I must admit ours is a story of a bully and dummies. If that is not so, then how will you define the government’s tutelage of George Bush and other American hawks towards Pakistani doves? How will you describe it when the latest US ‘gift’ to Pakistanis — the amassing of Nato troops, are knocking on our Western doors? This is despite Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani hoping against hope and saying that “Pakistan is a sovereign state and no one has the right to attack it”. Does the US care Mr Prime Minister?
The stream of threats from Washington’s military, the State Department, Pentagon and Bush himself are no longer mere rhetoric. American military aircraft and drones are actually operating in the Pakistani skies, committing aggression and fighting a war against Pakistan. This latest aggression is not against al Qaeda or the Taliban, the label of which they use to justify their open aggression against Pakistan and its betrayed people. The people are betrayed by George Bush. That everyone knows from the past US behaviour towards Pakistan.
Whenever we are in trouble and a victim of aggression from abroad, this is what the US does to us. The people are betrayed by the rulers in Islamabad because they have always tried to fool the nation about the real deals with Washington and what goodies our saying yes to US will bring us. What I say here is not merely reflecting the peoples’ apprehensions or fears. American bombs are actually falling on Pakistani territory, killing Pakistanis, maiming Pakistani children, burning and destroying our houses.
Lame duck Bush not only is blatantly indulging in bombing our territory and our people, but he has clearly and unashamedly marked out Pakistan as the future target of Iraq-like American aggression and occupation of Afghanistan. When the new US President is in office, he will have to look and act not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan, but Pakistan; he advises the incoming US President. That full-scale aggression against Pakistan is already here. It will be made more grievous when the new President occupies the White House.
People! If you already do not know it, be warned. Your rulers already know it because they are in league with Washington to get rid of you and your country. Do not believe the shadowboxing that every Pakistani ‘leader’ or a shadow of a leader in civvies or khakis is indulging in now. Do not believe what every Pakistani leader is spitting out in speeches. Do not believe the paper tigers. Do not believe the dummies. They are taking you right to the American altar — to slaughter you.
The leaders are scared of an America that has repeatedly been defeated by valiant people of all continents and countries from Cuba to Vietnam. You know that. But the bully is not ashamed of all these defeats by pygmies. He must start new misadventures to continue to try proving its emaciated ‘muscle’ to browbeat newer, younger, and poor nations. They must do it to help their flunkies, illegally occupying power slots around the globe while they are disowned and condemned by their own people. Such is the Pakistani rulers’ case.
And what did Shah Mahmood Qureshi mean when, after meeting with Condoleezza Rice and Ban Ki-moon, he said in New York, “Pakistan is in the eye of the storm”, and, “We need to make farsighted, well-calculated, and prudent decisions to safeguard our interests.” After Pakistan’s incessant humiliation by US and its heaping all sorts of filth on our country, can the decision be anything other than this one: get out of the American slavery! It is a matter of survival, Mr Qureshi.
Here, Washington is pitted against Pakistanis because they are the most anti-US and anti-Bush people in the world. And theirs’ is the country most-anti-US in the world. We should be proud of being so. The findings by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS) poll in Pakistan confirm it. Threats galore, not even Washington’s puppets are left behind. Look at Hamid Karzai’s threats. It reminds me of an advertisement of a Black Label whisky. After drinking, rather licking, some Black Label whisky, the rat stands on a table and, with all arrogance a rat can command, it is calling and challenging, “Where is the cat?”
Karzai, the President, whom even Americans call the “Mayor of Kabul”, and some even reduce him to “the ruler of the Presidential Palace”, is purely made-in-USA, brought up, taught English, and astronomically raised from public relations officer to a one-time Afghan President Professor Sighbatullah Mojaddadi. I remember the days in the 1980s when Afghan mujahideen were fighting the Soviets. He used to come to my office and sit there for hours. I asked him many a time why does he not go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets? His standard answer was, “I do not wish to get killed.” “Then why do you not go to Peshawar?” I used to ask? “There is a lot of trouble with so many mujahideen groups feuding with each other,” was this ‘great mujahid’s’ answer.
“The people of Afghanistan, the world, know very well that Pakistan’s intelligence agency is the biggest exporter of terrorism and extremism to the world, particularly Afghanistan,” said a meeting of the Afghan Cabinet. And our rulers are supposed to lead a valiant people who defeated the British colonial rulers without any arms, just equipped with the leadership of the Quaid — a lawyer who fought with arguments for the independence of his people — not arms. The bravery of our people can be judged from the spirit and valour they had mustered just after they won freedom. For years, they used to say, “We will walk into India just with our swords, defeat India, and stand on the ramparts of the Red Fort.”
I tell such stories because today’s cowardly rulers were not even born yet, then. The problems with these rulers, who staged coups, conspiracies, and walked to the throne through the backdoor is that they have not read even the history of our country and our people.
Take a more recent case of the 1960s, in which a tiny nation of dwarf-sized people defeated the US giant. North Vietnam — ravaged, destroyed, and burnt to ashes by American bombers and big guns was a country hardly anyone wished to even visit. In a meeting, in which I was assigning different reporters to various countries for reporting, everyone chose Western countries. In the end, only a visit to North Viet Nam was left where no one wished to go. I picked it up. That was my first visit to North Vietnam.
I saw North Vietnam totally charred, destroyed, and demolished. Its roads disappeared under incessant carpet bombing by US warplanes. I saw impoverished little people. Many of them half the size of our cowardly rulers who have “not seen even a bullet in their lifetime, as Brig. (retd) Abdul Salam Akhtar, speaking at a news conference of Ex-Servicemen Association said recently. But these little North Vietnamese defeated the American giants and made America eat a humble pie. A glorious win that literally threw American solders into the Tonkin Bay.
Are our pampered rulers even going to fire a single shot on those intruding American drones, spy planes, bombers, and cowardly solders on our Western borders? Let’s have some shame for a change. Let’s fight for our very dear country — once at last. This is the only country we have. You may have a green card, but 164 million Pakistanis do not. I do not have one. They do not wish to have one; I, too. Now come to civvies. As American aggression against our territory mounts, with greater ferociousness everyday, some of our green card-holding leaders are bleating like goats or indulging in a drama, or trying to lull 164 million anti-US Pakistanis into sleep. Many analyst and observers even describe the recent happenings in Bara, Khyber, and other locations as yet another drama staged on the eve of Richard Boucher’s visit to Islamabad.
It is time to repulse the US aggression. It is time to debunk the US threats. But our run-away civilian leadership is in London, Dubai, or wherever. On the other hand, the rulers are still steady in their bunkers in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. They like these run-away civilian leaders to stay out of the country and to make their stay as prolonged as they can. Rather than countering US bombings and controlling the Taliban, al Qaeda, in case they really are in the Pakistani territory, Mr Gillani has gone on an alarming tangent. “Majority of foreign militants, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and others are present in the tribal areas and their activities are increasing day by day. Majority of these foreigners are hiding in the tribal areas and their presence raises the spectre of another 9/11,” he says.
But here are some questions. How many do these foreigners number, dozens, hundreds, or thousands? Haven’t they been flushed out by 80,000 to 100,000 troops deployed in the region for more than five years? If so few can make a nation of 164 million hostages, their economy nearly crippled, its foreign policy enslaved, and the lives of its people hanging by a thin thread — be it Lahore, Islamabad or Karachi. What does the premier plan to do? The Taliban and al Qaeda apart, does it show that any enemy country can hire a bunch of such people and challenge Pakistan, notwithstanding our valiant people and mighty troops? These are grave matters. Does the prime minister and his party with a huge popular mandate, feel answerable to its voters and the nation for all what is going on?
The Prime Minister pronounces once again, “Pakistan is a sovereign state and nobody will be allowed to interfere in its internal affairs.” If bombing Pakistani territory incessantly and ignoring its government’s claims of supposed sovereignty is not ‘interference’, then what is it?
Sovereignty is not a decoration piece to be kept in the closet of the Prime Minister House or the Presidential Palace or the President’s bunker. It is not meant to be kept in a locker. It has to be used, exercised, exhibited, and demonstrated. Do the prime minister and other rulers think the rhetoric of ‘sovereignty’ or its pretension will deliver? Washington does not think so. Bush does not concede. In view of this, Mr Prime Minister, what do you plan to do? No more repeats of Bangladesh! Think up – now.
The writer is an Islamabad-based journalist and former Director General of Associated Press of Pakistan
Source: The Post, 20/7/2008