First, kudos and praise to and for our Honourable Supreme Court ably led by My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry for proving to all and sundry that it was serious when it took up Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s petition against the Establishment subverting democracy through corrupt and criminal means. Kudos to My Lord too, for seeing through the various machinations which would be resorted to by the Deep State in attempting to obfuscate the matter to its advantage.
So then, the so-called ‘Mehrangate’, which it is not because the procurer of the moneys involved in this quite disgraceful affair was then the Sindh provincial head of Habib Bank and had not till then set up Mehran Bank (which is another disgraceful story begging to be told!!) is exploding in their faces like one of their favourite bums and sending once-powerful Sahib Logs who have sat for too long on this country’s jugular, scurrying for cover! And who do you think I mean? Why, our great brass hats who have always thought themselves above the rest of us, doing with this country as they willed; and their handmaiden, the civilian bureaucracy then headed by Mr GIK (the late ‘President’ Ghulam Ishaq Khan) and his cronies. Hehehe, and serve them jolly well right.
You might well ask why I am so thrilled at the Inshallah fast-approaching denouement of the hydra-headed monster and bane of our lives, the Pakistani Deep State, and those that run it? Simply because they have ruled the roost for far too long to the country’s absolute detriment. Simply because of their utter dastardliness: destabilising elected governments, even dismissing them at whim; holding everyone else to account except themselves as if they were the inheritors of the country; sending an elected prime minister to the gallows after a sham trial and another to jail and exile.
Simply because they have no respect for the ordinary ‘bloody civilian’ Pakistani, disappearing people whenever it gets their fancy; torturing those they deem their detractors, even killing them in the most brutal fashion and dumping their bodies: witness the ongoing carnage in Balochistan, and against our poor minorities. The list of their crimes is long and hideous and would take 10 articles like this to recount. So let it be for the moment.
Now then, according to Younus Habib, the man painted as the evil incarnate by the Deep State for 16 years now, he was asked by M/s GIK; Roedad Khan, the then adviser to the president and lately another ‘leader’ of the PTI; Ijlal Haider Zaidi, then caretaker defence and establishment minister and a member of Mr GIK’s kitchen cabinet; and COAS General Aslam Beg to produce a large sum of money to subvert the coming elections.
Habib states that when he showed his inability to collect such a large sum he was arrested by the FIA until he did the needful, producing Rs148 crores. Of these, according to Habib, an amount of 34 crores was handed over to the ISI which placed 14 crores in something called a ‘Survey Group’ account and asked Habib to place 20 crores in other ‘associates’ accounts because some politicians were not willing to take a handout from the ISI directly.
Habib further alleges that the remaining Rs114 crores were used to buy property for ‘friends’, whatever that term means. Hopefully, the court proceedings will expose the beneficiaries of the Establishment’s largesse. Incidentally let me here and now caution the army and the ISI: that making people say that this disgraceful episode was the personal act of Aslam Beg and Asad Durrani will simply not wash? How would the two have personally benefitted from the PPP being kept out of power? Indeed, since Mr GIK and his cronies were directly involved how can this be a personal matter of Beg’s and Durrani’s.
This is nothing but nonsense to divert the attention of the people away from the institutional role of the Collegium of Generals of the army and the ISI who are the ones who decide who THEY would prefer in power. Indeed, General Moeenuddin Haider is on record telling General Nasirullah Babar that the army should not be involved because it would get a ‘bad name’. Incidentally, I call it the Collegium of Generals because they call all the shots, not the junior ranks and the soldiery who fight on the front lines for the country.
It is time that the brass hats realised that the time for their shenanigans is over, that it is time they realised that they are nothing but the servants of the country and of whichever government the people elect to govern it. They should realise that even they, even if they think of themselves as great military strategists and planners in the league of Rommel and Guderian cannot keep to their old ways after this present disgraceful case opens up more cans of worms. They should also recall the most recent catastrophes that were brought on the country by their ineptness and low professionalism and desist.
Er, isn’t saying the NLC has nothing to do with the army the same as saying that the Para-military Rangers and/or the Frontier Corps have nothing to do with the army, just because all of these organisations are paid from civilian budgetary estimates?
Is this not the Mother of All Disinformation, reader? For, whilst notionally the organisations named are ‘supposed’ to be under the civilian government, their officers are all of them drawn from the army. And don’t we know that it is the army that calls the shots running them?
Take the example of the NLC funds worth 3 billion rupees or some such being gambled away at the stock exchange by three army generals which the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly was looking into, and which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is now threatening to investigate.
In the case of the PAC, the army announced that it would investigate the matter itself, and in the case of the NAB announcement no further news. So who is fooling who?
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.
More in OpinionPakistan and the Iran pipeline