے کہ وہ اوریا مقبول جان کے حمایت یافتہ ھیں یاموصوف کی خود ساختہ مذھبی تشریح کے مطابق کوئی بہت نیک فریضہ انجام دے رھے ھیں۔

ھمیں اس سے ھرگز کوئی غرض نہیں ھے کہ آپ پرویز مشرف سے اختلاف رکھیں اور اپنی تحریر کے ذریعے اپنی رائے کا اظہار کریں۔ ترقی پسند معاشرے میں آزادیء رائے کی بہت اھمیت ھے۔ تاھم ایسی صورت حال میں جب ھمارا ملک حالت جنگ میں ھے اور ھماری بقا خطرے کے نشان تک پہنچ چکی ھے، آپ کو یہ اختیار نہیں دیا جا سکتا کہ آپ اس قوم کو دھشت گردوں کی حمایت کے لئے اکساتے پھریں۔

Orya column - VIII

اوریا مقبول جان صاحب! اگر آپ میں انسانیت اور دین کی سچی رمق موجود ھوتی، تو آپ پرویز مشرف صاحب کے بارے میں ایسے لغو الزامات نہ لگاتے۔ اس کے برعکس، آپ دھشت گردوں کو امت مسلمہ کا مجرم قرار دیتے۔ ابھی بھی وقت ھے کہ سنبھل جائیے ۔ اگر آپ ایسا نہیں کرتے، تو کہیں ایسا نہ ھو کہ بروز حشر، آپ کے اوپر بھی کوئی فرد جرم عائد ھو جائے ۔ ڈرئیے اس وقت سے جب بذات خود آپ کوھی امت مسلمہ کا مجرم قرار دے دیا جائے۔ ایسا مجرم، جس نے قرآن کے واضح احکامات کی خلاف ورزی کرنے والے دھشت گردوں کو اپنا ھیرو قرار دیا اور اسلام کو دھشت گردی سے جوڑنے کے لئے اپنے قلم کی حرمت پامال کر ڈالی۔

The Noble Quran

( تحریر: سبز خزاں)

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The Great Game Continues – Exclusive

October 21, 2011
(Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan) 

The widely expected victory for Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari in the presidential election brought to a high point the tortuous process of regime change in Pakistan. Anyone who has followed the “colour revolutions” that installed pro-American rulers in Georgia (Rose Revolution, 2003), Ukraine (Orange
Revolution, 2004) and Kyrgystan (Tulip Revolution, 2005) could surely not have missed the tell tale signs.
The earliest foreboding surfaced in the backroom manoeuvres by United States (US) and British intelligence services to engineer panic about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. It was a repeat of the duplicitous hysteria they generated over non-existent weapons of mass destruction that Iraq allegedly possessed. A carefully worded article, co-authored by former State Department officials Richard L. Armitage and Kara L. Bue, signalled the shift in US policy. After formally acknowledging then President Pervez Musharraf’s many achievements, the authors continued: “much remains to be accomplished, particularly in terms of democratization. Pakistan must…eliminate the home-grown jihadists…And…it must prove itself a reliable partner on technology transfer and nuclear non-proliferation.” And the denouement: “We believe General Musharraf…deserves our attention and support, no matter how frustrated we become at the pace of political change and the failure to eliminate Taliban fighters on the Afghan border.” Translation: Musharraf has to go.
Almost simultaneously a 2006 country survey in The Economist, titled “Too much for one man to do”, began on a jingoistic overkill: “Think about Pakistan, and you might get terrified. Few countries have so much potential to cause trouble, regionally and worldwide”. The following year a Carnegie Endowment report faulted western governments that “contribute to regional instability by allowing Pakistan to trade democratisation for its cooperation on terrorism”. Senior US State Department officials repeatedly accused Musharraf of “not doing enough” to combat Islamists within Pakistan and prevent their infiltration across the Durand Line into southern Afghanistan.
Sensing the way wind was blowing, then PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto redoubled efforts to convince Washington and London that, if she were to become Prime Minister, she would gladly do their bidding. She underscored her enthusiasm to serve and ensured her party was fully responsive to America’s Late Neo-colonialism. She summoned senior party members to Dubai on 9 June 2007 for a “briefing” by a team from the US Democratic Party’s National Democratic Institute (NDI), ostensibly on the subject of elections in Pakistan. The ruling Republican Party’s International Republican Institute (IRI) had conducted the previous four “briefings” in June and September 2006 and March and April 2007.
Benazir leaned towards the Democratic Party in the last one no doubt as a hedge against the party’s possible victory at the forthcoming US Presidential Election.
Even a cursory knowledge of US Imperialism’s standard operating procedure is sufficient to surmise at least some among the IRI and NDI officers were covert intelligence operatives; and that their “briefings” went beyond “tutelage of natives”. Rather they have been grooming the PPP as America’s satrap.
Benazir’s predilection to collaborate with the West has its roots in the Bhutto family’s micro political culture. Her grandfather, Shah Nawaz Bhutto was a minor comprador official in the British colonial regime. The British rewarded his “loyal” services with the title Khan Bahadur and later appointed him President of a District Board and still later elevated him to knighthood. Her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s populist programmes did not dilute that legacy, which left a lasting impression on Benazir; she firmly believed the path to political power in Pakistan meanders through the Embassy of the United States, the current neo-colonialist.
She promised to offer the International Atomic Energy Agency access to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan to “satisfy the international community”, an euphemism for the major powers; and to allow the US-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan to operate inside north-western Pakistan. By the time Benazir visited the Senate in September 2007, she had convinced the Bush Administration of her unswerving loyalty; for “she received a standing ovation from a select gathering of US lawmakers, diplomats, academics and media representatives. This contrasted sharply with her previous visits to the US capital when she received little attention.” To deepen “Washington’s renewed interest in her” Benazir cautioned that supporting Musharraf was “a strategic miscalculation” and pleaded “the US should support the forces of democracy”, which, of course, refers to her PPP.
So, President George W Bush enabled Benazir’s return from exile by arm-twisting Musharraf to promulgate the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). The NRO of 5 October granted amnesty to politicians active in Pakistan between 1988 and 1999 and effectively wiped the slate clean of corruption charges for Benazir and her husband Asif Zardari. Three weeks later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it appear the Bush Administration wished to bring together “moderate” forces, implying a scenario in which Musharraf and Benazir would join forces as President and Prime Minister respectively; and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte corroborated Rice: “Our message”, he intoned, “is that we want to work with the government and people of Pakistan”.
However, Musharraf saw through the US Administration’s transparent ploy to lull him into believing it would not remove him and install Benazir in his place. So, he swiftly invited Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), back from exile in Saudi Arabia to counter Benazir. But he could not consolidate his position, especially because he mishandled the judiciary, and was compelled to resign on 18 August 2008.
In a nutshell, the reason for “Washington’s renewed interest” in Benazir is Musharraf’s firm opposition to US Late Neo-colonialism, to its manoeuvres to occupy, pacify and ravage Pakistan. In the 19th century British colonialism waged the “war on piracy” on the high seas ostensibly to bring “the light of Christian civilization”. But the British were the most successful pirates, as Spanish and Portuguese historians would gladly confirm. The “war on piracy” was the duplicitous justification trotted out to dominate lucrative maritime trade routes that were in the hands of Chinese, Arab and Tamil maritime empires and to invade kingdoms and/or countries essential to control trade and plunder resources. During most of the 20th century heroic anti-colonial movements and anti-imperialist wars rolled back much of colonial rule, which in some instances however morphed into neo-colonialism. Indonesia after Sukarno, Iran after Mosaddeq and Chile after Allende are well known examples.
The “war on terror” and “promoting democracy” are the 21st century equivalents of the 19th century British gobbledygook. American Late Neo-colonialism purveys them as moral justification and uses as political cover for intervening and, where necessary, invading resource-rich and strategic countries to overthrow nationalist leaders, install puppet regimes and savage the countries’ wealth. And of course the US is by far the most powerful terrorist force. It succeeded in Iraq (for now); but the CIA-organised regime change could not dislodge Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who rejected the neo-colonialist 1989 Washington Consensus and supported alternative nationalist economic models.
Politically challenged Pakistani liberals — a motley crowd that includes members of human rights and civil liberties organisations, journalists, analysts, lawyers and assorted professionals — are utterly incapable of comprehending the geo-strategic context in which Musharraf manoeuvred to defend Pakistan’s interest. So they slandered him an “American puppet”, alleging he caved in to US pressure and withdrew support to the Afghan Taliban regime in the wake of 9/11 although in fact he removed one excuse for the Bush Administration to “bomb Pakistan into stone age”, as a senior State Department official had threatened.
Nevertheless American discomfort with Musharraf’s government was palpable by late 2003, after he dodged committing Pakistani troops to prop up the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. When he offered to cooperate under the auspices of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), naïve Pakistani media and analysts lunged for his jugular, condemning him once again for succumbing to US demands. But in fact he nimbly sidestepped American demands: he calculated that diverse ideological stances of the 57 Muslim member-counties would not allow the OIC to jointly initiate such controversial action and therefore Pakistan’s participation cannot arise, which proved correct.
Washington of course was not amused and the Bush Administration grew increasingly hostile to Musharraf’s determination to prioritise Pakistan’s interests when steering the ship of the state through the choppy waters of the unfolding New Great Game, in which the West — led by the US — is manoeuvring to contain growing Russian and Chinese influences in Central and West Asia. His foreign policy decisions over time convinced Washington that under his leadership, Pakistan would side with enemies of US and Britain in the New Great Game. First, he refused to isolate Iran; instead he vigorously pursued energy cooperation to build the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline in the face of stiff American opposition. Second, Washington was alarmed by Musharraf’s preference for deepening Pakistan-China bilateral relations and forging nuclear cooperation; and more so when he offered Beijing naval facilities at the Gwadar port on Balochistan’s Arabian Sea coast overlooking the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint through which passes approximately 30 per cent of world’s energy supplies.
Perhaps the last straw was his success in gaining Observer Status for Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Russia and China are spearheading the SCO, which includes four other countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan; Iran and India are also Observers. The SCO is widely perceived as a rising eastern counterweight to western security and economic groupings and Islamabad drifting towards the SCO was simply unacceptable in Washington.
To rub salt into its wounds, Musharraf refused permission to interrogate Dr AQ Khan and firmly rejected Washington’s demands that NATO troops be allowed into the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to hunt down Osama bin Laden and his associates.
By early 2006 it was clear Washington was looking for nothing less than a pliable leader in Islamabad, a firm political foothold in Pakistan and a Pakistani foreign policy that complemented US strategic aims in Central Asia.
What perhaps angered Washington the most were actions Musharraf took to wind down the “war on terror” within Pakistan. Immediately after taking power, he outlawed three Islamic extremist groups and, after 9/11, intensified military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.
Washington would have gone along with Musharraf had he focussed on military operations to curb Islamists. Military action alone cannot defeat guerrillas; but it can kill many of them and in turn induce new recruits — well known points reiterated by William R Polk in Violent Politics (2007) – so that the so-called “war on terror” would not end any time soon.
That could supplement US Administrations’ assiduous manufacture of the “Islamic threat” through the 1990s to launch an endless “war on terror” — the New Cold War — to rescue America’s permanent war economy. For after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US economy (and by extension west European economies) faced perhaps its biggest crisis: the “Communist threat” ceased to be credible; it could not be exploited to terrify the American people into acquiescing to rising military expenditure that keeps wheels of the permanent war economy rolling and to expanding the repressive security apparatuses.
So the Bush Administration deftly replaced the “Communist threat” with the “Islamic threat”, no doubt following Machiavelli’s famous advice in The Prince, that a wise ruler invents enemies and then slays them in order to control his own subjects. The apparently counterproductive bombings, arrests, torture, kidnappings and disappearances (sanitised as Extraordinary Rendition) carried out by US forces while the CIA covertly funded, armed and supported Islamists are intended not to eliminate the “Islamic threat” but to contain it within manageable limits and to spawn the next generation of “terrorists”.
Sometimes, plans go awry; “culling” may not contain the resistance, as seen in Afghanistan from time to time. Nevertheless, the strategy is to “feed terrorism” and simultaneously “cull terrorists” so that the perpetual New Cold War oils America’s moribund permanent war economy.
Musharraf, however, did not play ball. He complemented military force to defeat Islamists with political initiatives.
He signed a peace treaty with tribal elders in North Waziristan (within FATA) to marginalise the Islamists. To combat the Islamists’ religious ideology, he promoted “enlightened moderation”, a veiled reference to secularism and tolerance. Musharraf’s vision of a secular Pakistan has its roots in exposure to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s legacy when he attended school in Ankara during his father’s diplomatic posting to Turkey. In fact, after taking power in Pakistan he often held up Ataturk as his role model. He planned to “wean away” the people from the “extremists” through education is how he described his approach to this writer. Towards this end, he introduced educational reforms and re-wrote school history text books; enacted laws protecting women’s rights and diluted Islamic laws against women; and he liberalised the media. To deny Islamists their traditional rallying cry — Kashmir — he opened path breaking negotiations with India to remove that arrow from the Islamists’ quiver.
When Musharraf skilfully combined military operations against Islamists with a political front promoting secularism to ideologically disarm them, the US administration saw red. By secularising Pakistani society over time Musharraf would de-fang the “Islamic threat” within Pakistan and extricate the country out of the contrived orbit of “war on terror”. That would greatly diminish Washington’s leverage to intervene in the country to distance Islamabad from Beijing and exploit energy resources abundantly found in Balochistan and, in the long run, perhaps derail US administration’s well laid plans to bring Afghanistan to heel and to dominate Central Asia and its oil-rich Caspian Sea basin.
But Musharraf was in no mood to back down. So the Bush Administration slipped regime change into gear. Taking advantage of his missteps, the anti-Musharraf media blitz, NGO and student mobilisations, lawyers agitations, protests by political parties and civil society organisations seemingly coming from all directions in fact displayed a fantastic degree of organisation, coordination and financing clearly beyond the ken of the fratricidal activists and often ad hoc institutions and never witnessed before in the country. Very likely they will not be seen again either; indeed later the activists were singularly incapable of organising any significant agitation when three women were buried alive for defying their parents’ choice of husbands. The manoeuvres against Musharraf bear uncanny resemblances to organised “people’s power” the CIA unleashed during “colour revolutions” and upheavals against Hugo Chavez.
The Bush Administration began reaping the rewards of unseating Musharraf within 24 hours of his resignation. Chief of Army Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani travelled to Kabul to meet NATO and Afghan commanders on 19 August. About 10 days later Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen informed a Pentagon news conference on 28 August that Kayani and his lieutenants held a “secret meeting” with their US counterparts on a US aircraft carrier, reminiscent of American gun boat diplomacy in Latin America and unthinkable in Pakistan under Musharraf’s watch..
Mullen touchingly chronicled how he “learned to trust” Kayani and bent over backwards to emphasise that Kayani is no American puppet, that Kayani’s “principles and goals are to do what’s best for Pakistan.” But a few sections of the US media, weaned on decades of Pentagon-speak from the debacle in Vietnam to the illegal invasion of Iraq, saw through the verbal obfuscation. And when a reporter pointedly queried Mullen whether Kayani’s “goal for Pakistan also aligned a hundred per cent with the US goal”, the Admiral waffled: “[Kayani] knows his country a whole lot better than we do. And again, I just think that’s where he is, that’s where he’ll stay.” Translation: US administration has got Kayani on tight leash.
And to maintain there is no substantial change from Musharraf’s policies, Kayani’s spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas and Mullen alleged the meetings had been arranged several weeks earlier, when Musharraf was President, to facetiously imply he had approved the contacts.
The import of “coordination” between American, NATO, Afghan and Pakistan militaries will become clearer over the next weeks and months. For now the suspicion is unavoidable that the US Administration has at long last begun frog-marching Pakistan into the US-created Afghan quagmire to further destabilise the country and justify intervention.
Musharraf had resolutely opposed precisely this eventuality. He rejected US demands that the Pakistani army assist NATO forces in Afghanistan. He underlined the country will not repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the 1980s when it got embroiled in America’s war in Afghanistan against the then Soviet Union, for which the Pakistani people continues to pay a heavy price. Rather, he insisted his army will fight only Pakistan’s war within Pakistan’s borders.
The consequences of the PPP leadership following the US into the Afghan quagmire will soon be evident.
Already, within 16 days of Musharraf’s resignation, US forces carried out the first ground assault in Angoor Adda area within Pakistan’s borders — which Musharraf had disallowed — with the connivance of the new leadership. Obviously there is more to come since the Bush Administration has eagerly caricatured the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as “The New Frontier” in the New Cold War.
For the moment, there is great euphoria among Pakistani liberals over the presumed “return to democracy”. The comments by Ayesha Tanmy Haq are typical: “We have removed a dictator by the citizenry showing that real power lies with them.” The hapless liberals have yet to discover Late Neo-colonialism and its devious manoeuvres for regime change; they have in fact effectively legitimised them by opposing Musharraf. They are agonisingly unaware of the labyrinthine geo-politics and economic imperatives underlying the New Cold War. They are blissfully going along with the collaborationist leaders who are bartering away the country’s future for the proverbial pieces of silver.
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Dr Sachithanandam Sathananthan read for the Ph D degree at the University of Cambridge and was Visiting Research Scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of International Studies.
(Source: Outlook India)
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Manmohan Singh, Musharraf came close to striking Kashmir’s solution: WikiLeaks

September 3, 2011

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan had through “back channels” agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, reveals a latest WikiLeaks cable. According to the US embassy cable – dated April 21, 2009 – Singh confirmed this to a visiting US delegation, led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman in April, 2009, saying that the solution included free trade and movement across LoC.

Singh told the US delegation that Delhi and Islamabad had made great progress prior to February 2007, when President Musharraf ran into trouble. “We had reached an understanding in back channels,” he related, says the cable, in which Musharraf had agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir. Singh went on to add that India wanted a strong, stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan and makes no claim on “even an inch” of Pakistani territory.

Singh’s comments authenticate Musharraf’s assertions last year that India and Pakistan had reached that stage, where they were preparing the final draft for the resolution. He had said the two sides shared drafts through “back channels”, and these were in keeping with the four-point template which he had envisaged to resolve the issue. Singh, too, mentions in the cable that the two sides had arrived at the solution through back channels.

Musharraf’s four points included demilitarization, maximum autonomy, making border irrelevant and joint management of the area. Later, however, Pakistani government rejected the formula, saying that it was Musharraf’s personal line of thinking that lacked endorsement either by Pakistani parliament or cabinet. Singh, though, does not make any direct reference to Musharraf’s template in the WikiLeak cable. Musharraf had said, unlike in the case with PM Vajpayee, it was actually with Singh that Pakistan moved towards an agreement over the issue.

Reminding Berman and other US delegates that India had lost more than 150 of its citizens in the Mumbai attacks, Singh said it would be possible to resume dialogue only if Pakistan would “behave as a civilized country and bring the perpetrators to justice”. “Now, Pakistani leaders had to stick by commitments made to PM Vajpayee and repeated to PM Singh in 2005 that they would not permit attacks on India launched from Pakistani soil. If so, huge trade opportunities awaited, according to the Prime Minister, who added that a strong Indian constituency favoured normalized relations,” the cable says.

Recalling the July, 2008, attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Singh asserted that it had been carried out “with the active encouragement” of Pakistan’s ISI and that he had raised the issue with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.

Source: Times of India

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9/11 – Could we have decided otherwise?

August 24, 2011

By Pervez Musharraf – former President of Pakistan

Pakistan’s decision to join the US and the Coalition in Afghanistan in their attack on the Taliban remains a subject of intense debate. This is the decision we took after a thorough, deliberate and realistic appraisal of the obtaining geo-strategic realities, but it has drawn criticism and praise alike. With the latest upsurge in terrorist activity in Pakistan, the debate on the post-9/11 response of Pakistan has intensified. I, therefore, thought it my duty to lay bare facts in front of the people of Pakistan, so that with all the necessary information they could judge the situation more accurately. The decision of my government was indeed based on, and in conformity with, my slogan of ‘Pakistan First’.
Some people suggested that we should oppose the United States and favour the Taliban. Was this, in any way, beneficial for Pakistan? Certainly not! Even if the Taliban and Al-Qaeda emerged victorious, it would not be in Pakistan’s interest to embrace obscurantist Talibanisation. That would have meant a society where women had no rights, minorities lived in fear and semi-literate clerics set themselves up as custodians of justice. I could have never accepted this kind of society for Pakistan. In any case, judging by military realities one was sure that the Taliban would be defeated. It would have been even more detrimental for Pakistan to be standing on the defeated side.
The United States, the sole superpower, was wounded and humiliated by the 9/11 Al-Qaeda terrorist attack. A strong retaliatory response against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan was imminent.

I was angrily told, by the US, that Pakistan had to be ‘either with us or against us’. The message was also conveyed to me that ‘if Pakistan was against the United States then it should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.’

This was the environment within which we had to take a critical decision for Pakistan. My sole focus was to make a decision that would benefit Pakistan in the long run, and also guard it against negative effects.

What options did the US have to attack Afghanistan? Not possible from the north, through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Not from the west, through Iran. The only viable direction was from the east, through Pakistan. If we did not agree, India was ever ready to afford all support. A US-India collusion would obviously have to trample Pakistan to reach Afghanistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated. Should we then have pitched our forces, especially Pakistan Air Force, against the combined might of the US and Indian forces? India would have been delighted with such a response from us. This would surely have been a foolhardy, rash and most unwise decision. Our strategic interests – our nuclear capability and the Kashmir cause – would both have been irreparably compromised. We might even have put our very territorial integrity at stake.

The economic dimension of confronting the United States and the West also needed serious analysis. Pakistan’s major export and investment is to and from the United States and the European Union. Our textiles, which form 60 percent of our export and earnings, go to the West. Any sanctions on these would have crippled our industry and choked our economy. Workers would lose their jobs. The poor masses of Pakistan would have been the greatest sufferers.

China, our great friend, also has serious apprehensions about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The upsurge of religious extremism emboldening the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in China is due to events in Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Pakistan. China would certainly not be too happy with Pakistan on the side of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even the Islamic Ummah had no sympathy for the Taliban regime; countries like Turkey and Iran were certainly against the Taliban. The UAE and Saudi Arabia – the only two countries other than Pakistan that had recognised the Taliban regime – had become so disenchanted with the Taliban that they had closed their missions in Kabul.

Here, I would also like to clear the notion that we accepted all the demands put forward by USA.

On September 13th 2001, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, brought me a set of seven demands. These demands had also been communicated to our Foreign Office by the US State Department.

1. Stop Al-Qaeda operatives at your borders, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan, and end all logistical support for bin Laden.
2. Provide the United States with blanket overflight and landing rights to conduct all necessary military and intelligence operations.
3. Provide territorial access to the United States and allied military intelligence as needed, and other personnel to conduct all necessary operations against the perpetrators of terrorism and those that harbour them, including the use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.
4. Provide the United States immediately with intelligence, immigration information and databases, and internal security information, to help prevent and respond to terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
5. Continue to publicly condemn the terrorist acts of September 11 and any other terrorist acts against the United States or its friends and allies, and curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
6. Cut off all shipments of fuel to the Taliban and any other items and recruits, including volunteers, en route to Afghanistan, who can be used in a military offensive capacity or to abet a terrorist threat.
7.Should the evidence strongly implicate Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and should Afghanistan and the Taliban continue to harbour him and his network, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban government, end support for the Taliban, and assist the United States in the afore-mentioned ways to destroy Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.Some of these demands were ludicrous, such as “curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, and its allies.” How could my government suppress public debate, when I had been trying to encourage freedom of expression?

I also thought that asking us to break off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan if it continued to harbour Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda was not realistic, because not only would the United States need us to have access to Afghanistan, at least until the Taliban fell, but such decisions are the internal affair of a country and cannot be dictated by anyone. But we had no problem with curbing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We had been itching to do so before the United States became its victim.

We just could not accept demands two and three. How could we allow the United States “blanket overflight and landing rights” without jeopardising our strategic assets? I offered only a narrow flight corridor that was far from any sensitive areas. Neither could we give the United States “use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.” We refused to give any naval ports or fighter aircraft bases. We allowed the United States only two bases – Shamsi in Balochistan and Jacobabad in Sindh – and only for logistics and aircraft recovery. No attack could be launched from there. We gave no “blanket permission” for anything.

The rest of the demands we could live with. I am happy that the US government accepted our counterproposal without any fuss. I am shocked at the aspersion being cast on me: that I readily accepted all preconditions of the United States during the telephone call from Colin Powell. He did not give any conditions to me. These were brought by the US ambassador on the third day.

Having made my decision, I took it to the Cabinet. Then I began meeting with a cross section of society. Between September 18 and October 3, I met with intellectuals, top editors, leading columnists, academics, tribal chiefs, students, and the leaders of labour unions. On October 18, I also met a delegation from China and discussed the decision with them. Then I went to army garrisons all over the country and talked to the soldiers. I thus developed a broad consensus on my decision.

This was an analysis of all the losses/harms we would have suffered. if we had taken an anti-US stand. At the same time, I obviously analysed the socio-economic and military gains that would accrue from an alliance with the West. I have laid down the rationale for my decision in all its details. Even with hindsight, now, I do not repent it. It was correct in the larger interest of Pakistan. I am confident that the majority of Pakistanis agree with it.

Source: The Nation

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Don’t Mess With Pakistan (Exclusive)

November 16, 2010
“Sporadic and superficial global support has made Pakistanis feel dangerously betrayed.”

By General Pervez Musharraf – Former President of Pakistan

The world is watching Pakistan and rightfully so. It’s a happening place. Pakistan is at the center of geostrategic revolution and realignments. The economic, social, and political aspirations of China, Afghanistan, Iran, and India turn on securing peace, prosperity, and stability in Pakistan. Our country can be an agent of positive change, one that creates unique economic interdependencies between central, west and south Asian countries and the Middle East through trade and energy partnerships. Or there’s the other option: the borderless militancy Pakistan is battling could take down the whole region.
Recently, terrorists on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border have plotted, unsuccessfully, to unleash terror as far away as Copenhagen and New York City. Pakistan’s role for a safe, secure world cannot be overemphasized. To appreciate the complex history of Pakistan’s internal and external challenges is to understand how the 21st century could well play out for the world.
Our country was born of violence, in August 1947. Just months after the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of the Dominion of Pakistan, we were at war with India over Kashmir. Pakistan and India’s mutual animosity and history of confrontation remain powerful forces in South Asia to this day. Because of its sense of having been wronged by India—and feeling that it faced an existential threat from that country—Pakistan cast its lot with the West. We became a strategic partner of the U.S. during the Cold War, signing on to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in the 1950s, while India tilted toward the Soviet Union. As part of our inalienable right to self-preservation, we formulated a “minimum defensive deterrence” strategy to maintain Army, Navy and Air Force numbers at levels proportional to India’s.
In 1965 we again went to war over Kashmir, and in 1971 over East Pakistan (I fought in both). Our suspicions about India were proved right when it became clear that the creation of Bangladesh was only made possible through Indian military and intelligence support. Among Pakistanis in general, and the Army in particular, attitudes against India hardened. The adversarial relationship between our Inter Services Intelligence and their Research and Analysis Wing worsened, both exploiting any opportunity to inflict harm on the other.
Al Qaeda’s Internet outreach is not limited to the new magazine targeting, as it says, a “wide and dispersed English speaking Muslim readership.” Until earlier this month, the radicalizing sermons of American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were readily available on YouTube, a popular video sharing Web site. Under pressure from British and American officials, it removed hundreds of al-Awlaki videos because they were an “incitement to commit violent acts.” The shutdown coincided with the sentencing in London of 21-year-old Roshonara Choudhury for a knife attack in May on a British legislator. The theology student said she had been converted by viewing some 5,000 of al-Awlaki’s online exhortations.
India’s “Smiling Buddha” nuclear tests in 1974 changed everything. Pakistan was forced to resort to unconventional means to compensate for the new imbalance of power. Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto initiated Pakistan’s atomic program, and thus began the nuclearization of the subcontinent. India’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was an effort to project power beyond its borders; Pakistan’s was an existential and defensive imperative.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 presented Pakistan with a security threat from two directions: Soviets to the west, who wanted access to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan, and Indians to the east. Once again Pakistan joined hands with the United States to fight Moscow.
We called it jihad by design, this effort to attract mujahideen from all over the Muslim world. And from Morocco to Indonesia, some 25,000 of them came. We trained and armed Taliban from the madrassahs of the then North West Frontier Province, and pushed them into Afghanistan. By this time, the liberal and intellectual Afghan elite had left for the safer climes of Europe and the U.S., leaving behind a largely poor, religious-minded population to fight the 10-year jihad. We—Pakistan, the U.S., the West, and Saudi Arabia—are equally responsible for nourishing the militancy that defeated the Soviet Union in 1989, and which seeks now to defeat us all.
The Soviets quit Kabul, and the Americans abandoned Islamabad. Washington rewarded its once indispensable ally by invoking the Pressler Amendment and imposing military sanctions, and by choosing to foster a strategic relationship with India. Pakistan was left alone to deal with the nearly 4 million Afghans who had streamed into our country and became the world’s largest refugee population. The people of Pakistan felt betrayed and used. For Pakistan, the decade of disaster had begun.
No efforts were made to deprogram, rehabilitate, and resettle the mujahideen or redevelop and build back war-ravaged Afghanistan. This shortsightedness led to ethnic fighting, warlordism, and Afghanistan’s dive into darkness. The mujahideen coagulated into Al Qaeda. The Taliban, who would emerge as a force in 1996, eventually would occupy 90 percent of the country, ramming through their obscurantist medievalism.
It was also in 1989 that the freedom struggle reignited in India-administered Kashmir. This started out as a purely indigenous and peaceful uprising against Indian state repression. The people who led this first intifada were radicalized by the Indian Army’s fierce and indiscriminate crackdowns on locals. The Kashmir cause is a rallying cry for Muslims around the world. It is more so for Pakistanis. The plight of Kashmiri Muslims inspired the creation of new mujahideen groups within Pakistan who then sent thousands of volunteer fighters to the troubled territory. In terms of identity politics, the boundaries were clearer: the mujahideen set their sights on India; Al Qaeda and the Taliban were focused largely on Afghanistan. With the Taliban to our west and the mujahideen in the north, this arc of anger rent our social fabric. Pakistan found itself awash in guns and drugs.
Nine years later, there was bad news from Pokhran. In May 1998, India again tested its bomb. Almost two weeks later, Pakistan responded by “turning the mountain white” at Chaghai. For Pakistanis, our own tests became a symbol of our power in the world, a testament to our resolve and innovation in the face of adversity, and a source of unmitigated pride in our streets. We became a nuclear power and an international pariah at the same time, but furthering and harnessing our nuclear potential remains and must remain our singular national interest. Of course, the U.S. views India’s nuclear program differently from Pakistan’s. Even our pursuit of nuclear power for civilian purposes, for electricity generation, is viewed negatively. India’s pursuit is assisted by the U.S. In Pakistan, people see this as yet another instance of American partiality, even hostility. Many even believe that the U.S. wants to denuclearize Pakistan— by force if necessary—because it fears the weapons could come into the hands of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or any of the myriad militant organizations who have loosed mayhem in Pakistan. Our nuclear weapons are secure.
Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan. We did this because of our ethnic, historical, and geographical affinity with Afghan Pashtuns who comprised the Taliban. In 2000, when I led Pakistan, I had suggested to the U.S. and other countries that they, too, should recognize the Taliban government and collectively engage Kabul in order to achieve moderation there through exposure and exchange. This was shot down. Continued diplomatic isolation of the Taliban regime pushed it into the embrace of the Arab-peopled Al Qaeda. Had the Taliban government been recognized, the world could have saved the Bamiyan Buddhas, and unknotted the Osama bin Laden problem thereby preventing the spate of Al Qaeda-orchestrated attacks around the world including on September 11, 2001, in the U.S.
When America decided to retaliate, we joined the international coalition against Kabul by choice so we could safeguard and promote our own national interests. Nobody in Islamabad was in favor of the religious and governmental philosophy of the Taliban. By joining the coalition, we also prevented India from gaining an upper hand in Afghanistan from where it could then machinate against Pakistan. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were defeated in 2001 with the help of the Northern Alliance, which was composed of Uzbeks, Hazarans, and Tajiks—all ethnic minorities. The Pashtuns and Arabs of Afghanistan fled to the mountains and fanned out across Pakistan. This was the serious downside of joining the global coalition: the mujahideen who were fighting for Kashmir formed an unholy nexus with the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban—and turned their guns on us. While I was president, they made at least four attempts on my life.
In 2002, the allies installed a largely Pashtun-free government in Afghanistan that lacked legitimacy because it did not represent 50 percent of the Afghan population, Pashtuns. This should not have happened. All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtuns are Taliban. Pashtuns were thus isolated, blocked from the mainstream, and pushed toward the Taliban, who made a resurgence in 2004.
Today, the Taliban rule the roost in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are ensconced in our tribal agencies, plotting and launching attacks against us and others. The twin scourge of radicalism and militarism has infected settled districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and beyond. Mujahideen groups are operating in India-administered Kashmir and seem to have public support in Pakistan.
After nine long years, and a longer war for the U.S. than Vietnam, the world wants to negotiate with “moderate” elements in the Taliban—and from a position of apparent weakness. Before the coalition abandons Afghanistan again, it must at least ensure the election of a legitimate Pashtun-led government. Pakistan, which has lost at least 30,000 of its citizens in the war on terror, should be forgiven for wondering whether it was all worth it. Pakistanis should not be left to feel that it was not.
To comment on this article, email  letters@newsweek.pk
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“IN THE LINE OF FIRE” – REMINISCENCES

August 21, 2009

Posted by Mr. Ahmad  Subhani

"In the Line of Fire" - A memoir by Pervez MusharrafISLAMABAD – Pakistan: Our country is beset with a peculiar phenomenon, that is, sitting governments usually ascribe most of their failures and difficulties to the policies and practices followed by their preceding regimes. The same has happened in the case of former President, Pervez Musharraf. It has been alleged by the incumbent Govt, that the difficulties and intractable problems that it is encountering, is the fall out of Musharraf’s era Prima facie, most of the allegations made are either fabricated while the rest have been blown out of all proportion. During Pervez Musharraf’’s  reign, Pakistan  registered phenomenal progress in all spheres of  national activity, so much so, that in his days, Pakistan’s economy was rated as the second fastest growing economy in Asia and was considered to be nearing the “ take off “ stage.

This scribe, who has closely witnessed  “ the ebbs and flows “ that this nation has gone through in its sixty-two years  checkered history, and as an impartial observer ( having no links or affiliation with any political group or party ever ), considers myself as  qualified enough to judge un-biased, whatever has transpired during this period. However, in this write up, I would like to confine myself to the Musharraf era—–1999 onwards. Having gone through his speeches, statements and actions, I have found him a straight forward, truthful, honest and courageous man. One may differ from his policies and performance, yet no one in his right frame of mind can call him corrupt or unpatriotic. In his memoirs, “In the Line of Fire”, he has described in his usual forthright style, how he has faced awkward situations and solved intractable problems during his eight -year rule. Reproduced, here-under, are extracts from his said memoirs covering important events that took place during his tenure: —

PERSONAL  TRAITS :- I dedicate this book to the people of Pakistan—–those who toil, sacrifice, and pray for their country and who wait patiently for a better future. They deserve a committed, selfless leadership, which can help them realize their boundless potential.  A metamorphosis took place in me in the first months and years after Partition. An uprooted little boy found earth that was natural to him. He took root in it for ever. I would protect that earth with my life. (P.-18)

I said that I was very sorry and it would not happen again……all he said was,   “OK, never do it again” and let me go. That is when I learnt the power of truth that has never left me. (P-34)

First, I have seen for myself that honesty—even under adversity, even if it could lead to a negative outcome—- always disarm the other person. Second, truthfulness is a sine qua non of good character. Third, contentment with whatever I have possessed or achieved, has kept me from greed or over ambition. I was fortunate to rise as far as I did, but I would have been content if my fortunes were different. (P 329)

9 / 11  EVENTS :- Powell was quite candid: “You are either with us or against us”. I took this as a blatant ultimatum…..I told him that we were with the United States against terrorism, having suffered (ourselves)  from it for years……the next day, our director general of Inter Services Intelligence……told me on the phone about his meeting with the Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. In what has to be the most un-diplomatic statement ever made, Armitage….told the director general…..that if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age. (P 201)

WAR  ON  TERROR :- Pakistan’s decision to support the global war on terror was based on its own interests. There is no reason why we would not do enough for ourselves. In fact, Pakistan is the only country in the world that has done the maximum in the fight against terrorism (P 271). The United States and Europe too often equate all militancy with terrorism; in particular, they equate the struggle for freedom in Indian—held Kashmir with terrorism. Pakistan has always rejected this broad- brushed treatment (P 332). No one else’s bomb is called Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Capitalist or Communist, yet somehow our bomb becomes “Islamic”. As if it makes it illegitimate. This idea is illogical and essentially racist. This is an example of how Muslims continually feel unjustifiably singled out and alienated. (P 286)

KARGIL :- It was not credible for a prime minister to claim that something like Kargil could happen without his knowledge ( P 109 ). One myth is that the operation was launched without the army taking the political leadership into confidence. This is a very unfortunate perception, because nothing can be farther from the truth……As the operation developed, he (Nawaz Sharif) was briefed by the director general of military operations on May, 17. Later, briefings were arranged on June 2 and June 22. A second myth is that the military situation on the ground was precarious, and the prime minister dashed to Washington to get the army out of it.  This disinformation is a much bigger lie. In their two months of operations, the Indians came no where near the watershed and our main defense. (P 96)

AIRCRAFT  EPISODE :- The pilot had informed him (military secretary)  that our plane was not being allowed to land  at any airfield in Pakistan and was being ordered  to get out of Pakistan’s air space immediately.. Only one hour and ten minutes’ fuel remained. (P 102).  No one below the prime minister:  could give such a drastic order. Sacking an army chief is one thing; but hijacking his plane and sending him to India is, as I said, diabolical. (P 103)

ARMY  CHIEF AS ARBITRATOR :- I  saw then how national personalities—–including opposition politicians—– regularly visited the army chief to encourage him to oppose the sitting  Govt…….whenever any Govt. was performing poorly ( unfortunately that was the norm in the “ democratic decade “ of the1990s ) or was in political trouble, all roads led to  the army GHQ. During this decade, whenever there was acrimony between the president and the prime minister, the army chief would be sucked into the fray. He was expected by all and sundry, including the antagonists, to act as an arbitrator.  (P 77)

ARMY  TAKE OVER /  MARTIAL  LAW :-  Our past experience had amply  demonstrated that martial law damages not only the military but also civil institutions……. We all wanted to ensure that this would be the last time the army was forced to assume leadership of the country. We had to set in place a system under which future army take overs would be all but impossible. (P 143-44)

CONSTITUTION :-  In retrospect, I believe that my  decision not to abrogate the constitution and not to impose martial law were both correct.. (P 152)

DEMOCRACY :- I ardently believe that no country can progress without democracy, but democracy has to be tailored in accordance with each nation’s peculiar environment. (P 154). If democracy is to be functional and sustainable, it has to be tailored to local conditions. In Pakistan, we had too many elections that only empowered an elite class whose primary objective is, to preserve, protect and fortify its privileges even at the cost of the country and neglect of its people. (P 155) ….. What we in Pakistan have consciously constructed, in stead, is a rule by a small elite class never democrat….. working with a tribal—feudal mind-set, “in the name of  people”  with a democratic camouflage. (P 154)

EXTREMISM :- At our core, the people of Pakistan are  religious and moderate….. only a small fringe of population is extremist. This fringe holds rigid or orthodox, even obscurantist and intolerant views about religion. The problem arises when it wants to impose its rigid, dogmatic views on others. This fringe is not only militant and aggressive, but also can be indoctrinated into terrorism. (P 277). To-day, the central masses are confused about where Islam actually stands……They need to be drawn away from the cleric’s obscurantist views, toward the enlightened, progressive, moderate message of Islam. (P 278)

ACHIEVEMENTS :-  History judges leaders by results. Let my results do the talking through a look at what I inherited in 1999, and what we achieved by 2005. All macroeconomic indicators became positive. In 1999, we were on the verge of default. The dreaded word “failed state” was on every one’s lips. The economy is (now) on upsurge. Our gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from $ 65 billion to $ 125 billion. The growth in GDP rose from 3.1 % to healthy 8.4 %…..our over all foreign debt has been reduced from 39 billion to 36 billion…..Per capita income has risen from $ 460 to $800. We are now in the middle income category of countries- up from the low income category. Foreign exchange reserves have risen from a paltry $ 300 million to $ 12.5 billion….Exports are hitting at $17 billion for 2006’ whereas they were only $ 7.8 billion in 1999……Revenue collection has increased from $ 5.1 billion to $ 11.7 billion    Remittances jumped 400 % from $ 1 billion to over $ 4 billion….The 100 index of Karachi Stock Exchange which had remained under 1000 points, has become constantly bullish rising to over 11500 p0ints in 2006 (P 191—92)

After MusharrafAFTER  PERVEZ  MUSHARRAF :- “ In the Line of Fire” was published in 2006. Till then, the ship of the state was cruising forth smoothly with flying colours. However, in 2007, certain crucial events turned the tide against him. These were promptly exploited to the hilt by the opposition parties and their cohorts. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, then added fuel to the fire. Said mishaps eroded Musharraf’s popularity considerably and eventually led to his exit from the corridors of power in 2008. However, the change, as subsequent events proved, was catastrophic for Pakistan and its people. The performance of the newly elected “democratic” government, who came into power for more than one and a half years ago, has proved to be disastrous. All economic indicators that were positive in the previous government’s time have turned negative. Economy has nose-dived so rapidly and to such an extent, that Pakistan has been labeled as one of the ten failed states in the World. In the face of such gloomy circumstances, the attitude of the ruling junta and its allies is simply flabbergasting. Instead of tackling the fast deteriorating all-pervading conditions, especially the economic which has crushed the masses under the iron wheels of ever-increasing poverty, unemployment, deprivation and host of other issues that demand Government’s prompt attention and immediate remedial measures, Govt. functionaries, particularly, Nawaz Sharif and his lieutenants, are persisting with the demand that Pervez Musharraf be put on trial, come what may. Why Nawaz Sharif is so insistent on this trial, seems to be for two reasons; One- It, in fact, is a case of personal vendetta on his part since he was ousted from power by Musharraf in 1999 as a result of the notorious aircraft episode which was Nawaz Sharif’s own doing, Second- To divert attention of desperate and disillusioned teeming millions from their present agonizing plight.

May Allah, in his benevolent mercy, save Pakistan by providing it with competent leadership that could steer the nation towards its true destiny, as envisioned by its founding fathers, the Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.

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