When the Guns Fizzed and the Gizmos Fizzled

All the “Daisy Cutters”, Nuclear tipped bombs, and the finest drones on the planet could not stand up to the raw grit of those that opposed occupation. All the kings horses and the all the kings men could not put humpty back together or subdue the fierce fighters of Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are clear signs of operationalization of the peace plan in Kabul. The surge was imply to assuage the hawks in the Republican Party–the real Afghan reassessment was to get American boys out of the treacherous Hindu Kush. Defeat is a clichéd word–there are no winners in war. Victory is exaggerated concept. Absolute defeats have never been able to quell the resistance. Absolute victories have always lead to future wars–be it Sparta, Versailles or Kabul.

As Shakespeare would say “when the hurly burly’s done, and the battle is lost and won“–there is time to make a fresh start.

When a country is not able to impose its will and might–it is some sort of defeat. The Americans today need a face saving exit strategy from Afghanistan. The Taliban, Pakistan and all other countries of the world should assist the US in a phased, expeditious and honorable withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Over the past several years, we have predicted that the US will exit Afghanistan in 2011 right before the US elections. The tell tale signs of the operationalization of this policy is writ in large all over the billboards called newspapers.

There are numerous indications confirming our well calculated predictions: the polite decline to Delhi on their exuberance to begin training the Afghan forces; the offering of Shadow drones to Pakistan; the peace talks with the Afghan Taliban; the mood and the statements of the big boys in preperation of the Afghan Conference on January 28th, 2010; the acceptance of the Pakistani point of view on halting further operations in FATA; the usage of Pakistani mediators in back channel diplomacy to include the Taliban in the current Kabul government; and the offer of further US military and financial aid to Pakistan. The carrots offered to Pakistan are not for free–Milton Friedman was right “that ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. Pakistan is being offered new toys and more Dollars for her assistance in helping the American extricate themselves out of the Afghan quagmire.

America had a decision to make. Stick with General McChrystal’s policy of more soldiers, more mercenaries and more war–supplemented with more drone bombing and more targeted murders (drones and otherwise). More war has always created more enemies. This has never been more true than in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.

Washington’s other choice was less war, less soldiers and less enemies. President Obama hedged his bets with the first option, and then is pursuing the 2nd option aggressively.

While some may claim that the Great Game is over–and Pakistan won. However, this is not the time for crowing from the rooftops. This is the time to let loose the doves from the allow them to to fly into the sun. There are many steps between the lips and cup. There are many impediments to peace in the Panshir and tranquility in Waziristan. We believe that the right steps are being taken.

A show of strength followed up with massive financial aid and assistance will yield the right results. Once the troops begin leaving, the civilian surge, accompanied with suitcases full of Dollars will persuade the warlords to switch sides (just like the Northern Alliance switched sides in 2001).

There are huge dangers to he peace deal. Bharat (aka India) keenly aware of its sagging influence in Central Asia (specially after the ignominious eviction from Tajikistan) may play the chagrined loser, and stage another Mumbai type of false flag, and try to wage war on Pakistan. This would derail the peace plan. Some of Bharati surrogates in Balochistan and the TTP may be allowed to torpedo peace in the Khyber Pass by assassinating another Pakistani leader, in trying to create ethnic strife in Pakistan. Other international powers may have vested interests in ensuring that the Taliban do not come into power or even share the government in Kabul. Both Israel and Iran are scared of The Talibs.

If President Obama is able to pull this off–it will be a miracle. He has to keep the Indians at bay by selling them toys (double advantage, dollars and Peace); he has to appease the Pakistanis so that they continue their assistance in achieving peace; he has to browbeat Iranian resistance through sanctions and threats; he has to assuage the Chinese that Afghan venture is over with no threat to Beijing; and he has to keep the Russians cool so that they do not think that Central Asia has been taken from them. If he can do this tap dance, the US corporations can make huge profits.

Delhi needs Viagra to prove its manhood. The US can offer the blue pills in many forms–obsolete nuclear plants declared unsafe for America, stripped down F-16s (with lots of spare parts and services), and tons of below quality equipment that the Indians would love to plunk down hard cash for. After all the business of America is doing business. If the US can figure out how to sell billions of Dollars of machines (which will rust in a few years) to Delhi that would be a great achievement. If the US can make a profit out of the Afghan war to recuperate some of its losses, it will be a happy camper. Read more of this post

In Pictures: CIA Hosts Drink and Dance Party For Pakistani Journalists at US Embassy Islamabad

CIA Public Relations at work? Do you expect this “Pakistani media” would tell you the truth and serves the interests of Islam and Pakistan? If you still believe that then may Allah help you and show you the righteous path before its too late for all of us.

Shaukat Paracha, Asma Shirazi, Meher Bukhari, Saima Mohsin are some of the names that were in attendance, in a Drink & Dance party hosted by the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson.

An Open Letter To The Pakistani Media – How Far Will You Go?

Dr. Mahru Khalid | As I sit in my room writing this, I can hear Indian music playing on the television outside. I know that it is a Pakistani channel,and I can hear snatches of people singing praises of how wonderful Indian music and artists are. It has been going on for the last2 hours and may as well go on for another 2. This is what I have come to expect from my country’s media.

I refuse to go outside and watch that. Because, you see, I’m more intrigued by a news channel telling us how truckloads of Indian ammunition are being discovered by the Pak army in South Waziristan, by someone revealing how the Takfiri TTP are being financed by Indo-American (and other foreign) forces, and how names like Blackwater, Xe, DynaCorp., are raising their ugly heads andinfiltrating into the Pakistani society. Rather than watching Indian movies, I’m more entertained when I go on the internet and readstories of how Mumbai investigator Mr. Hemant Karkare was silenced forever because he could have spilled the beans that Mumbai was an inside job, how the militants who carried out that attack had stayed at a guest house called Nariman House for several days before the attack, and where they were provided food, ammunition, and arms in full knowledge of the Mumbai police, how the 40,000 strong Mumbai police was deliberately kept away from the scene of the shooting, as the terrorists went about their merry way killing people. All this from the pen of a respected Indian writer, Mr. Amaresh Mishra, for me, beats the most smoothly done Indian movieanyday!

I haven’t forgotten 26/11, and its aftermath, when your Indian counterparts didn’t bother to think rationally for a second, and pointed the finger squarely at us, how they threatened people like Adnan Sami Khan to leave or suffer the consequences, how Pakistani contestants were ejected from TV shows. I haven’t forgotten how united the Indian media and people were in their hate, or how vocal the media was with its hate-filled remarks, which were sometimes shocking in their intensity, and all on the basis of mere suspicion. And then, with much regret, I haven’t forgotten the insensitive way you responded to this outburst. Some of you even went as faras to claim that Ajmal Qasab is indeed a Pakistani citizen from Faridkot, a claim that has now been refuted by Qasab himself.

Fake Evidence: Faridkot Residents Protest!

Video: Geo Tv Report on Ajmal Kassab – The Reality

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS: Close Down GEO TV and Everything Will be Fine

And now, a year later, I see my own country bleeding like it has never bled before. I remember the horror of Marriott, the shock of Lahore’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the valour of the Shaheeds of Swat and Waziristan. This nation will never forget the innocent Shaheeds of GHQ, Peshawar, Parade Lane, Moon Market, and so many other places. Our innocent brothers, sisters, sons, daughters were this nation’s wealth, they were a part of its future, and a legacy of its past. We have lost some of our gems, but we will never lose the will to avenge each and every drop of innocent blood.

Now I ask you, Pakistani media, do you not see who is behind all this? Don’t the daily deaths mean anything to you? Do you not seethe huge gaping wound? I want to ask you, how far will you go in this Indian admiration of yours? I see morning shows competing with each other in getting the biggest Indian star on the show. I change the channel and I see a senseless but box-office rich Indian movie being shown. I go further and I see barely clad women dancing in a spot advertising the latest Indian awards. Can you not see anything beyond the mindlessness of Indian entertainment?

Can you see that they are out to destroy us from within, to eat our society up like termites eat wood? I can almost imagine them wringing their hands with contentment at our political and moral degradation, at how they maneuvered things until we were deprived of hosting any cricketing event on our soil. Why don’t you admire the smooth precision with which they accomplished these ugly goals?

Your silence is deafening, your silence on this geo-political war being waged on Pakistan, your silence when Ajmal Qasab said he’s just an Indian being directed in the greatest Indian drama ever played, your silence on the menacing involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. Your silence is truly deafening. Instead, you seem smitten by the very forces who want to see Pakistan on its knees.

Will you still go on dancing to their tunes? Will you still go on leading the people of this nation further into fools’ paradise? I just wonder, how far will you go? -> Pakalert

The winds of change

An independent and proactive judiciary is a panacea for many of the shortcomings of our democratic system, mainly a lack of accountability. — Photo by AP

There is consensus on three issues across the political spectrum of Pakistan: that military takeovers are not the solution to our problems; that corruption is a major issue in this country and we need accountability; and that we are proud of our independent judiciary and media, which have emerged as a check on an overweening executive, whether civilian or military, after decades of struggle.

The ghost of army takeovers has been laid to rest, ironically enough, by the Musharraf experience. The general’s exit revealed how he had weakened the federation as a result of his policies: a trigger-happy approach in Balochistan; confused and ineffective attempts to stem the rising tide of the Taliban; and monumental incompetence in not planning for the country’s energy needs, which has left the economy in a shambles. With such a damning record, who in God’s name would want the army back?

But the PPP’s use of the ‘establishment’ as a red herring does not hold water, and that too at a time when the army is preoccupied with a full-blown insurgency and is experiencing heavy losses among its troops. They have shown great professionalism and done a magnificent job under their present leadership, realising that dabbling in politics had only tarnished the military’s reputation. They are important stakeholders when it comes to our security, especially since we are in the middle of a war; it was a blunder not to have consulted them over the Kerry-Lugar bill.

It is impressive the way the PPP government has contributed to the strengthening of the federation through its Balochistan package and the NFC accord. Mr Zardari’s heart was in the right place from day one on the issue of Balochistan; and on the NFC award; the PML-N also made a very positive contribution. However, when it comes to corruption, rumours are rife from the shores of Karachi right upto the Khyber Pass.

The role of the media has been outstanding in exposing corruption and other scandals: the Doctors’ Hospital’s misdeeds, the Punjab Bank scam and the Pakistan Steel Mills scandal; the list is endless. These comperes, journalists and the channels they represent have shown great commitment in revealing widespread corruption, which has reached new heights under this dispensation. It takes hard work, integrity and courage to take on an incumbent government.

It was this same commitment that had Musharraf on the run; and now the PPP government is reacting in a similarly intolerant fashion. As social activist Tahira Abdullah argued in a TV discussion recently, all channels should follow the practice of inviting a representative of the government in their talk shows, so that their point of view is not left out.

It might be pertinent to recall the attacks on Bush in the international media, and how it reached a crescendo with the throwing of the shoe at him in Baghdad. I don’t remember Bush complaining like our government; and if the strategy is to pick on a chosen few of the media to denounce, it only results in their ratings going up.

While there is much drum-beating about the sovereignty of parliament, the latter’s performance has been dismal. Political parties are the weak link in the political system, resulting in a supine parliament.

In a democratic dispensation, it is a vibrant and well-informed parliament that must discuss the issues of the day, and voice the concerns of the people. The vacuum left by a passive parliament, has been filled by the media and judiciary; and they have emerged as the voice of the dispossessed and voiceless.

Living up to its reputation, parliament scarcely carried out any meaningful legislation over the last one year, which is its primary responsibility.

Musharraf, in a last-ditch effort to shore up his power, came up with the National Reconciliation Ordinance — a deal brokered with the help of what can only be described as ‘imperial’ powers.

Any court of law would have thrown out the NRO, because it is selective and therefore unconstitutional. The government was given four months by the judiciary to get the NRO approved by parliament, and when it failed to do so, the expected and only possible decision was taken. The government’s inability to get it approved in parliament, or even defend it properly in court, shows that even the government had found its case to be indefensible.

The demand for the rule of law and justice, but on a level playing field, has moved beyond the drawing rooms of our well-heeled civil society to the common man. It is the marriage of the media and the judiciary/lawyers which has transformed Pakistan’s political landscape.

The striking down of the NRO has two aspects: it is an assertion of our sovereignty, for the NRO was brokered by western powers in cahoots with a ruler who had little public support; and it has put the issue of accountability on the front burner once again. It is interesting but not surprising, that such an important decision got scant coverage in the western media, or only with negative overtones.

An independent and proactive judiciary is a panacea for many of the shortcomings of our democratic system, mainly a lack of accountability. By moving beyond the NRO and calling in a list of bank defaulters, the judiciary is reaffirming its role as the guardian of the people’s interest. It is for the political forces and civil society to ensure that the government implements the rulings of the judiciary.— Dushka H. Saiyid

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