Riding the Storm

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India is raucous at our plight while the United States is all toothy on the mental calibre of an “ally” who has turned out to be a sucker

By Tarik Jan

To say that Pakistan is in a clutch would still be an understatement.  India is raucous at our plight while the United States is all toothy on the mental calibre of an “ally” who has turned out to be a sucker — fighting a war that has consumed about $ 40 billion worth of its assets and more than 22,000 dead since it “became our war.” The U.S. officials now say Mr. Zardari has out performed Musharraf in his services to the United States.      

One may rightly blame the extraneous factors for the clutch we in but our politicians, exception allowed, have a tremendous ability to ball up the opportunity afforded to them by the democratic opening. Politics is said to be the noble art of governance, but for our politicians it is an opportunity to be parochial and petty enjoying power for the sake of power. Every day that passes gives people the feeling that the administrative setup is reeling with inefficiency and corruption. In fact, inefficiency and corruption make a perfect marriage. Ironically, a sitting government that came into power through people’s mandate is unwilling to deliver despite the fact that at the end of the run it has to face the people again.
Why would a democratic government replace performance with false posturing and take transition for permanence boggles the mind, inclining one to think that either their electoral win was not real, manufactured by foreign sponsors or that if it was real, it has given them the impression of people being stupid who preferred them over  the competent and honest.
In the former case, they may think they can be sponsored again by a foreign power for they have done enough to please it. While in the latter case if their presumption is correct, then rhetoric and not deliverance is enough to deceive the masses again at the polls. In both cases the nation is the loser.
Unfortunate as it may be bureaucracy, which often sustains an administrative setup and makes a state run, is equally guilty. In fact, its guilt far outweighs the politicians’ guilt. As opposed to other power operators, their job is secure outlasting politicians; their perks and privileges which they have garnered for themselves over the years are assured. Common sense says they should deliver. But when they sit smug in their posh offices shuffling papers, indifferent to people’s plight and treating them shabbily and not resolving their problems, they become unconscious partners with the forces that do not want our nation to grow. One may even say that they alienate people from the state which is by definition high treason.
Likewise when media, exception allowed, is prevailed by ideologues opposed to the directive principles of the state and manipulate the national scene towards ethno-regional considerations and their larger secular agenda as opposed to the people’s moral essence and oneness, chaos takes over pushing people to uncertainty and despair with nothing to cheer the spirits. Religious values which give courage to people to live in adversity and equip them with gears to survive even against odds are under assault. The situation becomes worse when the administration fails to create jobs, effectuate growth, while the voice for distributive, social, and criminal justice is still a cry in the wilderness. The national scenario despite our faith in us seemingly becomes bleak.
In our attempt to transplant secular values over a Muslim society we forgot that societal structures do not come into being by imposing borrowed ideas. “They are not made,” as John Stuart Mill would say, “but grow … from the nature and life of that people: a product of their habits, instincts, and unconscious wants and desires, scarcely at all of their deliberate purposes.”
Why are we doing this to ourselves especially at a time when the periphery of our state is brewing with distension and mutiny? FATA and Balochistan are partly insurgent giving chance to neighbouring predators to fish in troubled waters. Ungluing the national elements strewn together by Islam is a staggering thought.
The mountainous ranges of FATA and its wilderness can be viewed in geo-strategic terms as the periphery of our state torn by conflict. This may lull us into sleep or throw us into a smug posturing, inclining us to a false belief that it is a distant happening, which will not have its spread to the centre.
True, a periphery is not a substitute for the centre, still it remains vital to a state’s security for it is an extension of the centre and thus any turbulence in the periphery, if not subdued, can gradually eat up the vitality of the state. That is why statecraft calls for firepower, art of governance, and diplomacy. Short of any such combination, the state loses rhythm and falls prey to chaos created by its own inefficiency and power-play of the neighbouring predators.
Writing on the rise and fall of the nations, Ibn Khaldun, the founder of modern sociology, made an astute observation: “When the state,” he says, “becomes senile and weak, it begins to crumble at its extremities. The centre remains intact until God permits the destruction of the whole state. Then the centre is destroyed. But when a state is overrun from the centre, it is of no avail to it that the outlying areas remain intact. It dissolves all at once. Were the heart to be overrun and captured all the extremities would be routed.”
India and its strategic partners have realized the spill over effect of the unimaginative policies of our successive secular governments. They also know it well that the gap between the constitutional proclamation for an Islamic state and the practices of the power apparatus in Pakistan has created rage as well as disenchantment in the masses, which can be utilized to their benefit. Let them fight between themselves and bleed seems to be the Indian policy. The Indians are convinced that the Kashmir eruption can cool down if Pakistan’s armed forces are made to bog down in Waziristan and Balochistan. Added to this, Indians would like to prolong the United States stay in Afghanistan and thus keep Pakistan embroiled in its turbulent domestic situation. Manmohan Singh’s November 6, 2009 appeal to the U.S. not to consider withdrawal from Afghanistan gives support to such an evaluation.
In this scenario our power operators should not forget that India has forged a strategic alliance with the United States, which among others calls for joint plans against what the two conveniently call “the cauldron of terrorism in Pakistan,” “the jihadi-military axis,” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”                                                 
Playing on this plank of the strategic alliance, India is continuously projecting Pakistan as “the centre of international jihadi terrorism,” which they urge must be dismantled. Together with the rising crescendo of Pakistan’s nuclear programme being unsafe. For obvious reasons the latter appeals to the U.S.
No matter how insistent is the Indian denial of its involvement in Balochistan and Waziristan, we must not forget what India did in East Pakistan. Indians do not hide it; rather, they boast of sundering East Pakistan from West Pakistan. Major General Sukhwant Singh, deputy director of military operations in 1971, not only reveals the Indian mindset but also the way they humiliated Pakistan. According to him, the Indians applied the German Liddell Hart’s concept of “the expanding torrent.”
This concept implied that the Pakistani army should be drawn out to the borders by keeping the border volatile through unending skirmishes “under cover of Mukti Bahini,” and thus thinning out the Pak army at “the cost of the interior.” Second, India should secure the key communication sectors in the centre to “disrupt the enemy’s command and control.” Third, scatter Pak forces in “penny pockets” to facilitate their “easy to mop up.”
Singh’s book the liberation of Bangladesh explains how India used military force to achieve its political objectives. Balochistan and FATA actions are a repeat of their success in Bangladesh.  Similar tensions can be sparked in Sindh and elsewhere.
With odds like these, the power wielders in Pakistan must improve governance. By that I mean synchronize human and material resources for growth; give citizens a sense of belonging by prompt official responses to their needs. Two, wipe out corruption fast. British prime minister Harold Brown’s scathing warning to Hamid Karazi to end corruption or he would not let his soldiers die in Afghanistan is an indicator that the world takes a low view of corruption. A similar message can come to the PPP’s government from Zardari’s Friends of Pakistan forum. Kerry-Lugar bill has already shown the U.S. inclination to micro manage the civil spending. Three, avoid undermining Islam by grafting secular values on the social scene. Four, employ military force where necessary but use negotiation channels to defuse conflict and thus deescalate armed action. Five, move fast on the Baluch scene. Declare the Baluch package now rather than wait for the constitutional package. The constitutional amendment can come later.

The author is a research scholar and Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker

 

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After graduating from college, I joined Pakistan Army and was commissioned in a Tank Regiment.   I am a veteran of the Indo-Pakistan war. After leaving the Army, I joined IT as a profession. I was hired by Kuwait Air Force And Air Defence as an Adviser to computerize its entire operation.   Here I was the Chief Coordinator of the Project, Kuwait Automated Support System (KASS).   It was a state-of-the-art leading-edge technology where we established over 500 online terminals network with dedicated voice and data communications. It had Satellite linkups to connect with other systems and track the inventory movement for KAF & AD.   On this project, I was coordinating with the US Navy, IBM World, AT&T, and Martin Marietta for the development, deployment, and operation of the KASS.  Writing has always been a passion for me, been writing for 25 years for various newspapers and periodicals. Now for the last four years, I have formed my virtual Think Tank, Opinion Maker.  Here we have some renowned writers from Pakistan and abroad who contribute regularly that's helping the world opinion in some way.  I am a keen golfer may not be a good one but play on a daily basis. I am also fond of using the camera to picture nature and people.