A thought provoking article on Pakistan politics

by Omar Ali

This is from an army officer who wishes to remain anonymous… ..I would say this represents a version of theory number one (“things fall apart”)…

a. In my view there are various over-lapping layers of motivation that are fueling the insurgency, or vouchsafing, if not active sympathy for its cause, then at least, certainly much benign indifference. In ascending order these are :

1. Religious motivation. 2.Revenge. 3.Military occupation.

4.Anti-Americanism. This sentiment is very strong among all sections of the population, and has grown with each new attack against a Muslim country, whether this was done by the US; or by Israel. After the last attack on Gaza, if there were any doubts about where the US stood vis a vis Muslims, these were flooded over.

5. But the essential glue that unites all of the above together is the feeling of deprivation and injustice among the ‘have nots’ which has been built up over the last 60 years of one more atrocious government succeeding the other. So if the average Pakistani is not sympathetic towards the militants, he is certainly not in favour of the establishment. But in among an amazingly high proportion of people who share this sentiment, it does not seem to be there at the conscious level–one can only reach it and dredge it up by questioning people. But this will not long be the case. It is only a matter of time before one of the militant leaders will openly espouse the cause of the have-not, and give it words. When that happens, it will spread like wild fire.

b.The army is more infected by this have-not sentiment than any other. And the jawan, who must translate the generals’ plans into action, has no enthusiasm for it. When this is combined with poor leadership, and the natural aversion to killing their own people, you have perfected the recipe for inaction. All too often, in case of the army, one mistakes pure incompetence for conspiracy.

The thinking within the army reflects completely the thinking that pervades that of the general population. The few in the army who would like to take on the militants, have their commitment doused by their suspicioin of the real motives of the US. The ISI and MI briefings to the high command, as long ago as 4 years, were quite specific in that, that the insurgency in Baluchistan was being fueled directly by the US, UK, and India. When such is the belief of those who are to fight

the Taliban, it is very difficult for them to invest their effort against the militants with any great degree of commitment and enthusiasm.

c. The army is too bloody incompetent to even think about the slow burn strategy, much less, put it into practice.

d.There is something not quite generally known about the militancy. We know that the roughest and toughest part of our population comes from FATA. Among these the most unreconstructed are the Wazirs and Mahsuds of Waziristan. It may come as news to you that these two latter tribes were terrified of the Uzbeks. And the Uzbeks, in turn were absolutley

terrified of the “Kala” Taliban i.e the Taliban coming from Karachi, and southern and central Punjab. In my view therefore, it is not a question of whether Punjab will eventually fall to religious conglomerations [not necessarily Taliban], but the question is that of


d.Militancy is not the disease. It is the symptom of the disease, which is malignant governance. And of this the ugliest manifestation is corruption in high places. I thought I had already seen the worst face of corruption, till this government took power. They are so bad, I have not the words to do their knavery, justice. Quite literally, the NRO has legalised corruption. I have asked some journalists if they are mindful of how thoroughly corruption rules the roost, and if so, why are so quiet on the issue. In two cases the answer I received was absolutely chilling i.e ‘ in earlier goverments, exposure of corruption could lead to false cases, or roughing up by police goons in civies–but today we are being ruled by a gangsters, and our punishment will be assassination!!”

Unless we get good and dedicated governance in Pakistan, and get it soon, not all the drone attacks are going to save us.

Courtesy: – CRDP, Apr 28, 2009

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