Musharraf won’t depart without putting a final nail in Pakistan’s coffin

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Response of some Pakistanis to the excerpts from The Musharraf Factor shows that Pakistani nation is still not reading the writing on the wall. It will, however, soon face the music it deserves for losing a golden opportunity of self-rule in an independent, sovereign state. People get the kind of leadership they deserve. At the same time, people with good intentions get equally punished through the effects of unthinking compliance when they refuse to act or fail to make a difference. Iraq and Afghanistan are two clear examples before us.

Iraqis failed to muster enough courage to stand against a weaker Baathist and secularist regime, to establish an exemplary society and a model of governance. They are now paying a far greater price then they would have, had they stood up to Saddam Husain’s externally supported tyranny.

Similarly, Afghans lost their opportunity. Instead of collectively working for the common good of their people after having an unprecedented situation of peace, law and order in the country under the Taliban, many Afghans joined campaigns that ended with yet another foreign occupation of their country–”this time with the full approval of the United Nations. The result is before our eyes. Afghans, who were delivered from one occupation at a great cost, are now reeling under another indefinite and far worse occupation.

Some analysts have expressed concern that Pakistan is next in line. Others predict Pakistan’s failure on the basis of their respective parameters of success and failure of states. From the discussion in the preceding chapters, we can clearly see that Musharraf is the main factor among many others that has made Pakistan’s demise inevitable.

The “with us or against us” threat from Bush and subsequent Islamabad policies provide evidence that Musharraf is clearly under pressure. Nevertheless, the list of decisions leading to his willing surrenders is so long that Musharraf can hardly pretend that he is not acting under pressure from within and outside. So far, he is a victim of his delusions, obsession with staying in power and a compulsive attitude of putting everything at stake to achieve his objectives.

This was the case with Mikhail Gorbachev also. Even his adversaries concede that he took the much vaunted initiatives under immense internal and external pressure. However, he had this to say in his famous Nobel Lecture on June 05, 1991:

Now about my position. As to the fundamental choice, I have long ago made a final and irrevocable decision. Nothing and no one, no pressure, either from the right or from the left, will make me abandon the positions of perestroika and new thinking. I do not intend to change my views or convictions. My choice is a final one.

Similarly, advisors to Musharraf ensure that he takes all the blame, thus paving the way for the fall of Pakistan.

In the face of the country’s inevitable demise, Pakistanis are still in total denial despite the fact that they cannot provide a single ray of hope that could make them believe that, unlike the great empires of the past, the vulnerable Pakistan is immortal and will survive indefinitely.

The long-term involvement of the military in Pakistani politics and the role it has played for Washington all along is a factor of prime importance in understanding the latest changes as discussed in chapter 5. Musharraf, nevertheless, keeps on gambling on anything he can think of at the moment. His particular theme is “enlightened moderation”, which embodies secularism and undermines Pakistan’s raison d’être.

In Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger shrewdly explains the impossible dilemma that Khrushchev eventually perceived, and Gorbachev did not: Gorbachev’s gamble on liberalization was bound to fail to the degree that the Communist Party also lost its monolithic character. The same phenomenon applies to Pakistan’s losing its monolithic character at the hands of Musharraf. The galvanizing force that brought Pakistan into being was Islam; not culture, nor ethnicity, not even language or geography. Nothing supports its creation and survival.

The loss of faith in Islam has led to the loss one half of Pakistan in 1971, and continues to weaken the rest of the nation with every passing day. There is no other justification at all for separating this piece of land in South Asia, calling it Pakistan, or keeping people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds together for a long time. If a secular state was the objective, a single independent state of India made more sense than two separate entities, which drained their resources on arms building and bloody wars.

At war with their country’s identity, Pakistanis hardly realize it is going through a phase similar to that of the Soviet Union before its demise. After losing its identity and character, the communist party became demoralized. Similarly, masses have become totally demoralized in Pakistan. Just as liberalization proved incompatible with communist rule–”the communists could not turn themselves into democrats without ceasing to be communists, an equation Gorbachev never understood–”the kind of “moderation” Musharraf proposes is totally incompatible with Islam.

As we discussed previously, Musharaff’s “enlightened moderation” has nothing to do with Islam. Musharraf simply wants effective subservience to the continued remote control colonialism of the US. Muslims cannot turn themselves into the kinds of “moderates” demanded by the inventors of these rancid notions without ceasing to be Muslims, an equation Musharraf fails to understand in his pursuit for staying in power at any cost.

The whole idea of the secularization of Pakistan to make it functional is based on the assumption that Pakistan, and other Muslim countries, can survive without being Islamic or democratic in the true sense and that they can endure a compromise on the principles on which Muslims must put the foundation of their collective life. At the same time, a serious attempt to live by Islam could not occur without risking the labels of extremism and terrorism.

Despite Turkey’s 80-years experiment with secularization, it has yet to succeed. Countries like Turkey and Egypt, for example, have long histories as nations to survive. Whereas, Pakistan didn’t exist as a nation before 1947, nor any other known factor except Islam is there to make it a nation. As such Musharraf’s regime took to de-legitimizing Pakistan’s entire foundation. He is being rewarded and applauded like a Gorbachev reincarnate for transforming Islam.

Writing about Gorbachev, Times magazine noted: “By gently pushing open the gates of reform, he unleashed a democratic flood that deluged the Soviet universe and washed away the cold war.”[1] Such inspiring comments are used by the Western media to push their perceived enemies into thinking they would transform their societies into worldly heavens if they toe Washington’s line. But that is not what actually happens when push comes to shove. According to Jamie Glazov’s analysis: “Within the blink of an eye, the Soviet Union disintegrated. Ten years later, we know that the process of true democratization in post-communist Russia ultimately failed. Boris Yeltsin and now Vladimir Putin, after all, represent a return to the Russian autocratic past. With no tradition of democracy, or even a conception of individuality, Russians, once again, desire order over freedom.”[2]

Musharraf attempted simultaneously to contain and transform the country in the image of its enemies, to destroy and reconstruct, right on the spot as per the plans of those for whom existence of Pakistan has been a thorn in the flesh since its inception. Musharraf is doing what Gorbachev did in his six years in power. The changes in what used to be the Soviet Union have been so great that it is easy to forget what the un-reformed Soviet system was like and how modest were the expectations of significant innovation when Gorbachev succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as top Soviet leader in March 1985. Neither Soviet citizens nor foreign observers or advisors to Gorbachev imagined that the USSR was about to be transformed out of existence. So is the case with Musharraf and Pakistan.

While no one predicted the Soviet Union’s demise, the greatest skeptics regarding the prospects for change were the first to be overtaken by events. Some, who in more recent years have castigated Gorbachev for his “half-measures,” have conveniently forgotten that the actual changes promoted or sanctioned by him exceeded their wildest dreams, making nonsense of predictions that he had neither the will nor the power to alter anything of consequence in the Soviet system. Here, we must keep in mind that the changes under Gorbachev far exceeded their wildest dreams because Gorbachev alone was not responsible. The Soviet Union’s demise was also impending, like Pakistan’s, for quite some time. The changes and transformation by one man became the last straw on the back of the proverbial camel. In Pakistan’s case, as we discussed in previous chapters, the 162 million Pakistanis have already paved the way with their unintentional surrender to the forces that will wash away Pakistan as an entity. Musharraf’s gimmicks are going to just hasten its demise.

In his book, The Gorbachev Factor, Archie Brown correctly points out:

“When it became fashionable to react against the enthusiastic support for Gorbachev which was widespread in the late 1980s, the same observers who misread Gorbachev’s intentions at the outset became the first to scorn an excessive concentration on the part played by Gorbachev while simultaneously, and with scant regard for logic, holding him personally responsible for all the major policy failures. And failures in the Gorbachev era there certainly were–”especially of economic policy and in the relationships between the Soviet Union’s constituent republics and the centre.” [3]

The phenomenon that took place in the USSR well before Gorbachev’s taking power perfectly fits the situation in Pakistan before Musharraf’s coup. The remarkable thing about change in the Soviet Union during the Gorbachev years was that it occurred peacefully. As we shall see below, unlike the Soviet Union, the transformation in South Asia is more likely to be violent. According to Archie Brown: “Given the failure of all who had openly attacked the system from within the country to make any positive impact on policy outcomes prior to the late 1980s, it is doubtful if change of such magnitude could have taken place with so little violence–”especially in Russia–”in any way other than through the elevation of a serious reformer to the highest political office within the country.”

In the case of Pakistan, the public in general and politicians and military in particular have constantly been either attacking or exploiting Islam, yet no one had the intention to seriously live by Islam and make Pakistan an Islamic State. Musharraf imposed himself on the nation as an intermediary and justified his dictatorship on the basis of being a serious reformer. Yet the political parties and his foreign backers fell into his series of traps. The former acted blindly and the latter just pretending to be blind. Consequently, the Western backers purposely elevated him to the position of a serious reformer. They know that Musharraf has no real vision other than a desire to stay in power. But his promoters, in fact, do have a vision. The public’s complacency and helplessness simply exacerbated the situation.

The prospect of a military dictator becoming a “president” acceptable to all is similar to a reformer (Gorbachev) becoming General Secretary of the Communist party–”the very idea that such a thing was possible in principle–”had been ruled out in advance by many Western observers and by such prominent exiles from the Soviet Union as the writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Alexander Zinoviev. Similarly, Bush refused to acknowledge Musharraf by name in his initial interviews after his first inaugurations. When a reporter insisted that the General must have a name, Bush said: “Well, we call him a General.”[4]

Yet, just like Gorbachev who had great power concentrated in his hands as part of the Communist Party leaders collectively and as the General Secretary individually, the forces for anti-Islam-transformation in Pakistan realized that a person with many hats, absolute power and opportunist disposition in Pakistan should remain in power to follow their agenda. Without the promotion of a genuine reformer and highly skilled politician to the top Communist Party post in 1985, fundamental changes in the Soviet Union would certainly have been delayed and could well have been bloodier as well as slower than the relatively speedy political evolution that occurred while Gorbachev was at the helm. The same plan is being implemented in Pakistan to make its demise less bloody on the one hand and use the outcome for global struggle against Islam on the other. To the disadvantage of Musharraf’s promoters, replication of the same plan is not possible under different situations, particularly when instead of an “ism” a religious faith and a way of life are being targeted: This is the case not only in Pakistan, but on a global level.

Analysts agree that in the case of the Soviet Union, from the moment Gorbachev “was liberated after the August coup, his every political statement, his every initiative, seemed to have preservation of the central structure as its main objective. That freedom from the central bureaucracy was what the republics meant by the independence they were demanding seemed to elude him.”[5] In the Muslim world, the US adventures, coupled with relying on “reformation” by a few opportunists is likely to bring about the liberation of Muslim masses–”the consequence which the enemies of Islam are actually trying to avoid.

In the past, Western planners wanted to dismantle the Soviet Union and various factors played a role in facilitating this demise. Gorbachev presented the reformation in the name of improving the Soviet economy. The reality, in Archie Brown’s words, is:

No one, though, really needed to be an economist to see that the Soviet economy was going from bad to worse. The man and woman on the street anywhere between Minsk and Khabarovsk could have said the same. And since this was neither Stalin’s nor Brezhnev’s time but an era of Soviet history of unprecedented freedom, they frequently did. [6]

Western politicians and planners, however, did not base their judgments entirely on the state of the Soviet economy, but accorded a great deal of weight to changes in the language of politics, to new departures in Soviet foreign policy, and to political institutional change, where they did not see any alternative that challenged the supremacy of the West. They mistakenly, and very unfortunately, see this threat now in Islam with Pakistan’s nuclear capability at its centre. With their understanding of politics, Western planners were constantly amazed to see Gorbachev pull off what seemed to them virtually impossible feats. Today they see these feats in Musharraf’s “chance meetings” with Ariel Sharon and his dining with the American Jewish Congress.

The foreign advisors to Musharraf are more aware than many of the academic observers and the self-proclaimed “moderate” Muslims of the framework of constraints within which Musharraf is operating and of the balancing act which is at times demanded of him prior to his putting sovereignty, independence and the very identity of his nation at stake.

The process of undermining Pakistan is gradual. Many ideas that are openly discussed in the Pakistani mass media under Musharraf, and in a number of cases translated into public policy, had first been aired in communist and secularist circles in Pakistan before the fall of the Soviet Union. The only difference is that of the use of rancid notions invented in the wake of the end of communism. This terminology now solely focuses on creating divisions among Muslims and demonizing Islam. Moreover, the Soviet Union could not promote its comrades and godless ideology abroad as vigorously as the neo-cons and the millions of Christian Zionists in America are doing in an organized and systematic manner.

That, however, does not mean that this is a simple case of continuity. In fact, the changes of the Musharraf era are more than a continuation of a process the secularists and communists had begun. There was a total lack of positive response to the demands and theories of such elements between 1968 and 1991. A few secularists had dared to speak up. However, many more had decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and stayed quiet until Musharraf had made Pakistan safe for such adventures. Some of them, such as the famous poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, didn’t even openly challenge the ideology of Pakistan. They were just sending out messages in the name of labor and the working class. Yet they were considered as a threat to national security and were thrown behind bars for years. The measures used against those who made their political dissent unambiguous and public ranged from compulsory exile to incarceration.

Under Musharraf, the world in Pakistan has turned full circle. Former secularists and communists are thriving in the garb of “moderates”. Nevertheless, the secular movement retrospectively commands little respect. To see them as the prime agents of pro-US changes in Pakistan is highly misleading and a product largely of wishful thinking. They are playing a role in changing the political consciousness of a part of the intelligentsia after initially donning the garb of liberals and now decorating it with the badges of “moderate Muslims.” And that is why the blame for the demise of Pakistan will not go to Musharraf alone. He remains the factor that galvanized the movement that is making the nation’s demise inevitable.

On the external front, Musharraf’s approach has changed the perceptions and demands of the sustainers-cum-enemies of Pakistan completely. Pakistan has already lost the trust of its neighbors because of the unreliable and unpredictable roles that it plays for the US. Instead of providing them a sense of safety and security, Pakistan became a source of anxiety for its neighbors. It can play a role in attacking Iran for its sustainers in Washington, just as it did in the case of paving the way for the occupation of Afghanistan. Similarly, Musharraf’s Pakistan is no longer one of China’s staunchest friends as it used to be over the years. Iran would not be too deeply concerned about the fate of Pakistan’s large Shi’a minority as the experience in Iraq shows, and India would reap most of the fruits in the absence of a check on expansion of its regional hegemony and without any prospect of violence and disorder on its Western borders.

After bringing Afghanistan to its present state and abandoning even moral support for both Kashmiris and Palestinians, Pakistan is no more needed as a Muslim nuclear power in the region. Totally controlled by Washington, its nuclear program and capability has become completely irrelevant. Instead, it is now the other way round. The rest of the world would not feel concerned about the disposition of a failing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and fissile material, which it already knows is in “safe hands.” The US and Europeans’ hue and cry about Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear programs and a total silence about now occupied Pakistan’s nuclear program is a telling sign of the assurance that the weapons are in “safe hands.”

In the beginning of the book, we set a simple formula to see if there is any possibility that a positive development can take root in the Musharraf era and lead Pakistan towards safe waters. Our assessment in the subsequent chapters demonstrated that the Musharraf factor has led to an environment in which any positive development, which can put Pakistan on the right track, has become totally impossible.

Achieving the objective for which it was created is impossible (chapter 2). The full restoration of democratic government and the efficient rebuilding of the Pakistani state in the future is also clearly impossible (chapter 3). There are no signs of the emergence of a revolutionary or radical political movement. Pakistan will remain under the occupation of its own military forces: a kind of sweet occupation. Masses will remain helpless until they are completely pushed against the wall like the Iraqis and Afghans. Musharraf will continue to dance to the Zionist and neocons’ tune until he has absolutely nothing left to gamble with. A major push will come to turn Pakistan into another Afghanistan or Iraq when the high value target is completely softened.

Pakistan’s disappearance from the world map is actually induced by certain features of the army–”its conceptual ability to plan incremental change. It is mistakenly considered a plus for reforming the country’s ailing institutions. Analysts believed that Pakistan’s army is strong enough to prevent state failure but not imaginative enough to impose the changes that might transform Pakistan either in the image for which it was created or the image which the US wants it to adopt. Musharraf calls his mantra of “enlightened moderation” as a two pronged strategy. Unfortunately, rather than transforming, the strategy and change, which opportunist civilian and military cronies surrounding general Musharraf have chosen, will gradually sink Pakistan into oblivion. This issue was thoroughly covered in Chapter 1.

As for nationhood, despite the dominant position of the armed forces, including a veto over any attempt to change the consensus view of Pakistan’s identity, the army hardly seems willing to create an identity compatible with the vision of Pakistan, as well as with the objectives that led to its creation.

Pakistan’s most unusual feature is not its potential as a failed state, as we observed from the earlier discussion, but the intricate interaction between the physical/political/legal entity known as the state of Pakistan and the idea behind Pakistan and the Pakistani nation. Few if any other nation states are more complex than Pakistan in this respect, with the Pakistani state often operating at cross-purposes with the original purpose of its creation.

Regardless of all other factors, the US and UK have publicly launched a war on the very basic ideology at the foundation of Pakistan as a nation. It is akin to separating Jewish identity from Israel. Imagine the transformation in the Middle East if Israel were to stop identifying itself as a Jewish State. In that case, would it be able to justify its existence and occupation of the lands, particularly Jerusalem? The problem in the case of any Muslim entity, however, is that it can either be Islamic or non-Islamic (secular).

As discussed in the Chapter 2 in detail, it is not possible to have a mix of secularism and Islam and label it as Muslim. Like Israel, the state of Pakistan was thought to be more than a physical/legal entity that provided welfare, order and justice to its citizens. Pakistan was to be an extraordinary state–”a homeland for Indian Muslims and an ideological and political leader of the Muslim world. Providing a homeland to protect Muslims from the bigotry and intolerance of India’s Hindu population was important, but the real motive behind Pakistan movement was to demonstrate to the world a model of an Islamic State based on the principles of freedom, fraternity and equality of Islam. The Pakistan movement also looked to the wider Muslim world, and its leaders were concerned about the fate of other Muslim communities living under duress, stretching from Palestine to the Philippines.[7]

This is exactly what is now considered as “political Islam” of the “Islamists.” This is what the 9/11 Commission has referred to as the “Islamic ideology” and declared a war on it. Accordingly, Pakistan has to be dismantled because its raison d’être has no place in the modern world in which a crusade on Islam is now officially and publicly recognized. We observe this from the official report of the 9/11 Commission, statements from Bush, Rumsfeld and British Home Secretary Charles Clark within the span of just one week.[8] Islamic ideology is the threat and a war on it has been declared. In his speech on October 06, 2005, Bush equated all resistance against the US occupation of Iraq, which was made possible through a series of many lies and distortion of facts, to fighting on the part of “terrorists” for the creation of “an Islamic Empire.”[9]

Now think about the following words and comments by the founding fathers of Pakistan. Imagine any nation under occupation or any Muslim leader now saying the following words. They would perfectly fit the well-defined category on which a war has officially been declared. Also note Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s reference to the Qur’an, Mujahids, Islam and giving protection to neighbors in the following words at a rally on October 30, 1947:

If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Qur’an, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours… Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task… You only have to develop the spirit of the Mujahids. You are a nation whose history is replete with people of wonderful character and heroism. Live up to your traditions and add to another chapter of glory. All I require of you now is that everyone… must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all… in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam and as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace within and peace without… Islam enjoins on every Mussulman to give protection to his neighbors and to minorities regardless of caste and creed. [10]

The same is true today. However, just a vow to make Pakistan, or any country for that matter, into a “bulwark of Islam,” taking “inspiration and guidance from the Holy Qur’an,” are now sufficient today to instantly declare anyone an “Islamist” preaching “Islamism” at which the US has declared a war. If Jinnah were living today and had uttered these same words he would most certainly have been labeled a terrorist, demonized in the media, hunted down by the US and prosecuted. The US expects from the opportunist dictators and “moderate Muslims” to care about poverty alleviation and forget about their brothers and sisters under foreign occupation. Musharraf has clearly mentioned this in his televised speech on January 12, 2002. Other “moderates” in the pages of New York Times tell fellow Muslims: “Muslims must realize that the interests of our sons and daughters, who are American, must come before the interests of our brothers and sisters, whether they are Palestinian, Kashmiri or Iraqi”[11]–”an approach which is not only in total contradiction to the message of the Qur’an, but to the basic human values and ethics as well.

At the time of the creation of Pakistan, when the Muslim League adopted the Pakistan resolution on March 23, 1940 calling for the establishment of a sovereign and independent Islamic country, Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for colonial India, wrote of his apprehensions regarding this proposition to Lord Linlithgow, the British viceroy in New Delhi, saying:

[T]he call of Islam is one which transcends the bounds of country. It may have lost some force as a result of the abolition of Caliphate by Mustafa Kamal Pasha, but it still has a very considerable appeal as witness for example Jinnah’s insistence on our giving undertaking that Indian troops should never be employed against any Muslim state, and the solicitude which he has constantly expressed for the Arabs of Palestine. [12]

These apprehensions were ignored for other reasons in 1947. However, the creation of Pakistan on these grounds would have been impossible in the 21st century. So, its survival is at stake today when for the most powerful man in Pakistan, words of its founders and the motive behind the Pakistan movement are no more than a mere joke that can be completely ignored and cast aside.

Both the history and the future of Pakistan are rooted in a complex relationship between Pakistan the “Islamic” state–”a physically bounded territory with an Islamic legal and international personality that would be guided by Islamic scriptures and traditions–”and Pakistan the nation–”mission-bound to serve as a beacon for oppressed or backward communities elsewhere in the world. Pakistan has bitterly failed at both the state and the national level. The rot that started at the top has trickled to the roots and the nation as a whole is as oblivious of its responsibilities as are its leaders.

On the other hand, the forces that undermine Pakistan are nevertheless alive and well focused. Details about how Pakistan has become the high value target were outlined in Chapter 8. Suffice it to present here the following signs that show a large number of forces are bent upon dissolving Pakistan into oblivion.

  • Israelis are topping tourist lists in Kashmir where businesses are changing the language of their outlets’ signboards from English to Hebrew.[13] We must note that after Israeli agents’ involvement in New Zealand and Canadian passport scams, the visitors in Kashmir could neither be ordinary Israelis nor would they be visiting Kashmir only for vacation purposes.
  • The Pentagon recently stressed that it must recruit and train Pakistani military officers to increase Washington’s influence over the country’s armed forces. Paul Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee on August 10, 2004 that failure to train Pakistani officers could mean “pushing them into the one alternative, which is the Islamic extremists…It’s not as though if we leave them alone, nobody else will go out to recruit them.”[14]
  • According to the argument of the US-led “international community”: Iran must bring its nuclear program to an end and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal must be in safe hands, but Israel’s weapons of mass destruction must remain a “must-have.”[15]
  • In total contradiction to the founding vision, the approach of Musharraf’s regime is to leave Kashmiris’ fate in Indian hands and push Afghan refugees back into occupied Afghanistan. Some 200,000 Afghan refugees have been living in the remote border areas of Pakistan. As the Pakistani operations in the tribal area have risen in strength, countless refugee homes are destroyed and thousands of Afghans are pushed back into Afghanistan.[16] According to the New York Times: “Refugees have been given as little as two hours’ notice to leave before their houses were bulldozed, according to officials with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Some have returned to Afghanistan with no belongings, homeless once again.”[17]
  • Almost all Pakistanis in the NGO-sector and many politicians to the level of former Prime Minter Zafrullah Khan Jamali have come to believe that the source of Pakistan’s creation, the Two Nations Theory, is no longer valid.[18]
  • After facilitating the occupation of Afghanistan, Musharraf and his inner circle used the SAARC summit as a forum for direct and secret meetings with India’s top brass. This was in order to consolidate a US inspired secret agreement to smooth the path for Pakistan in accepting Kashmir as an integral part of India against existing UN resolutions. Musharraf announced the deal after a closed meeting with Vajpayee on January 6, 2003 when he said: “History has been made…The string that was broken at Agra has been repaired in Islamabad”. After a phone conversation the next morning with Vajpayee, Musharraf confirmed that: “The deal was sealed”. A cautious, secretive and incremental process has been adopted in order for India and Pakistan to work jointly in eliminating the threats to the understanding. Officials from Pakistan and India were very nervous with regards to a leak.
  • Despite Pakistan’s surrender on every front, India signed a $1 billion purchase of Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Systems deal with Israel in October 2003. The US, Canada and others have recently extended assistance in nuclear research to India.
  • Despite Musharraf’s sacrificing Pakistani soldiers for the US, the US kept on accusing it of a secret nuclear pact with Saudi Arabia, [19] selling nuclear technology and for being insincere to the US.[20] A CATO study called Pakistan’s cooperation “grudging and spotty.”[21] These factors amount to keeping options of the US and its allies’ open in preparation for the impending U-turn on Pakistan in case there is an attempt to make it an Islamic State according to the mission and vision of the founding masses and the very objective of its creation.
  • As the nation that was supposed to be mission-bound to serve as a beacon for oppressed or backward communities elsewhere in the world is lost in Bollywood or cricket and corruption, the government is devoted to revising the school curriculum for teaching them submissiveness to occupation and aggression.

The above summary may not reflect the extent to which Pakistanis as a whole have undermined Pakistan. What is undeniable and known is that ideologically Pakistan has long been dead. If there are any traces of its still lingering on invisibly, the US war on it will deal with it appropriately. Its leftover physical existence neither makes a difference, nor is likely to survive without its soul for too long.

A combination of factors discussed above will therefore ensure that total pacification and ultimate softening of Pakistan remains a priority while it keeps on acquiring the characteristics of a place in which the ghosts of all legendary dictators would feel at home. That’s how the collapse of the present structure and form will take place simultaneously with the emergence of a new order.

The status quo until now has faced no serious challenge in Pakistan, despite the fact that the regime is still fragile, dithering and jittery. The day the simmering rage turns into real resistance in the wake of the masses being pushed against the wall like the case in Iraq or Afghanistan, no one knows if the regime will exercise repression on the scale which we witness by occupation forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The alternative is that the military itself will split into factions. What is known is that the regime is neither sure of itself, nor is the US a credible master to rely on, at least, in terms of its own survival as a super power, as well as in terms of its long record of betraying its “friends.” Taiwan is the latest example of the US making a U-turn when there is more money to be made from China. Musharraf and his “moderate” allies are treading a very thorny path by taking themselves out of the fold of Islam when looked in the light of the definitions and requirements put forward by the American promoters of the new version of Islam (refer to chapter 2).

Any major incident or event can explode into a 9/11 in South Asia and become a turning point. More awareness and exposure of the agenda behind Musharaff’s “enlightened moderation” increases the possibility of a South Asian 9/11, the day after which life will not be the same. Rather than stability, an increased support for the collaborating “moderates” will bring more turmoil as a result of the increased polarization in the society.

Faced with some unexpected challenges at home and abroad, the regime in Islamabad will initially try to go for the option of repression. With the failure of repressive measures, the regime might then attempt to lurch toward some “democratic” maneuvers. But in the turbulence added from external events and interference, “democratic” antics would not stand much of chance of maintaining the status quo.

If Pakistan’s Gorbachev is alive, he will be a pathetic figure in this whole saga. He has nothing to offer that would place the Pakistan nation on the right track, except playing the role of a mercenary-in-chief of the final crusade. He will find himself standing as an arrogant disciple of something far worse than secularism at a time when evangelicals and Zionists (including the Bush administration) are busy shaping the world according to their apocalyptic religious perspective. Some analysts still argue that Bush does use religious language sometimes, but that is rhetoric because the same events would be happening if the oil fields were controlled by Christians or Jews or a secular state, who were not interested in selling oil to the USA.

In fact, Bush’s October 6, 2005 speech proves that the sitting administration wants to destroy Islam and turn it into a Christianity-like religion consisting of a few hallow rituals and strip Muslims of their values concerning morality, economy, social conduct and political ideology. Moreover, we know that Saddam Hussain was a lame duck. He was prepared to surrender anything to come back to the former days of glory. For the US, oil, particularly Iraqi, was not a problem at all.

Anything can spark the South Asian 9/11 and a subsequent movement. It could be a direct foreign intervention after miscalculating the softness of the high value target (chapter 8) or it could be sparked internally on general issues of concern, such as unemployment, poverty, privatization, price hikes and repression of the suffering masses. In the former case, Pakistanis will learn and react the way Iraqis or Afghans are reacting after being pushed against the wall. In the latter case, the demands for addressing general issues will rapidly attain a political and ideological character in view of the greater realization of the objectives behind the “war on terrorism,” “enlightened moderation,” wars for “liberation” and winning “the heart and minds” of Muslims. After lying about “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq in order to justify the country’s invasion and occupation, Bush now openly claims that his revised objective is to not let Muslims “establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.”[22] It would enter the political plane and then the whole system that is structured to support the 21st century crusade will become a threat to its own survival. Such an upheaval would actually lead to a real breakup of the elite, military and feudal class lines and the very system they are exploiting to suppress the masses and serve the interests of the imperial-capitalist order. This whole process will unravel in ebbs and flows, depending on the developments on the external and internal fronts. The masses will learn through the experience and the rapidly changing objective situation on both fronts.

The helplessness described in chapter 4 will lead to depression and desperation. As intentions of the totalitarians in Washington and London are exposed, no set of peculiar gadgets, gimmicks and cover ups will help conceal the reality to clutter the political horizon of society with falsehoods. The revolutionary storm of a mass upsurge will wash them away. What we witness at the moment, from liberalism on the left and reformism on the right, from secularism to moderatism, are all different sorts of peculiar smokescreens blown up to cover up despotic dictatorships at home and bloody interventions from outside. The objective of these cover-ups is to hinder and discourage the masses in Muslim countries from establishing an alternative system based on the message of Islam. But this is what will happen as a result of approaches undertaken to sustain the corrupt order.The oppressed masses of Pakistan have suffered through this ordeal of “democracies” and dictatorships. These are political superstructures of an outdated, exploitative and rapacious socio-economic system of the former colonialists, sustained by the present totalitarians and their global financial institutions. Under the dictatorship, the masses yearned and fought for democracy.

The political leadership fooled them into the delusion that democracy would solve all their problems. But it was all loot and plunder. Their miseries intensified. Religious parties also exploited religious sentiments of the masses who cannot tell the differences between them and other exploiters of the godless order imposed on them. With the continued suffering, they have also learnt from the hard school of experience that none of the exploiters in the political parties has a strategy to steer the masses towards establishing a just socio-political and economic order based upon the teachings of Islam. The helpless masses are quiet but their eyes and ears are open. And they are thinking–”developing a new consciousness–”a revolutionary one that will inevitably explode unto the scene. Some readers may wonder, from where such a spark would appear to galvanize the masses in such a state of total despair and helplessness. The answer to this lies in the October 8, 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which according to a broad assessment by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank took lives of more than 86,000 people and left 350,000 homeless (Reuters, November 8, 2005). It exposed the worst face of the so-called government and its feet of clay. And the same exposed the potential and the spark in the masses which led to the creation of Pakistan in the first place.

According to the reports thousands of Pakistanis were willing to travel all the way to the far flung areas in the quake hit areas of Balakot or Muzaffarabad to deliver relief goods but they were reluctant to hand over anything to any government agency. So much for the trust in the government and credibility of its institutions! To the contrary, masses were willing to give to such organizations as Jamaat-ut-Dawaah, the Jamaat-i-Islami’s Al-Khidmat, Al Badr, Al Rasheed Trust, Al Mustafa Trust, Tanzeem-e-Islami and others which are wrongly labeled as “Islamist” organizations and portrayed as enemies of civilization.The earthquake also exposed the lack of trust in Pakistan army as a credible institution. Ayaz Amir, writing in Dawn, confessed: Having been in uniform myself, I say this with a heavy heart. Why have things come to this? In 1971 wherever we went people greeted us, waved at us, gave us food and offered help. Helping the army was considered a privilege and even when Dhaka fell and our eastern command laid down its arms, they didn’t blame us soldiers, they said we had been stabbed in the back. People held Yahya Khan and his coterie (and their serious tippling) responsible for the debacle, not the army as a whole. It all seems so long ago. [23]

There is a big difference between criticism of Bush’s response to the destruction in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina and criticism of the so-called government of Pakistan’s response to the earthquake. That the government was slow to respond immediately after the event is even admitted by General Musharraf. What is “alarming, and quite difficult to understand” for impartial observers “is:

…the government’s continuing failure to treat this disaster on a war footing. Anything by the name of government is not to be seen in the quake-hit areas. But newspapers are full of the exploits of Shaukat Aziz and his army of cabinet ministers. Seen against the backdrop of what has actually happened, this craze for publicity looks positively obscene. [24]

Musharraf’s regime self-praised its work. Around the clock, the state-controlled Pakistan Television (PTV) showed pictures of press briefings, interviews and visits to the disaster zone by government officials, ministers, the prime minister and Musharraf. As usual, PTV acted as a mouthpiece of the regime, with absolutely no criticism of the weaknesses of the relief efforts. Reporters mostly talked with survivors at aid distribution facilities and at hospitals in Islamabad, and only aerial views of the remote villages were screened. Government officials were unhappy with the coverage of private channels, which showed live interviews and the views of survivors. There were reports of the media being denied entry to certain areas.[25]

Ayaz Amir compared the situation to “the Hamas phenomenon happening in Pakistan,” where organized authority (in the case of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, in our case, the organs of government) able to do very little, while the burden of social work (in this case relief work) is taken up by Islamist organizations.” What this portends is obvious.

Analysts claim Musharraf’s external battle, to be seen to be tackling fundamentalism, will now be overshadowed by his domestic battle, to placate “Muslim hardliners within his own military and government who are angry at his apparent failure to lead his country in its time of need.”[26] Others are totally shocked with what the Islamic groups are doing. Writing in Slate Magazine, Mahnaz Ispahani expressed his concerns in these words: “Poised to take advantage of the government’s inability to cope with the disaster are the Islamist parties and their extremist cousins.”[27]

While expressing fear for the sitting regime, Hassan Rizvi, a political analyst said: “The militants are taking matters into their own hands and winning over members of the public on the ground. Their popularity will soar in these regions as a result and the government will appear directionless. It is a very dangerous situation.”[28] Just two days after the earthquake, when the government’s inability to move its resources in the services of its own people was not even known to anyone in advance, Stephen Cohen told his host at the NPR Morning edition on October 10 that Musharraf now faces a deeply uncertain future: “Pakistan is unstable as a government and a society. This is often the case with one-man rule, and especially one-man rule in which serious people – al-Qaeda and its allies inside Pakistan – are trying to kill him. These people are all his enemies and now the public are angry at his response to a major disaster.”[29]

This type of propaganda from outside will intensify with the decrease of popularity of stooges working for their imperial masters. Not only the masses will realize the truth but also leaders of the religious political parties will realize the futility of establishing Islam through un-Islamic ways and means. If they don’t, under the changed circumstances it would not be difficult for new leadership to emerge. The public response in the wake of earthquake shows the spark among the masses is still alive. They are patiently waiting and observing the state of affairs in which democracy is as impossible as living by Islam; where ending the US interference is as impossible as getting rid of military dictatorship. After 58 years of deception and oppression, it matters little if this explosion is triggered by an Iraqi style invasion from outside or a sparked from within. This is the verdict of history, it is the universal law. Tyranny may be prolonged for some time, but it can not endure forever. Similarly, Muslims can deviate from the right path and the ultimate Islamic objective, but they cannot be committing shirk[30] upon shirk; living under a secular system;[31] living by man-made laws;[32] thriving on Riba;[33] seeking protection from those who have openly declared a war on living by Islam;[34] supporting the enemies of Islam in butchering fellow Muslims;[35] classifying Muslims into different groups and introducing new forms of Islam that are not based on the sound principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah,[36] and still not only deceiving themselves to be living in an Islamic republic, but also hoping to see it survive despite undermining it both physically and ideologically.

The Pakistani people can always change their course and hope for the best. But the people’s stubbornness to stay the course and all the aforementioned factors, along with the Musharraf factor, does not bode well for the future of Pakistan. Unless Musharraf is stopped in his tracks and both the nation and the political leadership make a 180 degree turn to untangle themselves from the American web and establish a model state according to the vision of the founding masses, the more likely the demise of Pakistan seems.

Note:

For the 36 references in the above text, please refer to Abid Ullah Jan’s book,
The Musharraf Factor: Leading Pakistan to Inevitable Demise.

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