Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, right, and Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, head of the country’s intelligence met CIA Director Leon Panetta recently for talks on how to repair ties between Islamabad and Washington fractured by America’s bin Laden mission.
ARE WE SOVEREIGN?
by Nayyar Hashmey
The comment by a fellow blogger motivated me to jot down this note.
He, the Reformistani thinks 9/11 was indeed the doing of a group of fanatic Muslim youth, [a version also believed as the ultimate truth by the mainstream media in the west as well as here in our land of the pure], a view maintained also by our ex dictator P. Musharraf as well as incumbent president A. Zardari. In contrast, however, I from the day one have always believed that whosoever did this, could not do this alone, without the connivance, abetment and blessing of insiders in the Bush administration, in other words in all its probability, it was an inside job, a version which is dubbed by the MSM as conspiracy theory.
As I have been saying all the time, I personally do not believe in the conspiracy theories for such theories mostly are the props of defeatist minds, who always wish to find refuge in such conspiracies. But in this very particular case I can’t help in concurring with the logical discourse of events prior to and post 9/11 Twin Towers Crash. As they say all roads lead to Rome so do all circumstantial evidence lead me to conclude that 9/11 was indeed an inside job.
Any way opinions differ and this is the beauty of a democratic intellectual discourse.
Last week the blogger put a candid comment on the current debate going on in the national media, particularly the failure of our leadership [and this includes of course our military high command as well] in not having been able to do anything when the US Navy SEALS raided a compound in Abbotabad and allegedly shot the world’s most wanted terrorist. The onus of this nationwide discussion has been our military which according to many observers failed to perform its job.
First of all let me make it clear that the armed forces in the set up we have nowadays, cannot take unilateral action. They can act only when the civilian leaders particularly the president [who constitutionally is the supreme commander of the armed forces] ask them to do so. According to my own information, our forces did have the information and they did ask the civilian leadership whether they should intercept the intruders but the reply was in ‘don’t do’.
Coming back again to the comment. Whatever he says, is exactly what I would say too. But he has said it and said this with far more alacrity, far more lucidity than I ever could do.
All the time that I was reading his comment, the verse kept reverberating in my mind:
Maen ne jana ye, meray bhi dil main hae.
[The same what is in my mind too]
So about his analysis and recommendations, I would say ‘teri aawaz Makkay aur Madinay’. Let your voice be heard far and wide for this is the voice- of sanity, of reason and of impact on the betterment of Pakistan, our home, our motherland.
The only point where I find myself on a different pitch than his is when he terms healthy criticism on our military generals as “unwanted criticism”. According to him any such criticism is counterproductive in so far as it would strengthen our enemies and weaken our forces which are the principal tangible prop to defend Pakistan. Contrary to this I do believe, however, that those who criticize our current leadership as well as our military in not having been able to protect our sovereignty are as much patriotic as any other Pakistani is or could be. We all love our armed forces, esp. the Jawans and our young officers, who almost daily are giving their blood, sacrificing their most precious lives right in the prime of their youth, just because they want their Pakistani motherland to be a peaceful, secure and sovereign state. But our love doesn’t mean that this should be taken for granted and a lack or laxity in making proper decision in the hour of crisis should be treated as unpatriotic and the forces declare themselves as the holy cows.
So if they make mistake, they too should be accountable to the nation. We just can’t afford to presume that everything is alright, for such a presumption would be nothing but complacency on an issue of the gravest national import. As tomorrow again a country, [and I won’t name that county, it could be any country], may launch a similar raid as the US did on May 2nd and we expect our leaders to be vigilant enough to thwart any such move right at the moment when an evil eye is cast by the enemies, our leadership [the civvies as well as those in the Khaki] turn as sitting ducks as it happened on May 2 this year, WHAT THEN, what then my friends????
The defense of our sacred motherland cannot be left to simple premise of who is patriot and who is not, the nation wants tangible strategies which could give a befitting reply to the intruder/s whosoever he/they may be. We want leadership that knows its job; that does its job and does it well; a leadership which provides a tangible support to the nation that it will perform what the nation expects them to perform. Nobody wants our leaders, our government, our military what’s their job. They know their job well but the nation does expect that the leaders of Pakistan are not bereft of the foresight, of vision and of sagacity that enables the nation to reach its respectable goal – of an honorable, democratic, progressive and sovereign state.
To say that we cannot face the military might of the US’s of America. Quite true, we are moving hand in hand with the Americans, as their strategic partners, we are allowing their drones, their assassins in the skies of Pakistan that mainly kill our civilian populations, we are allowing them to carry their strategic hardware, rations and other supplies from Karachi to Torkham, we have made our people, our soldiers, our officers in the armed forces, the paramilitary, common citizens, religious scholars, prominent university teachers and local political leaders, heads of Jirgas being sacrificed on this altar of war on terrorism yet this scourge of terrorism is on the rise and it has risen to an extent now that its hitting at the very fabric of the Pakistani society, the state of Pakistan as well as the commoners on the streets of our country. So why then we are fighting a war which is costing us beyond our means and beyond our very integrity as a nation state of Pakistan?
None of us wants our government or the military to fight against the US. We neither have an enmity nor do we think of fighting a war against the US. Why should we! US helped us in many crises, aided in our national development, was with us in our many hours of travesty and travail. But all such acts do not mean we should offer our sons, and our brothers as sacrificial goats to please the gods that have unleashed this war on terror upon us.
The hollowness of this war is evident from the very fact that in the post 9/11 era, America has not seen a single major terror act as we see every other day in Pakistan picking the maimed or, and the dead bodies of our loved ones, sometime from the battle fields of FATA, another time from a major urban centre in Pakistan, from a mosque, from a park, or a holy shrine and this goes on and on, culminating in an endless series of killings, death, destruction, and mournings.
This war on terror which had never been our war, per force has been made our war. We are told, in this war we have to fight against the enemies of the state of Pakistan. Well said, we should and we must fight the enemies of the state of Pakistan but in the same breath we are also told that we cannot face the military might of the world’s sole super power. Is it then our war or a sheer blackmail that forces us to accept empire’s war as our war?
So they say we have no other recourse but to accept the diktat i.e. be ‘docile’, a sugar coated word for being a ‘modern slave’ to the wishes of the Big Brother. But let’s not forget there are countries much smaller in size and are far less in fire power than us, yet they see eye to eye the same military might that is world’s sole super power.
They too cannot think of waging a war against the United States. Look at the small island, Cuba which is located right in the waters of Americas. Cuban forces are no match to those of the United States. Yet in spite of all these odds Cuban leadership has withstood Washington’s strong arms tactics. The Cuban leaders are not only treading on their chosen course but also jealously guard their sovereignty.
But why take example of a far off Cuba only, why not see our neighbor next door. This land led by a slim, young man, too doesn’t have the armaments that would enable it fight against the US. Yet the young Iranian leader successfully keeps treading on an independent course, leading his country as an honourable, sovereign state. Not that he has no pressure, no blackmailing, no carrots, no sticks, he is facing all these and in a far more menacing way than we do. Successive US administrations have done all they could do, to topple his regime or to soften his stand and compromise his country’s national interests. Yet he moves steadily and honorably, in a sovereign way safeguarding the interests of his nation facing all these odds.
Once again I take a cue from that distant island in the Americas. Cuba is located next door to Uncle Sam’s imperial residence in Washington DC. We are located thousands of miles away from that seat of empire, yet our leaders, our generals feel so reluctant to take a firm stand! They feel comfortable to hide themselves behind the façade of America’s huge military machine and therefore advocate being the lame duck against dictates of a neocon cabal sitting in Washington DC?
But am naïve to think. Of course its not possible in Pakistan because the leaders of Cuba and Iran do not live and indulge in the regality our civvies and generals are accustomed to. Our president and prime minister speak, behave and move as if they are the rulers of an oil rich kingdom. A kingdom whose masses are expected to make sacrifices, of their civic amenities, their basic living needs and above all sacrifice their loved ones in a faceless war that with every passing day brings us a new spate of suicide bombing, ever increasing raids by empire’s assassins in the sky, coupled with the terror that strikes our universities, our schools, our mosques, even our military establishment, and above all a brute infringement of our very sovereignty.
And yet our leaders expect us to remain docile, not to question where, how and why such security lapses have become an order of the day!
I personally have a lot of respect for Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani and a very special regard for Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha. It was he Gen. Pasha who took a very firm stand against Leon Paneetta in his last meeting with the CIA head and refused to compromise on Pakistan’s security interests. Both generals are the proud sons of Pakistan and real patriots, it’s the very spirit of patriotism that demands from them a transparent enquiry as to why these security lapses and who holds the responsibility for such grave lapses?
To err is human. We all are prone to making mistakes but to learn no lesson from one’s mistakes is something which cannot be condoned on any count.
I do agree that our forces should not be targeted for the ills that have befallen our state structure, our economic well being and our security and it should not be done in a manner that may make our enemies happy. Broader Pakistani masses and our military have a life long tradition of love and respect for each other, let this bond of amity reach ever more heights than relegate it to an extreme level of antipathy which the ex dictator had brought us to.
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