'Respect is not earned through submission to a power on earth but to the Power that is above every other power on earth, stand for your respect and rights fearing none but Allah; only then respect will come your way.' Raja Mujtaba
By Dr. Haider Mehdi
“I do not care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We will protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister on drone attacks: WikiLeaks
“We have finally convinced the White House to send a formal invitation to you for an official visit to the US in 2011… given your… agreeing to an expanded role for Drones and US Special Forces in Pakistan…The State Department wants General Kayani to accompany you.”
Leaked memo from Pakistan’s US Ambassador, to the President of Pakistan: posted by Al-Wazan
For Karim Khan, a Pakistani tribesman from North Waziristan, December 31, 2009, was Doomsday. A covert US drone attacked his house and killed his son, brother and a local man. Torment, anguish, grief, sorrow, and resentment have overcome Karim Khan: “If I have the means, I will take revenge for this attack…we need justice. We are innocent people… We are not terrorists. We are common citizens,” Karim Khan told a news conference where he and his lawyer Mirza Shehzad Akbar announced his plans to sue the US government. Akbar said that he will file a lawsuit in Pakistan and, if necessary, in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague. “This is not a political case, this is a private complaint…We will file a lawsuit against the American government and CIA officials for $500 million compensation.”
Bravo, Karim Khan! An appropriate step in the right direction. But this private complaint must now be transformed into a constitutional-political movement. There should be thousands of such lawsuits filed in Pakistan and the ICJ from every household which has been hit by American drones. Concurrently, the civil society’s constitutional-political movement needs to go a step further: the Pakistan President, Prime Minister and the Chief of the Army Staff, all three top decision-makers, should be named in hundreds of lawsuits in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for their role: their alleged compliance and implicit approval of the US drone attacks against this nation’s innocent people.
Let us be politically correct: unless civil society in Pakistan moves forward to constitutionally-legally contain the drone warfare against this country and raises this issue as an illegal and illegitimate aerial-military campaign in violation of international laws at global forums, including the ICJ, the invisible American killing machines, war strategy and global-political agenda will ultimately descend upon us as the final demolition of our nationhood. The moment has arrived to do something urgent and nation-wide to respond to US military atrocities inside the territory of this country, subversion of international laws and its nihilistic political agenda against this country.
Unfortunately and ironically, the facts are, as we all know now, that the incumbent political dispensation and its top decision-makers are hand-in-glove with the enemies of the state and its people. Unless the real power-holders in Islamabad know something better than the majority of people in this country, the writing is on the wall: the incumbent political managers entrusted with the destiny of this nation are completely out of sync with what ails Pakistan, who is responsible for all the political mess around us and what the remedies and resolutions to the national problematics are. The political leadership in Pakistan (including the entirety of opposition parties and their leaderships) is supposed to resolve the nation’s problems; instead, it has become a major problem in itself.
A political, linguistic analysis of the Prime Minister’s statement on WikiLeaks reveals the political-moral insensitivities, dictatorial indiscretions and above-parliamentary rules of our national political managers in the conduct of national affairs. First and foremost, this statement reveals the incumbent government’s full compliance with the US drone attacks inside Pakistan’s territory, which they have denied time and again. Second, this statement indicates that the so-called US war on terror is “Pakistan’s own war” – a view which is an egregiously inaccurate portrayal of the entire history of this war, and opposed by a vast majority inside Pakistan. Third, this statement undisputedly sheds light on the hypocrisy, deceit and complete lack of moral diplomacy and political bankruptcy of this administration’s perspective on the fundamentals of parliamentary democracy. Fourth, this statement shows the incredible level of “criminal apathy” towards the loss of life of innocent Pakistani citizens and the moral and emotional resentment this war breeds in the hearts and minds of the people of this country.
Pakistan’s political dynamics should match a first-hand understanding of the needs of the impoverished majority of its people. Instead, our entire present foreign-patronized and endowed political culture and leadership is focused towards serving the interests of its selective political managers and their “masters” in Washington D.C., London, and elsewhere in West European capitals. The top PPP incumbent leadership has pushed this process and this illegitimate, unlawful, undemocratic and un-nationalistic political campaign to its ultimate limits.
Consider the enormity of our national democratic crisis: the serving President of the republic wishes his sister to replace him as president if he is ousted and advises his children to always remember that they were born to rule this country. The inexcusable and injudicious infringement on national pride, integrity, and its political democratic moral consciousness in this context is that the President confides his wish to a top diplomat of a foreign power that is already involved in a war against this nation and is in the process of accelerating it to a full-fledged military conflict. Amazingly, the country’s top civilian political manager’s “criminal apathy” towards the nation’s suffering is mind-boggling and is aptly demonstrated in the leaked memo of Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington D.C.: the president has agreed to an expanded role of drones and US Special Forces in Pakistan just so that his official visit to the US can materialize, completely ignoring the havoc, destruction and sufferings that the activities of the US Special Forces are going to inflict on its cities and citizens all over the country.
As an individual citizen of this country, just like any other citizen, the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Kayani, has a legitimate right to form his personal opinion of political issues (as to who should be the President, Prime Minister, etc.), but I believe the entire nation has been hurt and feels skeptical by Gen. Kayani identifying his own “man” for the country’s top civilian position and confiding this to a foreign diplomat. Indeed, the nation is justified in wanting the COAS to be more scrupulous and politically correct in playing a role as an important actor in the affairs of the nation.
The COAS would be well-advised not to accompany the President on his official visit to the US next year as this would most certainly tarnish the Army’s image which Gen. Kayani has labored so hard to restore. However, the nation will have to accept the ground realities in Pakistan – the Army is, has always been, and will continue to be a major partner in its national political landscape – until and unless an able, competent, democratic, and honest civilian leadership brings about a political renaissance in this country’s political culture. How about giving Imran Khan a chance?
“Truth must be faced,” as Albert Schweitzer, the Franco-German philosopher said. “Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is egular now – always.”
The nation has been betrayed. The deception is obvious. Credibility has been lost. It is the hour of truth!! Will the Prime Minister resign now, kindly and obligingly…? !!!
Will the President quit now? !!!
For Karim Khan, Ahmad Fraz had already lamented against all such atrocities:
(Oh meray dost) mera dil lahoo lahoo ha magar (Oh my friend; my heart is bleeding, but)
Moaf kar kay teray dushmano kay saath hain hum (We are sorry for we are with your enemies)
Tera janoo tera isar mohtaram lakin (I respect your sacrifices, but)
Jo sach kahoon to teray qatilon kay saath hain hum (if I say the truth, we are with your killers)
Pakistan’s political elite must stop dancing with devils.
The writer: a professor, political analyst, published author and conflict-resolution expert who is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.