The same old song

By Kamran Shafi

Courtesy: dawn, 12 Jan, 2010

There goes Amreeka Bahadur, once again doing exactly the wrong thing. As quoted in this newspaper of record Richard Holbrooke, the czar of American policy planning for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Afpak) who will soon be in Islamabad the Beautiful, has recently said: “Political instability is always a concern in any country … but if we are asked, and people think it will help, as in the past, we will (help).”

He then went and really put his foot in it: “We are watching (the situation) with sympathy and support for the elected government.”

While he did try and retrieve the situation by adding the word ‘support’ and by further saying: “… but we are friends of the Pakistani people and of the elected government”, he went and did it again: the United States, he said, also had good relations and respect for the Pakistani military which had taken actions in difficult conditions.

I am gobsmacked. For, the United States should have good relations with Pakistan, its people and their elected representatives, not individual departments of the Pakistan government. Which leads me to say that one hopes the United States also has good relations with the Pakistan police which has lost as many, if not more, men and women, to terrorist attacks.

Please, Mr Czar Sir, recall immediately the nine calamitous years in which the military (read army) dictator Musharraf held this country by the throat with the help and blessings of the American government Dubya leading, and the disaster that resulted in our tribal areas and Swat specifically, and in the whole country generally.

Recall, if you will, the two steps forward and five back that the dictator took as he threw dust into the US administrations’ eyes, and the deceit and the lies that accompanied his antics. All the while, might one remind you, the terrorists and the mindless yahoos who today threaten the whole world grew stronger and stronger still.

Sympathy for the elected government did you say? Aren’t ‘empathy’ and ‘understanding’ the words you want? And isn’t saying that the US will only support an elected government absolutely vital in the circumstances that Pakistani democracy finds itself in? Should you be giving the proverbial inch to an army that has been the bane of this country’s life for most of its life?

Indeed, why are congressional delegations calling on the army chief? Should they not limit themselves to meeting the people’s representatives, both in government and opposition, leaving it to their generals to call on our generals? Indeed, should military aid not be channelled exclusively through the government?

The Americans should know that Pakistan is in very serious trouble indeed, and that the enemy is within us; whether it is the cruel, and may I repeat myself, twisted-in-mind-and-spirit terrorist or those who cannot abide ‘bloody civilians’ calling the shots. There is much that is going on that reminds one of the engineered crises that we have seen all of our lives in the Citadel of Islam, the Land of the Pure. I am 64 today and have, sadly, seen and remember our poor country lurching from one catastrophe to another for a half century now.

Look at Karachi, and the sudden violence that has erupted there. Now go back 20, 30 years and tell me if today’s scenario is not an exact replica of what happened then? Indeed, whilst we well knew the role our mendacious ‘agencies’ played in setting Karachi on fire then, the scoundrels who were high officials of these ‘agencies’ have admitted, on live TV, their crimes against the country, its constitution, and its hapless people.

I would strongly recommend that Mr Holbrooke see recordings of these TV programmes before he utters another word on the political situation in Pakistan. Ambassador Patterson, are you listening?

Karachi reminds me. Every one and Charlie’s aunt got into a lather about the MQM calling for the army to help restore order to Karachi. Professor Khurshid Ahmed of the Jamaat-i-Islami, who should have looked at the JI’s repeated collaboration with army dictators before he spoke, went to the extent of saying that asking for the army’s help was unconstitutional and not justifiable in any way whatsoever. Wrong. The army, as a department of the federal government, can be asked to act in aid to the civil power any time the government deems it necessary.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we are daily being regaled by the so-called champions of civil rights to the effect that it is absolutely wrong for people to be racially profiled when going through security at airports, especially when they are travelling to the United States. Quite frankly, I would rather be profiled than be dead!

For, is it not true that virtually all terrorist attacks have been planned in our part of the world/carried out by our people? Even the beauties Richard Reid aka Abdul Raheem, whose father was Jamaican and mother English, the shoe bomber; and Jose Padilla aka Abdullah al Muhajir, a Hispanic who was accused of trying to explode a ‘dirty’ bomb in Chicago visited Pakistan several times before they set out on their murderous missions.

May I once again ask the government to unearth the sponsors of these two disreputable characters? How is it that these common criminals and former jailbirds visited the Land of the Pure at least twice each, if not three times? If our elected representatives are serious about the rule of law and constitution they will have to force the disclosure of the names of those who sponsored these two yahoos.

Last week I had written about the completely ludicrous ‘protest’ planned by Anjem Choudry at Wootton Bassett. The very day that I sent my article to my editor, Master Choudry, sensing the hostile mood in all of the UK announced that the so-called protest was only a “publicity stunt” (his words, not mine). I ask you!

Well, if the likes of this ridiculous man do not stop their malevolent stupidities the day is not far when the UK will simply have had enough of them and make their lives more difficult, just as France is about to ban the burka.


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