MG is a senior air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a notable writer on military history.
Many people have written to me asking me to write about Pakistan. This nation is going through a terrible period. In my opinion, it's been going through this terrible period right from 1947. As things stand the situation is pretty bad and looks like it's heading for a civil war.
Pakistan became independent along with India in 1947 but India chose the path of secularism and democracy and Pakistan despite a very good secular leader named Muhammad Ali Jinnah chose the opposite path. Jinnah died just after independence and the net result was there was nobody to steer Pakistan forward and they relapsed into obscurantism. An example will suffice. Even after 75 years, there is sad news to relate. Two sisters who had come from Spain to Pakistan were forcibly married to their cousins. They were Spanish citizens of Pakistani origin. They were being forced to marry their cousins.
What happened next? the relatives began to force these girls to take their cousins abroad to Spain. The girls said we don't want to marry them and we don't want to stay with them or take them to Spain. This refusal brought dire consequences and the net result was they were tortured and then shot dead. The police have arrested a few people including the cousins. Overall it points to a terrible situation in Pakistan. (https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/pakistaniorigin-spanish-sisters-tortured-shot-dead-for-honour-6-held-reports-101653228267172.html)
Just some time back a girl model named Qandeel was strangulated to death by her brother. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but then his father forgave him and he was released. This is the peculiarity of Pakistan law: you commit a murder and then you get released because you are pardoned. I don't think this is followed anywhere in the civilized world.(https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/21/pakistan-appeal-over-brother-acquittal-in-qandeel-baloch-murder#).
A friend from Peshawar has written to me and said that she's very worried because just a few weeks a Pakistani young girl was making a video at the Shaheed Minar in Lahore, was stripped naked by a crowd of about 400 people and you know what happened after that.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Minar-e-Pakistan_mass_sexual_assault)
Imran Khan, the prime minister made a lot of noise but nothing practically happened. Such incidents are manifold and show Pakistan has gone down the path of obscurantism. They have a democracy functioning but it is democracy in the name because power remains with the army. They're the main constituent of power in Pakistan and the other people are just given small positions.
The army decides who is going to be prime minister and they decided that the previous prime minister Nawaz Shariff must be thrown out. Charges of corruption were brought against him and he was sentenced to 10 years in jail. He went into exile.
One of the peculiarities of Pakistan is that all its leaders have either been hanged, shot dead, murdered, or sent into exile and that is right from 1951 when Liaqat Ali Khan was shot dead while making a public speech. We had the sad case of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto being hanged for a crime that he never committed.
Imran Khan and Army
Much water has flown down the Indus but Pakistan hasn't changed. Imran Khan was the prime minister and he thought he was going to be a great chap. He began playing to the gallery of obscurantism and getting friendly with the terrorist organizations, He thought once the Taliban comes to power in Afghanistan, he was going to have a great time and he made a very silly statement. He said the chains or the shackles have been broken. What shackles was he talking of?
Anyway, the shackles became so bad that these Taliban people started attacking the Pakistanis. They have a Pakistan Taliban operating and carrying out terrorist attacks and Imran khan could do nothing. The Taliban government has also refused to recognize the Durand Line as the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan as they feel it is a creation of the British.
The Pakistan economy tanked, and the rupee slid to 182 to a dollar. There was rampant inflation and less food and oil. In that turmoil, he made a visit to Russia when the war was on and made a statement there "what an exciting time it is". America did not like it and there is also some evidence to suggest that they were not happy with Imran khan and wanted to remove him.
There are many stooges available like in India. Similarly in Pakistan also the Americans have got a lot of stooges and they started getting together finally, they were able to cobble up a no-confidence motion and threw Imran khan out.
This was with the approval of general Bajwa the army commander. After Imran was removed general Bajwa in an address said that Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine. The Americans were pretty pleased. This probably gives you a clue as to how Imran Khan was ousted from power.
Imran Khan became the first prime minister in Pakistan's history to be voted out of power. Imran Khan is a man with charisma and he will not accept the verdict. He came out and started saying that this is an imported government. foisted upon Pakistan by America. He was able to rally a lot of support.
Shahbaz Sharif is the prime minister but is facing many criminal charges of corruption and graft. Maybe they're all fixed but then you can't have smoke without fire and there's a good chance that something may be true. He's not a charismatic leader compared to Imran.
Imran khan has served a notice to the government that within six days if they do not declare a general election he's going to hold the country to ransom. He started a long march which ultimately gave up because the army did not back him.
The army is a dubious force. The job of an army is to be professional and fight for the nation. This is something the army doesn't believe in as they tasted the power and they want to stick to it.
Everything from manufacturing tea bags and more is made by the Pakistan ordinance. The army's got a finger in the pie in everything. They went and lost the war in Bangladesh and General Niazi, uncle of Imran Khan signed on the dotted line and a hundred thousand soldiers surrendered.
The army has not been able to fight the terrorists. They've been running around with the hare and hunting with the hound. They want to distinguish between good and bad terrorism; there is nothing like that, terrorism is a seamless organization. They're encouraging some terrorists who attack India. This is the Pakistan policy to try and bleed India with 100 cuts. it was started by general Zia but then they haven't succeeded. I don't think they're going to succeed.
Pakistan is now in the throes of jaws of death and there is tension. There are two big divisions. even the army is divided; I'm told general Bajwa is on one side and another general who was the chief of the ISI is on the other side. The army is also divided and Imran has some support in the army also that is why he is doing all this.
Pakistan is heading towards chaos and there is a battle in Balochistan led by the Baluch Liberation Army, the Pakistan Taliban is fighting in Waziristan and the Northwest frontier and they have their tentacles all over Pakistan. The only loyal state is Punjab and thankfully the recruitment of the army is mainly from Punjab.
Pakistan is heading to anarchy now anarchy has got many other facets. it's got an economic face also and Pakistan is facing tremendous economic problems, the rupees has shot over 200 to a dollar and their foreign reserves are dwindling and they're looking to be bailed out. Saudi Arabia is trying to bail them out with a seven billion dollar loan but obviously, it comes with some strings.
imran khan in any case has been anti-USA throughout and his rhetoric is that this regime has been fostered by the Americans. He's playing to popular sentiments because, in Pakistan, America is not liked.
The educated elite and the masses are getting hysterical that this regime has been imposed by America. I don't think America could have imposed the regime but they had turncoats available there, who played the American tune.
The opposition is now led by Imran Khan and he's got support. He's galvanizing the people against the government and believe me, I feel the government doesn't know what to do and how to deal with Imran khan. They tried to catch him in different ways. First banning electronic voting machines( EVM) and restoring paper ballots. Why? remember what Joseph Stalin said? he said, "in any election, the important man is not the man who votes but the man who counts the votes." You now have a clue why EVM are banned.
imran had a lot of support among Pakistanis outside Pakistan in the United States UAE and all over and they have now said that these gentlemen cannot vote in the election.
At the same time, they say we'll continue the full term and that's for another year-plus, and then only order election because they know if they hold an election now they're going to be wiped out. All this is with the concurrence of the establishment, a euphuism for Army back seat driving.
The army had a big say when they deposed Imran khan and sent him home but the situation is like a tinder box and boom; Pakistan could explode anytime. The only chance is that the army intervenes and puts a halt to it.
Pakistan will have more and more crises coming. It needs a radical change they, need a Muhammad Ali Jinnah, someone who can look forward not someone who looks backward. Pakistan still has the old archaic laws continuing like the sharia, Hooded ordinance, and the blasphemy laws. Tens have been lynched in public and nearly 100 are on death row for blasphemy. Is anybody going to write a poem for them?
imran khan has been deposed. He didn't get a chance to do anything further. He has also called off his long march. Despite being the most popular politician in Pakistan he had no chance as the army decided he was not needed. Imran forgot the cardinal principle that in Pak the army calls the shots and I don't think he will make a comeback, but the economy of Pakistan? That is something to worry about as it is heading the way of Lanka and the army or no army, may not be able to stem the tide.
There is more worry as Imran Khan is simmering and so are his supporters. Another worry is the Pak Taliban feel Pakistan is not a pristine Islamic state and they want an Islamic caliphate. Pakistan will survive but that is not what everything is about. The quality of life is important and that is where it lags.
© 2022 MG Singh emge