Pakistan’s unique political culture

Ameer Tarin

A - Pakistan map D - ISI

Russian president Nikita Khruschchev and Marshal Bulganian, his defence minister on a visit to India in 1955 were taken on a political trip to Kashmir to help India legitimize occupation and start a spree of VETOs at UNSC (United Nations Security Council) to push Kashmir where it is now politically. The president finishing the tour departing for his country, the pressman at the airport asked him “Mr President, how would you sum up your experience on the successful trip to India?” The President quipped “Looking the way things run so smoothly and automatically, I have come to a conclusion that God exists”. After fifty nine years, ignoring Chinese economic and military might, India, though at a slow pace, many believe is emerging as a ´superpower´ in the region.

At present a political situation that exists in Pakistan is somewhat baffling and intriguing as well because the prevailing unique political scene forces one to draw a conclusion that there is definitely some supernatural force at work running affairs of the country.

Times of India reported (April 20, 2014) that Pakistani local TV anchor Hamid Mir was injured in a gun attack with spray of six bullets hitting him in the lower abdomen and legs. The four gun men on motor cycles even followed Mir´s car for one and a half miles to make sure the job was done meticulously. Imagining the average height of motor cycles and the eye contact of killers a burst of bullets were aimed at chassis of the car and the chase thereafter was all in vain, an attempt which these killers generally, at least in Pakistan, do not bungle. Though, one must admit that killing in any form cannot be condoned and must be condemned.

Mir according to the report was rushed to hospital and without waiting for any investigations or fact coming to the fore, Mir´s powerful media company, India and few countries on international level issued statement attributed to the victim that the heinous crime was committed by directly naming Pakistan´s intelligence chief currently in office. What is surprising is that a statement of victim´s estranged brother and people who shot at Mir´s car dressed in Shalwar Kameez (Pakistan´s popular attire) were enough to point finger at the highly responsible organisation of Pakistan.

Mir was also reported to have confided in close associates the fears of a threat to his life from retired ISI chief. Mir, a controversial figure, has been targeted before by Taliban in November 2012 when explosives were found under his car. Magically, in the second attempt, the driver and his armed bodyguard escaped unscathed. It is also reported that Punjab´s Sharif government had beforehand warned Mir that he was on the hit list of Taliban. The question asked by general public of Pakistan is to find the reason why the local media tycoon and his establishment targeted Pakistan army and its intelligence agency?

Listtoptens.com quoting American Crime News ranks Pakistan´s ISI number one in world´s top ten intelligence agencies and writing about its professionalism it says “ISI stands for Inter-Services Intelligence and is the main intelligence agency for Pakistan. This has been ranked as the world´s best intelligence agency. Major aim of the agency is to protect national interests, pay heed to matters of political and social interests and advise the military in taking appropriate steps. Safeguarding nation from domestic and foreign enemy attacks along with counter-terrorism steps also highlight the objectives. This agency has played vital and effective role during Kargil & Afghan Wars and Kashmir operation.”

The civilian government of Sharif family, many believe, used resources political and financial made available on international level to grab power through rigged elections and help extended by faithful corrupt judiciary and bureaucracy. The race for running the governments with understanding by families by turns is on and the only point these political parties work in unison is to make sure that army is kept out of the equation. The quarters extending help do need return favours and the beneficiaries are left with no choice but to comply.

Though the army has amply demonstrated that it is not possible to repeat what happened in the past because of miss-governance, nepotism and corruption. The previous government of Zardari family ran the administration ´smoothly´ without any interference though corruption touched peaks and crime soared unprecedentedly. The political situation developed in and around Pakistan especially after 911 would not provide any leverage or space for army to indulge in any kind of adventurism. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the corrupt political mafia fleeced the country of financial resources and inept handling of challenges faced by the country causing serious security concerns. Had the civilian administration delivered and improved administratively to ease the suffering of people there would have been no fear of threat of interference from any quarter.

The invisible threat of army takeover whispered to political mafia from unknown sources has created a catch-22 situation for Pakistan. The army due to a volatile environment, internal threat of terrorism with a menacing criminal culture created by groomed and sheltered outfits by political mafia, is grappling with serious issues of internal and external security threats. In order to divert attention from internal scary situation, Pakistani politicians intriguingly look to external help resulting in escalating tensions at ceasefire line in Kashmir, stage-managed trial of Ex-President Pervez Musharraf or campaign run internally by sections of media on payroll.

It is widely believed that Hamid Mir is too small a figure for an internationally acclaimed establishment to worry about or to stoop to a level that does not behove an organisation of this magnitude and standing. Though the tempo of conflict and brinkmanship among the stakeholders running the country subsided to some extent, the narrative highlighting belligerence from across the border especially from new Prime Minister Narendra Modi threatening to attack Pakistan in near future raised alarm bells. Indian media reported Modi spitting venom on Indian Muslims by declaring “If you (Muslims) don´t like Modi, then cross over to Pakistan”. There seems to be a consensus of opinion throughout the world that a new Hitler is in the making.

Pakistan army´s ongoing fight to weed out terror groups making tangible gains, many believe, frustrates the quarters interested in keeping Pakistan army busy internally & at the borders in the east & west or at ceasefire line in Kashmir to give terrorists breathing space to engage army dragging them to urban areas and at the same time allow Nawaz Sharif government to help execute the sinister plan of Pakistan’s destabilisation. Nawaz Sharif helped by sections of media, fifth column aided by India with resources and funds to put him in the seat of power at Islamabad is a major threat faced by Pakistan. It is a formidable knotty situation for Pakistani think tank to work out a solution to save the country from total ruination.

Pakistan´s noted journalist intellectual Hassan Nisar commenting on the situation says “Pakistan needs another Musharraf to put country back on the track”.

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