Destroying Pakistan in the name of liberalism
By Havi Zayed
It is the duty of every Pakistani to point out the wrongs and issues in Pakistani society and accept them because only by accepting our problems we can address them. It is also our duty to address these wrongs and ensure that these issues in our society are eliminated for a bright future for our Nation. Unfortunately several people in Pakistan have started using this as a tool to bring the Nation to its knees. They hide under the guise of intellectuals, thinkers, scholars or social workers in order to fling dirt on Pakistan. There is no solution being pointed out. Just mud slinging aimed at Pakistan without proof. Such elements were the most active during the Mumbai Attacks. Article after Anti Pakistani article went up as Nationalists watched in horror how their country and people were blamed even while the attacks were taking place. The versions of news varied so much and were filled with so many discrepancies that it seemed almost foolish to admit the attackers were from Pakistan.
It is understandable that the Indian terrorist elements, propaganda artists, American Neo Cons and other fifth columnists and their fellow Pakistan hating class often find the time to fling dirt at Pakistan and blame the country for all their ills and issues but it is absolutely another when certain Pakistanis themselves display hatred for their own Nation and try to dismember it.
Unfortunately certain individuals who eat and sleep in Pakistan have a false assumption that whatever case it is taking an Anti Pakistani stance will make them seem progressive and enlightened. These people pride themselves over tarnishing the image of the country and taking an Anti Pakistani stand thinking that they will be seen as liberal and knowledgeable as a result.
Where on one hand we are cursed with the presence of gun totting terrorists who want to impose their version of Islam at the cost of much human life we are also cursed with the presence of such people. These people instead of using the gun use filth from their mouth as their gun and the filth from their pens as daggers to spread dirt internationally which costs Pakistan dearly in the International Arena.
The propaganda that certain people living within the borders of Pakistan and calling themselves Pakistani can engage in is surprising.
Has our media become infested with such individuals?
Where we would imagine the media would ignore such elements it has become a hub for these people. Dawn News and GEO have given themselves up to such elements completely.
Nadeem F Paracha for instance has become the mouthpiece of Dawn. He is known as a cultural critic but is more famous for his Pakistan bashing lately and his writing style uses a mix of satire and mock journalism to bash individuals who he disagrees with. It is surprising that this immature individual has been provided a voice in one of our largest newspapers but this is not the only case where a few individuals acting as highly educated professionals can attack National Interest.
Ayesha Siddiqa the controversial writer of Military Inc has gone a step further and calls the founding father of the country and the National poet a “homosexual” in a conversation with Subroto Roy on Facebook. The woman is known to be very critical of the founding fathers of the Nation. Unfortunately this same “intellectual” is a teacher in the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad one of the largest institutions in Islamabad but is not the only such “intellectual” who is found in Pakistan today.
The message this gives the younger generation is increasingly worrying. When our elders have no hope in Pakistan and have no respect for our founders what is the chance that we the coming generation are expected to maintain faith in our country and do anything good for it?
The Problem: Are liberals really liberals?
Terrorism has divided Pakistan into two different groups. Either we see people who completely support the Pakistani Taliban, other terrorist fronts or are unwilling to condemn terrorists the way they are supposed to be condemned while on the other hand we have people who think of themselves as liberals and activists but are actually simply flinging dirt at their own Nation believing it would make them appear broad minded and liberal.
Today it amounts to taking a stand at the cost of forgetting one’s own identity. Anyone willing to take a path that is against their own mindset is an ignorant person according to them.
This fanaticism on both sides has turned into a worrisome issue. Anything that takes up a principle that is out of line from the mainstream media or questions aspects of American or Indian behaviour is basically rubbished by them as a conspiracy theory. On the other hand they play a hand in the reports of ISI being a dangerous rogue intelligence agency while the nuclear weapons of Pakistan are at risk. They are in fact in the frontline when it comes to such baseless reports. The military is their other enemy which is now the focus of much speculation.
It is unfortunate that many Pakistanis still have to understand that calling every other person who does not agree with them and seeks to refute the International media’s claims a conspiracy theorist or an illusionist does not make them modern or progressive. They don’t realise that it makes them seem as ignorant as the Taliban. That is the Taliban without the drive of any ideology. These people seem to believe in nothing. They bash Pakistan because the World does so. They believe Pakistan’s nuclear weapons may fall into terrorist hands because certain media outlets seek sensationalism and say so. They believe the ISI and Military are dangerous organizations on the verge of destroying Pakistan because that is what some media outlets portray. The fact is these individuals are incapable of thinking for themselves and of questioning why?
Personally I have lived outside Pakistan my entire life with only some of my time spent in Pakistan but I simply find the behaviour and claims of these individuals worrying at best rather than to be a representation of an evolved mindset. If they cannot stand to defend the interests of their own Nation then what will they stand for? When such learned individuals have no belief in Pakistan and miss no opportunity at bashing their country hiding under the cloak of “modernism” then what are we the coming generation expected to do?
Can we ever put our own interests first?
No doubt the terrorists are a major threat to Pakistan but is it not our duty to verify who is supporting them? They can continue calling us propaganda artists or conspiracy theorists but the fact remains there are major issues on which our theories are based. There are huge question marks over the way USA has waged this war and has released terrorist commanders. There are major question marks over the constant blame we have heard from India.
When on one hand we cannot have terrorists telling us what we should do we can also not have the Americans who sponsored them in the first place and killed Millions of people across the World for their own petty goals dictating our future as their toy soldiers.
The response of these people will always be “ISI and Pakistan’s military sponsored terrorism all along” but they should be reminded that when Zia did not want to join this war it was an American team that came and convinced him to wage war in Afghanistan. It was the USA that armed these same terrorists and sent billions of dollars to Pakistan for them to be armed. Estimates over the amount of money transferred by the USA to the terrorist organizations vary from 15 Billion to 25 Billion. We cannot continue taking the blame on ourselves and stifling every voice that thinks differently. It is clear that Pakistan was used at that time and when the war was over we were abandoned.
This is analogous to the situation we are faced with today. If we call the actions of the 1980’s a mistake then is it not a mistake to bow before Americans again knowing that they have abandoned us in the past? We cannot be hypocrites and take only one side of the story.
The Taliban and Al Qaeda are no doubt sworn enemies of Pakistan and hatred for them only increases with every bombing and every bullet they fire. So much so that if Pakistanis had a choice they would be lynched and their bodies hung across a huge picket line all the way from Chitral in the north to Karachi in the south.
However we must also remember the crimes of USA against the Pakistani state. If we could not trust them in the past the last thing we can do is trust them now or we will simply be repeating mistakes. We must also understand that a Nation that we have fought 3 wars with is definitely not a well wisher. No doubt there is a thirst for both peace and an end to hostilities on both sides but this should not blind us to such an extent that we forget that our National Interest is what comes first.
Every nation looks after its interests and its people display a semblance of patriotism in difficult times instead of trying to focus on bashing their country for their own interests.
So the question is why are Pakistanis sacrificing their National Interest and why are the so called intellectuals trying to misdirect us and trying to ensure that we lose faith in Pakistan? Why do such “intellectuals” even hold a sway on Pakistani society and why is legal action not taken against them when they insult the very founding fathers of the country and the principles we hold dear?
A recent survey conducted by Pew Global Attitudes (a project of a research center in Washington) in Pakistan has proven that the 64% of the people of Pakistan despise the USA and see it as one of the greatest threats to Pakistan. On the other hand only about 9% believe that the US can ever be Pakistan’s allies. However 70% of the Pakistanis who were questioned are absolutely against the Taliban and seek their utter elimination. Another survey conducted for the international broadcaster Al Jazeera by Gallup Pakistan found that 59 percent of Pakistanis felt the greatest threat to the country was the United States rather than the Taliban.
As the report suggests Pakistanis despise the USA but do not side with the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Generally Pakistanis view them unfavourably but they see both of them as two sides of the same coin.
Unfortunately the Americans cannot come to understand why Pakistanis see them as their foremost enemy rather than the terrorists. On the other hand Pakistanis feel they have been constantly betrayed despite seeing the Americans as allies. They believe they have been used to accomplish USA’s strategic goals and interests in the region and then abandoned.
A look at history
The Taliban were formed, supported and funded by the USA in the 1980’s in order to drive away the Soviets from Afghanistan and offset the defeat they suffered to the Communists in the Vietnam War. According to newly opened CIA files USA wanted the Soviets to intervene in Afghanistan and aid was being transferred to Anti communist elements since July 1979 which was before the Soviets had officially invaded.
Pakistan was not always keen to join the war and did so upon USA’s insistence. Sources even claim that Zia Ul Haq did not want to get involved in the war but many promises of opening up military and economic assistance were offered to President Zia by American diplomats for joining the war. This and the promise of a long lasting relationship with the USA convinced Pakistanis.
However by directly interfering in neighbouring Afghanistan on the behest of American urging Pakistan suffered over 120 incidents of terrorism which killed many citizens. One such bombing was the Islamabad depot bombings were blamed on Najibullah’s government. USA suffered no losses as they had no troops on the ground and were too far away from the region.
Not surprisingly when the war was over Pakistan was not needed and the country was abandoned. In 1990 military and economic ties were cut off with Pakistan under the Presler Amendment which required proof that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear weapon.
Unfortunately the fact that America itself has one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the World and is the only Nation to have used them is ignored when talking about the nuclear aspirations of other Nations.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests
India conducted its first surprise nuclear test in 1974 known as the “Smiling Buddha.” USA turned a blind eye to the first test but India’s second test in 1998 which followed a similar test by Pakistan almost immediately received international condemnation. Initially sanctions were imposed on both India and Pakistan.
However after a few months the sanctions on India were removed while those on Pakistan remained. Certain military sanctions specially relating to nuclear technology continue till today however no such sanctions are being imposed on India. The differential treatment annoys Pakistanis as India has 10 times Pakistan’s population and is much larger than Pakistan. The military as well is larger than Pakistan’s own.
Furthermore Pakistanis can also not understand why USA signed a nuclear deal with India but is not willing to sign the exact same deal with Islamabad which has sent clear signals that it wants a peaceful nuclear deal with the USA for power generation purposes. Pakistan is facing crippling power shortages that are affecting the daily life of its citizens. In major cities people have to make do without 4-8 hours of electricity in a day.
The relationship today
Americans believe that the aid they are giving Pakistan in the War on Terror is more than enough and is a message to Pakistan to forget the past and move on. However what they don’t seem to understand is that the losses of Pakistan in the WOT have crossed $35.5 Billion in damages to Pakistan (These figures are from January 2009 and the figure may now be more than 48 Billion). The aid does not compensate Pakistan for the losses given that $11 Billion is not even a quarter of this figure.
To aggravate things further much of the aid given to Pakistan has still not been delivered and much of it will be eaten up by the administrative costs of the USA.
In addition the Americans have expressed no sympathy for the 8000 Pakistani civilians and 2000 soldiers killed in a highly unpopular war but have always pushed Pakistan to do more as if it were their colony.
Many Pakistanis as a result believe that USA is supporting terrorism in their country. The fact that the US has released several Taliban commanders from its custody such as Abdullah Mehsud who have attacked Pakistani Nationals soon after their release has further supported this belief. The latest addition to the long list of such commanders is Mehdi-Mohammed Ghazali who was captured in Pakistan recently and is a Swedish National released from Guantanamo Bay.
The American media has a way of aggravating the situation and pouring salt to the fresh wounds of the Nation. The baseless suggestion that Pakistani nukes may fall in the hands of terrorists only fuels rage and in turn is seen as a scheme to take possession of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. On the other hand the constant campaigns of accusations aimed at Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency the ISI and the military are seen as an attempt to isolate and destroy the military and ISI so that it cannot stop CIA’s designs in the region.
When it is stated that Pakistan is not serious in the War on Terror despite the death of thousands of its own people it also fuels Anti Americanism. The Pakistanis have now become even more suspicious of the USA because of these media campaigns.
Due to the American policies towards Pakistan in the past and those that still continue today many Pakistanis simply see the terrorist organizations as American agents. For the majority of Pakistanis the USA and Taliban are basically two sides of the same coin.
Can US-Pakistani ties ever develop?
The very attitude of the USA towards Pakistan leaves lingering resentment and rage amongst Pakistanis. It does nothing but make terrorist organizations more powerful.
Where yesterday only a section of the population believed no productive ties could ever develop between Pakistan and USA today this phenomenon is noticeable even amongst the moderates as they see the USA as their sworn enemy.
USA’s foreign policy is based on egotism and to protect their self interest the Americans are willing to cross any limit. For Pakistan it is the moment to take a tougher stance with the USA and design a policy that is in turn beneficial to the Nation.
Most Pakistanis are already suggesting that either the Pakistanis take a tougher stance towards the USA and demand to be treated with the respect they deserve or withdraw from the War completely declaring themselves neutral to both the USA and the Afghan Taliban.
Whatever the case it is high time for Pakistan to present itself on an equal footing as the USA otherwise it will continue to be taken for granted and will be used and abandoned as has been the case in the past. Pakistan cannot have a relationship with the USA where Pakistan’s sovereignty itself is lost. After all Pakistan is not a colony but an Independent Nation.