Difa-e-Pakistan: What we know and do not want to hear

February 16, 2012

It is an adage that everything is already known; it just has to be rediscovered. But it applies particularly well to the rise of the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DPC). The new alliance of Islamist groups, campaigning for a break in ties with the United States  and an end to warming relations with India, is giving clear shape for the first time in many years to an underworld of hyper-nationalism, militancy, sectarianism and faith-based politics whose influence in Pakistan has until now operated largely beneath the surface.

And many Pakistanis are not liking what they are seeing.  Columnist Ejaz Haider described the very public rallies of the DPC - which includes the Jamaat-e-Islami political organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the humanitarian wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group),  the anti-Shi’ite Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and former spy chief Hamid Gul among others – as “a Whisky Tango Foxtrot moment for the entire nation and, yes, the military and its various intelligence agencies”.

Yet what is interesting is what the DPC tells us about the trends already going on below the radar.  Given widespread suspicion that the alliance enjoys the tacit backing of the Pakistan Army – few believe it could operate so openly without the approval of the generals in Rawalpindi - it also provides an (albeit distorted) window into the thinking of the country’s powerful security establishment.

The alliance, which has held rallies in the cities of Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi since late last year, is unusual in bringing an intense dislike of India and anger at the United States onto the same platform. Pakistan’s relations with the two countries have always been linked – the military has traditionally sought American support to help it stand up to India. And its reluctance to cede to U.S. pressure to turn on its former militant proxies has in part been explained by its view that Pakistan needs them to counter the influence of its much bigger neighbour in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

But in recent years, Pakistan’s approaches to India and the United States have been viewed separately (in part due to a determined policy of “de-hyphenation” of India and Pakistan in Washington). The United States was the strategic partner with whom Pakistan threw in its lot after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks; India was the country with which it nearly went to war in 2001/2002. Much later, as relations with the Americans soured, they improved with India – so much so that a populist tendency to blame the United States for all of Pakistan’s problems almost completely ignores the traditional enemy India (except in the ranks of the India-focused military.)

The Difa-e-Pakistan criticises the United States and India equally. It is demanding that Pakistan refuse to reopen supply routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan, closed after last year’s NATO airstrike which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border; and that the government withdraw its decision to offer Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trading status to India.

What is important is the narrative which unites them both.

In “Secularizing Islamists”, a study of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), author Humeira Iqtidar writes of a woman leader in the JuD who had sent two of her sons to fight and die in Kashmir. “Of course, who wants to send their children under a rain of bullets? The same children that we protect from ills and injuries when they are home?” Iqtidar quotes the woman as saying. “Have we been left with any other option now (as Muslims)?… Shahadat (martyrdom) is the only weapon we have to fight American control of our societies.”

“To her,” adds Iqtidar, “the connection between Indian control of Kashmir and American control of Pakistani society was the global market.”  The Americans, so the argument went, were willing to overlook Kashmir in order to win access to Indian markets; at the same time they controlled Pakistani markets by propping up “puppet regimes” with the help of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Or as Stephen Tankel writes in his excellent book on the Lashkar-e-Taiba, “Storming the World Stage“, ”anger at perceived American meddling in Pakistan and the occupation of Afghanistan, as well as alleged favouritism towards India,  were recurrent themes in every interview the author conducted with Lashkar members.”

Before returning to that narrative, some comments on what the DPC is not.

It is not a union of Islamist groups sharing identical approaches to the United States and India and about to assume control - religious parties have never had much electoral success in Pakistan compared to their street power. The interests of the disparate groups are overlapping and often competing.

The Jamaat-e-Islami has its roots in British colonial India and has tended to work within the electoral system. The Lashkar-e-Taiba/Jamaat-ud-Dawa had its origins in the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, sharing a common mentor with al Qaeda in Islamic scholar Abdullah Azzam, but has focused on Kashmir and India. The JuD says it has no interest in joining mainstream politics, while the LeT – with which the JuD has dissociated itself after the November 2008 assault in Mumbai - has eschewed attacks within Pakistan. The sectarian Sipah-e-Sahaba’s militant offshoot, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, has been blamed for a string of attacks inside Pakistan and has often been linked to al Qaeda. The religious leader Sami ul-Haq, a leading light in the DPC along with JuD leader Hafez Saeed, is closely associated with the Afghan Taliban.  But only the JuD shares the Salafist tradition of al Qaeda; the others are mainly Deobandi.

Nor should the equation between the DPC and the Pakistan Army be overstated. The military would have many reasons to give the DPC tacit approval. It serves as a convenient stalking horse for an army which wants to maintain a relationship with the United States while also being able to insist in negotiations with Washington that the people of Pakistan will not tolerate too many concessions.  It is a reminder to the civilian government not to be over-enthusiastic in improving ties with India (talks on Pakistan giving MFN status to India have stalled.)  And the very public rallies of the DPC also allow the army to reassert its authority after being fought to a stalemate with the civilian government in a row over an unsigned memo which purported to seek American help in reining in the power of the military. 

For purely pragmatic reasons, the army – which has lost many of its own men and officers fighting militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan – has also traditionally preferred to allow some militant leaders to operate openly above ground in order to keep a better watch on them.  That does not mean it controls them. As Stephen Tankel writes in “Storming the World Stage”, “managing jihadis is more of an art than a science and ambiguous policies by nature create situations in which real control is impossible.”

But now return to the narrative and the JuD woman who said Shahadat is the only weapon available to fight American control.  That narrative, in spite of, or because of, its  intimate association with violent jihad, is increasingly finding a place in mainstream Pakistani politics.  Former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has been able to garner growing public support by tapping into a popular but simplistic theme that all of Pakistan’s ills can be blamed on a corrupt political elite “bribed” by the United States into cooperating with it in its war in Afghanistan. 

Meanwhile, the DPC has been fiercely criticised in the English-language media for campaigning against a mosque in Rawalpindi run by the Ahmadiyya community, a minority sect particularly vulnerable to attack after being declared non-Muslims by Pakistan in 1974 and then subjected to draconian anti-blasphemy laws.  Yet that intolerance goes well beyond the DPC – this month the Lahore Bar Association voted to ban the soft drink Shezan from court premises because it was produced by Ahmadis. 

And the sectarianism of the DPC is accompanied by promises of a society that many Pakistanis crave – of peace and social justice, underpinned by an ”Islamic” welfare state providing healthcare and education for all.  The Jamaat-e-Islami and the JuD not only carry out extensive humanitarian work, but also provide a  vehicle for social mobility and identity to the urban lower middle classes, many of them recent migrants to the cities, which would otherwise be denied them in a society still heavily weighted towards the elite.

In other words, its message has an undeniable appeal.  Indeed it would be hard to go to many countries these days and not find people blaming the globalised free market championed by the United States for the world’s ills, let alone in Pakistan, where the impact of the worldwide financial crisis has been exacerbated by political instability, natural disasters, terrorism and weak governance.

So while the Difa-e-Pakistan Council is not about to take over, it is not just a fringe group.  It has the capacity to influence society and reflect it (that applies too to the military whose officers and men come from the same society).   It can  be used to express the army’s views of the United States and India, but is also a product of the security establishment and its thinking. (The ”Deep State”, as its critics call it, has always been bigger than the military leadership.)

And to come back to my opening adage, the rise of the DPC  and its ideology tells us something about trends in Pakistan that were always there, but just waiting to be rediscovered – and after that, more problematically, understood.

Humeira Iqtidar writes that the rise of the Islamists in Pakistan is very roughly comparable to the Protestant Reformation in Europe. That upheaval (which through the printing press encouraged personal reading of the Bible just as many Islamists promote the value of the reading the Koran without the intercession of saints, shrines or pirs)  challenged the  Catholic religious traditions which provided the framework for the ruling elite. Eventually – and these arguments are contested – it paved the  way for secularisation (a society free of religious traditions) and capitalism. 

It is, Iqtidar stresses, a risky comparison to make. No South Asian academic wants to be accused of looking at society through a European lens (let alone wish upon Pakistan the violence faced after the Reformation in what was once the most murderous continent.) And the process of religious schism, if indeed that process is at work in Pakistan, will have different, and unpredictable, outcomes to those in Europe. It is also a controversial argument -  her book was lambasted by Pakistani academic Ayesha Siddiqa for being overly sympathetic and for “rationalising jihadi discourse”.

Yet, however unpalatable to its critics, the Difa-e-Pakistan Council probably tells us what we already know. No amount of  exhortation to  improve the U.S.-Pakistan partnership or build trade ties with India – both nation-state, pragmatic, and essentially secular principles – will affect the trajectory of Pakistan.  Its future will be decided at the axis of religion and power.

Comments

Religion can turn into poison if over used. Pakistan is just trying to walk along the democratic path. Let us hope wisdom prevails. Right now the world attention is shifting to Iran which seems to have a leadership made up of lunatics. I cannot understand why these guys are itching to drop the nukes on others because of their religious sentiments.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

But religion is not being overused in DPC. They just want to defend Pakistan.
If America can attack Afghanistan and Iraq to protect them, then what’s wrong in protesting against American and Indian aggressions.

http://mabdullahsblog.blogspot.com/

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@Myra

Once again you are closer to the pulse beat of the People of Pakistan than any other domestic or foreign journalist has ever been. What the great number of think tank, neo liberals or extreme elements of the Western world do not comprehend that for muslims around the world, their religion is the compass for their character, ethics and morals. Todays European civilisation, their constitutions, secularism and human brights, reflect and encompass the values of Islam, christianity and Judaism. The USA has become an anomoly and no longer tolerable for the civilised world.

Therefore, it is not a surprise that the spring revolution is bringing in power the so called Islamic political parties in power, and in pakistan this trend must continue, with all the setbacks and the extreme intolerence towards the minority sects of muslims and non muslim.

Successive civilian and the military Govts. of Pakistan have failed in their foreign policy towards India and the USA and despite the set backs they did not change course course nor were they able to improve upon the social and eonomic conditions of the masses. Pakistan was created to have a separate space for the muslims of the subcontinent and this was protested by the Indian leaders and have ever since been denied to them. East Pakistan territory was snatched away from them by the Indian military and Kashmir remains a prison for the Kashmiris, where the Indian military is violaing their human rights.

Now that the talibans have degraded the super power to the level of unmanned drones and I PHONES. the USA has brought out its rag tag armada in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf to prepare their exit from the world stage. The talibans are unlikely to return to their bunkers, the Americans are resisting the total exit from Pakistan and the Pakistan current civilian and military leaders are reluctant to fully roll back their foreign strategies towards the USA and India. Hence, the march towards independence and rule of the people and that is what we are witnessing is in the offing:

Rex Minor

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Rex
I agree with you, and just to add, when Muslims ruled Spain, Andulus and cordoba were very advanced while London and Paris were nothing more than heaps of mud without running water. Although Jews and christians are part of Abrahamic religions, it doesnt seem they can coexist today as they once did. The Gulf between East and West and widened further, The US keeps poking its nose everywhere even when it is not needed. The message from Pakistan is loud and clear, GO AMERICA GO. this US attitude doesnt help to build bridges. Maybe for Pakistan it is time to make a choice which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umairpk

Let us recall that Mohammad(pbuh) was the first Prophet of God who declared publicly in a sermon before his demise that he has fulfilled the mission which was given him by God the almighty one. He was of the arabic origin and was required to reinterpret God’s commandments and eliminate the anamolies created by the followers of Moses(pbuh) and Jesus(pbuh).

We have therefore witnessed over centuries a competition among the followers of the Ibrahimic religions; each rivaling more or less the other but not completely abonding the common belief of one God who demands worship and obedience. At the behest of the church crusades were undertaken by the christian monarchs against the so named barbarians and there have been intrusions and expansion of the arab might during the great dynasty of Abbasid. All meditranian countries were occupied by the muslim armies, most of Spain and Portugal and the the franken territory( today’s France) between Loir and the south upto and including meditranian. Literary arabic language was a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, maths and philosophy . As a result many european languages have also borrowed many words from it. The Bezentinians were declassified by the ottoman sultan and costantinble became Istanbol, Buda and Pest were occupied and became Budapest.The capital of European empire under habsburg wien(vieana) came under siege twice and after accepting yearly tributes the Sultan agreed to let go furthe intrusion into central Europe. This is history now but to deny the contribution and influence of Islam in the european culture, civilisation and its constittions would be to distort the facts. The oldest universities in Europe, namely montpelier in France and bologna in Italy are the witnesses, when muslim and jewish Professors were teaching scienc subjects.

Coexistance and tolerance are the key words fo the future civilisations, we have not yet discovered the secrets of the universe nor fully decyphered the mysteries contained in Quraan. We have upgraded the calibre of the modern human, have learnt more than our forefathers were able to perform, we knw what the human rights are and they were put together by the beievers and not by the non believers. Freedom and dignity are no longer foreign words but not yet avilable in practice to all. Kashmiris are suffering under occupation, palestinians are denied the stehood, Iranians are under sanctions and the dictators in arab countries have dugged in and following the zionist policies of materialism and power, disregarding the social needs of the masses. The muslim youth under twenty is on march today in the entire Islamic world and they are not going to settle less than what other civilised people have. Pakistan leaders must decide if they want to return to the days of the colonial times or move forward as an independent Nation without relying on the Yanky printed dollars. The yanks have been following the isolation policies and still not prepared to give up the self approved role of the world polceman. They have been nicked by the Taliban force, who do not negotiate peace but demands exit for foreignrs.

rex Minor

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Rex

Well said, coexistence and tolerance are definitely keywords, but with Afghanistan occupied next door and worst human rights abuses there. It does not help Pakistani society to be stable, peaceful and accommodating towards minorities. Extremism thrives in such a chaotic environment. If there is a way forward, it is the one Islam has told, moderate, peaceful and accommodating towards minorities. But the irony is the US war machine has to continue the wars, now with Iran the cat and mouse game is ongoing. Israel is also carrying out false flag operations. While drones keep an eye on the Pak-Afghan border region. As for the Yankee printed dollars, we all know what happened to Qaddafi, anyone who will stand up to the fraudulent wall street based financial system gets eliminated. It is not as simple as it looks. For now, it just seems the US should simply get the heck out of Afghanistan and leave it alone. Until then there will be no peace.

Posted by UmairPak | Report as abusive
 

US has started the next round of offensive in the region – self determination for Balochistan.

http://www.dawn.com/2012/02/18/us-bill-s eeks-balochistan-sovereignty.html

I know there will be many nuke chest thumps made in response. But the US is not going to leave Pakistan alone for being betrayed and cheated in its war in Afghanistan.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPsingh

Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine clearly states that Under any circumstances where the country’s territorial integrity faces grave threat, Pakistan will use its nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat. this is just for a reminder, Pakistan is under no obligation when it comes to use of nuclear weapons.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Why is anyone surprised at all? Sooner or later, fanaticism was bound to go mainstream in Pakistan, as long as the powers that be (mostly the Army) saw a purpose for it.

The Army knows that this warming of relations is not good for its long term well-being. Peace with India means that Pakistanis will divert large amounts of defence spending towards economic development and social programs. Good for Pakistanis. Bad for the Army.

And so like the true soldiers of fortune (not patriots) that they are, they would rather the country become more Talibanised than accept peace with India and better relations with the US.

People used to say that Western analysts were exaggerating, that Pakistan would never fall to the Taliban. Punjabi Pakistanis used to simply be dismissive of the alarm of Westerners. And now? They are silent.

The only question now is whether a Talibanized Pakistan (which is its destiny) will be another Afghanistan or another Iran (which for all its foreign relations issues is a functional state).

I’d suggest that Iran is the desired end-goal for the generals. They get to control things behind the scenes, while the pliant public swallows up everything put forward by their neighbourhood clerics.

=======
@Umair. You’re almost child like in your constant nuclear threats. Nobody takes them seriously. Least of all the Americans who are a few thousand miles away and have more nukes parked in submarines at sea alone than the entire Pakistani arsenal. Pakistan will be a glass parking lot long before any nuke goes boom in the US. And I’d stop worrying about nuking the US and start worrying more about the path your country is heading down, if I were you. Pakistan become another Iran or Afghanistan is a far worse fate for you and most Pakistanis, than losing some far off province you will probably never set your foot in.

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Pakistan will use its nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat.”

That’s right. Pakistan will use its nukes even if flying birds drop their “things” from the air.

The US is not going to try direct war with Pakistan anymore. There is no time or resources for it. Pakistan as an ally of the US is past history. The way US will avenge its betrayal by Pakistan is to do what it did to the USSR – weaken it and make it collapse internally. Pakistan is a small country and already on the brink. All these years no one in the US caed a rat’s rear end about Balochistan. If suddenly it starts getting heard in Washington, it means that serious plans are underway to cut Pakistan to size. For the US, there are strategic reasons. It wants a foot hold in that area where it can have direct access to Afghanistan. If Balochistan was an independent nation, they wouldn’t have had to beg Punjab for a passage to Kandahar. Sorry, I mean Pakistan. And a buffer zone that is adjacent to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, rich in minerals and has sea access is a very strategic place indeed. Until now, Pakistan fulfilled that need. Now that Pakistan has moved into the enemy camp, the US is beginning to look for the next foot hold in the region. The Balochistan issue raised in Washington also includes the area controlled by Iran. This means they are trying to raise the issue to counter Iran’s nuclear chest thumping as well. This sudden raising of this issue in the US senate definitely raises my eyebrows. The US is up to something and it does not bode well for your country. You guys are making one bad choice after another from even the time before your country was created.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

I would challenge your last line. Why are so many people ignoring economics? Pakistan’s future is going to be decided in the halls of its financiers from around the world. At the “axis of religion and power”? I don’t think so. More like in the board rooms of the World Bank.

Pakistan survives today largely because of aid, and more specifically American aid, yet you have many a man like Umair, who seem to think that Pakistan can survive without American aid. Basic accounting and economics seems to be beyond comprehension for Pakistanis. Look at Pakistan’s economy. Now look at its GDP minus all the aid it gets because of the GWOT.

Were that aid to stop, we all know what would happen. The Punjabis would swallow up most of whatever resources Pakistan has left. The other provinces would be treated like colonies and suppressed with force by the Punjabi dominated army as they started revolting against the unequal distribution of resources. Strife, civil war, inter-ethnic violence. Far fetched? Similar policies by a Punjabi dominated West Pakistan cost them East Pakistan. If they lose Balochistan or some Pashtun area, it won’t be because of anything the Americans or Indians did (although they’ll blame them for it), it’ll be because greedy Punjabis have no qualms about starving the rest of the country.

Yet, they talk about religion and politics, when they are perpetually a few bad weeks short of becoming Greece. Except the Greeks have somebody to bail them out. Who’d bail out Pakistan if the Americans weren’t willing to do it?

If Pakistan’s intransigence gets out of hand, I really think the American should and will start pulling the economic levers.

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive
 

One thing the US and Israel can do is to turn Iran and Pakistan at each other. Iran is itching drop it nukes on someone. Pakistan is itching to do the same. They have more than a thousand years of Shia/Sunni rivalry. Iraq is a fledgling nation. Iran’s attention from Iraq, Israel and Syria has to be diverted. Pakistan’s attention from India, Afghanistan and radicalization has to be diverted as well. May be the US is working on turning these two Islamic fraternal nations to embrace each other with their throats on chokehold. If the countries in the surrounding areas have to survive, then it would be a good strategy to let the brothers go at each other with their nukes. They also have world class suicide bombers.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Just like Pakistan was created according to the geo-politics of the 1940s, Balochistan will be freed for the current day geo-politics. This place needs borders to be redrawn. There is too much of Islamic radicalism, too much urge to nuke others and I see no other purpose in these people. Iran, with all its oil wealth, could have become an economic power house and had its citizens live a dream life. Instead their leaders decided to grow beards, put their women under veil, go after weapons of mass destruction and now are itching to wipe out another nation. Their oil wealth came to nothing. The same case with Pakistan. Their leaders fought for a nation for Muslims and once they got it, spent their entire energy trying to destabilize other nations and have been pursuing the goal of destruction. It is time both these nations are directed at each other so that they can mutually fulfill their ambitions and leave the others alone.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair

I was going to caution you about the miliary solutions.

The talibans are not likely to return to their bunkers as I had forecasted several years ago. They are going to continue their march towards Kashmir as soon as they have ceared up the mess at their periphery. History tells that tey do not negotiate, one has to defeat them or they are going to nick the enemy.

Indications are that Pakistan Govt. has apparently once again allowed the yanks air transport from Pakistan airports to Afghanistan and return for perishable goods. Is Pakistan military controlling the goods, I guess not.

Pakistan military is apparently very naive or perhaps deliberately playing a double game,just a guess, according to Musharaf, he allowed the bases to the yanks for logistics, but they were found to be using it for drones flights. Who is telling a lie, I suspect that Musharaf officialy allowed the yanks military intrusions including the last intervention in Abbotabad as well under the old procedure, ” chasing high value target” the usual signal to the ISI operators and therefore Pakistan air force did not intervene. The automatic systems do not work if they include exceptions.

2012 is a very important year for the world. Is China going to let the USA go through the bankruptsy procedure and let the European economy hang in balance? The new God of capitalism namely China is as yet deliberating, The new to be number ONE in China recently visited the USA and warned Mr Obama to live within their income and do not expect further credit from the Chinese. The USA owes the Chines over a trillion dollars already and China has three and a half trillion dollars cash reserve, which if the chinese unload in the free market, the USA is ging to be flat on their haunches and only a miracle then could save the Imperial power of USA. We are not going to talk about the trillion and more which they owe to saudis.

And in the meantime the yanks are printing and printing and printing dolleros,without any control, and this is the aid Mr North is talking about. More than two third of energy is controlled by the muslim countries which inclde Iran which by the way suppies oil to India. Two vetoes in the UNO on syrian issue, has politicaly flattened the USA diplomacy under clintonians.

The greeks have no one to bail them out and is well advised to go back to their beloved currency and leave the Euro club.

Rex Minor

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Rex

Do you what it means for Greece to go back to the drachma, it means the collapse of the euro and with that the European union. For now, the ECB has been pressured to act as a lender of last resort and the new EFSF – European Financial Stability Fund has been devised to pull out failing Southern European economies. That kind of solutions are too radical for europe. As for Pakistan, after kicking the Americans out of airbases in Baluchistan, brand new block 52 F-16s squadrons have been redeployed there. Baluchistan is full of mineral resources and other natural resources. During the recent tri-lateral summit, Pakistan and Iran have decided to go ahead with the gas pipeline project. As relations between Pakistan and Iran warm up, and as Iran increasingly challenges the west, the regional dynamic will change. For Iran it is only natural to exert influence in Persian Gulf. Collectively, Muslim nations can use the oil weapon in its own favour. I can tell you, Pakistan is in no mood to offer any further concessions to NATO, the air corridor is just a small gesture, in reality NATO/US game is up in Afghanistan. They know it and realize it. The solution for Pakistan is to cooperate with Iran and expand its economy, position itself as a transit hub of oil and gas between central asia and arabian sea.

True North,
@US turning Pakistan in a glass parking lot. Well US is suffering from the shock and awe campaign by rag tag Taliban militias armed with light firearms. The world’s so-called greatest military, US is on the verge of defeat there. Lets see if US still has the stomach to fight with yet another Muslim nation, mind you this one particularly 180 million strong and armed with nukes.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
The greek question is a complex one. Greece should go back and will eventualy be compelled to go back to their drach to be able to compete in the market. The people of Greece are very proud people and have suffered a lot at the hands of the royalty, the dictators and the rich billionaires and lately by the political elites. Fackilaki or the Bakhshish(indian equivalent) and corruption at every level is a norm in Greece. The rich do not pay income taxes while their yaghts are paked in the sea not very far from the cost. On top of that they have been living on borrowed money spent mostly on armour, most of which was supplied by the German republic. The cash injection they are getting is for payment mostly to French and German banks.

Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozi made a front against Turkish membership into Europe and Greece was unfriendly with Turkey on cyprus issue, and now comes the payof. Turkish exports into Europe have flattened greece, Spain and Portugal and is pressuring Italian economy. Comprendo!

Nthing is going to happen if Greece leaves the Euro and even Europe if they cannot keep up with the fiscal rules of the Euro. The USA and the UK follow a different model of economy, start printing the dollars and the sterling to keep economy going, inflation taking the knock. France has proposed similar procedure and Germany categoricaly refuses since we know what inflation could mean. Both UK and USA have a high percent of GDP from the casino(stock market)economy not from the real manufacturing, agriculture or services.

Umair, the industrial world is gradualy moving away from the classical capital and labour to capital+innovation and labour; this is different in the emerging markets such as Pakistan, India and china who are building up their manufacturing industrie.

USA is flat out but their leaders are reluctant to give up their hegemony role in the world and is no longer hesitating to use illegal and criminal means to push through their objective. Mr Obama recently boasted that the US had to spend a billion dollars to have the regime changed in Libya without making footprints in the country. Well, the Egyptian military heard it loud and clear and pounced instantly on NGO’s sponsored by the USA and have taken a dozen or more in custody. Several republican senators are currently in Egypt to have their suspectd operators free. Pakistan and other muslim countries face similar danger of coercive actions from within the country.

Rex Minor

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PS
Pakistan must start with Iran and China if possible a project for the development and manufacture of the unmanned planes. This is the product for future exports and is gon to be employed by major European powers. This is the time for a visionary and pragmatic leadership n Pakistan.

Posted by fibs | Report as abusive
 

Every country has a lunatic fringe. In almost all other countries it is sidelined, tracked and kept in check as far as possible. However, Pakistan is the exception which proves the rule. And if proof were needed here it is:

“For purely pragmatic reasons, the army – which has lost many of its own men and officers fighting militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan – has also traditionally preferred to allow some militant leaders to operate openly above ground in order to keep a better watch on them.”

It would be funny if it were not so tragic for Pakistan.

It is also funny to hear Umair day dreaming of his nuclear toys. If I remember right, a few months ago he kept saying – Trade, trade and more trade is the only answer to a better future. – Blowing in the wind again.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

All political and military leaders of the world indulge in double talk, one for the public consumption at home and the second one for the foreign audiece. Every now and then wikileak or media investigators come out with the third version, probably the real version and surprise the last.

A Pakistany ex militar man said on this blog way back that the military is going to take over Waziristan in five days. This caused me to challege him and ever since remained present on this blog to follow the events in and around Afghanistan.My forecast was that neither the USA and its allies nor the pakistan military are a match fo Pushtoons tribesmen who are more than 40 million strong.

I have read theories and seen results of battles, and in the meantime read Warburton srory of the Pushtoons twice.

Pakistan military with long range artillery is not a match and the American marines and seals are a bunch of very eager boyscouts. The heicopters crew fly over the territory full of fear and occasionaly comes down with a single bullet from the ground, and the disappoited yanks started pissing on the dead bodies they find after air attack.

This is not only a sign of defeat but also a slap on the face of the so called commander in chief who refused to listen to his commander on ground, one of the best in my opinion, the four star General Macchrystal.

Pakistany military have put a stop on their deads and are no longer facing the tribesmen but staying in their posts as allocated to them by the tribal elders.

@Umair
Pakistan military should now come out with a single true statement that it will protect its citizens and that there is no militant element.

The yanky leader is now embarked on a strategy as proposed to him by the calabrian chief to build mafia type CIA as well as military special troops wih unmanned drones to fight future battles in foreign land.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

DaraIndia: “It is also funny to hear Umair day dreaming of his nuclear toys. If I remember right, a few months ago he kept saying – Trade, trade and more trade is the only answer to a better future”

It is funny to see these guys grab the nuke holster if India is concerned and change the stance if Iran is involved. They do not realize that Iran, despite getting the technology from Pakistan, will be a nuclear power soon. And they probably will be the ones who might challenge Pakistan for a brotherly nuclear 20/20 game. With Oil money and nuclear power, missles and what not, Iran might begin to think along the lines of a regional super power and may not like to see Pakistan at an equal status. I don’t think a Sunni based Pakistan would like to play subservient to a Shia dominated Iran. Intersting times are ahead for these Islamic brothers. We should let them embrace each other and let their beards tangle with each other. That is the only way to save the region and probably the world. I do not understand why these guys are itching to drop nukes on non-Muslims.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair

You raised a question about muslim countries embargo on oil! You reckon that Iran and Saudis could go for oil embargo against India, if its conflict with Pakistan and its military occupation of Kashmir does not end?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex: “Iran and Saudis could go for oil embargo against India, if its conflict with Pakistan and its military occupation of Kashmir does not end”

This character has devised a new way of killing Indians on this blog, by creating laughter. Seriously any Iranian/Indian reading this will surely die out of laughter. There were days when India and Iran trade went well with payments being made in USD. Then came the US sanctions. So Indians started payments in Euro via German banks. Then came European sanctions. Despite both sanctions India maintained the relationships (Healthy ones at that) with Iran and continued to buy oil from Iran even when US and Israel were very angry with India. And now payments for Iranian oil is made half in INR and half with rice exports from India to Iran. Israel is so desperate to split India-Iran relationship that it arranged a bomb explosion near Israeli embassy in India and then blamed it on Iran. And even then India continued to buy oil from Iran. Does anyone thinks that Iran gives a sh*t to Pakistan’s position??

P.S.
Anyone thinking India being not capable of buying oil from someone other than Iran is living in fool’s world. Iran knows India’s international stature too well and hence accepted payments in rice.

Posted by 007XX | Report as abusive
 

The article could have been summed up simply by saying DPC (Difa-e-Pakistan Council) is a proxy organization by Army (with a mixture of Establishment,Islamists and few terrorist organizations) which is demanding the return of status-quo politics.
Something tell me, Army cannot replicate it exactly the same way as it did last time around by bringing Nawaz Sharif (an army agent in 1990′s who is now a detractor). But of course if the economy continues to sink, more and more people will be attracted to fringe groups and an automatic improvement in the foce projection of the Army.
For the Last few years the Army has consistenly ceded its authority as a moral compass for the Nation (due to OBL affair,mehran airbase,War on Terror etc) and its diminished role is now limited to vie for influence along with other influence groups like the politicians, the liberal civilian groups,Islamists and Judiciary rather than being an empire which sets rules for the game.
The recent rallies and protest movements are an attempt by the Army to gain some legitimacy and de-jure influence in the power structure of Pakistani political discourse. When Pakistani military under musharaff freed the air waves to private enterprises with the intention of mud-slingling the political order and equally a constant smear campaign with scare mongering, it failed to realize that this new facility can be used by detractors too and just as people see even the smallest failures of politicians with big mirrors, so does they see failures of the military in equally big mirrors.

Remember that Pakistani politicians never had such a great fame (just like any other country) for posterity,honesty and level headedness and was no big surprise for the masses or the middle class. But when failures of the Army were to be shown in different private TV channels constantly, Middle classes and the Army realized that they shot their own feet by allowing the universalization of information like internet and host of private TV channels (just as what printing press did to the established catholic order in old christendom).
Both Jinnah and Bhutto have unwittingly or by design implanted religion into the politics of Pakistan and even if Pakistani political and cultural discourse were to move into promised land of Good Governance, the political order of the day must continously keep the Army (through its establishment) and the religious zealots in good humour and be constantly appease so as not to halt the Pakistani states attempts and regaining political order governed by civilians. The one good thing that emerged out of Imran khan politics and Judiciary-Zardari face off is that now a critical mass have rallied around institutions (be it under judiciary or Tehreek-e-insaaf) that look for more transperancy than the current incumbents.
There is of course a danger lurking around where Pakistani politic may fall backwards due to cocky judiciary and ambigous size of Imran’s spine and nerve (whether he will fall for the Army of not).

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

So, now after ramblings of others, the leader of the Godless country in the neighbourhood tells us that Pakistan military is behind the Protests which have started surfacing near the shores of Karachi. Strange conclusions.

Here is my forecast, a reminder that I said long time ago. The Afghans are going to clean up their territory of nonmuslims now in and around Afghanistan, and the march shall be directed across the border in Pakistan towards the Baluchistan and Kashmir territories. Those who oppose this march would be the loosers.Neither coersion nor any kind of force is going to stop the spring revolution which started in Tunisia, is having its usual hiccups but is right on track. Fellows, open the history books, it is nothing special or dramatic but just a re-run without the use of lolipops.

Rex Minor

PS I can understand Indians concerns, there are too many 5th columnists in India

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Rex: “So, now after ramblings of others, the leader of the Godless country in the neighbourhood tells us that Pakistan military is behind the Protests which have started surfacing near the shores of Karachi. Strange conclusions”.
Rex, I don’t see anything wrong or surprising if Army of Pakistan had complicity in the formation of DPC. They may not micromanaging every event and I will come with better proof of their complicity in my next post. If one reads the history of Paksitan, the Army was an equal player in its political discourse (actually more than equal) and there is nothing wrong in accepting this fact. Pakistani people may see Army as a seperate institution but people all over the world ( and so is in India and liberal journalists in english media) see the Army as just another institution which has political ambitions (a quasi political party). Given the history of nations, this is perfectly common. I remember you saying a lot of times that in 50′s Ayub had to disobey orders from the civilian-bureaucratic governments as they were deemed unconstitional by the Army and the Army refused to shoot the protesters for the same reason. If Average Pakistanis think Army has no role to play in the creation of DPC and are ashamed to even admit it (if they realize that indeed Army had a role), then its a remarkable change in the mindset of Pakistanis and we could celebrate this attitudinal change. I would go further and say that the day of coup’s is over for Pakistan with the explosion of private media and the internet which dissects every microscopic incident that happens in Pakistan.
The Army must have realized that with the revolution in communications and social media, Anyone (mostly from youth, of whom Pakistan has plenty) with even a cheap cellphone can take a picture (or video) or two and post it on the internet and can bring strong censure against any establishment. The establishment can clampdown or buyout the private TV media but how can they do it with internet without bringing the entire telecommunication infrastructure down.The Army realized that it is better to rule by proxy and given its ultimate stick (i.e threat of a coup)to control politicians slipping away, the politicians can only get more emboldened to take on Pakistani Army as politicians know now the limits of even the most powerful Army. So now Army is now merely a player and not a policy formulator and so they try to influence policy by movements by DPC.
I will give three instances where this communication revolution played its role
1) the constant screening of 9/11 attacks had completely turned the tide against the islamic militants, who before were allies of America (based on its geopolitical interests), even with all the bad blood between nations, there is consensus among the nations of Russia,China,India and US to root out terrorism. Atleast as far as India is concerned militants in kashmir now find no support for their activities.
2)Even in the case internal scenarios like Gujarath riots (2002 in india), it is now impossible to repeat state’s deliberate inaction or worse complicity in such cases. Even in Pakistan riots have receded as these are visible voilent acts and is now transformed to suicide bombings. Fringe elements realize that they dont have social sanction to conduct such heinous crimes.
3)Dictators and institutions which govern with impunity and trample upon human rights are under growing pressure and are cornered for their actions. Interestingly even in Kashmir the human right violations by both the Army and militants have gone down precipitously and forced a rethink on part of both. One has to show gratitude as much to the spread of revolutionary communications as with the people. Before people were fighting with vain hope of liberty but now are fighting in the hope that even if they die their cause will be highlighted to majority of human population.
As for the “Godless country” remark, you might well notice that China is the actual Godless country which you might seem to have no problems with. Secular countries doesn’t mean Godlessness, it means neutral with respect to religious affairs (most of Europe) or treaing all religions equally(India and other Asian nations).

Rex:”Afghans are going to clean up their territory of nonmuslims now in and around Afghanistan, and the march shall be directed across the border in Pakistan towards the Baluchistan and Kashmir territories”.
Since you are saying muslims will cleanup, will they cleanup even the territories under Chinese control (Xinjiang) who seem to be excercising even more brute force than either India or America or is it that geopolitical interests here won over cultural-religious interests.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

@Sensible patriot

You have a very complex personality, this surprises me since in my view you have a vast knowledge and experience. Your approach should be straight and precise.
I said Godless, because you people do not believe in God and as such you are always skeptical and therefore unlikely to trust humans. I could have similar problems with the chinese as well.

Have you ever come across army Generals? I guess not? They are the most down to earth straight forward soldiers. They are trained and drilled to obey orders from their superiors, who could be a brilliant politician or a clown that we have in several countries today. The military just follows the orders. Did we not experience Sikh military cutting down their kith and kin and religious leaders and their own temple? Did we not xperience the WW2, the military marching in all directions on the orders of Hitler?

The Geo strategic deliberations and the spin that the neo liberal conservatives of the USA have brought into play in politis and foreign relations is shabby and is definitely not the brainchilld of the military.

Did I say something about Gen. Ayub, I sometime think loudly. Yes, in this case they sent the civilian head of state to exile since among the officer the consensus was that in case of martial law, a civilian dictator is not acceptable. Very simple and straight.
In a similar situation the military could do the repeat of fifties. But as you mentioned about the involvement of the judiciary in the act they are running around like headless chickens, while the Supremo is holding the strings. On top of that the Yanks have made the lives of their allies very complicated indeed.

No, honestly unguided and without military complicity, what we are seeing is a reaction from the grass roots od what the Yanks have been doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, we are seeing is the spring revolution of arabs reaching the shores of Pakistan. A revolution which is likely to take a decade or more, the Aufklarung of Islam, which the christianity experienced in Europe a very long time ago. The world of Islam which Ibn Batuta discovered is likely to change separating cultures and traditions from the religion, estabishing democratic Govts by the people secular, leaving religious and faith to the clergy.
Afghans must clean up their territories after what the the foreigners have demonstrated in recent weeks. I have said it before that they are unlikely to return to their bunkers and they will try to open their way to the warm waters at Baluchistan as well as towards Kashmir to complete the unfinished job in Kashmir.

Too bad that the Indian military is suppressing the peaceful kashmiri people unnecessarily. How does this function under a civilian head and in a secular democracy of India? Even according to Dharma, some one said that there must be consequences for Indian military.

Let Pakistan and India use the loly pops to stop the Afghans. They have no trucks with the chinese.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Religion, the reason of state, is unraveling Pakistan. If Pakistanis think that the departure of NATO troops will mean no more suicide bombing, I bet they are very much mistaken. The goals of TTP is to turn Pakistan into an Islamist state. Pakistanis have only one way out. The antidote of religion is religious freedom and democracy.

http://thepoliticalopportunist.blogspot. in/

Posted by stabhishek | Report as abusive
 

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