As the walls close in


As state institutions, particularly parliament and the judiciary test each other’s strengths, trying to prove that one is better than the other at eye-balling; as a prime minister is sent home by the Supreme Court in what can only be described as moves fraught with constitutional danger; as politicians throw caution out the window in one-upmanship; as the Deep State flexes its shrivelled biceps, our hapless and luckless and unfortunate country is being hemmed in from all sides at dizzying speed.

It’s only been one year since the terrorist Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad Cantonment and details began to emerge of him moving from place to place in Pakistan, starting in Swat and ending up in Abbottabad via Haripur; of him fathering three children in Pakistan during this period, at least two in government-run hospitals (one in Haripur, duh!), and only a half-year since the Nato attack on our Salala post on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Yet, note that in this little time we have lost the trust of most, if not all of our friends; note how most of the world looks upon us as an increasingly lost cause headed nowhere but down; note more than anything else that even our ‘brotherly’ country of Saudi Arabia has extradited to India the man blamed by the Indians to have been one of the masterminds of the horrific terror attacks on Mumbai of September 26, 2008.

But do those who run our security policy understand any of this? Are they taking American threats seriously enough: E.g., “We are this close to bombing…”, or do they think that just by manipulating the media in Pakistan they can get away with all of their shenanigans? That by trotting out propagandists they can divert the people’s — nay the world’s — attention away from their own proclivities? Do they think that the bright young things at and should still be given free rein to make a bigger mess of the utter mess we are in, through their jingoism and false narratives?

As I have cautioned before, we should stop deluding ourselves: that the pronouncements and the defence mounted by other so-called ‘spokesmen’ of the Deep State can get us off the hook using stout denial and downright stupid arguments. Indeed, one of these new-found ‘security analysts’, who are increasingly from the Air Force for some reason, mark, had the effrontery just the other day to say on Hamid Mir’s show, words to the effect that the Americans were not apologising for Salala because the government was weak and surrounded by scandals such as ‘Mamo-gate’! I mean, I ask you.

Let us go back to this Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jandal alias 22 other aliases, and try and understand the gravity of the situation. It is said that every Pakistani ‘agency’; the government; and the FO exerted all kinds of influence/pressure on the Saudis for months on end, not to extradite the man to India. There is also the rumour that the COAS just recently went for Umra with the then prime minister for this very purpose but that the Saudis were unmoved.

According to news reports, they were persuaded of the man’s identity after DNA samples taken from his family in India were matched to his by the Saudis. It is also said that the Americans leaned on the Saudis too, citing the killing of American nationals in that cruel attack on innocent civilians in Mumbai on that horrifying night. The man is reportedly singing away like several canaries, and just three days into his interrogation, the Indian home minister has already said that state actors were involved in planning and running the Mumbai attacks.

Now the man could be lying about who was or was not present in the “control room” in Karachi when telephonic instructions were being passed by their handlers to the terrorists carrying out the killings in Mumbai. But what do we do with the established fact that Ajmal Kasab belonged to a village in Okara district and that the media, notably Geo, were stopped by beefy goons who were already posted in the village by the ‘agencies’ to prevent just that kind of coverage.

What do we do about the fact that the then National Security Adviser, General Mahmud Durrani, quite rightly admitted that Kasab was indeed a Pakistani? What do we do about the fact that the boat carrying the terrorists set sail from Karachi on its deadly mission? We can’t, we should not, hide behind flimsy excuses such as the one being trotted out now by Rehman Malik: because Abu Jandal is Indian, it was an Indian plot. Not only is it disingenuous, it will prevent this country from cleansing itself and the region of some of the worst terrorists in the world; which we must do with extreme alacrity if we are to survive.

As for our relations with Nato, it seems to me that the latest offer brought by General John Allen to our General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is sterling. Let the Pakistan army and Nato jointly clear out the Taliban terrorists: both Afghan and the TTP, so that the countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan have some little hope of stabilising over the coming years. Otherwise, we are both done for, my friends.

And now a little something on the latest hearing of Farahnaz Ispahani’s dual nationality case. It was instructive to read in this newspaper of record the exchange between her lawyer, Wasim Sajjad, and the honourable bench of the SC. When asked by Ispahani’s counsel why there were “no such impediments for some other top slots like the auditor general, high court judges or chief justices”, My Lord Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that high court judges were not barred from holding two nationalities because they “never sit in defence committee meetings or have direct access to the Kahuta facility”.

Direct access to Kahuta by an MNA, My Lord? Not even the Prime Minister, not even the President will be allowed anywhere near Kahuta, considered as ‘bloody civilians’ to be less patriotic than our uniformed patriots! In any case, the superior judiciary can ask for any record; any government file under the sun and woe betide the person who refuses to present it yesterday.

The Express Tribune