A swirling vortex of entropy
As boulder hurtles down a slope towards its eventual endpoint, it picks up speed. So it is with change and this is what is happening currently in Pakistan. Things are happening so fast so furiously, that we cannot wrap our heads around it. Those who follow such events and deliberate on them carefully can detect a method to this madness clearly, but even if the layman is told to watch it real close, the lay gaze can see the picture clearly too.
It is an astonishing sight that the Pakistan where the tides of anti-Americanism are rising like never before, one can see the frothy outline of things to come beneath these very tides. Everything that our establishment resisted in every way is now taking form. That for which blood was spilled; that for which many movements were suppressed; that for which many far-sighted ones’ resolve was broken. The writing, as they say, is on the wall.
Ours is a curious case. When the newly formed Pakistan had no army to speak of (as the army and arms that the British had left was with India), not only did we manage to wrest this state but India also did not have the gumption to send its forces to Kashmir. The Indian forces only entered Kashmir when a few of our army officers went against the directives of the government and sent some warriors (or mujahideen) to Kashmir (this was also done during the Kargil debacle). Even at that time during the rule of Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan, the US was intimated that if it would undertake the responsibility of our defence, we would maintain a bare minimum army. But then aid and arms started to pour in and defence agreements were inked, and our army began to grow in power. But as it grew in power, neither could we get Kashmir nor could we save East Pakistan. Neither Siachen nor Kargil. Neither could we get strategic depth in Afghanistan nor could we curb terrorist to get some much-needed peace for the country.
But in the failure to do all this, what we did manage to do was turn our country into a security state. Defence expenditure was the first and foremost priority while everything else took a backseat. Anti-India sentiments became the nucleus of our policy making. Any elected government that talked of normalising relations with India was showed the door ignominiously. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman came with a slogan of ending animosity with India and the result was that power wasn’t transferred to him even after he got a decisive victory at the polls. Bhutto sb got prisoners of war and annexed area back from India and he was later hanged. Zia-ul-Haq who gave the highest honour to an Indian prime minister still remained a ‘patriotic’ Pakistani but Nawaz Sharif who conducted the nuclear tests and talked of a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue, he was turned into a prisoner and sent into exile. Similarly, when the incumbent government talked of normalising relations with India, it has been ridiculed at each step of the way and it had been forced into this state of crisis.
When drone attacks were conducted against the terrorists active against the US and Pakistan, our centre of ‘patriotism’ were up in arms and began to politically express their antagonism. It is now such that first only being anti-India was a consideration of being ‘patriotic’ but now anti-Americanism has also become a binding condition for being so. So anyone who expresses his anti-Americanism loud and clear become a hero but anyone who tries to be pragmatic is suspicious.
None of what I’ve explained above will seem out of the ordinary. But what is taking place currently, if analysed carefully, is something totally different from what it appears to be. Politicians prepared in the factories of patriotism are now being consigned to the dustbin of history on the count of irrelevance. Those who thought themselves secure because they stoke anti-Indian and anti-American sentiment will soon be in the doghouse. The PPP tried to outdo everyone in ‘patriotism’ but now it is totally down and out. Nawaz Sharif spent every bit of effort to encircle the PPP but it is also being sent the same way as the PPP.
And the new leadership that is being prepared to take the place of these parties has ignored those who sign the certificates of patriotism and has openly given statements that were once considered traitorous. Imran Khan clearly stated the other day that we should give up on the idea of military action as a solution to the Kashmir issue as this issue can only be solved through dialogue. The leader of another cadre of leadership that is being prepared has tried to reconcile with the ‘second biggest enemy’ of Pakistan and in an interview with Haaretz has enumerated the actions he undertook to better relations with Israel during his tenure and expressed the resolve to correct this strategic wrong.
Thus, the emergent political leadership’s political views will be based on these new ideals. The more you consider it, the more you can see a policy shift in the making. This is always what the US demanded us of and we refused to accede when they were our ally. But now that our relations with the US are in a state of tension, we are ready to make these concessions.
Things are indeed upside down. Could anyone have thought that an American citizen who hated the Pakistan army and ISI, would be wined and dined by the same institutions as they would a sincere friend? Not only did he write articles to discredit Pakistan’s policies but also took practical steps against them. He even went to the extent of delivering the mujahideen to India. But today, this man will be protected by the army and the ISI. On the one hand, our establishment is hellbent on teaching the US a lesson by taking it up (through such measures as blocking Nato routes) while on the other hand we are promoting a man who represents the US agenda for the region. The man with the briefcase will be hailed in Pakistan. India was a regional power and it dented our pride by using its army. But the US is a ‘super’power and Masnoor Ijaz is a US citizen and we are willingly ready to lay our pride at his feet. The US has taught us what a superpower is and it has still much to teach us…
The writer is one of Pakistan’s most widely read columnists.