Monthly Archives: August 2013

WHAT CAN BE THE POTENTIAL ALLIED TARGETS DURING WAR ON SYRIA

By Akhtar Malik  30 Aug 2013

Odyssey DawnSyria has been heavily militarized over the past few decades so there will be plenty of targets available for strike by American and allied missiles and bombers. Americans will not hesitate to hit the gorgeous palace of Assad located on Mount Mazzeh in southern Damascus.

Regime command and control centers in the capital city along with Defense Ministry, intelligence setup in Umayyad Square and Interior Ministry offices near Merjeh Square will be priority targets. These will engulf the civilian population in the area as well. Troops loyal to Assad may also get the priority. In northern Damascus, area of Mount Qasioun houses lot of military buildings and sites including Republican Guards and elite 4th Armored Division, along with shopping plazas and hotels, thus may invite the first volley of missiles.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters are already in Syria and aiding Assad to fight the rebels. Their site was bombed by Israeli air force in Qasioun in May this year. Reportedly Assad has kept over 0.2 million army along with Hezbollah fighters for the defense of Damascus only. Next to Damascus in importance is the city of Homs, about 150 Km north, that has large concentration of military force.

It is expected that areas Qasioun and Mezzeh will get maximum bombardment both from air and sea. This is going to decimate Assad’s fighting and resistance ability very seriously. Though Assad has deployed the most trusted and loyal forces on the protection of Damascus and Presidential Palace, including the Alawite divisions, but it is not likely that they will be able to put a formidable resistance against the attacking forces. This war is not likely to see any meaningful air and naval action from Syrian side, as was the case in Iraq war. The odds are heavily poised against Syria.

Bashar Al Assad is a follower of the Alawite faith, a branch of Shiite Islam, which is fully supported by Iran and Hezbollah.

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Why Revolution in Egypt Has Failed to Deliver

July 3, 2013

Egypt Back to Square One!

By Saeed Qureshi

images2“Egyptian army has removed Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi of Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and has taken over power for the interim period. President Morsi assumed office on June 30, 2012 and has been deposed from his office today (July 3, 2013).

 The decision to depose Morsi is taken by a council consisting of the defense minister Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, the political figure Mohamed ElBaradei, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, and the Coptic Pope.The army’s action to depose president Morsi is being termed as a military coup against the ousted president. The interim period during which the council would replace Morsi means until holding of next elections for a newly elected government to step in. Following massive protests calling for his resignation, Morsi claims that his presidency is still valid and refuses to leave office.

Following the pitched protests at the famous Tehrir Square, the Egyptian Armed forces, on July 1, issued a 48-hour ultimatum which gave the country’s political parties until 3 July to meet the demands of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian military also threatened to intervene if the dispute was not resolved by the government by that time.

On the expiry of three days deadline, the army moved into action of deposing president Morsi. The military plans to suspend the constitution, dissolve the parliament, and establish an interim government to be headed by the chief justice.

One is reminded of the 2011 massive protests at the Cairo’s Tehrir Square for several weeks forcing the then president Hosni Mubarak to resign. As a result of the May-June 2012 elections, the Freedom and Justice Party headed by Mr. Morsi, with total support from the Muslim Brotherhood, won the elections.

But what the people of Egypt expected of the new government was not achieved. The people wanted civil liberties, social independence, and a combination of secular and Islamic culture. They wanted revolutionary changes for recovery of the economy and to refurbish Egyptian role as a leading power in the Middle East.

Primarily Muhammad Morsi, as a staunch leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, could not go beyond a certain limit to secularize the society and to switch over the political paradigm to an entirely western type of democracy. He wavered and got stuck up between an Islamic system of government and a democratic dispensation that would open up the society and free it from ideological barriers.

Thus far it could have been accepted by the Egyptian people who rendered historic role and offered great sacrifices for removal of the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. But the people felt that instead of a military head of state, they were under the sway of a kind of fundamentalism that was as suffocating and oppressive as the military that ruled over Egypt since Anwar Sadat for 41 years.

As if adding insult to injury, president Morsi made certain decisions that were leading towards making him a kind of despot under the farce of democracy. He did not look much different from his hated predecessor who ruled Egypt with an iron hand brooking no opposition. It was not expected of Morsi to grant himself unlimited powers to “protect” the nation in late November 2012, besides assuming power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts.

 Although later in face of huge demonstrations against his questionable decision, he annulled his decree which had expanded his presidential authority and removed judicial review, yet he announced that the effects of that declaration would remain intact. It was like taking from one hand what he gave from the other.

On 30 June 2013, the mammoth crowd of protesters stated assembling in the famous Tehrir square calling upon Mrsi to resign. The swelling protests prompted the army to issue the ultimatum to the Morsi that if the protesters’ demands were not met by 3 July it would step in and build a road map for the country. It however, clarified that it did not want to rule.

In order to explore and analyze the failure of Morsi and his premature departure from the power, three factors can be highlighted. First, ideologically, the President was unfit to lead a nation yearning for a colossal progressive change, for liberty, human rights, civil society, constitutionalism and a truly democratic dispensation.

The institution of democracy was installed with the popular vote but for its sustenance only a democratic-minded and moderate leader could be successful.  Morsi was totally imbued and brought up under the ultra conservative religious ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood that would keep the state governance within the orthodox parameters of Islam. So here was a contradiction between what the majority of Egyptian expected form the Arab Spring and what they found as a result of their protests for a change.

President Morsi seemed to be too much in a haste to usurp and concentrate powers in his person so as to stifle any opposition that might accrue from his mission of putting Egypt on the path of a rigid Islamic system in sync with the doctrine and philosophy of the Akhwan-al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood).

Unlike other countries where liberal regimes came into being, Morsi wanted to replace the military dictatorship with a kind of theological over-lordship. That did not work with the demand of the Egyptian people especially the youth who wanted a liberalized and emancipated Egypt like the west or the one that was established in Tunisia.

Secondly, the Egyptian army could not accept a person like Morsi as the head of state whose party has been in a state of perpetual confrontation with Hosni Mubarak and the armed forces in general for three decades. All the more he became a thorn for the army, when he sacked several army generals including the military chief Mohamed Hussein Tantavi, as soon he became the president.

Those decisions were his constitutional prerogatives and indeed were legitimate, yet these were repugnant for an army that was ruling the roost for three decades. So the army was on the lookout and the people returning to the Tehrir Square was the last straw and a robust excuse to remove Morsi. Had the army taken this decision without the popular uproar, it would have never succeeded.

The third strong catalyst in the deposition of Morsi was the deep ire and annoyance of Israel that was quite troubled and upset over the hard hitting anti-Jews statements that Morsi has been issuing from time to time.

For instance in a highly stinging statement in September 2010, he called the Israelis “blood-suckers”, “warmongers” and “Descendants of apes and pigs”, In another daring  statement he lambasted Israel by saying that “The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists”.

There could also be a backdoor collusion between Israel and the Egyptian army to remove Muhammad Morsi from the political stage of Egypt. He was acceptable neither to the Egyptian army nor to Israel.

Israel wants to maintain the same relations that were in vogue with Egypt, under President Anwar Sadat since October 1970 (killed by the Akhwan related army officers in October 1981) and continued by his successor Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak was too ousted from power on 11 February 2011, following 18 days of unprecedented demonstrations by the Egyptian people.”

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL
By Akhtar Malik. 14 August 2013

Pakistan%20amry%20soldiers%20praying%20at%20siachen%20glaciarThe fateful events of 9/11 placed Pakistan under immense pressure. Though no Pakistani was involved in any act of terror across the globe the whole world was made to believe that Pakistan is the actual source of terrorism. America’s war on terror pushed Pakistan in real terrific situation and has damaged us only next to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not our war but when Pakistan became an ally of America the whole garbage of war was transferred to Pakistan. Pakistan Army as usual was on the forefront of this war and had bore the major brunt of its consequences. Despite all odds Army has fared well in this war also. Whatever task was given to Army it completed it with professional dexterity and devotion. May it be the cleansing of Swat from the occupation of the Taliban or campaign in South Waziristan to liberate this rugged country from terrorists Army has never disappointed the nation.

The question arises; why after all the Army has always been condemned is still the target of criticism? The Army had already distanced itself clearly from the politics and has suffered the worst kind of attrition while saving the nation from terrorists. But still Army and ISI remain the major scapegoat for all the ills that the nation is facing. Talk of any segment of society- the electronic media, the politicians, the civil society organizations, the NGOs, the human rights organizations, you will find them unanimous in criticizing and condemning Army on one pretext or the other. To find reasons we will have to slightly go back in history.

David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister commented on Pakistan as follows:

“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, the enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans”.
(David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister Jewish Chronicle, 09 August 1967)

The shocking statement of the founder Prime Minister of Israel has some cardinal points. One, Pakistan is an ideological state. Two, Pakistan is more dangerous for Israel than even the Arabs. Three, the world Zionist movement has been told to take action against Pakistan and four, India will be the base to used by Zionists to crush Pakistan.

The world in general is in the grip of Zionism. The Zionists control the economy, business, finances, media, journalism and even the politic of the world. The ruling political elite of most of the countries is being controlled by Zionists. The war and peace is also made in the world by this organization. So when the Zionist movement is told to fight against and crush Pakistan one can imagine how all the concerned actors across the globe would be operating.

1173849_565866110142425_2077566256_nA strong and stable Pakistan armed with nuclear weapons is just not acceptable by the Zionists. With the help of sole super power, the US, its allies the NATO and even its pawn in the Middle East, the Zionists have launched a well planned, well coordinated and well executed campaign against Pakistan which is called ‘Fourth Generation War’. America attacked Iraq on the pretext of locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which they didn’t possess. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has declared it as such. So America could not possibly attack Pakistan the way they did in Iraq because of the fear of any unexpected reaction from Pakistan. Fourth Generation War was the only effective tool to deal with Pakistan. The sole aim is to neutralize the nuclear assents and render Pakistan as an insignificant country in the region.

Pakistan Faces Fourth Generation War on its Soil

Fourth Generation War is essentially a civilian (non-military) doctrine which is characterized by attack on ideology, culture and social values, small combat actions by non state actors, media and information warfare and psychological operations. In such warfare the media persons and journalists are purchased for propagating a set pattern of information and the target nation is broken into various segments on racial, sectarian and linguistic grounds. The target country is isolated on diplomatic forums and incapacitated in economic fields. The corrupt and compromised journalists, political analysts, media owners, TV anchors, advertising companies, sold out religious scholars / teachers and the fifth columnists form the frontline soldiers in this kind of warfare. The terrorist organizations are created, paid and trained to carry out sabotage activities in the country, the main targets are the military installations, defense and security personnel and intelligence setups, with an aim to demoralize/ incapacitate the fighting machinery of the country. Such war may not see a full fledge operation of conventional forces like army, navy and air force of the attacker but the enemy keeps its combatant forces in ready position for bringing them into action at short notice.

4th generation war started on Pakistani soil when America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 in order to topple the Taliban regime who was allegedly providing safe heavens to Al Qaeda leadership and Osama Ben Laden. It seems that real aim of America was not to eliminate terrorism while it attacked Afghanistan but was to create a foothold from where they could control the politics and economy of the whole region.

Before 9/11 the Taliban were not the enemies of America. Despite of their myopic view about Islam and crude way of governance they never attempted to carry out any terrorist activity against the West. It was a well known fact that after being attacked by American forces the Taliban will spill over to Pakistan territory for taking refuge. The restive tribal areas provided excellent sanctuaries to them both from geographical and social point of view. It was beyond the capability of Pakistan security forces either to stop the infiltration of Taliban or to evict them after they had infused with local population. America’s policy was to entangle Pakistani forces in a fight against Taliban in tribal area which they knew, was a mechanism of total disaster for Pakistan. They also knew that once Pakistan Army got involved in tribal area it will not be possible for them to extricate.

On the Afghan side the situation of war was that despite mustering forces from the whole world under the flag of NATO, America could not subdue the Taliban. Throughout the decade of war the Taliban had been controlling about 40 % of Afghanistan’s territory. They had been levying toll tax on NATO containers, holding press conferences and punishing offenders through ‘Sharia’ courts. The growth of poppy continued unabated right under the nose of NATO forces. The conclusion can be drawn that the US and allies never wanted to eliminate the Taliban. They just put that much effort which was necessary to maintain a semblance of conflict going on in the area. They had other agenda in their minds.

Nurturing of Militant and Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

ttp1When Pakistan Army got fully involved in tribal areas as per their plans, they created Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This group was funded, trained and given intelligence / logistic support by CIA, Mossad and later by Indian RAW. Other banned outfits from Pakistan like Lashkar e Jhangwi (LeJ) also assembled under their umbrella. This was the enemy which was ‘invented’ for us. Our new enemy wore Islamic attire, kept beards, carried flags having ‘Kalima’ on them and shouted slogans of ‘Allah o Akbar’. No doubt our nation was totally confused on this issue. Some consider them enemies and others call them ‘Mujahideen’. The population in tribal areas was the worst hit by this confusion. Not surprising that the nation has paid the price of 40000 lives including 5000 troops.

Pakistan was never allowed to make peace in tribal areas. All its efforts to negotiate with militants were thwarted by America by killing people like Mulla Nazeer. The drone attacks, the CIA /Blackwater operations on Pakistani soil, provision of safe heavens to our terrorists like Mulla Fazlullah, Brahmdakh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and TTP leadership, all resulted in a planned attrition of our Army.

In Baluchistan BLA has been resuscitated by CIA with the help of Indian RAW and Russian ex KGB agents in 2002 which had gone dormant after the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1988. The aim is put pressure on Pakistan Army by involving it in counter insurgency and to weaken the hold of Pakistan government on Baluchistan so that it can be separated from Pakistan at an appropriate time. Baluchistan has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants. Based on the geographic spread of training camps there is a triangle of extreme instability in Baluchistan with Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points. The terrorist leaders like Barahmdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri are on self imposed exile where they frequently get in touch with officials of CIA, RAW and get necessary funds / intelligence from them.

In Karachi the instability has been ensured through terrorism. Target killing, ‘Bhatta’ mafia, land grabbing mafia, kidnapping for ransom have been initiated and maintained through militant wings of various political parties who are being provided protection through politicization of police and inept / corrupt judicial system. These elements have now been reinforced by terrorists from banned outfits and underground crime gangs. The aim is to weaken the writ of Pakistan government in Karachi so that it can be separated from rest of Pakistan at an opportune moment.

Achievements of Army in War against Terror

Pakistan Army was plunged into American war on terror by Pervez Musharaf with a total disregard to our own security concerns. It was well known fact that Army was neither trained / equipped nor was prepared to undertake an unconventional war like this. But once Army was put into such a strenuous test it came out victorious. The terrorists had occupied Sawt by 2009 and were threatening to march on to Islamabad. It was sheer brilliance of military leadership and enormous courage of the officers and men of the security forces who turned the tables on our enemies once threatening to occupy Islamabad. No Army of the world can match the achievement of our security forces who in the Malakand / Swat Operation took so short a time to dislodge the militants who were entrenched on the heights in such a vast mountainous terrain and were in effective control of the area for some years.

The Army, whenever launched to undertake operations, has delivered beyond expectations surprising our enemies. The details of Swat operation are not likely to be known because of our apathy to accurately record events and making analytical studies of such operations. The results of this operation are however so obvious that one can confidently assert that no Army of the world today could have achieved such success in such a short time in so vast a mountainous terrain. No helicopter pilot in any other Army of the world could start his day at 4 a.m. and switch off by 11 p.m. ferrying troops to be placed on heights, drawing hostile fire in the process. This was a routine with Pakistan Army’s helicopter pilots during those operations.

Same was true for South Waziristan where Pakistan government had totally lost its writ. The Army not only restored the writ but also started developmental projects which the local population had seen for the first time in their lives. However it is unfortunate that no civilian government has ever been able to enforce its writ though Army had provided enough space for the civilian leadership in Swat, S. Waziristan and other parts of tribal areas. These areas are still under control of the Army and civilian administration is shy of taking responsibility anywhere.

Anti Army Role of Pakistani Media and Journalists

Despite immense sacrifices the Army bashing continues from different quarters. They are still blamed on the TV channels by media personnel, journalists and politicians for interfering in civil affairs ‘from behind the curtains’. They are held responsible for missing persons in Baluchistan and mutilated bodies. Not a single criminal / terrorist who were arrested for attacking GHQ, Mehran Naval Base, Kamra PAF Base has been punished by our judiciary. The irony is that Zain Bugti is caught red handed while transporting illegal lethal weapons and he is set free by the courts, but same courts are quick to order registration of FIR against Army personnel for the ‘murder’ of Nawab Akbar Bugti!

One will be astonished to see that many diverse segments of society are on the same page as far as Army bashing is concerned. People like Asma Jahangir who are known to be so-called ‘liberals’ are on the one side of extreme while TTP is on the other side of the extreme. But both are one and the same as far as hostility towards Pakistan Army is concerned. Asma Jahangir always blames Army and the ISI for missing persons, meddling in politics, hatching conspiracies against democracy etc. TTP along with its auxiliary outfits physically attacks Army and takes ‘revenge’ against America. How funny that a TTP leader is killed in American drone attack and the revenge is taken from Pakistan Army!

Electronic media is on the forefront in terms of Army bashing. Just listen to the talk shows and discussions conducted by anchors and journalists like Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi and you will find how they spit venom against Army. They are performing their duties very well according to instructions issued by their masters. They will not miss a smallest chance to punch the Army and the ISI. They will ask embarrassing and leading questions from the guests and will only highlight the weak points of the Army. Have you ever heard them appreciating the role of Army in assisting people in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes? Has the Army ever been valued for their policies of non interference in politics for the last five years? So much so, that the coverage of the heroic deeds of our ‘Shaheeds’ and ‘Mujahids’ in the past and recent wars has been drastically cut down on the media. You will hardly find any commemorative programs on Defense Day (6 Sep) in praise of our defense forces. But you have to be very observant and have a keen eye and ears to feel their hatred against Army and Pakistan. The anti Army propaganda is so strong that even some ex Army persons – turned- intellectuals also do not remain behind anyone else to bash and criticize Army.

imagesMedia is an important tool in opinion building and creating awareness but you will hardly find any meaningful discussion on media that would address our security concerns. They will never highlight the colossal increase in Indian defense budget, rather will always be obsessed with even a slight increase in our defense budget. While sitting in front of Pakistani TV channels at times we have a dismal feeling as if we are watching Indian channels instead. Have you seen any TV programs which highlights Two-nation Theory and Ideology of Pakistan, particularly in the month of August? You will mostly find those guest speakers on TV channels who give their logic against the ideology of Pakistan. No one would focus on the need of promoting our ideology which draws its strength from injunctions of Islam. This deficiency was badly felt in the ongoing month of August which is marked by our ‘Youm e Azadi’. It was so obvious to see that no TV anchor wore the insignia of a Pakistani flag on the onset of August as was the practice in previous years. Moreover it was astonishing to learn that not a single national song (milli naghma) has been composed and sung in Pakistan in the last 10 years. Is this the way the ‘living nations’ survive?

The war against Ideology of Pakistan and Army is going on unabated on all fronts. The media persons, journalists and anchor persons have been purchased to propagate anti Pakistan, anti Army and anti Islam concepts. Judiciary has been instructed not to take any action against terrorists and black sheep in media unless ‘concrete proof’ is available, and government of the day has been ‘briefed’ not to take drastic steps against terrorists of TTP, BLA and Karachi gang war. This is the reason why the government has not yet declared BLA as traitors and has refrained from dealing with them accordingly. On diplomatic front the governments have been told not to pursue a policy that goes against the interests of India, America and some Arab countries, may it be at the peril of Pakistan. The government has been stopped from raising any question about TTP and BLA terrorists who are residing in safe heavens in Afghanistan, UK and Europe. In order to further squeeze Pakistan Army, India has been prompted to carry out violations on LoC so that further pressure is put on the Army to stretch its already depleted and meager resources.

International Zionist lobby is active against Pakistan in the light of the statement of Israel’s founding PM that Pakistan must be crushed by using India as a base. So it is not surprising that a close nexus exists between India and Israel. Army bashing in Pakistan must be seen in the backdrop of this scenario.

Akhtar Malik is a freelance writer and can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com

What is the Future of Gen Pervez Musharaf in Pakistan

August 4, 2013

What Can Happen to Musharraf!

By Saeed Qureshi

16706-mush-1364625706-852-640x480“Musharraf was lucky because instead of being removed as Army head, arrested or even blown off in the air, he became, in matter of hours, the chief executive of Pakistan or in simple word a powerful sovereign. This was mind boggling phenomenon on October 9 1999 when Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf’s fortunes were diametrically swapped.

He is goofy and imprudent because despite all prior warnings and dire indications he decided to return to Pakistan. Now confined to his palatial mansion in Pakistan, Musharraf faces three mammoth criminal cases. Over his head are dangling the trials under clause 6 of the constitution for treason and the involvement in assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti, the Baloch renegade leader.

He was bewitched and misled by half a million face book entries deluding him to return to Pakistan as the redeemer of a chaotic Pakistan. Thus he out of sheer miscalculation got himself trapped in a stranglehold from which he cannot be liberated.

As if adding to his miseries, the government in power is inveterately hostile to him and for good reasons. It is a situation that reflects quid-pro-quo or a kind of unforeseen nemesis. The plight of beleaguered former Pakistan’s president is blatantly reversed as the tormentor of the past is a condemned and hapless captive and the victim of the past is now in full power regalia as the prime minister of Pakistan.

 Such are the tricky pitfalls and thorny paths in politics more specifically manifest in third world unstable societies. The MQM, a political surrogate for Musharraf has climbed down the political ladder and its influence is considerably dwindled as a result of the general elections. The chief of MQM Altaf Hussain himself is locked in a maze of criminal cases that could finally land him in jail if proven.

So it is a kind of double jeopardy for General and erstwhile president in that he faces a hostile government and there is no group and party to stand beside him. These are indeed bad omens for him. He perhaps thought that the PPP would win the elections and he would be immune from any judicial or political backlash. But as ill luck would have it, a party won whose chief whatsoever, cannot have any soft corner for him.

There was a glorious past of Pervez Musharraf and there is a complete bleak future staring right in his face. The process of prosecution is going to be excruciating and protracted and at the end who knows what comes out. But to hope and predict that he can walk out of judicial rigmarole unscathed would be to watch the sun rising from the west.

Musharraf took some bizarre decisions like declaring the emergency rule on November 3, 2007, suspending the constitution, firing the Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, arresting the judges and confining them to their houses, deployment of troops on state run Television and radio stations. Yet he was still a lot better than other similar military rulers and civilian dictators. He did some good deeds also one of which was to give a modicum of freedom to the media and press. The economy looked better during his tenure.

On one hand he was hard pressed and caught up between the radical Islamic militants and the overbearing dictation of the United States for Pakistan’s support against the former. Practically and logically he had no choice or guts to defy the United States that was hell-bent against the militants especially al-Qaida in the aftermath of 9/11 catastrophe. He cannot be squarely blamed for towing the bandwagon of United States and her allies with regard to the so called war on terror. Not even a most liberal or conservative government in Pakistan could have refused the American stern call for the support.

The role of a submissive ally for the United States was not exclusive to Musharraf alone. It was initiated by a former Military dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq when in December 1979; America started a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan through the Islamic warriors. That proved to be the first lethal step towards an un-mitigating disaster in the region.

It led to the continual involvement of Pakistan in American war in Afghanistan, later spilling over to the territories of Pakistan during the Taliban era. While American forces would leave war-torn Afghanistan next year, Pakistan will continue to suffer as the victim of the resurgent Islamic radicals, particularly Taliban and Al-Qaida.

Musharraf being the proponent and initiator of enlightened moderation wanted Pakistan to not turn into a haven for the radical Islamic forces. But that mission and thrust could have been most repugnant to the radicals who saw in Pakistan as a ripe land for enforcing a rigid and fundamentalist version of Islam.

The enforcement of the Islamic Sharia started in Islamabad when Burqa-clad women started beating and dragging in the streets and markets, the women without veils. The students from the religious school affiliated with Lal Masjid, forced the shopkeepers to throw away music and movies’ filled videos and other electronic appliances.

Now Pakistan is not a Mauritania, Somalia, Mali or Yemen that the state would submit before the reactionary elements, bent upon imposing upon the people, their decadent and mutually controversial creeds and beliefs. The state had to retaliate to stop that dangerous onslaught that in due course, could have engulfed Pakistan.

That is what Musharraf did and I believe he was doing it for the national cohesion and saving Pakistan from falling into the hands of hardcore fanatics, who could trigger a sectarian mayhem in Pakistan. He should rather be applauded rather than condemned or maligned.

Before opting to come back to Pakistan, Musharraf might have believed that people would pour out all over the country to greet and support him. He should have pondered that if it could not be done for a highly populist leader Bhutto, how it could happen for a non-political minion, who by sheer accident, rose to power.

 Perhaps he became delusional in assessing his popularity and the hell he was going to fall in. He might have concluded that the army would not allow his trial. But he failed to comprehend that Army itself was under enormous pressure in the changing pro-democratic times to come to his rescue.

Moreover he belonged to a middle or lower middle class family and was not blue eyed member of an elite or aristocratic family who could garner support for his rescue behind the doors.

As for perceived support and backing from MQM, PMLQ and his own faction APML, these were non-entities on national political spectrum.

The PMLQ and MQM received a severe thrashing and colossal setback in the recent elections turning them into political dwarfs. Even otherwise the strident judicial activism would not have allowed or entertained any attempt at influencing the judicial decisions that would be forthcoming sooner or later.

So these were the probable murky scenarios that must have crossed the mind of Pervez Musharraf before embarking upon a return odyssey to Pakistan for retaking the power and grafting his watershed vision of making Pakistan an enlightened, modern secular and democratic state. Per say and supposedly, if by a miracle, he would have come into power and formed the government, would his religious adversaries allow him to proceed unchallenged and uninhibited?

The liberal lobby in Pakistan that could lend him support is also aloof in his affliction because of his permitting drone attacks as well as assuming the role of a bounty hunter. He cannot be absolved of the stigma of taking bounty money in return for catching the suspicious Pakistanis branded as terrorists and handing them over to the United States.

So Musharraf, as the metaphor goes is “in thick soup”. And one may shudder to speculate that in order to prevent future military chauvinism, the present government as prosecutor and the judiciary as upholder of justice may make him a dreadful example by sending him to gallows or long prison term.”

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat

For Comments qureshisaeed50@hotmail.com

How Pakistan Army has been Abused by Politicians

THE USE AND ABUSE OF ARMY IN PAKISTAN
By Akhtar Malik  –  5 Aug 2013
“If you want to destroy a nation, just deprive them of two assets- their ideology and their armed forces”. Akhtar Malik

Latest-Pakistan-army-SSG-commando-wallpaper-and-pictureIdeology and the armed forces are vital for the survival of any nation. Ideology inspires will to survive and the armed forces thwart any external (and at times internal) aggression against the integrity of nation. Both these facets complement each other and one cannot survive without the other.

Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947 our enemies had been curiously working on the agenda to finish Pakistan. India had never accepted the partitioning of subcontinent and had always worked to dismember Pakistan. Nehru is on the record to have said that newly created state Pakistan will not survive for many years and will soon revert back to its ‘mother land’. The Indian-sponsored movements like Bengali nationalism, Sindhu-desh, Pakhtunistan and Azad Baluchistan were all meant to achieve the same aim.

Apart from attacks on the ideology of Pakistan there have been many lethal assaults on the armed forces of Pakistan, both from inside and outside the country. The analysts around the world had believed that the center of gravity of Pakistan lies in its armed forces, and no substantial gains against Pakistan can be acquired without damaging this prestigious institution of the country.

ZA BHUTTO CAMPAIGN TO HUMILIATE ARMY

The first ever well planned attack to undermine the armed forces of Pakistan was launched not by any foreigner but by one of our own political leaders- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Being a young minister in the cabinet of President Ayub Khan he knew that he cannot achieve his aim of ruling Pakistan without decimating the Army. In 1964 Bhutto was instrumental in creating situation that led to India- Pakistan war of 1965. Bhutto was sure that Pakistan Army will not be able to endure a war with an enemy which was six times bigger and stronger. However Bhutto was baffled when Pakistan Army successfully beat back Indian attack on international border and emerged as the most respectable institution in the country. India was compelled to sign the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan. The legendary tales of heroic deeds of armed forces have become the part of our folk songs and literature.

Duly frustrated by the failure of his scheme Bhutto quit the government, formed Pakistan People’s Party and launched a movement against President Ayub Khan. He told the nation that the President had sold the interests of Pakistan to India in Tashkent Declaration and that he will soon reveal the secret behind this deal- a promise which he never fulfilled.

General elections of 1970 gave another opportunity to ZA Bhutto to materialize his dream. The sweeping victory of Sh. Mujeeb ul Rehman from East Pakistan thwarted the ambitions of Bhutto to rule the country. He therefore acted in a very discordant manner by not accepting the mandate of Bengalis and prompted President Gen Yahya Khan to initiate military action against the ‘traitor’ Sh. Mujeeb and his party. The logical result of such action was the Indian military intervention and subsequent dismemberment of East Pakistan on 16 December 1971 and paved the way for Bhutto to rule the remaining part of the country. Pakistan Army was made to surrender in East Pakistan due to none of its fault, and the country was humiliated. The individual gallantry actions of our officers and soldiers who were made to fight a war under worst ever conditions will be written in golden words.

But Bhutto was as satisfied as ever. His body language and behavior would never show any resentment or dismay which a leader should display whose half of the country was lost. ZA Bhutto also took some other initiatives to molest the Army. He violated all the rules of merit and made Gen Ziaul Haq as Army Chief by superseding six general who were senior to him. Bhutto also opened a political cell in Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) thus paving the way for military interference in civilian politics- a practice that cost the nation heavily in times to come.

Bhutto committed rigging in elections 1977 in order to secure his rule. A mass agitation started against him. Bhutto refused to undo his mistakes and behaved in an arrogant manner. There is no doubt that Martial Law of Gen Ziaul Haq was an outcome of Bhutto’s apathy, lack of sensitivity fro people’s feeling and ineptness of his part to resolve crisis at national level. The result was that Pakistani nation had to bear with military rule for 11 years.

MISUSE OF ARMY DURING 1988-99

The period from 1988 to 1999 saw a musical chair play between Ms. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. As and when one party would assume power the opposition would start a campaign to overthrow the government through conspiracies. Both of them used the Army to destabilize the sitting government. A popular stance of the opposition would be to ask Chief of the Army Staff to interfere and play his role as the country was at the brink of destruction. The politicians in opposition would conduct secret meetings with COAS and try to convince him to topple the government. All the four civilian governments were terminated either by the President or by direct intervention of Army. This was a severe blow to democracy due to ineptness of the politicians but at the end whole blame was placed on Army who allegedly did not allow democracy to prosper.

During his 2nd tenure in late 1990’s Nawaz Sharif also committed the same mistake. He made Gen Pervez Musharaf as Army Chief by superseding many senior and more capable generals and thus set the stage for his own downfall. The ‘Kargil Operation’ was the turning point in his relations with Gen Pervez Musharaf and the Army. I am not a supporter of Kargil operation and feel that it was an unnecessary adventure but I am also against any apologetic attitude of Pakistanis once this even had taken place.

THE KARGIL OPERATION AND ARMY BASHING

Our analysts say that Kargil was an uncalled for and unjustified intrusion in India. I ask how many ‘uncalled for’ and ‘unjustified’ intrusions have India launched against Pakistan in the past? Was Indian intrusion in East Pakistan in 1971 justified? Was unilateral occupation of Siachen Glacier by India in 1984 justified? So once Pakistan Army had achieved a tactical advantage in Kargil over its arch enemy, it should be seen in the backdrop of the peculiar relations between the two countries since 1947.

While bashing Pakistan Army on Kargil issue our intellectuals forget to mention factors which led to this event. No one goes into the depth of reasons which forced the whole episode. No one talks of the Indian intentions and placing of Indian 70 Bde in Mashkoh Valley contrary to its usual deployment in Srinagar Valley during winters and our preemptive move. No one highlights the absence of move of our strategic forces which encouraged the Indians to move all assets up and achieve the 15:1 parity. The role of Indian Artillery and Indian Air Force is totally over bloated. It can be gauged from the facts that a total of only 12 individuals sustained injuries on gun positions on the entire front of 400 Km and the IAF could knock out only 16 individuals and some stores through over 1500 sorties. One can have long sessions on this issue, I’ll leave it at that. My heart goes out to all those brave men and officers who roughed it out in those trying conditions. It’s easy to criticize and in hindsight everyone becomes a thinker. We never lost although suffered few casualties in withdrawal. Indians have accepted their casualties as 587 in this Conflict and very heavy losses of equipment and ammo. The Indians were short of 155 mm ammunition and they purchased from South Africa.

As I remember, Kargil area was occupied by India in 1971. This was no violation from Pakistan but a reply at a suitable time. Even if we are convinced that Kargil operation was a mistake this mistake should have been owned by Pakistan and justified at political and diplomatic level. We should have told the world community in 1998 that this ‘violation’ is similar to that committed by India in Siachen. And if India wants us to vacate Kargil they should also vacate Siachen simultaneously. That was not a difficult option. Recall the event when Indian Prime Minister Rajev Gandhi during visit to Pakistan in 1990’s committed with Ms. Benazir Bhutto that India will withdraw from Siachen. But when Rajev went back he telephoned Benazir and regretted his commitment on the plea that his Army Chief was not agreeing to withdraw from Siachen. When Indian PM could give that much weight to his Army Chief why couldn’t our PM? It was a total political and diplomatic failure on the part of our civilian government of that time who could not handle the situation with courage and dexterity.

On assuming power in 1999 Gen Pervez Musharaf visited India. A brief interview was conducted by a female host of ND TV of India with Musharraf where she asked him, ”Do you have any regrets about Kargil, now that you are such a welcome visitor in India?” Gen Musharraf smilingly gave her a very apt reply, ”Do you expect me to ever say that ‘Yes, I regret it’ ? If somebody was to ask Indian Prime Minister ‘Do you regret having divided Pakistan and made Bangla Desh?’, would he say ‘yes, we are very sorry’? How would you expect that I would regret?” Leaving aside all criticism of his policies I like the way Gen Musharaf rebuts such questions of our arch enemy.

THE MUSHARAF RULE AND DEFAMATION OF ARMY

The era of Musharaf rule saw the worst kind of criticism being unleashed against Pak Army and ISI, mostly due to wrong policies of the ruler. During this period the war on terror was brought on our soil which has so far resulted in over 40,000 Pakistanis losing their lives, including 5000 troops. The country suffered heavy financial loss and was set decades beyond in terms of economic development. The war and the loss still go on unabated. Pakistan Army became unsafe on its own soil. Though the fateful events of 9/11 had placed Pervez Musharaf at a sheer disadvantage but we feel that he could still have saved the country from the colossal loss with little better diplomacy and strategy.

DEMOCRATIC ERA AND ARMY BASHING

When Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power, he also became a so-called ‘anti establishment’ leader. During his exile to Saudi Arabia and as an opposition leader after the Elections 2008, Nawaz Sharif always remained at dagger drawn with the Army. He could not distinguish between the armed forces as a state institution and an over ambitious Army Chief, who topples the civilian government and enforces martial law. He equated both of them in one bracket.

After Elections 2008 the dignity and respect of the Army was rescued to certain extent by Gen Kiyani as Army Chief when he disengaged the institution from politics. Though the Army virtually got itself detached from civil affairs but the criticisam against it continued with full force.

The PPP government under Zardari was no exception to this Army-bashing. Though Mr. Zardari apparently maintained good working relationship with Army, mostly with an aim to prolong his stay in power, he was no less an evil as far as damaging this institution is concerned. Whenever he felt that his grip was becoming loose on state affairs due to his inept governance, he would usually divert the attention of the people by saying that ‘There is a conspiracy of pen (judiciary) and bayonet (Army) cooking up against his government”. The notorious Memo-gate Scandal and behavior of Zardari after Abbottabad Operation of the US against Osama bin Laden, are clear indicators as to how the highest functionaries of the state, including the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces have been conspiring to decimate the defensive strength and capability of Pakistan.

The writer can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com