Jingoism and xenophobia have never helped in solving anything at all, let alone repairing, maintaining and growing relations between countries. Yet the shrillness coming out of the mouths of various anchors i.e. loudmouths these days, is mind-numbing. Indeed, the fact that most of those indulging in this jingoism are considered close to the Establishment is mystifying to say the least.
For what could the motives of the powers be? Is encouraging xenophobia against other countries, specially those with which they have had a symbiotic relationship, going back decades, good for either party? Is it bravado that makes them do what they do? Indeed, let the anchors alone, just look at what the army chief himself has said just two days ago while briefing certain parliamentarians herded to GHQ: “We are not Iraq or Afghanistan”. Meaning what? That they didn’t have bums but we do?
As I asked last week, what pray will we do with our nuclear bombs? Even if America were to, say, attack the Haqqanis in North Waziristan? Bomb Bagram airbase? Far better, isn’t it, to say if you must say anything at all: ‘If the US brings boots on the ground we will fight back, as will our people’. There is no need to say even this because it is understood that if you attack a country you should expect resistance. What is the point in flaunting nuclear ability to a country that has the same a thousand-fold?
General Kayani also said: “They will have to think 10 times” (before the Americans come in). It seems to me that they have thought about it at least eight times thus far; let us hope and pray that better sense prevails all around and ‘they’ don’t have to think about it two more times. Brinkmanship doesn’t help either, specially when all the indicators are that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are in a steep fall and, as Khurram Husain put it in this newspaper of record recently, will we now convert our F-16s to CNG?!
Anyway, amid all the uncertainty that stares us in the face re: everything including ‘talking with our own people’ (they may be yours sirs, they certainly aren’t mine) the most recent news about Pakistan and India increasing bilateral trade and Pakistan granting MFN status to India is as welcome as any news could be in these fraught times. More importantly, since the army establishment runs our foreign policy, the present warming of ties also points to the most welcome possibility that the Pakistani Deep State has finally realised that it cannot afford to carry on an ‘India-centric’ policy whilst at the same time alienating its main supplier of the weapons of war, the United States, that help it maintain its belligerence.
Which is good and well, as my friend Ashraf Afridi used to say, for it is about time that the two nuclear-armed countries brought some good sense to their relationship so that the poor and hapless people of both can go about the business of living, in peace. But wait. Is the Deep State really on board when internet blogs and sites such as Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz (echoing the Commando’s words during his televised parting kick to the country on the day he was thrown out of office), and Paknationalists, widely believed to be in the pay of the Deep State and its ‘agencies’, are still posting poisonous propaganda against all of the Establishment’s bug-bears, in order of present-day precedence: Democracy in Pakistan; the United States; India and Afghanistan?
Or is it simply the case that, as per usual in the Land of the Pure, there are wheels within independently-sprung wheels within the Deep State, running in different directions at differing speeds, confounding even those who think they know all? That some ‘agencies’ are in favour of a soft approach towards problems they themselves created, while others prefer the hard line?
Be which as it may, the elected government must now aggressively pursue peace with India leaving no space for the Deep State to queer the pitch once again. This can only happen if all the political players (no, not all of those invited to the quite silly APC) are co-opted into the peacemaking process, specially in view of Mr Nawaz Sharif’s recent warm and conciliatory remarks about India for which he was pilloried by All The Deep State’s Men And All The Deep State’s Women.
It is not going to be easy considering the shrill jingoism and xenophobia mentioned earlier, and which has not spared even senior journalists considered beyond the pale by the Deep State. Case in point: the pointed and quite rude remarks about, let us not be afraid to name him, Najam Sethi, by, let us not be afraid to name him, Mubasher Lucman (Dunya TV), much talked about recently for his fascinating show featuring Ali Azmat.
And what are the charges that Lucman lays at Sethi’s door? That he is pro-American because he wants American nationality. What preposterous nonsense. Why should Najam and Jugnu Mohsin, his wife, want American nationality when (Najam being an American toady!) they can walk in and out of the United States at will, yet live in the familiarity that is theirs in their own country? Seriously, are there no checks on what is said on television? And, by the by, might we please have a fuller list of Pakistani TV channels which have or have had access to foreign funding?
A word or two about Ali Azmat on the Lucman show. If you haven’t seen the recording of it at http://bit.ly/ppozTt please see it NOW. Do you believe this? I mean the songs “Imagine” and “Let it be” were all part of a conspiracy by the wicked West to subjugate us poor things? 440 Hz was the frequency chosen by the Tavistock Institute (which was set up by a member of British royalty!) to tune instruments because this frequency affects the mind? I mean what absolute tripe is this?
Hoar choopo gannay!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2011.