If, only if…

Published: September 8, 2012

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

I watched the Pakistan-Australia second Twenty20 with my Cadet College Hasanabdal classmates who had come for an overnight stay in my village of Wah: Sher Afgan, my roommate in Aurangzeb Wing, and Salim Beg, Omar Wing. Sheru went on to join the Foreign Service and retired as Special Secretary Foreign Affairs, and Salim is a respected investment adviser.

By God what a match it was, and how wonderful it was to see Pakistanis in the Dubai cricket stadium, men and women, boys and girls, react to every shot, every ball: the silent prayers and the anxiety; the bursts of joy and laughter and dancing; the young kids animated and shouting instructions to the players!

And we three sitting with bated breath praying for our country’s victory: Sher Afgan actually pacing up and down the room. And then sweet victory in the Super Overs following that great bowling spell from the diligent Abdul Razzaq, and from his batting performance which included a magnificent four. The joy of the Pakistani crowd was overwhelming: tears of joy glistening on many faces; the utter happiness of the team and their supporters so over-whelming that it brought tears to our eyes too.

Why must we, so shamefully, go to third countries to play I asked myself even though I knew the answer: no team will visit Pakistan because we have crazies running all over; crazies that are the appendages of the Deep State and who have already showed themselves to be the brutes they are when they attacked the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009, bang smack in the middle of Lahore.

We can do anything I told my friends, anything in the world: if, only if, our monstrous Deep State and its adjuncts would let us out of their clutches; if they would only lift their joint knee from the nation’s jugular.

If, only if, it would let the country grow into a civilised place and not a militarised, angry entity: the needless, useless anger that comes from daily doses of  ‘jihad’ emanating from its Paknationalist-type propagandists, spreading hate and rancour against everyone in sight. Indeed if, only if, it stopped holding the country to ransom for its own selfish motives of looking for and finding, and making ever newer enemies to justify its own lavish existence.

If, only if, it finally realised that all of its projects have ended in dismal failure, and ignominy has been heaped upon its many defeats, just because of its own incompetence and unprofessionalism and extreme arrogance. Hopefully it will realise that merely bullying  ‘bloody civilians’ does not help it do its own job any better.

As I have oft begged the Deep State, let it include the people of Pakistan in making decisions for our country because all wisdom does not belong to our Rommels and Guderians alone. Instead of lording it over the country, let it train its own to do the jobs they are paid handsomely to do.

Actually, things might be changing slowly. Could anyone have imagined a debate in our National Assembly where a party leader would actually say that the origin of militancy can be traced to ‘within the governmental structure’? And that militant groups working in the name of religion would ‘become active when any agency (no prizes for guessing which ‘agency’) needs them’. Er, what have I been screaming about for the last decade and more, please sirs?

Also mark, reader, that this was said by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, once the leader of the MMA (Mullah-Military Alliance) that was set up by the Commando and the ‘agency’. But while the times are changing, are people listening? E.g., Imran Khan?

Does he understand that the jihadi arms of the Deep State, nurtured and protected like favourite sons, ARE the problem? He wants to go to Waziristan with a 100,000-strong caravan to show solidarity with the ordinary, lay people there. But what about the jihadis, many of them foreigners with only one aim: the takeover of the State of Pakistan/launching global Jihad and setting up the Caliphate? I doubt it.

Talking of Imran, SKMCH comes to mind. Khawaja Asif’s allegations (which I agree with) of improper prudential oversight in investing its funds in a company owned by one of SKMCH’s directors certainly didn’t stop people I know making contributions to it.

P.S. If there are any specific charges against Save the Children, the government should spell them out. Blanket bans are counterproductive.

P.P.S. We can do anything, if, only if …

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2012.

Reader Comments (41)

  • Lala Gee
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:01PM

    @Author:

    “no team will visit Pakistan because we have crazies running all over; crazies that are the appendages of the Deep State and who have already showed themselves to be the brutes they are when they attacked the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009, bang smack in the middle of Lahore.”

    As if our ‘Deep State’ had planned the attack on Sri-Lankan team and TTP and BLA terrorists are the veritable arms of our armed forces. It is a plain insult to any person’s intelligence to make such preposterous suggestions, save even the informed ones. I wonder what benefit our ‘Deep State’ could have gained out of this self-inflicting episode. And all those attacks on GHQ, Mehran Air Base, and Kamra Air Base were also carried out by the “appendages of our armed forces”, or who else could be their patron? Aren’t you able to think of any thing else and see beyond ‘Deep State”?

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  • Lala Gee
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:19PM

    “P.P.S. We can do anything, if, only if “

    We can do everything, only if we have sincere, honest, and capable leaders governing this country. Until the inept lot of the ‘Pakistan Plunder Party’ (all the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, and servicemen) are thrown in Arabian sea, the ‘Deep State’ and the ‘Jihadis’ will rule.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:29PM

    As always very powerfully written and as usual you Sir paint half the picture and ignore the other half. If, only if good people like you would also blame the other half for our predicament things would look more balanced.
    Having said that I do fully agree with what you have said.

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  • Richard Clarke
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:40PM

    They started the Taliban..to give them a base in Afghanistan so that the Indians will not be there

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  • Richard Clarke
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:41PM

    Pakistanis are very good..because they got 20 billion dollars allegedly to fight the war on terror
    They are taking the money to fight terrorism & they are building nuclear bombs with it..they are cracking nuclear bombs like sausages..

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  • Z.Khan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:42PM

    @Author: Mr Kamran Shafi
    “As I have oft begged the Deep State, let it include the people of Pakistan in making decisions for our country because all wisdom does not belong to our Rommels and Guderians alone. Instead of lording it over the country, let it train its own to do the jobs they are paid handsomely to do” Sir as oft you begged so did I that it is not possible unless process to change mind set is put in motion. Radical changes from PMA (Pakistan Military Academy) required to change the mind set of those being commissioned. Who will do it naturally IGTE (Inspector General Training and Evaluation) who sits in GHO on the clear instructions of COAS. To my knowledge there is no such mood or even a slightest effort in this direction. Top military bross is enjoying and why they should do away with this enjoyment. You require Mr Morsi in Pakistan who has the guts to shake the top military brass but to make a Morsi you need backing of whole nation in Tehrir Square which to my knowledge does not exist in Pakistan at least for the time being. So as said in Urdu, ” JA APNI HASRATON PAY AANSOO BHA KAY SO JA”

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  • Z.Khan
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:45PM

    @Lala Gee:
    But who will first collect them togather and then throw this lot in to Arabian See. Kemal Ata Turk no chance in Pakistan.

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  • Babar
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:48PM

    So much for freedom of expression Express Tribune!
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  • mr. righty rightist
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:50PM

    Dear sir,

    Can you please write something else?

    Enough is enough. I’m tired. Please write something else.Recommend

  • no one
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:50PM

    Every country has a Army…Pakistan Army has a country..

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  • BlackJack
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:53PM

    @Lala Gee:
    I doubt whether the writer is indicating that all the attacks on military installations etc have the blessing of the deep state – only that Victor Frankestein is responsible for his monster’s actions; and that while this is happening, instead of trying to undo/ prevent the damage on yet another generation of misguided citizens, they are only dishing out more of the same – sort of like a bar that offers unlimited free drinks every day, and then complains that the patrons are always unruly.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:53PM

    @Lala Gee: You just missed the whole point, I suggest you go over the article again, it is not the ‘Deep State” which is doing things directly but it’s darlings of the past who are bent on their ways like a spoiled child, throwing tantrums but deadly ones.There is no denying that the establishment has lot to answer to this current state of affairs in Pakistan, they have misruled the nation directly and indirectly for decades and won’t let go. It reminds me of an American friend, the late Victor Vermilion, who used to say that could anyone pull a pig off a trough of sloth,he was talking about American politicians. well, I won’t call our heroes pigs but it is hard to pull them from their luxurious livelihood, can we?. And of course Pakistani laws don’t apply to them even if they are retired, they have their own laws like slapping lightly on their hands for their corruption and heavy handedness. If Pakistan is going to be respected in the community of nations then this outfit in Rawalpindi has to be subjugated to the people’s representatives of this beleaguered nation called the National or Provincial Assemblies, otherwise we are on this God forsaken slippery slope.Recommend

  • sabi
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:00AM

    Kamran Shafi
    “if, only if, our monstrous Deep State and its adjuncts would let us out of their clutches; if they would only lift their joint knee from the nation’s jugular.”
    No they wouldn’t,they will drag us to the point of no resilliance.And you know what happens when barriors are crossed! The same when a jet plane crosses sound barriors.Can we avoid this thunder I don’ think so.
    Regards

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  • Babar
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:07AM

    Forget the Deep State Mr.Shafi. Let`s Play Cricket.

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  • Cautious
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:34AM

    Why is it that Pakistani’s like to use cryptic terms like “deep state” and “establishment” – why not just call your agencies by their names or is that culturally incorrect?. Further — many of Pakistan’s problems can be blamed on your xenophobic tendencies which present foreigners and minorities as easy targets — your political and religious leaders are just as guilty as your military for broadcasting propaganda fueling that xenophobia.

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  • Raw is War
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:49AM

    dear sir, great article.

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  • meekal a ahmed
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:03AM

    It will be amusing indeed if IK sees a sea of foreign faces.

    I have always asked” “What are these people doing in my country?

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  • sak
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:13AM

    “A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies.”
    ― Mark Twain

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  • Mirza
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:37AM

    A nice Op Ed by KS. Thanks for showing your nationalism and love for the country. However, for the deep state and its cronies and touts it is a matter of life and death. They want to continue to occupy the whole country using all possible means.
    During the last 55 plus years the country has been ruled by the generals for most of the time. Yet they are not responsible for its plight and corruption. Gen Zia inducted jihad in Pak army by mutilating the teachings and principles of Mr. Jinnah, just like he mutilated the constitution. The generals have always used unconstitutional means and power to ambush democracy and will of the people. Why is no general or SC judge powerful in India despite major corruption in govt? I am afraid the boots would stay on the nation’s neck as long as the generals are so powerful. The generals were powerful enough to hang the first elected PM ZAB but they could not bring prosperity, education and better days for Pakistanis.

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  • soothla
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:01AM

    Sir,
    You write of “in the Dubai cricket stadium, men and women, boys and girls,” and “the bursts of joy and laughter and dancing”.”The joy of the Pakistani crowd was overwhelming: tears of joy glistening on many faces;” “the utter happiness of the team and their supporters so over-whelming” When I read this”, I became one of them and felt warm and happy and light. These feelings are HIS blessings. Then , Two paragraphs later you write regarding Pakistan “we have crazies running all over; crazies that are the appendages of the Deep State and who have already showed themselves to be the brutes they are when they attacked the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009, bang smack in the middle of Lahore.” “spreading hate and rancour against everyone in sight” This made me feel cold and unhappy and heavy.
    Every man and woman , boy and girl in every country deserves to have the Dubai Cricket Stadium feelings. Beloved Pakistan wants to be flooded with “tears of joy”.HE who is Merciful wants us to feel warm and happy and light. Thank you, Sir.

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  • lefty left
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:11AM

    this man seems to be obsessed with imran khan….

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  • saeed a
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:14AM

    dear mr kamran we dont really care what you think about skmh. The hospital is very dear to us and we will always protect it

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  • MSS
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:23PM

    What Shafi Sahib says makes perfect sense. Recommend

  • MA76
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Great article. However bigots will be bigots and their fascist supporters have unleashed their trolls over here!Recommend

  • Daoud
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:01PM

    The Caliphate is the only solution to all the Pakistani problems. It is the rightful path where all good Muslims may live. And it will happen one day soon whether or not authors like this like it or not. Otherwise there will not be any Muslims (true ones) left. The only real Muslims are they who are “Rightly Guided” — and they can only be those guided by a Caliph set up in the Caliphate. And Pakistan being created for Muslims is the ideal candidate.

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  • Iron hand
    Sep 9, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Nice sentiments, but Pakistani culture is already far past the point of no return. The “crazies” and their sympathizers make up a large majority of the populace.

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  • K B Kale
    Sep 9, 2012 - 2:57PM

    Shafisahab,
    Another great article. I always like your stuff & woory about your safety. Do take care.
    Mr Ayaz Amir’s “The scope and tapestry of religious extremism” (http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-128017-The-scope-and-tapestry-of-religious-extremism) and yours appeared within days of each other and have similar comments about Pak Army & ISI. It means the intelligentsia thinks alike, has has woken up & raising these issues openly. Good for Pakistan.
    However, Mr Ayaz doesn’t use indirect terms like “Deep State” or “Agency” (the terms do confuse non-Pakistanis like me) but mentions straight away “Pakistani Army” & “ISI“. I think you also should do the same if it doesn’t add to the risk to you!
    Best wishes to Pakistan & closer & warmer relations between India & Pakistan

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  • K B Kale
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:17PM

    Shafisahab,
    Why did you have to include the charade of Imran Khan in your great article? That part looks like brick wall in red bricks on the magnificent face of Taj Mahal in marble!

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  • Banday
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:25PM

    Shafi sb, around the world, non-elected state institutions, such as military, judiciary & bureaucracy, usually have conservative bias in their orientation. Depending upon the demographics, it could be either ethnic nationalism or religious nationalism or hybrid of the two. In our case, religious right has the supremacy in these state institutions & expected to remain there in the future. Salvation for proponents of diversity & pluralism lies in sustaining the regularity of electoral process..

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  • Raza Khan
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:39PM

    Excellent article for those who can think!

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  • ikram
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:43PM

    If only if……….: we stop hiding beneath the blankets,we have to stop this Hide and Seek..If you are educating others,then surely you must have the courage to be brave and courageous yourself..you’re playing on the backfoot yourself and provoking others to be offensive..its a fact that our military and agencies are strong ,but we need not to deny the irresponsible acts of our so called politicians;the black sheeps…regarding SKMH & RC,i think there is no wrong in creating an endowment fund and then no wrong at all to invest it in a place yielding the greater output;be it a corporation of one of the board members,..be Realistic about Imran Khan,One can’t create a Utopia of Pakistan by going straight at everything,At times the Leader must show some farsightedness and conviction..

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  • ikram
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:07PM

    if only if….we create leaders who have the Nerves to speak and Guts to take some stand against those who are misleading the people of this land,Our forces and agencies,they comprise of people from amongst us,they are our mirror images; having the lust and greed for power and currency…Regarding IK,If Imran is not a better option,then Give us some better option.,his Waziristan march is aimed at Solidarity with the people,and to highlight the collateral damage being done by the Drone Attacks and create some awareness of our sovereignty..Nobody is perfect and so Is He(IK).Among our blind politicians ,he is the one-eyed man.

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Sep 9, 2012 - 7:54PM

    @Lala Gee: We can do everything, only if we have sincere, honest, and capable leaders governing this country.

    But lala gee, where would the leaders with those qualities come from? The leaders are sadly a mere reflection of the society they are ruling over. I think at this time, you should look for grass root changes rather than blame a small bunch of people.

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  • Sep 9, 2012 - 10:03PM

    @ikram:
    let the democracy survive in Pakistan there will be leaders who will have the nerves to speak the bitter truth and guts to stand by his views . Freedom of speech will will help surface such person.

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  • Enlightened
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:49PM

    I have read almost all articles written by this brave and upright writer for the past few years. Shafi’s criticism of the deep state is totally justified since the military is totally to be blamed for country’s division, originating religious intolerance and supporting militants, which has put the country on the brink. If only the military takes his advice and of many right minded people in Pakistan to unwind itself from these monsters, Pakistan can become peaceful and prosperous.

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  • Khadim Karrar
    Sep 9, 2012 - 10:53PM

    The so-called Deep State is powerful because mostly civilian governments have been incompetent.

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  • Jat
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:55AM

    @Raza Khan: Those who can think no longer live in Pakistan.

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  • Tahir Ali
    Sep 10, 2012 - 2:43AM

    I often wonder why the author is so full of hate for Pakistan Army and attributes everything wrong with this institution. Does not he find anything wrong with the way this country is being ruled these days? Extremism breeds in the environment of anarchy, disillusionment, poverty, illiteracy, general discontent and lack of governance, for which the political leadership is equally responsible. Besides, it is time that the political leadership starts to take ownership of whatever is happening. They are not here only to loot and plunder. They must gain complete control over the ‘deep state’ but for that they have to stand tall on moral grounds, an impossible proposition.

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  • Morons
    Sep 10, 2012 - 7:47PM

    If, only if you would stop judging nations by spectators in a cricket match….

    Did you not see the pretty faces sitting miles from the not-so-pretty faces.

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  • Ali
    Sep 11, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Floods in Sindh and KP. Damn you Deep State!!!!.

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  • aakash
    Sep 11, 2012 - 11:17AM

    @mr. righty rightist:
    dear rightist this article was not written for agencies paid persons like you, and if you have been boring that much from K.S articles than dear who forces you to read, we know onwhose behalf you are barking…… deep stat!!!!! isn’t it dear?????

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