South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

Imaginary pressures facing Pakistan
Muhammad Jamil

As if there was nothing left in his arsenal to lambast Pakistan military, Ahmed Rashid resorted to reviewing the books written by authors of his clan. He wrote a lengthy ‘treatise’ comprising more than 3,800 words punctuated with brief excerpts from books written by Aqil Shah, Ayesha Jalal, Mohsin Hamid and Nissid Hajari. They are on the same page so far as matter of putting military on the mat is concerned. In the very first para, Ahmed Rashid comes out with the sweeping statement: “No one should be surprised to read that in Pakistan the army has taken charge, established military courts, derailed democracy, brought television and other media under military control. Nor should one be surprised to learn that foreign policy and national security were being directly run by the army.”

No one would agree with his assessment, especially with regard to ‘derailed democracy’, as at the present an elected government is in place; and the parliament is functioning. A few months ago, when an impression was conveyed that establishment was behind PTI and PAT sit-ins at Constitutional Avenue, a joint session of the Parliament was convened and all parties vowed to protect democracy. This instance is enough to rebut his charges. Referring to terror attack on Army Public School in which 140 students were killed, he wrote that military took the charge, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was still inclined to hold negotiations with the terrorists. But why not to accept the eidetic reality that both civil and military leaderships are on the same page in this regard?
The author tries to accuse the great leaders of creating false alarm, as over time founders of the nation have been proven right after break up of Pakistan in 1971 with India’s backing and training of Mukti Bahini guerillas. Many books have been written, and even those Indian characters that were involved in training Mukti Bahini guerillas and invading former East Pakistan have proudly acknowledged their involvement.
To blame Pakistan and its army for creating and supporting various militant groups is not entirely true, as the US and the West are to blame in equal measure. The fact remains that the US and the West have been creating Frankenstein monsters of imperialism that later posed a serious threat to them as well as to the world at large. After Soviet forces landed in Afghanistan, the US and the West supported the jihadi groups and warlords to resist and to oust the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. When 9/11 events took place, Afghanistan was being dominated by the people who were earlier lauded as freedom fighters. The US and the West had supported the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden who was their find and was projected as a legend that left luxurious life to fight the infidels.
Since the publishing of Aqil Shah’s book, there have been many developments. America has appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in war on terror, and believes that Pakistan is conducting military operation without any distinction between good Taliban and bad Taliban. George Santayana had said: “History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there”. However, there is no dearth of oblique angle-vision writers who distort the history by giving a spin to the facts. Ahmed Rashid and other authors have often been creating doubts about the safety of Pakistani nukes, but the US and the West admit that Pakistani nukes are safe. In May 2011, then NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had said he was confident Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe.