But first off a tipping of the old hat to the Chief Justice for taking suo motu action as soon as allegations were made against his own son. Having said which, we must immediately recall that the allegations are being made by a not entirely salubrious character, the trillionaire Malik Riaz, him and his men accused at different times of varying crimes ranging from land-grabbing to murder to kidnapping.
We must also recall this man’s large ads in the papers some years ago — it is for the papers to see if printing them was ethical, of course — asking retired and serving “senior” government officials and “senior” journalists to apply for plots at reduced prices in Bahria Town, on forms that would be provided for free. The cheek of the man, for if that was not an open attempt at bribery and corruption, what is?
Incidentally, whilst one had heard of the formidable stable of retired generals he maintains, it was instructive to see photographs of one-time ISPR spin-master, Maj-Gen (retd) Shaukat Sultan, and one-time DG (Internal) of the ISI, the notorious Maj-Gen (retd) Ehtesham Zamir who ran the Commando’s government from behind the scenes (and who confessed to his crimes on TV some years ago) coming out of the Supreme Court, concern writ large on their faces. There are other more senior generals on his payroll, I am told, and who make it convenient for him to deal with the army’s real-estate arm, DHA, to his great advantage.
Be which as it may, it is reprehensible that the blame for the rumour campaign, for no hard evidence has come forth till this writing (forenoon, June 7), has firmly been placed at the government’s door by journalists openly hostile to it. Indeed, as reportedly said by Hamid Mir, the perpetrators could well be those who live in the dark depths of the Deep State who must be mightily upset at the CJ’s aggressive actions on disappearances and killings in Balochistan.
If I was chilled to the bone at Lt-General (retd) Asad Durrani’s assertions re: Dr Shakil Afridi, now removed to an ‘undisclosed location’ to (literally) save his life, I am quaking in my chappals at what my old friend, Munir Akram ‘Dopey’, said in an article published in Dawn on May 27, titled “Shame in Chicago”. Now, Munir is considered by our FO as one of its best and brightest stars, aka the FO’s ‘sheesh nags’ (King cobras for those who do not know this colloquialism). As the title suggests, Munir discusses the cold shoulder given to President Asif Ali Zardari by the US president, and goes on to discuss future US-Pakistani relations with particular references to America’s ever-hardening attitude towards Pakistan.
But what he states in regard to a possible military confrontation between Pakistan and the United States is what makes one reel and almost pass out, as if one had been kicked in the head by a particularly nasty mule. Here is what the ex-ambassador to the UN says: “It is uncertain if either the US or Pakistan has fully thought through the potential consequences of their possible military confrontation. Whatever its weaknesses, Pakistan will be compelled by national sentiment to respond to another US attack or intervention across its borders. A limited ‘engagement’ could escalate rapidly into wide-ranging hostilities. If, during such a crisis, Pakistan’s strategic command believes that the US military strike is aimed to capture or destroy its nuclear and delivery capabilities, it may feel compelled to use rather than lose these capabilities.
“To avoid such a miscalculation, Pakistan’s new nuclear deterrence doctrine, aimed to deter aggression from not only India but also from other sources, needs to be clearly and publicly spelt out. The apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between two (albeit unequal) nuclear powers should be addressed urgently by the international community.
“The US-Nato should accept the measures Pakistan has proposed to avoid another shooting exchange. The US cannot continue to claim the right to strike at will within Pakistan’s territory without Pakistan’s concurrence.” I ask you.
So then, (1) it is a settled matter, what, that it is Pakistan’s ‘strategic command’ (read GHQ), that will decide when to press the trigger and not the elected government (whichever party’s) that represents the will of the people? By golly! And, er, by ‘using’ our bums, will we not guarantee a nuclear holocaust that will make Hiroshima and Nagasaki pale into insignificance? By golly!
(2) The international community should address urgently the apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between two (albeit unequal-Oh, thank you, thank you) nuclear powers? Since exactly when has Pakistan become a POWER please? A hundred or so nuclear warheads make a country as dirt-poor, and ill-run, and energy deficient, and one whose writ does not cover more than half its own land mass a POWER?
And which, pray, are the ‘other’ (than India) sources from which Pakistan can expect aggression? I mean I know we are surrounded by enemies but who is being put on notice here please? With a half-million-man army, surely not Iran? Surely not Afghanistan? And China is a deep-as-the-ocean friend. So who? Ah, of course! The United States who we’ll nuke the next time a Salala or an Abbottabad happens! Er, BTW, what US targets will we hit, please?
Well, Dopey old buddy — he taught me the twist to Chubby Checker’s Let’s twist again when I used to virtually live in his gracious home on Golf Road in the GOR Lahore in 1961/62 and his dear mother used to welcome us as her own sons! — you can bet your bottom Cent that if Zawahiri is mucking about in the Land of the Pure, there will be ‘another US attack or intervention’ across our borders! And ‘without Pakistan’s concurrence’!
P.S. Actually the ‘strategic command’ might not have to wait that long — Leon Panetta has already said the US is losing patience with us….
Published In The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.