January 4, 2010
By Saeed Qureshi
The cracks are once again appearing in the national cohesion fabric that somehow was sustained in Pakistan despite immense upheavals including the cessation of the eastern wing of Pakistan now known as Bangladesh. In the aftermath of the truncation of Pakistan in 1971, it was believed that the remaining part, West Pakistan being a geographical contiguity would, henceforth strengthen and prosper. The brief leadership of ZA Bhutto rekindled the hope and recharged the will to move forward and reorient Pakistan as a vibrant and viable country.
There were those who erroneously thought that the separation of East Pakistan was a good riddance and a blessing in disguise. Even Islam a strong binding force has remained debilitated to keep the nation together. On the contrary it has emerged more as a divisive force as witnessed in pervasive religious extremism and the resurfacing of the sectarian antagonism with added ferocity between Sunni and Shia sects.
There seem to be invisible hands and hidden forces trying to choke the economic viability of Pakistan as evidenced by the latest incidents of burning the Bolton market in Karachi. The flurry of suicide bomb blasts that have incessantly rocked the length and breadth of Pakistan were carried out mostly in busy Bazaars, trade centers and hotels.
Now the power grid stations and gas supply lines are being targeted and that frightening dimension would spell disaster and cause incalculable loss to the already fragile economy of Pakistan. With power shut off or being supplied piecemeal, the industry is moving towards a standstill situation. The Minister of Water and Power has lately recanted from his earlier claims that by December 2009 the load shedding would disappear. Now with a straight and remorseless face, he says that his earlier pledges and claims were wrong or false and that in future he would never lay such phony claims. With his loathsome statement of atonement the future of power looks dark and with that the country getting darker shadows as well.
The situation is Faisalabad became desperate when the laborers who were rendered jobless due to closure of the textile mills, turned into a rowdy crowd chanting anti government slogans and demanding resumption of power supply. Similar unrest is mushrooming in other parts of the country. It doesn’t forebode well for a country sunk up to neck in a civil war situation thrust on it by the foreign imperial powers. The inability and impotency of the respective Pakistani leaders to come up with a befitting response and posting a big no has to the foreign dictions has brought this beautiful country to such a nightmarish pass.
The armed militancy raging in Balochistan is the biggest danger to the federation of Pakistan. This insurgency is evidently being aided and abetted by India, a sordid fact widely acknowledged. The rebellion in Balochistan has its roots also in the indifferent way this sparsely populated yet profusely rich land mass has been treated by various governments in Pakistan. The foremost ingredient that fomented a prolonged climate of confrontation between the center and this province is the scourge of peerage or "Sardari Nizam" that is hell-bent to ferret out of the federation of Pakistan.
The Bhutto crackdown on Baluchi resistance and later ratcheted up by Musharraf are the display of state‘s bids to impose its fiat on the renegade province. The death of Akbar Bugti in a combat with the army turned out to be last nail or a potent cause to openly cross swords with the center. The elements that want the Balochistan province to be independent state are hard nuts to crack and they can be subdued only by use of brute force. The pliant or patriotic Balochis can be talked to for reconciliation. Thus far that murky standoff has been markedly instrumental in generating a paradigm of destabilization.
The army’s onslaught against the religious militancy is another monstrous factor that has catapulted Pakistan into a war being fought for others. Had Pakistan come under threat from the Tribal warriors without the apron string of America and the west, Pakistan was within its legitimate rights to curb and eliminate thus threat. But the ongoing military action is not aimed at saving Pakistan from the onset a theocratic Islamic empire, but to kill the enemies of America. This so called war on terrorism is being waged at the bidding and behest of foreign powers for which the blood of Pakistanis is being spilled on its own soil without any compunction.
The simple corollary is “we give you money and you kill our enemies even if they are your citizens and kith.” And by the way the enemies are the Pakistanis, who could be cajoled or persuaded peacefully to desist from their militancy, not to challenge the state authority and instead join the mainstream national milieu. It is foregone that Pakistan would not be able to finish insurgents to the last and wind up its operations by announcing “the mission accomplished”. Mind it, this civil war is not going to end so soon. Pakistan army would remain bogged into this filthy quagmire for quite some time.
At domestic front, the disillusionment of the people of Pakistan is reaching a breaking point, from where it might turn into a civil disobedience movement. Logically, if people have no jobs, no morsel of food to eat, no electricity to light their houses, no gas to cook or boil water, or petrol to run their cars and buses, no medicines for the sick and no fee to pay for schooling of their children, no orderly traffic to reach their destinations, no enough public transport to travel on time, no drinkable water, then what option is left with the people: either to die in silence or challenge the rulers and come out in streets.
The other grotesque dimension is the genie of corruption that has charmed every mind in power corridors. The state institutions and government departments look like heaps of filth and diabolic models of incompetence and inefficiency. These are invariably manned by individuals with long blood licking fangs that spare no one and get grafts for their official obligations. The police supposed to be the shelter for the oppressed and harassed citizens are a cabal of rapists, collaborators of criminals, rogues and rascals. The legal minds have no other penchant except to make money by using the rod of justice against those who cannot pay.
The ministers and top brass are past masters in deception, falsehood, mockery, and creating hoaxes for better days. One provincial minister from Sindh conditions his loyalty to Pakistan with the loyalty to his chum Asif Ali Zardari. In one of his latest unforgettable, outrageous outburst, he thundered, “if today Asif Zardari says Pakistan "Na Khappey" (we don’t want Pakistan), we shall too reject Pakistan.” Do someone need any evidence of how treason is committed and that too so insolently. Pakistan to these guys, who are perched on top positions of power ladder, is like toilet paper that can be thrown away after rubbing filth to it.
No wonder then, the prodigious drift towards destabilization is picking up momentum. Pakistan army is a savior, albeit of geographical frontiers. It cannot prevent the whole nation marching on the streets and demanding justice and revenge the wayward and derelict leadership. If the aristocratic or wealthy classes are ransacked and their citadel like mansions pillaged then who is to blame? At the saturation point, the public wrath like the divine retribution visits upon such individuals and leaders who incorrigibly project themselves as Roman emperors.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010
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