What else this week but about the ludicrous, loud, rude, and completely inappropriate statement of the seemingly out-of-control ISPR attempting to trash the press release of the respected Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the findings of the Saleem Shahzad Commission. And some other propaganda unleashed in the press by certain trolls.
Whilst the contents of the ISPR statement are laughable at best, e.g., “Unheard of court actions have been initiated by the apex court regarding ISI / intelligence agencies and the unprecedented obedience/compliance…” (which says it all doesn’t it, friends?), what is unforgivable is the naming of two of HRW’s staff, Brad Adams and our own Ali Dayan Hassan. This is like fingering the two in much the same way as the mafia does to those it considers its enemies.
The HRW is a well-thought of human rights watchdog that is represented worldwide, and which has done great work in exposing HR violations everywhere. Whether they have to do with the plight of Filipina maids and nurses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or excesses in the United States prison system including at the Guantanamo Bay prison, Human Rights Watch has always been in the forefront protesting the violations. It therefore ill behoves any government agency anywhere in the world to name the names of those who work for the organisation. It is wrong, it is amoral, it is sneaky.
In any case, who gave ISPR the right to comment on the criticism of the findings of a judicial Commission headed by a serving judge of none other than the Supreme Court of Pakistan? If the HRW statement was so unacceptable, it was up to the Commission to debunk it. How possibly can the ISPR, representative of those organisations alleged to have had a hand in the ghastly murder of Shahzad, come out in blatant support of the Commission’s findings considered by many to be faulty and not credible at all?
Indeed, what if someone agitates the superior judiciary against the findings of the Commission? Will the ISPR issue another statement against that? Will it become a party to the case, Athar Abbas becoming the defendant? Who knows what this all-powerful state within a state within a state will do next! May the heavens save us from its ire.
A little aside on the Report before we move on to the trolls. On pages 65 and 66 Brigadier Zahid of the ISI is quoted as saying about Saleem Shahzad: “Though I do not have any concrete evidence, but Saleem Shahzad in my presence stated that he was approached by Indian Intelligence Agency (RAW) and now he has to present a paper in UK on which he wanted the input of ISI. He also stated that he is in contact with the intelligence agency in UK. I do not remember the exact date of this meeting, but perhaps it was in the month of October, 2010.”
Now, what is this statement, if it is true that is, meant to convey? That Shahzad was a RAW friend/agent too? Most straight-thinking people would find Shahzad’s informing the ISI that he had been approached by RAW to speak at a conference in London, and could he have the ISI’s input on whatever he was supposed to speak on, an act of great patriotism. How does this make him an enemy of Pakistan please? Quite frankly, Saleem Shahzad should be decorated with a high civil award for this act alone.
And now to the most clumsy attempt by the trolls to defend the Army/ISI in a long piece published in an English daily known to be a leader of the Ghairat Brigades. As noticed frequently, both the tenor and the language of the trolls leave much to de desired. Indeed, the unnamed writer needs to be given six of the best as used to be administered by Colonel AWE Winlaw, MC, Principal of Cadet College, Hassan Abdal, for murdering the English language so brutally. Given here are just two excerpts:
“But despite subservience to the rule of law, questions are framed doubting its sincerity. One of the questions in fashions is that why Pakistan army intervenes and interrupts the civilian governance whereas the much asked question should have been why the political system and the stalwarts show incompetence, negligence and dishonesty? This is the high time that we should say goodbye to the idea that army is keen to disrupt the political system. At the same time we must admit that the army, judiciary, establishment and other patriotic forces have always supported the civilian government despite all sorts of labels on latter’s poor governance, corruption etc.
“In present day scenario, we especially need to appreciate Pakistan army and the ISI for preventing all kind of aggression by both our naked and cloaked enemies and safeguarding territorial integrity of our motherland. The significant role played by army and the ISI in bringing normalcy in relations with when called upon by a political authority or in any untoward and critical situation at national and international level is laudable, indeed.
Therefore, it is high time for us to act sombre and not fall prey to the enemies within. Our army and the intelligence agency are the backbones of our country.
“We are only going through a rough patch that is not going to last long, however, all we need is to stand united and display a responsible and mature attitude towards issues of national interest. Dragging the Pakistan army and ISI into courts for infamous events merely to settle personal vendettas is likely to bring embarrassment to the perpetrators and the country at the international level.
“The impact of injured image and bruised prestige of army and ISI will have its impact on entire nation also. Besides, mudslinging on the army and ISI may result into deepening jealousies and contemptuous environment. It is call of the hour to rise above and put a halt to the internal smoldering before it becomes a volcanic surge.”
I ask you!
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.