The Plan To Topple Pakistan Military

This is not about Musharraf anymore. This is about clipping the wings of a strong Pakistani military, denying space for China in Pakistan, squashing the ISI, stirring ethnic unrest, and neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear program. The first shot in this plan was fired in Pakistan’s Balochistan provincein 2004. The last bullet will be toppling Musharraf, sidelining the military and installing a pliant government in Islamabad. Musharraf shares the blame for letting things come this far. But he is also punching holes in Washington’s game plan. He needs to be supported.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—On the evening of Tuesday, 26 September, 2006, Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf walked into the studio of Comedy Central’s ‘Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart, the first sitting president anywhere to dare do this political satire show.

Stewart offered his guest some tea and cookies and played the perfect host by asking, “Is it good?” before springing a surprise: “Where’s Osama bin Laden?”

“I don’t know,” Musharraf replied, as the audience enjoyed the rare sight of a strong leader apparently cornered. “You know where he is?” Musharraf snapped back, “You lead on, we’ll follow you.”

What Gen. Musharraf didn’t know then is that he really was being cornered. Some of the smiles that greeted him in Washington and back home gave no hint of the betrayal that awaited him.

As he completed the remaining part of his U.S. visit, his allies in Washington and elsewhere, as all evidence suggests now, were plotting his downfall. They had decided to take a page from the book of successful ‘color revolutions’ where western governments covertly used money, private media, student unions, NGOs and international pressure to stage coups, basically overthrowing individuals not fitting well with Washington’s agenda.

This recipe proved its success in former Yugoslavia, and more recently in Georgia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

In Pakistan, the target is a Pakistani president who refuses to play ball with the United States on Afghanistan, China, and Dr. A.Q. Khan.

To get rid of him, an impressive operation is underway:

* A carefully crafted media blitzkrieg launched early this year assailing the Pakistani president from all sides, questioning his power, his role in Washington’s war on terror and predicting his downfall.

* Money pumped into the country to pay for organized dissent.

* Willing activists assigned to mobilize and organize accessible social groups.

* A campaign waged on Internet where tens of mailing lists and ‘news agencies’ have sprung up from nowhere, all demonizing Musharraf and the Pakistani military.

* European- and American-funded Pakistani NGOs taking a temporary leave from their real jobs to work as a makeshift anti-government mobilization machine.

* U.S. government agencies directly funding some private Pakistani television networks; the channels go into an open anti-government mode, cashing in on some manufactured and other real public grievances regarding inflation and corruption.

* Some of Musharraf’s shady and corrupt political allies feed this campaign, hoping to stay in power under a weakened president.

* All this groundwork completed and chips in place when the judicial crisis breaks out in March 2007. Even Pakistani politicians surprised at a well-greased and well-organized lawyers campaign, complete with flyers, rented cars and buses, excellent event-management and media outreach.

* Currently, students are being recruited and organized into a street movement. The work is ongoing and urban Pakistani students are being cultivated, especially using popular Internet Web sites and ‘online hangouts’. The people behind this effort are mostly unknown and faceless, limiting themselves to organizing sporadic, small student gatherings in Lahore and Islamabad, complete with banners, placards and little babies with arm bands for maximum media effect. No major student association has announced yet that it is behind these student protests, which is a very interesting fact glossed over by most journalists covering this story. Only a few students from affluent schools have responded so far and it’s not because the Pakistani government’s countermeasures are effective. They’re not. The reason is that social activism attracts people from affluent backgrounds, closely reflecting a uniquely Pakistani phenomenon where local NGOs are mostly founded and run by rich, westernized Pakistanis.

All of this may appear to be spur-of-the-moment and Musharraf-specific. But it all really began almost three years ago, when, out of the blue and recycling old political arguments, Mr. Akbar Bugti launched an armed rebellion against the Pakistani state, surprising security analysts by using rockets and other military equipment that shouldn’t normally be available to a smalltime village thug. Since then, Islamabad sits on a pile of evidence that links Mr. Bugti’s campaign to money and ammunition and logistical support from Afghanistan, directly aided by the Indians and the Karzai administration, with the Americans turning a blind eye.

For reasons not clear to our analysts yet, Islamabad has kept quiet on Washington’s involvement with anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. But Pakistan did send an indirect public message to the Americans recently.

“We have indications of Indian involvement with anti-state elements in Pakistan,” declared the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office in a regular briefing in October. The statement was terse and direct and the spokesman, Ms. Tasnim Aslam, quickly moved on to other issues.

This is how a Pakistani official explained Ms. Aslam’s statement: “What she was really saying is this: We know what the Indians are doing. They’ve sold the Americans on the idea that [the Indians] are an authority on Pakistan and can be helpful in Afghanistan. The Americans have bought the idea and are in on the plan, giving the Indians a free hand in Afghanistan. What the Americans don’t know is that we, too, know the Indians very well. Better still, we know Afghanistan very well. You can’t beat us at our own game.”

Mr. Bugti’s armed rebellion coincided with the Gwadar project entering its final stages. No coincidence here. Mr. Bugti’s real job was to scare the Chinese away and scuttle Chinese President Hu Jintao’s planned visit to Gwadar a few months later to formally launch the port city.

Gwadar is the pinnacle of Sino-Pakistani strategic cooperation. It’s a modern port city that is supposed to link Central Asia, western China, and Pakistan with markets in Mideast and Africa. It’s supposed to have roads stretching all the way to China. It’s no coincidence either that China has also earmarked millions of dollars to renovate the Karakoram Highway linking northern Pakistan to western China.

Some reports in the American media, however, have accused Pakistan and China of building a naval base in the guise of a commercial seaport directly overlooking international oil shipping lanes. The Indians and some other regional actors are also not comfortable with this project because they see it as commercial competition.

What Mr. Bugti’s regional and international supporters never expected is Pakistan moving firmly and strongly to nip his rebellion in the bud. Even Mr. Bugti himself probably never expected the Pakistani state to react in the way it did to his betrayal of the homeland. He was killed in a military operation where scores of his mercenaries surrendered to Pakistan army soldiers.

U.S. intelligence and their Indian advisors could not cultivate an immediate replacement for Mr. Bugti. So they moved to Plan B. They supported Abdullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban fighter held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, and then handed over back to the Afghan government, only to return to his homeland, Pakistan, to kidnap two Chinese engineers working in Balochistan, one of whom was eventually killed during a rescue operation by the Pakistani government.

Islamabad could not tolerate this shadowy figure, who was creating a following among ordinary Pakistanis masquerading as a Taliban while in reality towing a vague agenda. He was rightly eliminated earlier this year by Pakistani security forces while secretly returning from Afghanistan after meeting his handlers there. Again, no surprises here.

SMELLING A RAT

This is where Pakistani political and military officials finally started smelling a rat. All of this was an indication of a bigger problem. There were growing indications that, ever since Islamabad joined Washington’s regional plans, Pakistan was gradually turning into a ‘besieged-nation’, heavily targeted by the American media while being subjected to strategic sabotage and espionage from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, under America’s watch, has turned into a vast staging ground for sophisticated psychological and military operations to destabilize neighboring Pakistan.

During the past three years, the heat has gradually been turned up against Pakistan and its military along Pakistan’s western regions:

* A shadowy group called the BLA, a Cold War relic, rose from the dead to restart a separatist war in southwestern Pakistan.

* Bugti’s death was a blow to neo-BLA, but the shadowy group’s backers didn’t repent. His grandson, Brahmdagh Bugti, is currently enjoying a safe shelter in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where he continues to operate and remote-control his assets in Pakistan.

* Saboteurs trained in Afghanistan have been inserted into Pakistan to aggravate extremist passions here, especially after the Red Mosque operation.

* Chinese citizens continue to be targeted by individuals pretending to be Islamists, when no known Islamic group has claimed responsibility.

* A succession of ‘religious rebels’ with suspicious foreign links have suddenly emerged in Pakistan over the past months claiming to be ‘Pakistani Taliban’. Some of the names include Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and now the Maulana of Swat. Some of them have used and are using encrypted communication equipment far superior to what Pakistani military owns.

* Money and weapons have been fed into the religious movements and al Qaeda remnants in the tribal areas.

Exploiting the situation, assets within the Pakistani media started promoting the idea that the Pakistani military was killing its own people. The rest of the unsuspecting media quickly picked up this message. Some botched American and Pakistani military operations against Al Qaeda that caused civilian deaths accidentally fed this media campaign.

This was the perfect timing for the launch of Military, Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, a book authored by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa Agha, a columnist for a Pakistani English-language paper and a correspondent for ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’, a private intelligence service founded by experts close to the British intelligence.

TARGET: PAK MILITARY

The book was launched in Pakistan in early 2007 by Oxford Press. And, contrary to most reports, it is openly available in Islamabad’s biggest bookshops. The book portrays the Pakistani military as an institution that is eating up whatever little resources Pakistan has.

Pakistani military’s successful financial management, creating alternate financial sources to spend on a vast military machine and build a conventional and nuclear near-match with a neighboring adversary five times larger – an impressive record for any nation by any standard – was distorted in the book and reduced to a mere attempt by the military to control the nation’s economy in the same way it was controlling its politics.

The timing was interesting. After all, it was hard to defend a military in the eyes of its own proud people when the chief of the military is ruling the country, the army is fighting insurgents and extremists who claim to be defending Islam, grumpy politicians are out of business, and the military’s side businesses, meant to feed the nation’s military machine, are doing well compared to the shabby state of the nation’s civilian departments.

A closer look at Ms. Siddiqa, the author, revealed disturbing information to Pakistani officials. In the months before launching her book, she was a frequent visitor to India where, as a defense expert, she cultivated important contacts. On her return, she developed friendship with an Indian lady diplomat posted in Islamabad. Both of these activities – travel to India and ties to Indian diplomats – are not a crime in Pakistan and don’t raise interest anymore. Pakistanis are hospitable and friendly people and these qualities have been amply displayed to the Indians during the four-year-old peace process.

What is interesting is that Ms. Siddiqa left her car in the house of the said Indian diplomat during one of her recent trips to London. And, according to a report, she stayed in London at a place owned by an individual linked to the Indian lady diplomat friend in Islamabad.

The point here is this: Who assigned her to investigate the Pakistani Armed Forces and present a distorted image of a proud an efficient Pakistani institution?

From 1988 to 2001, Dr. Siddiqa worked in the Pakistan civil service, the Pakistani civil bureaucracy. Her responsibilities included dealing with Military Accounts, which come under the Pakistan Ministry of Defense. She had thirteen years of rich experience in dealing with the budgetary matters of the Pakistani military and people working in this area.

Dr. Siddiqa received a year-long fellowship to research and write a book in the United States. There are strong indications that some of her Indian contacts played a role in arranging financing for her book project through a paid fellowship. The final manuscript of her book was vetted at a publishing office in New Delhi.

All of these details are insignificant if detached from the real issue at hand. And the issue is the demonization of the Pakistani military as an integral part of the media siege around Pakistan, with the American media leading the way in this campaign.

Some of the juicy details of this campaign include:

* The attempt by Dr. Siddiqa to pitch junior officers against senior officers in Pakistan Armed Forces by alleging discrimination in the distribution of benefits. Apart from being malicious and unfounded, her argument was carefully designed to generate frustration and demoralize Pakistani soldiers.

* The American media insisting on handing over Dr. A. Q. Khan to the United States so that a final conviction against the Pakistani military can be secured.

* Mrs. Benazir Bhutto demanding after returning to Pakistan that the ISI be restructured; and in a press conference during her house arrest in Lahore in November she went as far as asking Pakistan army officers to revolt against the army chief, a damning attempt at destroying a professional army from within.

Some of this appears to be eerily similar to the campaign waged against the Pakistani military in 1999, when, in July that year, an unsigned full page advertisement appeared in major American newspapers with the following headline: “A Modern Rogue Army With Its Finger On The Nuclear Button.”

Till this day, it is not clear who exactly paid for such an expensive newspaper full-page advertisement. But one thing is clear: the agenda behind that advertisement is back in action.

Strangely, just a few days before Mrs. Bhutto’s statements about restructuring the ISI and her open call to army officers to stage a mutiny against their leadership, the American conservative magazine The Weekly Standard interviewed an American security expert who offered similar ideas:

“A large number of ISI agents who are responsible for helping the Taliban and al Qaeda should be thrown in jail or killed. What I think we should do in Pakistan is a parallel version of what Iran has run against us in Iraq: giving money [and] empowering actors. Some of this will involve working with some shady characters, but the alternative—sending U.S. forces into Pakistan for a sustained bombing campaign—is worse.” Steve Schippert, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2007.

In addition to these media attacks, which security experts call ‘psychological operations’, the American media and politicians have intensified over the past year their campaign to prepare the international public opinion to accept a western intervention in Pakistan along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan:

* Newsweek came up with an entire cover story with a single storyline: Pakistan is a more dangerous place than Iraq.

* Senior American politicians, Republican and Democrat, have argued that Pakistan is more dangerous than Iran and merits similar treatment. On 20 October, senator Joe Biden told ABC News that Washington needs to put soldiers on the ground in Pakistan and invite the international community to join in. “We should be in there,” he said. “We should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”

* The International Crisis Group (ICG) has recommended gradual sanctions on Pakistan similar to those imposed on Iran, e.g. slapping travel bans on Pakistani military officers and seizing Pakistani military assets abroad.

* The process of painting Pakistan’s nuclear assets as pure evil lying around waiting for some do-gooder to come in and ‘secure’ them has reached unprecedented levels, with the U.S. media again depicting Pakistan as a nation incapable of protecting its nuclear installations. On 22 October, Jane Harman from the U.S. House Intelligence panel gave the following statement: “I think the U.S. would be wise – and I trust we are doing this – to have contingency plans [to seize Pakistan’s nuclear assets], especially because should [Musharraf] fall, there are nuclear weapons there.”

* The American media has now begun discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up and the possibility of new states of ‘Balochistan’ and ‘Pashtunistan’ being carved out of it. Interestingly, one of the first acts of the shady Maulana of Swat after capturing a few towns was to take down the Pakistani flag from the top of state buildings and replacing them with his own party flag.

* The ‘chatter’ about President Musharraf’s eminent fall has also increased dramatically in the mainly American media, which has been very generous in marketing theories about how Musharraf might “disappear” or be “removed” from the scene. According to some Pakistani analysts, this could be an attempt to prepare the public opinion for a possible assassination of the Pakistani president.

* Another worrying thing is how American officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Mrs. Benazir Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Mrs. Bhutto. If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country. A dress rehearsal of this scenario has already taken place in October when no less than the U.N. Security Council itself intervened to ask the international community to “assist” in the investigations into the assassination attempt on Mrs. Bhutto on 18 October. This generous move was sponsored by the U.S. and, interestingly, had no input from Pakistan which did not ask for help in investigations in the first place.

Some Pakistani security analysts privately say that American ‘chatter’ about Musharraf or Bhutto getting killed is a serious matter that can’t be easily dismissed. Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad.

Having Musharraf killed isn’t a bad option either. The unknown Islamists can always be blamed and the military will not be able to put another soldier at the top, and circumstances will be created to ensure that either Mrs. Bhutto or someone like her is eased into power.

The Americans are very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands. They have been kicked out of Uzbekistan last year, where they were maintaining bases. They are in trouble in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran continues to be a mess for them and Russia and China are not making it any easier. Pakistan must be ‘secured’ at all costs.

This is why most Pakistanis have never seen American diplomats in Pakistan active like this before. And it’s not just the current U.S. ambassador, who has added one more address to her other most-frequently-visited address in Karachi, Mrs. Bhutto’s house. The new address is the office of GEO, one of two news channels shut down by Islamabad for not signing the mandatory code-of-conduct. Thirty-eight other channels are operating and no one has censored the newspapers. But never mind this. The Americans have developed a ‘thing’ for GEO. No solace of course for ARY, the other banned channel.

Now there’s also one Bryan Hunt, the U.S. consul general in Lahore, who wears the national Pakistani dress, the long shirt and baggy trousers, and is moving around these days issuing tough warnings to Islamabad and to the Pakistani government and to President Musharraf to end emergency rule, resign as army chief and give Mrs. Bhutto access to power.

PAKISTAN’S OPTIONS

So what should Pakistan do in the face of such a structured campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees and forcibly install a pro-Washington administration in Islamabad?

There is increasing talk in Islamabad these days about Pakistan’s new tough stand in the face of this malicious campaign.

As a starter, Islamabad blew the wind out of the visit of Mr. John Negroponte, the no. 2 man in the U.S. State Department, who came to Pakistan last week “to deliver a tough message” to the Pakistani president. Musharraf, to his credit, told him he won’t end emergency rule until all objectives are achieved.

These objectives include:

* Cleaning up our northern and western parts of the country of all foreign operatives and their domestic pawns.

* Ensuring that Washington’s plan for regime-change doesn’t succeed.

* Purging the Pakistani media of all those elements that were willing or unwilling accomplices in the plan to destabilize the country.

Musharraf has also told Washington publicly that “Pakistan is more important than democracy or the constitution.” This is a bold position. This kind of boldness would have served Musharraf a lot had it come a little earlier. But even now, his media management team is unable to make the most out of it.

Washington will not stand by watching as its plan for regime change in Islamabad goes down the drain. In case the Americans insist on interfering in Pakistani affairs, Islamabad, according to my sources, is looking at some tough measures:

* Cutting off oil supplies to U.S. military in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials are already enraged at how Afghanistan has turned into a staging ground for sabotage in Pakistan. If Islamabad continues to see Washington acting as a bully, Pakistani officials are seriously considering an announcement where Pakistan, for the first time since October 2001, will deny the United States use of Pakistani soil and air space to transport fuel to Afghanistan.

* Reviewing Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Islamabad needs to fight terrorists on its border with Afghanistan. But our methods need to be different to Washington’s when it comes to our domestic extremists. This is where Islamabad parts ways with Washington. Pakistani officials are conisdering the option of withdrawing from the war on terror while maintining Pakistan’s own war against the terrorists along Afghanistan’s border.

* Talks with the Taliban. Pakistan has no quarrel with Afghanistan’s Taliban. They are Kabul’s internal problem. But if reaching out to Afghan Taliban’s Mullah Omar can have a positive impact on rebellious Pakistani extremists, then this step should be taken. The South Koreans can talk to the Taliban. Karzai has also called for talks with them. It is time that Islamabad does the same.

The Americans have been telling everyone in the world that they have paid Pakistan $10 billion dollars over the past five years. They might think this gives them the right to decide Pakistan’s destiny. What they don’t tell the world is how Pakistan’s help secured for them their biggest footprint ever in energy-rich Central Asia.

If they forget, Islamabad can always remind them by giving them the same treatment that Uzbekistan did last year.

Source

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11 Responses to The Plan To Topple Pakistan Military

  1. abuhamza says:

    this whole fiasco of Musharraf and the suspension of the rule of law is a smoke screen to wage war against the muslims/islamists in the SWAT and Wazirastan.

    Musharraf has no support from the secularist let alone the muslims in Pakistan. The US has no option to back Musharaff all the way as they have invested too much time/money on him with the war on terror and securing their interest within C. Asia.

    Watch out Busharaff the Muslims are coming!!!

  2. Voice of Reason says:

    doesnt it bother people that the mullahs in Swat are claiming for a seperate homeland the clerics have hijacked the religion and the moderate voices are never heard.. ??

    musharraf is doing everything that he blamed the others of doing.. so whats the diffrence now. I think the best bet now is imran khan but he doesnt seem to be gathering the support, which just shows that our ppl are not ready to decide for themselves.. it baffles me to think that the crooks who stole from the ppl are now the front runners again.

    u know its hard to swallow, but I was at a conference few weeks back for natural resources [coal gas etc] where a british presenter made a very honest comment. a regular visitor to india he was praising all the progress they are going through, compared it to Pak he said that whenever he goes to Khi he feels very insecure, as compared to India he feels very safe.. he was praising the indian education as well saying they have so many MBA’s and masters etc etc. for Pak he said the schools have been taken over my clerics and all the institutes by the army… hard to admit but there is a lot of truth in this

  3. Liquat says:

    Bro, you’re coming at it from a different angle.

    Doesn’t it bother you that external forces with varying interests are behind the various problems being faced by Pakistan. Not that they are completely to blame, I’m not saying it all someonelses fault but I’m saying that there are people and groups with interests that know how to push the buttons according to what suits them. E.g. Baluchistan etc.

    Try viewing Pakistan and for the most part the Mid East as places where each differing voice is backed by an external party e.g. Benazir backed by the U.S etc… Nawaz was first turned away at the airport because he didn’t have the right external backers., so the yanks spoke to the Saudis and the Saudis spoke to Musharraf. Its no secret that Imran Khan’s leanings are more towards the British.

    India is not as good as it seems. I agree its attitude to education is something we can learn from but Pakistan’s GDP has been growing faster than even India’s in the past two years. All these goras complain about security in Pakistan but you and I know well that it doesn’t stop them from a) going to Pakistan and b) maximising the blood they suck out of Pakistan.

    Bro in 2002 the Aust. Government was warning all Australians not to go to Pak because of the Afghan war, they said it was unsafe and they hated westerners there. Well I went to Pakistan only to find DKNY, Dunkun fu%cken doughnits and every other American business opened all over Lahore. So while telling everyone how unsafe it was they went and grabbed all the market opportunities. My point is that they all complain about the place but none of them f^cken leave it alone either…

    India aint as good as they make out. It has a population crisis and people are still marrying dogs http://www.smh.com.au/news/unusual-tales/33yearolds-bride-really-is-a-bitch/2007/11/14/1194766712710.html

    India is the way it is because it does what its told. They sell their culture and identity in return for anything. And don’t forget they are anti-Islam like the Americans, Israelis and Europe so of course they being rewarded.

    The issue is leadership. Musharraf compromised his integrity and is paying. Its doesn’t bother me that the Mullahs are doing what they are doing. What does bother me is that Muslims don’t know their Islam well enough to know whether the Mullahs are good or bad. Judge them against one’s own knowledge of Islam. What also bothers me is that people judge Islam by these Mullahs. I have a reasonable experience in media and have seen it in writing that there are forces at work whose sole aim is to ensure that any negative story re-: Islam is published.

  4. Voice of Reason says:

    yes it bothers me that we have foreign religious factions in Swat and waaziristan. Liaqat all the foreign brands also bring prosperity to the locals. the blood suck out of Pak is not entirely true. foreign investment is badly needed . But just imagine who is going to invest in a country where security is a major concern, the chinese get picked up by the handful. The young men that get degrees have no place to go work, hence the extremist voice gives them a reason to be upset and bitter.

    Re India – bro credit where its due, as a nation they have realised that sectarian and religious diffrences wont help anyone. This dog example, let me tell you that in Sindh young girls are married to the Quran so that the wealth of the family stays in that family. Lack of education is rampant in our country too..

    I think we both agree that existing leaders and generals are a waste of time, musical chairs wont help the country. I also agree with you when you say that people judge islam by the mullahs and not of their own knowledge..

  5. Liaquat says:

    My concern is that not all so-called religious groups are extreme. Sometimes they may sound it but often this is rhetoric. If a person knows their Islam then they are better equipped to identify and thus support the sincere groups. If we say that its not possible for there to be a sincere group then its all over. I am advocatig Islam as the answer and leadership as the key instrument not just for Pakistan.

    India is not a model example for Pakistan. The best it can get from India is India’s attitude to certain things. India’s economy may appear good but it far from that and it still has 1000 Million plus people to try and feed. The Islamic world has never needed the west or its institutions to survive or prosper. Some of us only think that thats where our success lies. Since India deregulated its economy thousands of farmers have committed suicide because of crippling debt and other issues.

    India is far from understanding secreterian violence and religious violence doesn’t pay. Man they were the major backers of the Northern Alliance and what about their record in Gujrat. Go to Youtube and watch the videos of Hindus proudly talking about killing Muslim women and children and read this (the orders came from the top to kill as many Muslims as possible in three days, the Police were even in on it) http://www.khanfactor.com/blog/?p=383

    If the definition of a successful Muslim country is one that adopts western values and customs and institutions as the norm then you can keep that type of country, in fact why are we even Muslim? Lets forget that as well.

  6. Pakistan First says:

    I think all of us need to pause and recollect our thoughts. This isnt about India, the USA or any other conspiracist out to destroy Pakistan, its about us.
    If we want things to improve, we need to improve as a nation. And the foundations of that is education, awareness and alleviation of poverty. But we also have to realize that we dont live in an idealistic world where initiatives alone will do the trick. For every initiative someone takes, there is a backlash against it. (eg If Dept of Population & Health advocates polio medication, the illiterate decide that medication is a western conspiracy). So how do we progress when we keep pulling ourselves down? I think thats where we need healthy constructive debate! (who gives a toss about an indian marrying a god!)

    So anyone have any ideas?

    I will start with one which is something we can implement on an individual level- For all the Pakistanis living outside of Pakistan. We are lucky to have had exposure to people of other nations who have tremendous civic sense and respect- which the average pakistani sincerely lacks- like not littering, standing in lines for our turn, not lighting up in a no-smoking zone.

    How about the next time we are in our own country, we try lead by example and practice the same thing … instead of standing at Jinnah Terminal under the No Smoking sign with our ciggies lit up and saying – “Pakistan may sab chalta hai. “

  7. Liquat says:

    Pak First i think your examples (littering,standing in line, smoking under the no smoking sign) are absolutely spot on. I agree with you on this 110% and its what I mean when I say we can learn from attitudes of others. You articulated this most precisely. Another thing I would like to add is attitudes towards health issues and the need to do what the west does really well and increase public awareness of issues like cancer, HIV etc…

    Ultimately the fate of Pakistan rests on the shoulders of Pakistanis, morover the the answer for Muslims lies with Muslims. Others exploit us simply because they can, thats what I say.

    Having said that, we have to admit that there are interest groups that formulate ideals scenarios that facilitate their goals. To talk about external forces doesn’t mean (and I said this in a nearlier post) that we are blameless and it also doesnt mean that we are conspiracy theorists. To bring ourselves up we need to identify all the factors that contribute to us being down. Once we do this we can formaulte strategies to address all of them including our infamous “Pakistan may sab chalta hai. “ attitude.

    We need leadership. We all had hopes for Musharraf and we can understand (even if we disagree) with some of his decisions. I read his autobiography and therefore know what he thinks of Shariff and Bhutto. Why is Musharraf doing all the things that he accussed them of doing and how in hell have Shariff and Bhutto (Crooks down to the bone) returned with motorcades and fireworks?

    In America Musharraf is being shown as doomed and Benazir as Pakistan’s saviour. WHAT A JOKE

    The poor Pakistani doesnt deserve them even though he smokes under the no smoking sign and can’t line up and wait his turn.

  8. Voice of Reason says:

    Well Said ‘Pak First’ agree hundred percent. On the topic of leaders? atleast I dont see anyone standing up and taking us thru the next decade. I saw Musharraf as that but like many of us who welcomed him in are also now doubting his real motives. However if you buy the theory of US dirty tactics [which I have no doubt is true to some extent] then we need to support him. Cause the likes of Benazir and Shariff are there for personal glory and gains..

    Imran Khan perhaps….

  9. Liquat says:

    Or Abdul Razzaq 🙂

    Or Legendary Pakistani screen idol ‘Nadeem”

  10. Voice of Reason says:

    hahahahaha – Ok Liquat who then? go on give us a name…

  11. Pakistan First says:

    We cant name anyone because our political party leaders dont allow anyone else to rise within the ranks (BB has Aitzaz Ahsan in her party but as soon as he seemingly gained popularity, she disassociates herself from him). Political leaders feel it is their birthright to rule their party and Pakistan. Our choices are limited and the nation has not given rise to any new leader . The only (not so) new face is Imran Khan who is atleast an honest man but (1) he needs to learn to play the political game (2) build a party (understand that he is difficult and authoritative to work with which has caused many to quit his party). Although he makes sense, has plans, has vision etc its almost like throwing your vote away (if it mattered in the first place that is). But unlikely that some revolutionary leader is going to appear between now and jan 8 to lure our votes. We joke about names coz we really dont have any to offer. So when I look at the state of play at present, despite all his shortcomings, disregard for civil institutions & judiciary, lust for power/belief that only he can save Pakistan- I would vote for Musharraf. But wait, he is already President so what now…. ?Can the other parties tell me what their proposed manifesto is, what is their vision and how do they plan to implement their policies instead of sitting on the pot contemplating whether to boycott or not!?!

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