By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
Pakistan’s current political establishment consists of a dysfunctional parliament beholden to the dictates of about a dozen failed, incompetent, and—in most cases—corrupt; an equally dysfunctional senate that has no independence whatsoever; a Presidency that is actually the hotbed of party politics; a Prime Minister who he is not answerable to the Parliament in any real sense like prime ministers usually are; and a disempowered electorate. Its military establishment has not only failed the nation time and again, but it is actually a system that is now beholden to the United States for its very survival. Its re-activated judiciary has been unable to make its writs go beyond a limited facile implementation. Thus, all three pillars of a modern state are dysfunctional in the Islamic Republic. An impotent official opposition and a powerless unofficial opposition complete the scene.
Given this state of affairs, United States of America has been able to establish its writ over the entire system. In fact, Pakistan has been a cheap buy: Egypt has been receiving 2 billion per year since 1979, Israel’s portion for 2010 was 2.775 billion. Both numbers are official, both consist of military aid and exclude other money. Pakistan, in comparison, has been an orphan beggar throughout its history of dependence on US aid. Only in recent years, there has been a significant increase, but that most of this new money is hypothetical aid, not real, as it mostly is by way of payments for services rendered for the US occupation of Afghanistan and its interminable war of terror. And most of this money has been for military, which has made Pakistani military a client of the United States. Its politicians were already US clients and thus the fate of the country has now been sealed.
If Pakistan did actually received some $2.7 billion dollars in “aid and reimbursements” from Washington in fiscal year 2010, as is being claimed, then that money must have been either fake or those who received it must have dug a very deep hole in some inaccessible realm, for all of Pakistan’s social indicators show a sharp decline in country’s development for period during which this money came into the country. From education to health system and from roads to power, there is a sharp deterioration visible everywhere. Hence, if that money has gone to the military establishment, then Pakistanis must wake up from their slumber and have a system in place to control their military.
But regardless of that money—or rather because of that money—Pakistan’s defense has reached lowest depths since its independence: Pakistan cannot even have one single plane flying without some part of that plane remaining hostage to a functional dependency on the United States, may it be short term or long term, may it be in terms of the radar system it uses or its actual engine which makes it fly. And like the cat which taught all tricks to the tiger except that of climbing a tree, US holds the magic key to the very functionality of Pakistan’s entire military operation: it can render it utterly dysfunctional by that magic key and have its helicopters land in the heart of Pakistan’s military establishment and then shout so loudly that no one in the client state would have the courage to stand up and say: wait a minute, before we tell you how and why OBL was resting in that house in Abbottabad, can you explain how can you violate international law and enter our airspace.
All that the so-called friend of Pakistan had to do before landing in Pakistan last week was to make a statement in Kabul alleging that he has found “disturbing evidence” of Pakistan’s involvement with the Taliban and Islamabad and Rawalpindi started to shake. Senator John Kerry’s brief stay in Islamabad must have been one of the most rewarding of his entire career: the entire military and political establishment was lined up before hand to receive him and listen to the minimum set of new operative instructions and say: we believed and we obeyed.
He returned home to a chorus of “cut the aid”, which was well-orchestrated with everyone knowing already that there is no “aid” to be cut; these are payments for services extracted at gunpoint and paid in cheap: there is no other army in the world which can devote its existence setup exclusively to fight another country’s illegal, immoral and criminal war.
Those who are being assassinated by drones in the remote regions of Pakistan have nowhere to go: there army is actually part of the operation; their government shares the vision and operational tactics of those who are pressing buttons and the opposition is utterly impotent: it can only make loud claims: we will not tolerate the next attack. Note, it is always the “next attack”.
Poor Imran Khan: he can never muster enough support to march to Islamabad; he can only give long due dates to the predators; the last one was actually one whole month! Perhaps there is no other indicator of his ineffectiveness than the latest stunt of sit-in he organized in Peshawar. But perhaps it is not Imran Khan, it is Pakistan’s beaten civil society, its teaming but hopeless millions, who are the real cause of the rule of Pakistan’s US client over the entire setup. These teaming millions have been thrust into a race for the survival and all potency has been extracted from their blood. They can hardly be counted for any change. Thus, darkness descends from all side, making it possible for a few hundred US clients to do what they will to this nation.