General Sahib, I have been a silent admirer of you and your methods for a long time now.
You have impressed all and sundry with your charm, your cool, your foresight and your prudent outlook on matters of great importance. You have admirers in the Motherland, in the Enemy Nation across the border, the Great Red North and the Imperial Kingmaker, a feat that even your skilled predecessor struggled to achieve. And yet, respected sir, I have a bone to pick with you: Where is my military coup? I have waited with bated breath for you to step up to the plate and rid us of this corrupt, ineffective, incompetent and unpleasant dispensation, and put the country back on the path of progress and unbridled nationalistic fervour.
I have bitten my nails in moments of crisis, waiting for you to appear on national television looking your usual dapper self, with an inspirational picture of the Quaid in the background, announcing the wrap-up of this nonsensical farce that has been running for two years now. And yet, you have not lived up to my expectations. I only have one question on my parched lips: Where is my military coup? I sat through the tedious Long March hoping you would seize the moment and send home these misguided champions of democracy and people power, only to see you display a reverential- yet-frustrating measure of restraint.
I was on the edge of my seat, laddoos ready, during all of December 2009 hoping your friends and admirers in the media would finally convince you to heed their prophecies and put in place the ingenious and admirable Minus-One Formula. And yet: Where is my military coup? You went to the United States and were wined and dined by the most fashionable members of the World Capital’s foreign policy apparatus. You got your Boy, Mr Foreign Minister, to schmooze with the former First Lady and get cute pictures taken together that were mocked the world over, while you got down to the real business of deal-making with the powers-that-be. What a skillful move that was, General sahab — I must say I was left rather awestruck and dazzled by your aura.
You also went to Europe and charmed our Nato allies with your great acumen and insights into the War and our nation’s crucial rule in its endgame. And all I could think was how a son of the soil was telling the world about the rightful place our great nation deserves in the galaxy of global powers. After Mumbai, when the Enemy Nation sent its fighter jets over for a brief reconnaissance mission, you drove the enemy jets back over the border. You took pictures and nonchalantly warned the offenders that we’ll ‘’bring them down’’ next time.
I felt proud to be a Pakistani that day, realising you were guarding not just our physical borders, but also keeping watch on our much-maligned and always-threatened ideological frontiers, a task that the current dispensation, with its motley crew of misguided, traitorous, anti-Pakistan separatist loonies, is ill-suited to accomplish. And when the journalist from across the border wrote a two-part piece on you in The News, profiling you in great depth and showing reluctant admiration, I fawned with him. And yet, General sahIb, your time at the helm is running out, and I am afraid that you will not avail of the opportunities that are presenting themselves.
I implore you to reconsider this restrained approach. You rid us of the monsters in Swat, and you can do so with those in Islamabad as well. I urge you to step up and claim what you were destined for so that no other dispirited man like myself can longingly ask the question: Where is my military coup?
The writer blogs at Gulbadan.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2010.