Saturday, 30 April 2016
INTERNATIONAL LAYER OF INSTABILITY: Samson Simon Sharaf
While reading do not miss moles planted within the most vociferous opposition party and the moles within us.
Like the simile of an onion I have used to frame my hypothesis, the most crucial and damaging is Pakistan’s susceptibility to US interests in chagrin to its short and long-term interests. Whenever a Pakistani leader has shown a flair for independence, he/she has been eliminated. Add to the list Pakistan’s tax evaders, money launderers, political business cartels, offshore businessmen, bad fiscal policies, impotency of regulators, opaqueness in transparency and economic hit-men to make a lethal brew of anti non-state actors. All these layers compliment each other but for the interests of Pakistan. They also coalesce when needed to subdue the winds of change. They exist in every sinew of Pakistan’s politic body.
Pakistan has never had a cohesive, self-serving and permanent national policy; a sad but true reflection of a state that spent half its existence under military dictatorships or tailored democracies under the watchful eye. The first decade was lost to political conspiracies hatched by a group of bureaucrats and politicians, who had the advantage but not the conscience of serving with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. They chose to wade through a muddied perspective on an elusive and unending journey of inventive nationalism that caused disfigurement. To complicate the national construct, foreign policy resulting in subservience to USA set in motion a diplomacy of invisible interventions that often became violent.
How intense were US interests in Pakistan that Prime Minster Liaqat Ali Khan had to be assassinated by CIA through the Afghan Government because he refused to destabilize Mossadeq’s regime in Iran begs no answer. Subsequently USA not only changed the regime but also reached a long-term alliance with Saudi Arabia that was to later forge the Oil-Dollar Equation. Pakistan’s close relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab Kingdoms are imbedded in working within US interests and in the bargain provide a security balance to Middle East. Now that USA is easing its policy on Iran after many decades, Pakistan will be dissuaded across the entire spectrum of policy from placation to violence to keep its relations with Iran in concert with US-Saudi objectives.
This shift in Pakistan’s policy was the result of Bhutto’s policy of a greater Muslim alliance through the Islamic Summit. Ultimately it distanced Iran. But Iran too had its hegemonic designs that became aggressive after the Iranian Revolution creating frictions on international border, inside Afghanistan and sectarian lines. Ever since, both neighbors have played a game of brinkmanship with mutual suspicion under the watchful eye of USA and KSA.
On his part Bhutto suffered a fate no different from Liaqat Ali through a military dictator groomed to work for US-Saudi Interests. His judicial murder was actually a correction course for Pakistan lest it became too independent and powerful. What did Bhutto do to merit such a cold-blooded end? The answers lie below.
First, he rebooted Pakistan’s nuclear program towards weapons. Bhutto envisioned a nuclear Islamic block strengthened by the oil wealth and Pakistan’s skilled manpower. However, his left leaning policies were viewed with suspicion by his Arab allies. Bhutto had a long-term vision for his country but his economic plan backfired. To put Afghanistan under pressure he supported the Afghan Student résistance against Sardar Daoud. The pressure worked and Daoud was ready to sign a permanent deal on Durand line. Days before the two heads of states were to formalize the agreement; Bhutto was overthrown by a military coup. The military regime never pursued this agreement. Bhutto proving too big for his boots was made an example.
Bhutto’s erstwhile military chief and his executioner fared no better. The military takeover in 1977 served US interests and infused permanent seeds of internal instability in the form of weaponisation of society, drugs, militant organizations, intolerance, sectarianism and religiously inspired violence. The mock Afghan jihad lasted as long as it served US interests and was conveniently relabeled as the invisible floating threat of Islamic terrorists. USA was suspicious of Zia’s growing nuclear cooperation with China. He had to go and so did that fatal flight on C-130.
The daughter of the East returned to Pakistan with a thumping popular applause. But also attached to her Bhutto symbolism was an ill matched spouse willing to cut her to size whenever she over grew. Her spouse through his corruption twice got her governments removed.
Yet within her limitations of working with many uncles, new entrants and a dubious husband, she never gave up her father’s vision. The nuclear program progressed to perfection including the weapon testing sites in Chagai. Then began the pursuit of delivery systems and their indigenous production. She continued to pursue the Afghan policy of her father. By 1996, Mullah Omar had agreed to the international demand of a broad based government and also signing the Durand Agreement. A day before she was poised to sign this historic accord with the new Afghan broad based government, President Laghari mysteriously sacked her government. Neither the interim not the subsequent PMLN government pursued this historic opportunity.
To her credit, Benazir never lost heart. After 9/11 she almost engineered the handing over of Osama Bin Laden to Turkey, a NATO country. USA refused. Then she returned infused with an elixir. She had made some of the most critical decisions of her life; amongst them to team up with Musharraf to make a formidable Pakistani team and secondly to shed off her yoke. As per her terms of agreement with USA, Nawaz Sharif was to serve his time of self-exile in KSA. She rejected the NRO. The daughter of East had become too hot to handle. Though her fire is seemingly extinguished, it is in the interests of Pakistan that the pyre must burn. Musharraf’s exit after her death and subsequent humiliation were writings on the wall. Zardari became the heir to the political dynasty through a controversial Will.
So what does this entire ongoing drama in Pakistan mean? If precedence is to be followed, it is all hallow and the birds of feather will flock together. These agents of instability are well placed in every system, organization and political party to allow a departure towards an independent Pakistan. Even if some amongst them wish contrition, they will be ruthlessly cut to size.
Like a conventional current on a boil, everything must go down for a new to begin.