Pakistan is ours too

Published: September 22, 2011
The writer has previously been a columnist at The Nation and Dawn

The writer has previously been a columnist at The Nation and Dawn

What really gets my goat is when the Deep State’s leaders and their various mouthpieces speak about our country as if it was willed to them, and them alone by their ancestors, to the exclusion of other Pakistanis. This is specially true of the senior generals of the Pakistan army, particularly those posted in the intelligence agencies and who strut about wearing the cloak of uber patriotism, imaginary halos around their heads.

It is simply not so. We lay Pakistanis, the vast majority of us ‘bloody civilians’, own this country too; we too have a stake in it: to use a development-set buzz word we too are ‘stakeholders’ in it; to use a great term used by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when arguing bail in the murder case that subsequently led to his judicial murder, we too “have sprung from it”; our elders: grand-parents and mothers and fathers and brothers and friends too are buried in its earth, as we will be.

So will the Deep State-wallahs at least get off that particular pony? And respect us for the equal citizens we are of this country which is going to be difficult considering how few of us can ride about in fully-loaded BMW 7-series motorcars as they do. And respect our views of where this country is headed, for we too have lived all our lives and seen it all, felt it all. Actually felt it all far more than them for we did not have the comparatively comfortable and safe cocoons of army cantonments to shelter in.

As an aside, it is a measure of the ineptitude, and more than that, the greed of the people we speak about, that even cantonments are not safe and beyond abuse any longer. The reason, must we spell it out: selling real estate to all comers: extending from the Parade Lane, Rawalpindi, massacre, to the extreme case of the terrorist Osama bin Laden living in Abbottabad cantonment!

Right then, to go back to our argument of ordinary Pakistanis also knowing a thing or three about the world and what goes on in it, may one point out that the India-centric approach of our brass is now losing appeal? That, first off, our ‘defenders’, instead of being only India-centric, should be any-country-that-might-threaten-Pakistan centric! Why do we flog the horse of ‘arch-enemy-India-about-to-attack-Pakistan’ all of the time, a recent effort at writing by a propagandist of the Deep State coming to mind immediately. According to this narrative India will attack Pakistan before the Americans withdraw from Afghanistan. Why will India attack a country of 200 million people (surely we are that many by now considering our galloping population growth), a country that has many, many bums and their delivery systems which we show off more often than we should; Masha’allah a great big army; an air force that has some of the finest war-planes and a navy to boot?

Does India have nothing better to do than attack Pakistan militarily? Are we that weak that India will simply walk into our country? And if it does take over Pakistan and occupies it, will the rest of us Pakistanis sit on our hands and not do anything about it? Can a nuclear-armed country start a war with another nuclear-armed country as easy as a 1-2-3 in this time and age? What absolute nonsense is this?

When, pray, does our Deep State think the Americans will withdraw from Afghanistan’ anyway? Does it know something the rest of the world, including the Americans, don’t yet know in the tumult of the Afghan situation with all sorts of actors doing what they will, when they will, some directed others not?

What the arbiters of our so-called security narrative must understand is that their compatriots have seen through the falseness of their stance; their striking of fake attitudes. We understand that having an enemy, even inventing a bug-bear to put the fear of God in the general populace is critical for a military machine used to pelf and comfort and accustomed to having its every desire fulfilled.

It is time this stopped and the security debate opened up to all Pakistanis who wish to participate in it. It is time that the Deep State reached out to us the people, its real assets. This is specially so after the debacles in Abbottabad and Karachi, to name the most recent. Also, if one is reading the situation right, the chances are extremely bright that more bad boys will be taken out by the Americans in the near future. This has become imperative in my view, after the barbaric killing of Rabbani Sahib, coming on the heels of ‘frank’ meetings between Kayani and Mullen and Petraeus and Pasha.

As one who has always felt that there are, simply, no good terrorists, the security services should immediately cut their links with this lot and get rid of the lot. Or at the very least starve them of succour and support.

And, as to the great JI/USIP Report, it has now been loosed upon the general public through the exertions of some ‘core-professional’ diplomats who, hook, line and sinker went along with all of the ‘perceptions’ of the ‘foreign policy elite’ of our poor, unfortunate country. All these ‘elites’ have to look at is the massacre of innocent Shia pilgrims in Mastung, very near Quetta, on their way to Ziarat in Iran.

This is the work of those demented terrorists who are the keeps of the security establishment of the Land of the Pure. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves to sit by when our own countrymen and women are thus slaughtered in cold blood, as my friend Mohammad Taqi put it, in a turkey shoot.

“So, please remove your knee from the jugular of our good country, you Rommels and Guderians, and let it breathe. Give up your fancy lifestyles so that some of the moneys you purloin are diverted by the elected government to education and social welfare so that you have REAL assets, i.e., educated, healthy, fit-for-war Pakistanis.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd,  2011.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Kamran Shafi
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:15PM

    ‘Fit-for-war Pakistanis’ should have read. ‘Fit-for-peace Pakistanis’. Slip of the keyboard! Sorry, readers.


  • John B
    Sep 22, 2011 - 10:24PM

    Cut the funding, why no one is doing that. Or does the military establishment already own half the country for it’s revenue.

    Could not comprehend how a military can survive and spend money borrowed against civilian debt without accounting to anyone.


  • Parvez
    Sep 22, 2011 - 11:42PM

    Always an interesting read.


  • khan
    Sep 22, 2011 - 11:46PM

    If India was insane enough to attack us and – for a moment overlooking our overload of humanity and the reality of mutual annihilation by “Bums” – taking a vastly improbable imaginary leap, say, they managed to conquer us. I can safely guarantee that within five years India will be torn asunder.


    200 millions citizens of this fractious neo-jihadi dysfunctional country will be like a galloping cancer to the existing inhabitants of India. Imagine the likes of Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, Rehman Malik, Gen. Hamid Gul, Altaf Hussain, Nawaz Sharif, Tehrik-e-Taliban, Laskar-e-Jhangvi, etc involved in India’s affairs.

    Shazzam…and that will be the end of India as we know it.

    step further despite our “Bums” aRecommend

  • soothla
    Sep 23, 2011 - 12:54AM

    thank you for a fantastic article.


  • ArifQ
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:14AM

    Well said sir!


  • Meekal Ahmed
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:30AM

    I know some of them but how audacious to call themselves the “elite”?


  • faraz
    Sep 23, 2011 - 1:33AM

    Even if Pakistanis undergo PR examinations at airports, it doesn’t matter; strategic assets must be protected at all costs. And they call themselves strategists!


  • Dave
    Sep 23, 2011 - 2:06AM

    Why in the world India or any country for that matter want to attack or capture Pakistan? India has enough problems of her own. It has already 1.2bln people to take care of and can’t afford to have 200mln more. India already has no-first use policy on Nuclear weapons, none of the wars were started by India (if you believe independent historians). Frankly speaking Kashmir is non-issue for most Indians even if they saparate from the country. Only concern we have is, we don’t want Pakistan/Taliban style governance on in Kashmir and want to protect Buddhist Ladakh from fanatic Islamist. Pakistan has failed to protect it’s minorities.


  • Geronimo
    Sep 23, 2011 - 3:23AM

    A masterpiece from a fearless crusader !
    Mr Shafi, we salute the clarity of your thoughts and the way you have articulated the attitude of the “deep state” towards all things civilians.
    You have been highlighting the frankenstein that has been nurtured for decades now by our establishment to fight proxies. All of us now see the writings on the wall. Not only we are canibalising ourselves from within in the form of suicide bombings, sectarian killings, gang and turf warfare etc etc, we are now in the direct firing line of Americans as I suspect we are reaching the end-game very soon.
    Panetta, Clinton, Muller, Petraeus are all now directly accusing our establishment.
    We are unable to even control our strategic assets that we nurture from wreaking havoc in our own nation. How would we cope with what US might unleash is anyone’s guess.
    This all happening whilst India grows, prospers and moves forward.
    We are akin to North and South Korea. One is broken destitute, hungry and naked but dreams of teaching world and US a lesson. Other confident, prosperous, strong and happy nation.
    Pls keep writing.


  • MD
    Sep 23, 2011 - 5:07AM

    India attacking Pakistan? God save the queen!! We can’t even think of attacking Bhutan! India is huge, its problems are equally huge. Our economy has to grow minimum at the rate of 8 to 9 percent for at least, coming 10 to 15 years, so that every Indian can live a decent and respectable life. That is the dream, that is what every Indian strives for.
    It is time for people of Pakistan to wake up and realize that, the real enemies of both the countries are poverty, disease, illiteracy and unemployment. Days of military conquest and empire building are now part of history.
    The new era demands us to cooperate with each other, so that, we can make this planet a beautiful place to live.


  • Sep 23, 2011 - 5:12AM

    I can not believe this madness of Pakistan about India.The problem Pakistan is having with policy makers in Washington,is the failure of them unable to convince Pakistan to shift its priorty.They are now very much convinced Pakistan is like a country sliding from a inline which is greased and now can not check or break its fall.It is futile for any one to knock sense into the military of that country.They have enjoyed this lop sided privilage for so long that they are now paranoid that they will lose their special status,with USa with holding aid as Pakistan refuse to change its flawed policy,I see no way out.India has so many times shown no inclination to mess with Pakistan,and what is in it for them?They have enough population which is dirt poor and why would they aid some more.?It is so much frusterating for me here in USa,I imagine people over their who have not lost their marble,feel.I hope you guys need to double your number of prayers to Allah,to give some badly needed sense in a hurry,time is running out,why Allah does not hear prayers of sincere Pakistanies?You guys had enough pain to last a two life times.Hope it gets better soon.


  • Arindom
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:03AM

    Kamran, glad to see you writing here!! I liked your style from Dawn.


  • vasan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:49AM

    India attacking Pakistan, but why?. We Indians have all been thanking Jinnah for creating Pakistan and reducing our troubles/headaches/blames from the rest of the world. Why would we want to reverse that??


  • N
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:16AM

    We can rest up on one account – India / USA have no designs to destroy us. We are willingly doing what they could only dream of, assuming they wanted to in the first place. Recommend

  • Sep 23, 2011 - 8:40AM

    Are we in the middle ages and is Pakistan a sone ki chidiya ?Recommend

  • Gurria Rani
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:50AM

    Sir…….! U r very right….! we also are the custodians of this homeland rather we are the real Rock Stars coz these elites after having their services in Pak go out of country and don’t even bother to lament over the situation…….! Recommend

  • Mirza
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:09AM

    Dear Kamran Shafi, wow! What a great journalist, nationalist and patriot you are? Thanks for the courage and telling like it is. Very few journalists in Pakistan are that honest and fearless and have foresight to give truth to the public. I am glad that like some you are not on anybody’s payroll. I have liked your writings from Dawn and am delighted that you are writing here. ET has provided me a forum to give my 2 cents too. Hope to see more of you here.
    Thanks and regards,


  • aftab
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:03AM

    Military is not the source of all eveils here. Deep state is there in all countries. Mullen, Petraeus, Panetta,Clinton, Manmohan, Cihdambrum all represent deep state. Militries provide strong input in the policies of all states. There is no more ”bloody civilians’ in the militaryRecommend

  • Munir kakar
    Sep 23, 2011 - 10:39AM

    There can be no two opinion that all our misfortunes, all our calamities, all the mindless bloodshed and inhuman atrocities that has haunted our country stems from waging and supporting jihad as an instrument of foreign policy. As long as this policy is in place, turning around the country for a better future is out question. Have we ever undertaken any soul searching as to why we have arrogated ourselves to chart and articulate the future of Afghanistan. This is the legitimate question. In our quest to make Afghanistan a client state or a fifth province we have earned the unenviable reputation of “most dangerous country on the earth” and a new “Somalia in the making”. The specter of “failed state” is haunting and staring us in the face. Forget about economic growth and prosperity as no one will venture to invest in this country. The vicious circle of poverty will perpetuate and reinforce itself and drive the country towards more extremism. This is the time to sever this pernicious umbilical card with strategic assets before it is too late. AS always an excellent article embodying true patriotism and deep love for the country. Recommend

  • Nasrat Baloch
    Sep 23, 2011 - 12:29PM

    Very well said sir. Keep twitching the sleepy nation.


  • Feroz
    Sep 23, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Sir, it needs true courage to say it as it is. The country has seen many journalists paying with their lives for questioning falsehood peddled in the name of patriotism and Islam. You have been consistent in the clarity of vision while many kept changing with the wind. The country has been holding a gun to its own temple too long, now the World which is fed up of blackmail is saying “please shoot”.
    I feel dearly for the people but “God helps those who help themselves”.


  • Anonymous Indian
    Sep 23, 2011 - 3:47PM

    What the sensible people have got to realise is that India is absolutely not interested in conquering or even attacking Pakistan, because it realises that peaceful economic development is the only way to improve the welfare of its own population and eradicate a huge amount of poverty that still exists in India.
    If sense were to prevail in the leaders that be, in Pakistan, they could easily aim for peaceful co-existence with India and instead focus on Trade and Economics. With two large economies like China and India, imagine the economic benefits to Pakistan of focusing on peace instead of some sheik chilli like dream that using terrorists as its proxy it can some how defeat India and gain Kashmir or whatever lands it may desire. If there is peace, what’s to stop the kashmiri people to travel to both sides of the border for trade and family visits. What does an average person want, freedom to earn a living to provide safety and prosperity for their family, freedom to express themselves, freedom to practice their religion if they are religious. None of this is denied to anybody in India today. Yes their are atrocities committed by the armed forces in Kashmir today as are by armed forces in most places of conflict around the world, its human nature. But the overbearing presence and ill will of the armed forces would disappear if there were peace and they will not have to be deployed into Kashmir in such numbers.

    Peace is a very powerful force of wellbeing. I hope it is a message that the general population in Pakistan can impress upon their leadership and the dividend of that needs to be invested in education and welfare and health of the population.

    God bless all, ik rab de sab bandeRecommend

  • Kafka
    Sep 23, 2011 - 3:56PM

    Only if the deep state could consider the common man as its strategic asset….. Recommend

  • R. Khan
    Sep 23, 2011 - 4:14PM

    Article based on truth & realty! Time to wake up for Generals out to destroy whatever is left of Pakistan. We are proud of you KS!


  • SaneVoice
    Sep 23, 2011 - 6:54PM

    Shafi Sahib,

    I have always been a proponent of making our democratic institutions strong enough that they can stand up to the deep state as so eloquently put it. Unless we can rein in the armed forces and ISI under civilian control, Pakistan cannot become a vibrant democracy which in turn means that people of Pakistan will continue to suffer.

    Good Article. Recommend

  • ahmed saeed
    Sep 23, 2011 - 7:39PM

    India has nothing to do with Pakistan: that’s why it has more tanks to attack China through mountain passes.


  • Mubarik
    Sep 23, 2011 - 8:12PM

    @MD: Very truley said, may the cool heads prevail and both India and Pakistan live side by side as loving and caring brothers.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:04PM

    Every one of u saying article is on fact some of it is truth but did not we had fought last
    three wars with india or it was Congo…………………..


  • rk singh
    Sep 23, 2011 - 9:43PM

    @ Ali Tanoli

    These wars were started by Pakistan. Not India. Even people like NFP from your side confirm this.Recommend

  • ayesha
    Sep 23, 2011 - 11:40PM

    @ahmed saeed:
    “India has nothing to do with Pakistan: that’s why it has more tanks to attack China through mountain passes.”

    India does not want to ATTACK Pakistan and it never has in the last 64 years history. Even your Air Marshal Asghar Khan confirms that. But yes, India has been attacked by Pakistan multiple times and unlike in the past where India surrendered to the Ghoris and Ghaznavis, today it will defend itself.

    These tanks are for defence not offence. If Pakistan stops attacking India, over a period of time India will reduce its defence expense because it would rather invest that money in healthcare and education for its citizens.


  • Sep 24, 2011 - 9:54AM

    @rk singh & ayesha

    India attacked Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, not to mention invaded Kashmir in 1948. Recommend

  • formanite
    Sep 24, 2011 - 2:55PM

    another fine and straight shootin piece.

    the irony, however, is that the deep state considers us, the people, just a troublesome ‘bheer’,an unwanted crowd/mob that it needs to step over to get to their next self-serving venture…..
    yes, ofcourse we all need to get together and take control of our nations/peoples destiny.
    that time is coming soon .inshalla.


  • SK
    Sep 24, 2011 - 4:39PM

    Everyone here is talking about India capturing or invading Pakistan – it’s quite obvious that no where in hell that is going to happen. But what about RAW internally destabilising Pakistan through its spy network or terror proxies? India doesn’t have to invade Pakistan – it is already doing a job of its own by supporting terrorism inside Pakistan (especially Baluchistan) and working on its disintegration instead. The Pakistani commentators here should not be fooled by Indians or try to be ignorant of the Indian handiwork in Pakistan’s break-up. Wake up Pakistan!


  • Real Bangladeshi
    Sep 24, 2011 - 9:19PM

    @ Bangash – 1965 was started by Pakistan and 1971 by your genocide. Stop being delusional and read some independent history.

    @ SK – India does not need to destabilize a bus whose wheels are already spinning off. Where is your evidence?


  • Rohit
    Sep 25, 2011 - 4:47PM


    Very well said. Speaking as an Indian, I know no Indian who wants to conquer Pakistan. I think any Indian who wishes to conquerer Pakistan should be sent to mental asylum. The be honest I think most Indians would be happy if Pakistan could be moved to Africa so we do not have to deal with your internal problems.


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