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Old 08-21-2014   #101
Ray
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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.
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Old 08-21-2014   #102
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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....
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Old 08-21-2014   #103
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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.
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Old 08-22-2014   #104
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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 08:02 PM. Reason: fix link
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Old 08-22-2014   #105
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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:
Quote:
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.
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File Type: txt Hamid4SWJ220814.txt (17.8 KB, 121 views)
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Old 08-23-2014   #106
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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.
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
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Old 08-31-2014   #107
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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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Old 09-03-2014   #108
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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:
Quote:
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.
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Old 09-04-2014   #109
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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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