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Thread: Pakistani Army commentary

  1. #101
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Hat tip to Lawfare's weekly e-briefing for the identification of a review of Carlotta Gall's book by Bruce Reidel, he ends with:
    What The Wrong Enemy does effectively establish beyond doubt is the ISI’s and Army’s dominance of the Afghan Taliban. As the long war in Afghanistan enters a new phase after 2014, it is critically important to understand who is calling the shots on the other side of the hill.
    Link:http://www.lawfareblog.com/2014/05/t...tan-2001-2014/
    davidbfpo

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3DIOjTmX0M

    Dr. Fair struggling not to curse is pretty amusing.

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    I have a post up about the attack on Karachi airport and on Shia pilgrims

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...nd-rocket.html

    Excerpt:

    What would a different strategy look like:

    1. We should have switched sides completely in 2001. Calculating that Islamist terrorism will be a problem for us, a problem for India, for China, for Afghanistan, for Central Asia, for America, etc etc and we are better off having normal relations with these countries, we should have dropped the whole Jihadi option. Entirely. Completely. No good jihadists, no good taliban, no good Kashmiri militants, etc etc. In other words, we should have taken the opportunity to completely reverse a policy that was always a bad idea. We should have sided WITH America, with China, with the new Afghan regime and even with India against the Jihadist network.
    2. Of course, the details of any such switch would have been a bit murky. Some lying would have been involved. But at least the people on top would have been clear about what they were trying to do. That has NOT been the case. If we had switched sides in 2001, by now the mess could have been sorted out. But 13 years were wasted while we tried to double-cross Amrika (this is not a controversial claim, many patriotic Pakistanis miss no opportunity to crow about the American failure in Afpak and to take some credit for wrecking it). We also kept alive a terrorist option against India. After Mumbai, we did not unequivocally act against the terrorists. In fact, our propaganda effort has been focused on creating doubts about the loyalties and identities of the perpetrators. This again is not a secret, or a controversial claim. It is also a mistake.

    There is no way win the war against Jihadist terrorists by picking on some of them and by spreading mass confusion about their identity and aims. Terrorists dont just appear out of thin air to attack an airport. They have places of refuge, they have trainers, they have leaders, they build bombs and make plans in some physical location. These networks can be traced, their leaders killed or captured and their political supporters isolated and condemned. It is not rocket science. And it does not seem to be happening nearly to the extent which it should.

    And when we do go after them, we will also have to ally WITH America, with China, and yes, even with India. Otherwise, it wont work. Good terrorists will provide cover to bad ones. Approved Islamists will help out unapproved ones. Propaganda will remain confused. and the general public will not be successfully mobilized in the effort. Law enforcement agencies will continue to hesitate to take action against particular terrorist networks and supporters because they will never know for sure who is currently approved as good and who has become bad.
    It is possible that the deep state is now truly committed to defeating these groups. But if that is so, they are doing poor job of showing their priorities.

    What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?

  4. #104
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Omarali asked just:
    What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?
    No, the policy has not changed - even after a Nawaz Sharif's government took power.

    This theme has been widely discussed on another thread, for sometime now.

    What will cause the Pakistani state and the national security establishment to change course?

    There is a simmering insurgency in parts of the FATA, terrorist attacks of which Karachi civil airport is the latest, sectarian murders and more. Yes civilians are often those who die first, such as the Shia minority. What about those who serve in the civil and military forces, who know condoned, if not supported groups kill them often without retribution?
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
    I have a post up about the attack on Karachi airport and on Shia pilgrims

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...nd-rocket.html

    Excerpt:

    There is no way win the war against Jihadist terrorists by picking on some of them and by spreading mass confusion about their identity and aims. Terrorists dont just appear out of thin air to attack an airport. They have places of refuge, they have trainers, they have leaders, they build bombs and make plans in some physical location. These networks can be traced, their leaders killed or captured and their political supporters isolated and condemned. It is not rocket science. And it does not seem to be happening nearly to the extent which it should.

    And when we do go after them, we will also have to ally WITH America, with China, and yes, even with India. Otherwise, it wont work. Good terrorists will provide cover to bad ones. Approved Islamists will help out unapproved ones. Propaganda will remain confused. and the general public will not be successfully mobilized in the effort. Law enforcement agencies will continue to hesitate to take action against particular terrorist networks and supporters because they will never know for sure who is currently approved as good and who has become bad.
    It is possible that the deep state is now truly committed to defeating these groups. But if that is so, they are doing poor job of showing their priorities.

    What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?[/I]
    Omar, in my view the situation in Pakistan needs to be viewed very differently.

    I have proposed that by popularizing a self-serving narrative of sharia, clerics have, by and large, created the Pakistan we see today.

    Here's the link to my forthcoming paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c...act_id=2420652.

    I think this focus on the Pakistani military (the so-called deep state) is misplaced (the basis of C. Fair's flawed book - see my review at Amazon).

    The good news is this paper of mine has some meaning ideas on how to extricate Pakistan (and others) from regreesive forces and nudge it toward modernity.

  6. #106
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    Default Pakistan Predictions 2014

    By now even I am scared of predicting anything, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so here goes

    http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...ions-2014.html

    Excerpt:
    1. Dr A (source of the "Jihadi Army" prediction in 2009 and 2012) says he has NOTHING to change in his prediction from 2009. Pakistan ka matlab kya, La illah a illalah (What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no God but Allah). All has been prepared for the feast. Apostates, liberals and Shias should book their tickets while Karachi airport is still operational. The triumph of the warriors of Allah is not far. Most of the current army will switch sides. And will then discover some decidedly unpleasant facts about their more Islamic partners from Waziristan. Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gul will be hanged in Islamabad BEFORE the attack on Red Fort Delhi ever begins. Somalia will look like a walk in the park compared to the #### that will fly in the land of the pure. Eventually, warlords and mafia gangs will break up the country and foreign powers will try to establish zones of influence in the more useful/governable areas. Or it may all vaporize in a nuclear exchange.

    2. Comrade Zee's comments are awaited.

    3. My prediction: I no longer feel confident of making any predictions. As Ali Minai might say, it is a complex situation and unpredictable phase transitions are the only safe prediction. It could be that there will be a stabilization of the Sharif regime and the army will gradually take action against all Jihadists in some mysterious order only they understand. But I must admit that even an eternal optimist like me now feels that it is more likely that phase one will be a continuing confused and inept response from the Sharif government, with the army simultaneously fighting the bad Taliban and undermining the elected government. When the #### has hit the fan in sufficient quantity (####-fan contact being a process rather than a singular event in Pakistan) the people of Punjab (the only ones who really matter as a people) will be so sick of MNS that the army will be "forced to impose Martial Law". Phase two would then be a temporary stabilization under army rule. At that point the British colonial roots of the army could hold, allowing it to act as a disciplined force to suppress true believers and brazenly lie its way through to bloody and shaky stabilization of pseudo-Islamic crony capitalist Pakistan. Or it could all fall apart after that, in which case the fate of the constituents depends on how well India and Afghanistan are holding up and what China and America are pushing for (with the minor safe prediction that China will make more rational choices in that situation than America will).
    Predicting everything from Sharif stabilization to Army stabilization to complete anarchy is not really a prediction, its many contradictory predictions. That is where I am right now.

    Add your predictions. The more concrete the better.

  7. #107
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Omar:

    I won't predict. But I do fear greatly something I think is a credible possibility.

    In all the tooing and froing, something, I know not what, will happen that will cause India to doubt that the Pak Army has full control of its nukes and that some takfiri killers will get hold of some. India will then have no choice but to act and try to secure those weapons. I am sure they have forlorn hope type plans for that. This will cause the nukes to fly both east to west and west to east. Tens, probably hundreds of millions will die.

    This possibility is why I think the Pak Army is the most dangerous organization on earth.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Omar:

    I won't predict. But I do fear greatly something I think is a credible possibility.

    In all the tooing and froing, something, I know not what, will happen that will cause India to doubt that the Pak Army has full control of its nukes and that some takfiri killers will get hold of some. India will then have no choice but to act and try to secure those weapons. I am sure they have forlorn hope type plans for that. This will cause the nukes to fly both east to west and west to east. Tens, probably hundreds of millions will die.

    This possibility is why I think the Pak Army is the most dangerous organization on earth.
    Pakistan Army calls the shots and even when there is a civilian govt, the Army is consulted and it is their decision that is final; or so it appears from Musharraf's book.

    It is believed that the Pak Army controls the nukes and not the Govt. At least that is what is the impression given.

    As I see it, historically there has been the jockeying for power in Pakistan between the Army and the Civilians and now we have the third element - the non state actors. In all this jockeying, even when there was a civil Govt, the Army ensured that they were supreme. Therefore, I wonder if the Pakistan Army will give space to the non State actors, even though they themselves have spawned such non state actors and is still nurturing.

    There is an interesting phenomenon in Muslims, which is that there is a high sense of competitiveness within and without, which leads to the internal jockeying and strife to act as the 'sole inheritors' and trampling other factions.

    Maybe it is from the unending and unfortunate manoeuvring to be supreme - the legacy from the historical past when their Prophet died, leaving a divided Islam transmogrifying from Spiritual Islam to Temporal Islam that impacts the mindset.

    One cannot say for sure, but if one observes the strife in the Islamic countries, especially those in the Middle East and close to the Middle East, one gets the feeling that that leaders and factions are more keen to topple each other rather than address them to the progress and development and peace of their people. This is evident from North Africa to the Indian subcontinent.

    I will hasten to add that because of this high competitiveness amongst them, it is not difficult for outsiders to foment problems for them exploiting the same.

    I don't think India will provoke any war or even encourage Pakistan to embark on one against India. It is not in India's interest, though in India, they observe with concern how Pakistan is hell bent to implode thanks to the inherent fault line of temporal Islam where each entity wants to be a Khalifa.

    India's real problem is China and that is where the focus lies.

    This is my analysis and I could have misread the matrix.

  9. #109
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    Default Pakistan Retrospects its Reality

    This is from a column by Khaled Ahmed, a Pakistani political analyst.

    Every year,December 16 is observed in Pakistan as a moment of morose stocktaking,in which India is held responsible for the break-up of Pakistan in 1971. However,over the years,the Pakistani media has taken to mixing the message. It now balances the short-term culpability of India with the long-term culpability of Pakistan.
    But the media in Pakistan has mixed the message more than usual this time. The “secret” Hamoodur Rehman Commission report on the atrocities committed by the Pakistan army in East Pakistan in 1971 has been taken out of the state’s closet of collective conscience and quoted to great effect.
    Unread books by honest military officers are now being quoted to the embarrassment of the Jamaat
    The idea of imposing Urdu on East Pakistan was born in the mind of a non-Bengali education secretary of East Pakistan,F.A. Karim,who was able to convince a dimwit Bengali central education minister in Karachi,Fazlur Rehman,to adopt it. It also caught the imagination of the governor of East Pakistan,Malik Feroz Khan Noon,not the brightest son of Punjab. He started the scheme of writing Bengali in the Arabic script. By 1952,there were 21 centres doing this in East Pakistan,funded by the central education ministry. The East Pakistan chief minister didn’t even know that this was happening outside the primary school stream.
    More significantly,the book called into question the “victories” against India in 1948 and 1965. The first war failed to achieve its objective because “we caved in without consolidating initial success”. The second war was first opposed by General Musa and General Ayub,but after they agreed to it,no authentic information was obtained about the “sympathetic” Kashmiri insurgency,and wrong assumptions were made about India’s capabilities of launching a major offensive across the international border.
    Here is the climax of the book: “[Enter Commander,East Pakistan,General Niazi,wearing a pistol holster on his web belt. Niazi became abusive and started raving. Breaking into Urdu,he said: ‘Main iss haramzadi qaum ki nasal badal doon ga (I will change the race of this bastard nation).’”
    Raja adds: “He threatened that he would let his soldiers loose on their womenfolk. There was pin-drop silence at these remarks. The next morning,we were given the sad news. A Bengali officer,Major Mushtaq,went into a bathroom at the command headquarters and shot himself in the head.”
    The ex-foreign minister of Bangladesh,Kamal Hossain,in Bangladesh: Quest for freedom and Justice (2013),reports a conversation with Pakistan’s former foreign minister,Aziz Ahmed: “When pressed to suggest what should be done to those (Biharis) who were clearly eligible and entitled to go to Pakistan,but whom Pakistan was not willing to accept,Aziz Ahmed turned round and said,‘Why don’t you push them into India?’ When told that this was hardly feasible,he retorted,‘Then push them into the Bay of Bengal’.”
    http://indianexpress.com/article/opi...tan-1971-2/99/
    Last edited by Ray; 06-19-2014 at 09:17 AM.

  10. #110
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    Default Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat

    Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat

    Besieged Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by the country's military there will be no coup, but in return he must "share space with the army", according to a government source who was privy to recent talks between the two sides.

    Last week, as tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the Pakistani capital to demand his resignation, Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

    He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.
    http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/0...0QP5F720140819
    Pakistan once again has lived up to its reputation as the 'sick man of Asia'.

    Once again, democracy is tottering and the Army is easing itself in the saddle, but this time in a more 'gentlemanly' and benign way.

    If again the Army takes control, then it will prove that there is something in the saying 'born under an unlucky star' because it will be the second time the democratically elected Nawaz Sharif getting unseated by the Army.

    Nawaz Sharif has been a moderate face of Pakistan and so obviously that is not to the comfort of the Pakistan Army which has milked Pakistan dry with the handle of Kashmir and anti India rhetoric.

    Pakistan conveniently forgets United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 which recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals who entered the region for the purpose of fighting and that India leave only the minimum number of troops needed to keep civil order.

    Pakistan ignored the UN mandate, did not withdraw its troops and claimed the withdrawal of Indian forces was a prerequisite as per this resolution.

    Pakistan failing to honour the UN resolution on Plebiscite apart, the Anti India histrionic calmed, which Sharif tried, then where would be the raison d'etre for the pampering and molly coddling the Army at the expense of the people of Pakistan, who are wallowing under the weight of poverty, insurrection, terrorism, sectarian violence and what have you?

    One wonders why democracy cannot survive in Pakistan, when it is alive and kicking in India, with the Army having no say in the running of the State?

    After all, India and Pakistan have a shared lineage.

    And there are good people in India and Pakistan.

    Then, where does the disconnect in Pakistan emanate from?
    Last edited by Ray; 08-20-2014 at 10:34 AM.

  11. #111
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    I imagine someone is going to come along and point a finger at Islam, but that' an interesting question.

    I recall you making the point that Pakistan has a problem with trying to be a democracy while keeping a foot in Islam but I took that to mean a problem with global perspectives, relationships and outcomes.

    Perhaps the larger issue remains its proximity to Afghanistan, where India only has "interests" but not critical concerns. Or maybe India does lay claim to critical concerns after all, and the problem runs much deeper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post

    I recall you making the point that Pakistan has a problem with trying to be a democracy while keeping a foot in Islam but I took that to mean a problem with global perspectives, relationships and outcomes.
    That Islam is the engine that power Pakistan is best exemplified by the Pakistan Army motto:

    Arabic:Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah
    A follower of none but Allah, The fear of Allah, Jihad for Allah.

    Therefore, all institution start and end with religion, it appears and extends to Pakistan's domestic and external interests.

    The latest is that the Army has assured that there will be no coup, but the Army will have to be given greater 'space', which for some, means that Democracy and Nawaz Sharif will be the 'front organisation' for Army dictated policies.

    Nawaz was slowly building up a greater say of democracy in the running of the Govt, but now that his existence as the Head of the Govt will depend on the Army, he will be more of a lame duck.

    Unfortunate.

  13. #113
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    The "ideology of Pakistan" was an incoherent mishmash prior to 1947 (mostly it was whatever Jinnah felt would work to get him the best deal...he himself seems to have had no coherent vision of the state he was demanding...and he more or less lost control of the narrative as the Aligarh boys simplified it into "Islam in danger" for the purposes of the 1946 election). What now passes for official Pakistani ideology was mostly put together AFTER partition and did not reach full flower till General Zia's time. It's creators took one strand of the original mishmash (Pakistan as Muslim Zion) and fashioned it into a millenarian fantasy about a vanguard Muslim state. Reality was never too close to the fantasy and remains impossibly distant even now, but enough people (meaning about 0.1% of the population, but maybe 25% of the educated military elite) are now part-time believers. In between normal activities like arranging tuition for their sons in American universities and buying and selling plots of lands in housing societies, these part-time believers sometimes start to believe "it can actually happen". To that extent, it matters and it is dangerous. It is easy to overestimate it's role in everyday life and in the actions of millions of ordinary people, but unfortunately the army's dominance as the "sole functioning institution" (a state of affairs they did much to create, with help from a generous and generally clueless Uncle Sam) means their vision of the national myth has undue influence...and their vision is heavily colored by this ideology.
    Does that make some sort of sense?
    I need more time to make this a coherent argument, but I am always hopeful that responses will lead to clarity....

  14. #114
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Omar:

    From what I've read, a lot of it written by you, a large part of the problem is plain old fashioned bureaucratic imperative. Pakistan isn't that different culturally from India. If things simmered down the countries would naturally get close. The closer they drew the less need for a big Pak Army. That would mean less power and privilege for the Pak military. That would never do. So in order to preserve itself, the Pak Army must always make sure India is an enemy even if that means pulling a Mumbai periodically. I would guess that Pakistani civilian politicians can't be trusted to keep the pot boiling so the army has to keep them closely controlled.

    All part of why I think the Pak Army poses a greater danger to the humans than any other single organization in the world.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Carl,
    Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War by C. Christine Fair is an interesting book to browse through.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjnrETPDuls
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-22-2014 at 07:02 PM. Reason: fix link

  16. #116
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    Default Gentlemen’s Club – Military’s Maneuvers in Pakistan

    Hamid Hussain has provided his viewpoint on the current scene in Pakistan, it is on the five page attachment.

    He ends with:
    In my view three critical issues are casualty of current crisis. Country’s weak economy got another punch in the rib with flight of capital and in short term there is no likelihood of outside investment. Current crisis is distracting both civil and military authorities from fight against militancy which is now an existential threat. One issue which is below the radar and no one is paying attention to is that country is sleep walking into the sectarian conflict of the Middle East. It is quite clear that army gave a generous severance package to the leadership of militant organizations operating against India in Kashmir. Many mid level commanders and foot soldiers joined sectarian organizations as well as militants entrenched in Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) as well as opening franchises in Southern Punjab, Karachi and Baluchistan. Lucrative outside sources are changing the dynamics and these groups are now heading to greener pastures and killing fields of Middle East that will exacerbate sectarian schism inside the country. This factor has the potential of unraveling the state if not handled in time. Military and civilian leaders have taken several rides on the roller coaster in the last six decades and one expects that now they are mature enough to know the limits of brinkmanship. There will always be friction and disagreements but these should be handled in a more mature way by both parties.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    davidbfpo

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    Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday left Karachi for a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the latter's Raiwind residence.
    According to reports, Zardari also has plans to meet Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq during his visit to Lahore.

    During the past few days, the former president has been proactive in establishing contacts with almost all major political parties in the country. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar had said that the purpose of Zardari’s phone calls to political leaders was to lay emphasis on protecting and promoting democracy and the Constitution and, at the same time, sending a clear message to the government to listen to the “voices of reason and logic and not overshoot the bullet”.
    http://www.dawn.com/news/1127241/zar...-to-meet-nawaz


    It appears that the two main political parties are joining shoulders so that democracy is not toppled by a 'soft coup'.

    It is believed that the Army is supporting the Imran and Qadri.

    A Pakistani Perspective: Soft Coup, Hard Reset?

    Things are still extremely fluid in Islamabad as we go to press but whether the ultimate outcome of the protests is a soft coup d’état, the elected government weathering the storm or something in between, it is evident that for now the civil-military balance in Pakistan has gone through a hard reset in favour of the boots. There is little doubt that the ultimate beneficiary of the morass created by a power hungry cricketer-turned-politician and a delusional cleric is the military establishment. It is also evident that the wheels within wheels of the establishment have been prodding the protestors all along and also threw them a lifeline when their hubris bubble burst on live television.

    http://newageislam.com/current-affai...reset?/d/98679

  18. #118
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    Default Did a ‘soft coup’ just happen in Pakistan?

    A good WaPo commentary, covering "all the bases" as Islamabad reeks of tear gas and rubber bullets fly:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...n-in-pakistan/

    BBC on the tear gas plus:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29000563
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  19. #119
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    Default Cricketeer & Cleric radicalised to revolutionaries

    The antics in Islamabad of the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and a usually in Canada cult religious leader Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri almost defy understanding - with a few thousand angry supporters - so this WoTR column by Myra McDonald helps to explain:http://warontherocks.com/2014/09/in-...coup-stalls/#_

    Revolutionaries at the behest of the military establishment, well OK "usefulk idiots" is more appropriate:
    In the run-up to the elections, Pakistani media suggested that Khan was a particular favourite of Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, then head of the ISI. The former cricketer, not well known for his critical thinking, happily espoused the army narrative that all of Pakistan’s problems could be blamed on its corrupt politicians, while disregarding the military’s own powerful role in setting policy.
    Maybe it is now Nawaz Sharif's moment, after all he is the Prime Minister.
    davidbfpo

  20. #120
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    I just wanted to commend Myra MacDonald's above article. It is simply the best summary I have seen of the current situation and reflects a positive change in the willingness (or ability) of Western journalists to shed lazy stereotypes (corrupt regime, disciplined army, weak state, disaffected population etc etc) and tell it like it is with specifics about this particular country and its peculiar problems. Excellent job (she has been good before too, i dont mean to imply that she has suddenly woken up to the facts, but this one is particularly good).

    I had written a short piece earlier about this so-called crisis http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/201...thers-and.html

    In fact, its short, I will copy the whole thing here:
    We know from history that the skill, wisdom and effort (and oodles of luck) needed to build and sustain a working democratic system (whatever you may think of the pros and cons of such a system is a separate and interesting discussion) in one of the ex-colonial countries is orders of magnitude greater than the skill needed to just run a functional government for a few years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Ayub Khan, they all ran functional regimes and even made their Universities conduct their examinations on time. But none had a system with adequate checks and balances or the mechanism to transfer power smoothly from one elite clique to another without having to shoot the other clique first.
    It may be possible to repair the effects of poor governance by this or that democratic regime in a few years, but if the system as a whole is undermined and devalued, then it may never get working again, or may take decades to repair. Political authority (like money) is a shared (useful) illusion. Puncture the illusion and what is left is naked force (or, if enough of asabiya exists, a monarchy; whether called a monarchy or under some other name).

    Given our history, it is a significant achievement that all parties participated in a reasonably (by our standards) fair election under reasonably (by our standards) neutral caretaker administrations and an actual transfer of power took place peacefully. All that progress can be (and is) being undermined by this sustained campaign against democracy and civilian politics (with TUQ playing a conscious and Imran Khan a characteristically semi-conscious role in the undermining). That the Sharifs are not the best rulers is hardly debatable, but that the system should be wound up on that account is a disastrous step beyond the punishment of the Sharifs for any specific crime or misdemeanor. They must be removed from within the system or else they must be tolerated for their term. There is no third choice.
    We know very well from our history that the next step in the paknationalist (aka PMA) framework is a "technocratic government of all talents" and we also know that in short order that will prove worse than the poor Sharifs and will lack even the rickety checks and balances that limit the damage done by the Sharifs or any other democratically elected crook. Beyond that, we also know that the institutional biases of the Pakistani army in particular are utterly opposed to the rights of smaller nationalities and are determined to pursue suicidal and extremely disruptive policies with respect to relations with our neighbors and with the wider world. The Sharif brothers dalliances with ASWJ notwithstanding, it is the army that is most responsible for creating and sustaining various sectarian and islamofascist tendencies in the body politic. For all these (and other) reasons, this latest farcical soft coup is very bad news.
    Finally, it is good to keep in mind that it is not all fun and games...there really IS a bottom. One fine day the whole ####house could go up in flames (as East Pakistan did in 1971); and what follows could then cause significant discomfort even to those whose low opinion of the Sharifs or of bourgeois politics or of the current politicians, makes them look kindly upon any disruption to the system...
    I would add that I have come around to agreeing with those who think that NONE of the major VISIBLE players really had a detailed plan or a script that has been faithfully followed during this farce. But that does not mean that there is no one with a coherent agenda. There are people with coherent agendas and they make hay while the sun shines on Imran Khan's empty chairs. Just as the ASWJ terrorists are pursuing their agenda, the "Paknationalists" in the intelligence agencies are pursuing theirs. Sharifs (including Raheel Shareef) may have no plan and may be blundering in the dark, but some people have plans and most of them are dangerous...


    Luckily, it does look like this particular attempt has failed.
    Till the next time some General gets itchy...

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