By Humayun Gauhar
When you look at how the US and Pakistan are behaving towards each other you wouldn’t be wrong in coming to the conclusion that they are idiots not allies bent on a mutual destruction course. The onus for this madness lies more on the US than on Pakistan for it is far the more powerful of the two while Pakistan has degraded itself so much that often it has no choice but to do things that should be against its better judgment if only our rulers had judgment. America has made Pakistan so entirely dependent on it economically and militarily that Pakistan has lost the ability to differentiate between its interest and America’s self-interest. Today, both face cliffs of different kinds with chances increasing by the day that they will fall off them.
To be sure the people of the two countries were not so nutty until their nutty leaders drove them nuts. Even so, while the people are still clear about what they want, the leaders are confused. Poor sods, their political leaders live in some world than other their people. America wants to remold the world in its image to maintain control and hegemony and thwart rising China in its tracks. In the process it has indebted itself beyond the point of reprieve and trashed its dollar which, were it not for China’s self-interest, would be dead and buried by now as the global reserve currency. It will one day if America doesn’t watch it.
Pakistan wants to survive and at the same time acquire some substance to give meaning to its bombast. At the very least America wants Pakistan’s help for a painless drawdown of NATO troops from Afghanistan. Pakistan’s government want bailouts yet at the same time they want America to stop drone strikes that they are mostly party to. When drone strikes happen they shed crocodile tears and wail like impotent banshees howling about lost sovereignty while hypocritically not giving a fig about the sovereignty they have willing and wantonly handed over to half-human half-fiend terrorists of many nationalities that are a negation of Islam and murderers not just of people but of God’s Word. The terrorists have occupied large swathes of Pakistan and established states within our state from where they continue their killing sprees. What sovereignty? Truthfully, there is a terrorist cell in every neighbourhood, every nook and cranny of the country as well as in the homes of the rich and beautiful where possible terrorist sympathizers work as domestic servants. And they think that they are safe when they hire clapped out ‘guards’ from iffy security companies, dress them in dirty crumpled uniforms and give them fearsome weapons to ‘save’ them. Why would a poor man willingly lose his life and destroy his family for the paltry pay he gets? Why would he not join the terrorists from whom they likely get more money thanks to the munificence of our brothers in faith who are fighting their own sectarian wars on our turf? Why would they not hate the rich occupants of the palatial homes they supposedly guard when they see their lavish lifestyles, daily consumption of food and alcohol that costs more than their salaries and feeding their dogs better? Wake up, my friends, for your last dying sight might be your ‘help’ slitting your throats. It would serve you right for supporting political leaders who don’t deserve any support. You asked for it, you got it. French-style revolution what or just honest-to-goodness chaos and anarchy?
Instead of launching a once and for all military operation to wipe out the terrorists we would treat them as ‘stakeholders’ and negotiate with them, thus giving them recognition and legitimizing the sovereignty we have so callously lost to them. A fine declaration of impotence and surrender this is, the resolution of our last All Parties Conclave of hypocrites.
So pathetically confused is the Pakistani ruling class that its media and ‘analysts’ are confused between whether the droned terrorist leader Hakimullah Mehsud is a martyr or not, whether the ‘Khwarjee’ brothers of the Red Mosque are heroes or villains. Any wonder our leadership is so pathetic? After all the real mandate this class gives them is to protect the inhuman status quo of which they all are the beneficiaries a while longer. So divided are they that our Senate sessions are now divided too, the opposition holding them on the road and the government and its allies in the hall. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the fruitcake that fathered the unrealistic devolution clauses to our constitution and turned Pakistan into a veritable confederation holding forth on Constitution Avenue taking himself very seriously. These nuts need a reality check. Was not the branches and institutions of government working at cross-purposes enough that they had to mount this tamasha and make a mockery of themselves? Or is it the “beauty of democracy” that I have been missing all along – dysfunctional governments, increasing poverty, economy galloping towards collapse, untenable debt, no growth while hunger, illiteracy and hopelessness grow by the day, the Lucky Irani Circus that passes for our parliament in full swing? The monkeys have taken over the Big Top.
So too the US Congress that is in gridlock over passage of the budget and raising the debt ceiling about which they have no option. The leaderships of both countries are making a perfect sight of themselves. And you expect them to take the world and their own countries out of the morass they are mired in, they who have contributed so much to the morass in the first place? That is why I call the leaders of both countries fruitcakes, for fruitcakes are full of nuts of the dry kind.
In killing Hakimullah Mehsud the US has unwittingly done Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif a favour by giving each of them a way out. Imran Khan’s failing provincial government can unconstitutionally create such a deadlock by blocking NATO supply routes in KPK that Nawaz Sharif’s federal government may have no option but to throw it out and impose governor’s rule, thus making him a ‘Martyr of Democracy’ and blow dwindling life back into his waning popularity. And with the TTP having appointed a person as bloodthirsty as Mullah Fazlullah as its chief there should be no doubts that the so-called peace negotiations with the terrorists are a non-starter, or if they start at all for appearance’s sake they will collapse without a whimper. Then Sharif’s government, after having demonstrated its desire of “giving peace a chance”, will have the US to blame when the delusional talks fail because America droned Hakimullah Mehsud just as talks were supposedly getting underway. Is this is what they want us to see?
However, if the US thinks that by getting rid of Hakimullah Mehsud it has increased the chances of an orderly drawdown it could be in for a rude shock for his successor is as bad, if not worse. By appointing Mullah Fazlullah in Hakimullah’s stead, the TTP has sent out a clear signal that it is spoiling for a fight. So let’s give it to them. This newspaper said in “The iron fist of Mullah Fazlullah” that “Mullah Fazlullah, the new TTP leader, is a ruthless fighter who is vehemently anti-state and unamenable to peace talks.” This is the man who took over the Swat valley and imposed his own misinterpretation of Sharia on it. This is the man who beheaded our soldiers and paraded their heads on the streets of Swat. This is the man whose ‘brave’ terrorists shot schoolgirl Malala Yusufzai. This is the man our fruitcakes would negotiate with. Have I got to be joking? Not a jot, the fruitcakes are deadly serious.
Welcome to ‘Nuts in Wonderland’ where Mad Hatters serve fruitcakes at tea parties.