March 25, 2015
When you see a former Pakistani ambassador being hailed in India for his views, it has to be for all the wrong reasons. There is no doubt that the amount of attention Hussain Haqqani gets from Indian media is unprecedented for a Pakistani national. One can easily come across his various articles and interviews on various newspapers and channels, circulating like wildfire. What makes Mr. Ambassador so special and cherished across the border? To state the obvious, he loves to spew venom against the state. Moreover, when a man of this stature makes claims in favor of the Indian narrative, it provides a certain degree of legitimacy to the propaganda against Pakistan. In his latest interview to NDTV, he again presents a lopsided picture on India-Pakistan relations, putting the onus of blame on the latter.
He claims that “Mr. Modi initially made it very clear that he wanted to reach out. And once he reached out, the onus was on the Pakistani side.” It may be true that Narendera Modi took the first initiative as the Indian Prime Minister by inviting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his oath taking ceremony along with other heads of states. However, instead of being a gracious host to Nawaz Sharif, Modi issued a blunt warning to Sharif that Islamabad must prevent militants on its territory from attacking India. Later, he also canceled the foreign secretary level bi-lateral talks that were to take place in Islamabad. Therefore, to create an impression that a civil-military imbalance had anything to do with the faltering India-Pakistan ties is highly misleading.
His failure to acknowledge the Peshawar attack as a defining moment in the fight against terrorism further highlights his short-sightedness. With an ongoing military operation and National Action Plan in place, the military is zeroing in on extremist elements from all corners; Karachi operation being one such example. It is highly irresponsible of Hussain Haqqani to propagate a contrary picture of Pakistan’s fight against terrorism based on assumptions when the country is passing through such a critical juncture.
In addition to that, India has been actively involved in supporting terrorism in Pakistan; Indian weapons have been recovered multiple times from militants in North Waziristan and Balochistan. Pakistan has officially highlighted Indian involvement along with material proofs to the Indian authorities to bring their attention to cross-border support being provided to terror outfits by RAW. While Hussain Haqqani easily fails to mention the Indian involvement in terrorism in his interviews to his Indian friends, he focuses on the “Pakistani obsession with Kashmir”, conveniently forgetting the atrocities being committed by the Indian state and Indian military on the people of Kashmir for decades. Why does he never mention India’s obsession with Balochistan and its open support to the militant separatist elements there?
It is ironic that Mr. Ambassador truly believes that his imprudent statements on Indian media are in the best interest of the country. He sees this criticism as a form of self reflection but this is far from the truth. A far cry from constructive criticism, his reckless articles and interviews are focused more on destructive criticism for the country and its institutions.
February 6, 2015
By Abdulla Wasti
On January 4, 2011, alleged blasphemer Salman Taseer was shot and killed by a ‘soldier of Islam’; Mumtaz Qadri had restored the pride of our beloved Prophet (P.B.UH). Around 3000 supporters gathered around to shower him with rose petals when he was first produced in court. More than two years later, the Islamabad High Court decided to take up the appeal against Qadri’s death sentence. The ATC judge who pronounced the verdict fled the country as his life was under threat. This really didn’t come as a surprise; perhaps the judge was naive to assume that the state would protect those who feel that it is their obligation to uphold the law. There is no place for such citizens in the land of the living dead.
Just to put things into perspective, last week at least 90 lawyers came to court to defend Mumtaz Qadri, while over 300 of his supporters gathered outside the court premises to offer moral support; on the other hand, less than 50 people turned up at Libery Chowk protest against the blast in Shikarpur that resulted in 61 casualties. And here all of us were thinking that the Peshawar massacre was a watershed moment which would unite the nation against terrorism. However, Qadri’s lawyers argue that he isn’t a terrorist as he has no past criminal record. Moreover, lawyers who came out in support of Qadri perceived it as their religious duty and obligation. It would be a futile exercise to ask those lawyers whether it is their ‘obligation’ to uphold the law, and how they can live with the irony that despite being representatives of the judiciary they are standing in support of a man who took the law in his own hands. Another one of Qadri’s cohorts, in his ultimate wisdom drew comparisons with Ghazi Illam Din and stated that the fact that he was represented by Jinnah justified the stance of all the lawyers who were standing alongside Qadri. If only, we did not pick and choose examples of Jinnah according to our convenience, and followed his vision through and through; the fortunes of this nation would have been turned around.
February 4, 2015
By AREA 14/8
There is an increased hysteria among certain ‘experts’ pertaining to a military takeover in Pakistan. This frenzy can be attributed to their conflicting preconceived notions about the institution and its rising public support. In a recent article, one particular analyst known for her anti-military slant stressed how the failure of civilian government is actually a myth fabricated to show that the government is incapable of dealing with the menace of terrorism without the support of the army.
The fact of the matter is that the politicians have lost public support after Peshawar attack and this trust deficit has led people to look up to the military in its fight against terrorism. It was the civilian leadership which created a vacuum during the political deadlock and more so after Peshawar attack leaving the military with no choice but to fill in and take charge. While the federal and provincial KPK governments were extremely occupied with the political crisis, the army was battling on the frontline against terrorism in North Waziristan with some 10,000 soldiers deployed internally according to Interior Minister. Therefore, in recent times, the military is indeed the only institution which appears to be fully functional.
Coming to military courts, their establishment has invited a lot of undue criticism. The narrative that the political parties have links with militants and the civilian judiciary has proven to be incompetent in punishing them can be affirmed by the cases of Saulat Mirza and Mumtaz Qadri. Sentenced to death by anti terrorism court, Saulat Mirza has still not been hanged after 16 years of conviction because of reported pressure from MQM. Similarly, Mumtaz Qadri is not only being defended by former chief justice of Lahore High Court but also hundreds of lawyers. These cases highlight the urgent need to reform institutions particularly judiciary but what do we do in the short term? Should terrorists be allowed to take advantage of the weak political and judicial systems and roam the streets freely?
The writer goes on about India-Pakistan relations highlighting how General Raheel Sharif has a personal vendetta against India. Both states have long been traditional enemies and the personal loss of Army Chief in 1965 war against India has little to do with that equation. It is surprising that the writer while rebuking Indian involvement in Peshawar attack comes up with her own conspiracy theory to justify her point.
One expects a better piece of writing from someone who is foreign qualified and claims to have an expert opinion. The writer neither offers constructive criticism nor presents an alternative to the problem. The whole article thus appears to be a paranoid rant against the army when the focus should be on promoting institutional harmony to safeguard the interests of Pakistan.
February 4, 2015
A former Pakistani ambassador to the US has taken upon himself to act on behalf of the Indian lobby to tarnish Pakistan’s image at a most opportune time for the latter. He wants the state to ‘reimagine’ itself and rid itself of its obsession with India if it wishes to become a stable country in the future—this is most damaging to Pakistan especially at a time when the country is grappling with challenges of gargantuan proportions. The individual’s role as the chief architect of the secret memorandum issued while serving as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US is a well-known fact. In attempting to appear non-partisan and even patriotic, the said individual has gone far enough to imply in his writings that this is perhaps the critique needed to put the country back on the path towards prosperity.
Of course, the anti-Pakistan bias is glaringly evident when the very ideology that brought the marginalized peoples in pre-partition India together for the formation of a new homeland by asserting the right to self-determination. The most ridiculous fact in this entire smear campaign remains that a man who clearly opposes all that Pakistan stands for, discredits the sacrifices of those who worked day in and day out to cut a revolution out of the heart of history (in the words of his leader Mr. Bhutto) once felt comfortable representing it resorting to seek American help to cut the ‘military establishment’ to size for… personal redemption? It is perhaps worthy of mention that he has served not once but thrice as an advisor to three former Pakistani Prime Ministers: had he actually been a neutral individual, his critique of the Pakistani state and ideology would have carried some weight.
Additionally, being the champion of civilian supremacy, he perhaps appreciates the importance of forging a consensus better than common folk. If that was truly the case, then both professional and personal integrity should have compelled the self-styled democrat to walk the talk. Posing as a ‘hostage’ in Pakistan, the diplomat-turned author has the sympathies of the west on his side and all the encouragement that he needs. He now pens articles with a singular theme that claim that Pakistan’s only salvation lies in submission to the will of the powerful and the tormentors from its past. Not only is this preposterous, defeatist narrative sickening, it is telling of the fact that in today’s world, the ‘intelligentsia’ can become an effective weapon in the hands of the powerful and can help propagate the narrative that is well in-sync with its agenda.
February 4, 2015
The debate about redefining Pakistan’s ideology is a phenomenon that has only surfaced quite recently and almost every other author is reaping benefits of fame by bashing the existence of Pakistan. Sixty eight years later a state should now have moved away from its historical narrative and does not need certain individuals, Pakistani by origin, to critique the current turmoil of the state and attribute it to Jinnah’s failure to define the state’s principles clearly.
Pakistan, defined by Jinnah was a state created to safeguard the rights of Muslims who were previously being alienated in British India. Knowing that once the British had left, Muslims will be singled out and prone to being settled as second class citizens with Hindu dominance looming; Jinnah had to take the step for a separate homeland to avoid hostility against the Muslim minority.
Revisiting the ideology of Pakistan will not get Pakistan where it needs to be as the state, no matter who opposes it, already exists. Challenging the establishment’s existence and how it should never have broken away from India when a ‘political stalemate’ had been reached bears no fruit whatsoever. Pakistan raising regional security concerns to the top most of its priority list is now in a position to rally support in ridding the country off terrorism and any groups that support the militancy. The certain individual promoting anti-state material is not only out to tarnish Pakistan’s image but to destabilize the establishment that already faces much opposition from India. And of course, the ‘Pakistani’ has next door’s backing; which needs an excuse to jump down Pakistan’s throat whenever it can get a chance.
Surely the more pressing issue at current is governments collaborating in order to secure the region; with the TTP gaining momentum despite the military operation and ISIS now revealing its agenda of naming their leaders in Pakistan and North India. So, in a situation that requires utmost attention in both Pakistan and now India; is the ideology of Pakistan’s existence still a matter to be discussed? Maybe that’s where the problem has always been—scholars and authors alike, have not been able to let go of the past to look towards shaping a future that is appreciative of Pakistan’s existence as it is home to a 190 million people. By questioning the existence of Pakistan; are they denying in turn the existence of a race that resides within the land?
At times like these, the nation must come together and stop picking out the made-up historical flaws of the state’s existence theory but look ahead at what must be done to take Pakistan to a level where it should be 68 years after its independence.
February 3, 2015
By Ghalib Sultan
Whatever the army’s detractors might say about the its past involvement in politics or its much criticized strategic depth policy when it came to differentiating between militant organizations, the fact of the matter is that it is the only state organ that has exhibited intent and desire to steer Pakistan out of the mess it finds itself in. I am not only referring to the pro-active steps the army has taken after the Peshawar massacre, but also towards the massive rehabilitation projects that were carried out in South Waziristan and the relentless pursuit of militants in Khyber agency. While John Kerry on his recent visit to Pakistan praised the professionalism of the Pakistan Army and termed the institution a ‘truly binding force’, it baffles me that there are still those who continue to mount undue criticism on the institution.
America has been the Pakistan army’s biggest critic with regards to its efforts in the war against terrorism, however recently even they seem convinced over the army’s resolve to fight ‘all’ terrorists. But for some people it seems that any step the army takes, even if it is a positive one, criticizing it is like an involuntary reaction. I personally see two reasons for the above predicament: one that it has now become fashionable to bash the army, and other one is that the person is perhaps promoting a foreign agenda. The latter seems like a more plausible reason for a well renowned author who claims to be a civilian military scientist. With all due respect, I was left confounded when the author recently stated that the army is being made out to be the savior it isn’t, and that the bulk of the blame is wrongly being placed on the civilian leadership in light of the recent attack in Peshawar. I cannot help but ask the following questions; would it not have been right for the PM to be present at the reopening of the Army Public School? Why didn’t the Prime Minister feel that a visit to Afghanistan was necessary after such an attack? Wherever it seemed right for the Prime Minister to take the first step, it was in fact General Raheel Sharif who beat him to it proving his personal involvement and determination. Does the author still feel that the civilian government is being unfairly criticized?
It is not to say that the army should be immune from criticism, in fact all state organs should be criticized when they falter. But criticizing the only institution that is standing up for the nation and keeping it together in the face of acute adversity cannot help the nation in any imaginable way; however, it can certainly go a long way in promoting a foreign agenda.
January 29, 2015
Pakistan has officially and clearly indicated that India is involved in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. The Pakistan Army Chief is said to have personally handed over a dossier to the US during his visit to the US. It goes without saying that he must have given the information to the Afghan President, the British Prime Minister and the Chinese President during his visits and meetings. Pakistanis have always believed that India would never forego the opportunity to exploit Pakistan’s vulnerabilities to keep it destabilized. If any more proof is needed then there is the video of the Indian Security Adviser laying out a blue print for actions against Pakistan. The orchestrated violence on the LOC and the strange explosion in a boat on the open seas are the physical manifestations of the Modi-Duval policy against Pakistan.
What the US has done with the information given to it is not known besides the stated determination to eliminate the mastermind of the Peshawar atrocity. The recent visit of the US President to India was shrouded by the bonhomie generated by ecstatic first name mentions, bear hugs and wide smiles. The most tangible result seems to have been the progress on the globally destabilizing nuclear agreement, the region destabilizing defense pact and the China irritating document detailing the joint strategic vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. The Joint Communiqué and the Friendship document were just the standard cosmetic outcomes of all such visits. While answering a question on Pakistan the US President did highlight the importance of a stable prosperous Pakistan and in his departing comments he pointedly referred to the dangers of religious extremism—-knowing full well that Hindu extremist organizations had fully backed Modi’s rise to power and were still influencing policies. Pakistanis watched with amusement the public antics of a man once considered a pariah for the atrocities he had committed and the President of the country that had declared him persona non grata.