Selective memory and ‘kutti’ diplomacy

Published: December 8, 2011
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

No, the Punjabi word above does not denote ‘female dog’; it means getting upset as kids do sometimes with their playmates and do kutti (making a clicking sound by drawing the thumbnail under their upper front tooth and saying ‘kutti’ before picking up their marbles and stalking off home). Which is exactly what we did in the matter of the Bonn conference on Afghanistan.

This is not how diplomacy is conducted in the adult world, sirs: if we had a strong case against Nato we should have gone to Bonn with much fanfare; and there loudly and strongly, before the whole world, made our case about what the Deep State calls the deliberate bombing of our border post in which some 26 of our soldiers died horrible deaths.

We could have said that we had come to Bonn despite the outrage committed by Nato because we believed in a future for Afghanistan that was stable and prosperous and peaceful; that despite the deep anger we felt at being treated so lightly as allies, we were in Bonn as a responsible (and grown-up) member of the comity of nations, dedicated to peace not only in the region but in the world at large.

What, pray sirs, did we achieve by sulking and staying away from the conference? Nothing whatsoever, except telling the world one more time that we are a people unsure of ourselves and our place in the world; a people who are champions at shadow-boxing and that, too, above our weights.

And now for selective memory, which is another great hallmark of us Pakistanis, damn honesty and propriety. Amid all this furore surrounding the Murky Memo; the sudden sprouting of haloes on many a head; the self-righteous calls for initiating treason proceedings; hanging people immediately if not sooner; disbanding traitorous political parties, and generally doing great and lasting harm to many people so help them, God, a memory flickered.

I recalled that some years ago, I saw a TV talk-show with Hamid Mir on which Imran Khan had alleged, in response to allegations relating to Sita White laid at his door by Babar Ghauri, that Altaf Hussain had said that Partition was the greatest blunder and that India should open its doors to those Mohajirs who wanted to migrate back to India.

And sure enough, there it was: Now then, how is it that the Ghairat Brigades, who are pursuing those accused in the case of the Murky Memo with sticks and knives, do not react in like manner against Altaf Hussain for this public (and recorded) statement? I mean, what Altaf Hussain said negates all of the foundations upon which this country rests according to the Paknationalist narratives of the Ghairat Brigades. Yet, there is not a squeak out of them?

Then there is the alleged letter Altaf Hussain allegedly wrote to then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair on September 23, 2001,, in which he allegedly offered all kinds of human intelligence to the West in return for the canning of the ISI which would otherwise ‘continue to produce many Osama bin Ladens and Talibans (sic) in future’. Not a squeak on this either.

Readers will note that I have used the words ‘alleged’ and ‘allegedly’ in the above paragraph — simply because they remain allegations unless they are proven in a properly constituted court of law. Yet, while there has been no reaction from the Ghairat Brigades on what Altaf Hussain said/is alleged to have said, all hell has broken loose where the Murky Memo is concerned. Indeed, if you go down the thread of what has been going on in this saga, the latest is that Mansoor Ijaz now takes the entire credit for putting the letter together! Yet, there are blood-curdling calls for the present government to hang by the tallest pole, and NOW!?

Is this plain and simple dishonesty, or something far deeper, far more sinister? Is this a plot to finally remove popular and mass politics from the country, in an attempt to limit it to the urban-centred and favoured pressure groups that owe their fealty to the Deep State? If one notes the mass migration of the Musharraf-era political elites aka lotas and turncoats (several times over!) to Imran Khan’s ‘tsunami’ banner, one certainly comes to that conclusion. What it does to his oft-repeated refrain that politics was corrupt before his advent only he can tell us.

Tsumani reminds me of something I read only two days ago, can’t sadly remember where, because one would like to acknowledge the person who came up with the thought. And that is that whilst Imran has described the support he has received over the past six months or so as a veritable tsunami, tsunamis are extremely destructive things. They decimate all and everything in their path, leaving death and destruction and broken lives and dreams in their wake.

Now, while I have said, and believe, that Imran is a decent man who wants to do good for the country like every other Pakistani, his dangerous stand on the Taliban and on terrorism, for one, can lead us to total disaster. He quotes Rustam Shah Mohmand, the former chief secretary of the then NWFP as the authority on the better way out in Afghanistan. But we must remember that Mr Mohmand, who is a friend, was part of the JI/USIP Foreign Policy Elites who came up with the quite mind-boggling JI/USIP Report on Afghanistan.

That report in and of itself is the greatest indicator of what these elites, and their friends in high places within the Deep State, want to see happening in Afghanistan when Nato (read the Americans) leaves that country. And that, friends, is a disaster waiting to happen. I might be repeating myself here, but it bears much repetition: if our Deep State really attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan following its own formulations, that country and ours will slide into sure civil war.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2011.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, Rustam Shah Mohmand was incorrectly written as Rehmat Shah Mohmand. This has been corrected. 

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Reader Comments (43)

    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:03AM

    brilliant piece as usual.


  • Meekal Ahmed
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:10AM


    Very good observations and comment.


  • Khan Jr
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:23AM

    Media members of the Ghairat Brigade are regularly subjecting hapless viewers to an orchestrated litany of lies emanating from their “leadership”.

    I am not a fan of Husain Haqqani but by all accounts he has been deemed guilty without even being subjected to a fair trial. In the meantime issues like OBL in Abbotabad, Mehran air base attack, the ongoing death and torture of young Baloch, etc are all being deliberately brushed under the carpet.

    The fear of the military sadly permeates our society. As yet no journalist has had the gumption to question the several glaringly contradictory statements issued by GHQ officials on the Sahala Check-post incident. From these ‘authoritatively’ confused statements one can make out that something is obviously being hidden from us – but what it is we will probably never really know.


  • Arindom
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:39AM

    I think the Deep State very deliberately orchestrated this ‘ban Bonn’ chorus – it had nothing to contribute in the conference other than harping on ‘Strategic Interest’ (translation = controlling Afghanistan through the Taliban). Fear of being hopelessly exposed at the conference drove it to avoid the conference. The NATO excuse was a convenient excuse.


  • Kamran Shafi
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:53AM

    My apologies to Mr. Mohmand for wrongly writing his name as ‘Rehmat Shah Mohmand’. He is Rustam Shah Mohmand. Slip of the mind! Sorry, sir.


  • faraz
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:56AM

    Under secret agreements, the army gave Shami base to US to conduct drone strikes. Isn’t this an act of treason?


  • You Said It
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:04AM

    if our Deep State really attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan following its own formulations, that country and ours will slide into sure civil war.

    Why the “if”? The deep state has been interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion. It really picked up steam after the Soviet withdrawal, and as the recent LeJ bombing of the Ashura procession in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi show, it continues to this day.

    The fallacy in the establishment’s strategic depth game is that even a worm will turn. The Afghans cannot accept forever being a vassal state; if they adopt the same strategy and replay it back at Pakistan, the devastation of the 2010 floods will start to look like a lovely pool party.


  • PakLiberal
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Mickey column:

    “commando commando” “deep state” “sirs” “Rommels”…

    Staying away from Bonn was the least we could have done.

    Mickey’s blind partisanship (the late unlamented Bhutto’s gross corruption never finds a mention in his annals) has blinded him to the point that his hatred for the men in khaki overrides all, even the loss of erstwhile comrades in uniform.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:11AM

    U said it thank u sir no more please.


  • Talha
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:16AM


    Oh so Mansoor Ijaz’s father is now a supposed Ahmadi.

    You people would never stop spreading your little lies, would you?


  • Zeeshan Ahmad
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:34AM

    We have all seen how far the Palestinians have gotten with their civilised objections in international courts. As for Altaf, he is in exile and not in office, so comparing him to presiding rulers is like comparing apples to coconuts.

    Ghairat brigades hypocrisy?

    I say, begone bey-ghairat brigades!


  • Pakistani
    Dec 9, 2011 - 2:45AM

    So you had to be reminded of what a Tsunami is, thats sad. Hey let me also explain what a metaphor it so that you may remember: A figure of speech in which an implicit comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. So lets say a Tsunami destroys corruption and the rampant elitist culture here in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ubuntu
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:10AM

    In U.S.A there are many like Mansoor ijaz are available iranian Vali Nisr, indian Fareed Zakria
    and many more…


  • Truth Seeker
    Dec 9, 2011 - 4:40AM

    Blind and naked Ignorance
    delivers brawling judgements,
    unashamed. (A L Tennyson)
    Moral arguments raised by the deep state have certain impact and constrain general public. They have certainly rhetorical designs to disguise other motives.As suggested by Kamran Shafi why didn’t deep state move when Altaf Bhai’s letter was revealed in the press? An everlasting verdict of history was delivered by the victorious Athenians to the Melians in 416 B.C.” The strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept”.
    Despite a gap of 2500 years, ethical questions and international politics have not changed much.Removal of internal hurdles to become a welfare state is a prerequisite for Pakistan to be respected not only by its masses but by its adversaries as well.


  • FactCheck
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:11AM


    Partition was due to fundamentalist Hindus? Your ignorance about history is shining through brighter than the son.


  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:44AM

    @Kamran Shafi:

    Your views about Imran Khan are sheer non sense.
    The difference between him and Zardari, and his PPP, is that of
    night and day. Wake up to the truth and reality, for a change.


  • Dec 9, 2011 - 9:18AM

    Sir! wonderful writing as ever….but who will listen among those who are aware because they are having their interests connected with the GENERALS…..


  • Bammbayyaa
    Dec 9, 2011 - 9:22AM

    Is pakistan as a nation is just a cricket team that Imran Khan will lead …
    especially when Pakistan is at this crucial juncture of disintegrating ….


  • Samson Simon Sharaf
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:55AM

    The writer is firing from an unstable moving platform on moving targets. I and PTI agree that we should have gone to Bonn and should go to all international forums with our case.

    The fact that APC declaration of which Imran Khan was a major contributor substantiates PTI stance held over a long time. Selective criticism out of context is bad. Objective criticism in context is welcome.

    We have our own thinking hats and do not rely on one person only.

    Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf (R)
    PTI Spokesperson


  • All BS
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:58AM

    @Samson Simon Sharaf:

    well said


  • khurshid
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Well said, Mickey, as usual.The million dollar question is are there any serving officers who think along similar, if not identical lines. All one hears from their mouths is chauvinistic, self serving propaganda meant to instill mass hysteria and xenophobia, albeit at selected times. When the bargaining with the west (US) has been completed, the jihadi hordes and the madressah sponsored mobs howling death and vengeance on the streets, vanish into thin air, till the next resurrection.


  • MaddyO
    Dec 9, 2011 - 12:18PM

    With due respect I disagree with the fact that we had to attend the conference and should have given our piece of mind. As far as I know, when we were kids we do this ‘Kutti’ notion, but as a grown up I know what is wrong and whose fault is it, even in those days we do know who is responsible and why. Just banging the door won’t serve the purpose as everyone knows what had happened and our stance on that. The vibe has been well received by the people responsible. The digital media all over the world is doing its job. So should ours. So in my view instead of becoming a laughing stock there by going and harping, giving them the notion that we are afraid of you and you did wrong. This is just acting like a grown up.


  • Truth Teller
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:12PM

    Excellent article as usual from Kamran! Hope somebody is reading in GHQ & ISI & modify their outdated approach.


  • Dec 9, 2011 - 1:18PM

    Great like always you are writing K. Shafi. I have one line comment on present situation. It is : Any Pakistani political party leading Pakistan fully subservient to the Pakistani military establishment. If not then it has to be ON THE LINE OF FIRE like PPP today.


  • Junaid Wazir
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:28PM

    Sir I dont agrre to what you have said reason being that in my point of view it’s the first time after Nawaz Sharif’s decision to go for nuclear tests, that we (Pakistan) have made a bold decision and not following the dictation of the West (U.S) even though our President was called by the President of U.S.

    And now I think that we are sure about ourselves and now we believe that we are a nation aswell, living human beings like those living in U.S and West and our leaders feel the same pain for our soldiers and people as they do.


  • Parvez
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:31PM

    Eneryone is entitled to his view on matters big or small. I feel you are off the mark as far as Bonn is concerned, simply because Bonn itself was a non-serious ‘tamasha’. Attending it would have diluted our position, not strengthened it.
    Always like reading your articles.


  • Ali from Karachi
    Dec 9, 2011 - 3:45PM

    The issue regarding Altaf Hussain has been discussed and rebuked several times already. The statement was taken out of context.


  • Dec 9, 2011 - 5:22PM

    But Why should we grow up… growing up means taking responsibility. We have our friends the Zionists, the Hindus and USA to take responsibility for everything that goes wrong here. We do not need to grow …


  • "Anti-Truth"
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:25PM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir:
    which reality ?
    that one minister of corrupt zaradi is vice chairman of pti?
    and name of new pml-q is pti?

    come on … and you come to reality… there will no change even the mother of pti or new pml-q come to power….
    imran khan could not follow his own hand made rules.Recommend

  • Ishrat Salim
    Dec 9, 2011 - 5:59PM

    The day our politicians become honest & patriotic….they will withstand up to any pressure…otherwise they will remain subdued due to their corrupt practices……they hv no moral gound to stand.


  • Umer
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:06PM

    @Samson Simon Sharaf:

    Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf (R) PTI

    Brig. does PTI think you are an equal citizen of Pakistan, no ifs and buts? Can you constitutionally stand for the post of president? Is PTI going to abrogate the dreaded blasphemy law? Will PTI get the perpetrators of Gojra and Shanti Nagar incidents to court? Just wondering.


  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:15PM


    Really. So it seems you are crying over spilled milk, i.e Shah Mamood Qureishi.
    Once again your analysis and a popular slogan of the baighairat
    brigade. The ground realities are very different, from your heart felt desires,
    Wake up to reality, who ever you may be, and its about time we seek repentence,
    from Allah Subhana, as a nation.Recommend

  • ayesha
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:26PM


    What is also part of selective amnesia – and which is not an allegation – issubverting of constitution by Musharraf in 1999 and the judiciary who rubber stamped it. Since the article 6 specifically refers to subverting consitution, should Muusharraf and the PCO judges who rubber stamped him in 1999 which includes the current Supreme court judge be part of article 6? Of course Musharraf subverted the constitution once more in 2007 – at which time judiciary did not support him. Yet this man – about whom – subverting constituion is not a mere allegation was sent of with a 21 gun salute.

    strange isn’t it?


  • ayesha
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:36PM

    @Ubuntu: “In U.S.A there are many like Mansoor ijaz are available iranian Vali Nisr, indian Fareed Zakria”

    Mansoor Ijaz was born in the US not Pakistan – Fareed was born in India.

    Mansoor has no qualms about doing things that could harm Pak interests. While Fareed is proud of his new home and nationality, he does not fail to acknowledge his origins and represent his country of origina unfailingly in a good light.1.

    3/ Mansoor has minimum credibility. Fareed was editor of a very prestigious magazine Newsweek Internatonal and ALSO hosts a popular show on CNN weekly.


  • Faheem
    Dec 9, 2011 - 7:48PM

    @Samson Sharaf
    Sir well said.

    @ Umer

    Well i think PTI can do what u said, but is there any other party which can do anything like what u said????? Alternatives to PTI my friend, thats what we are talking here.

    @ Karman Shafi

    A very well written article no doubt.


  • Mirza
    Dec 9, 2011 - 8:11PM

    Great Op Ed, I appreciate your truth as always. My initial comments were not published at all in the morning. Just want to say thank you very much and please keep it up. Even if you convert a few it would be great!


  • Imran
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:31PM

    @Ayesha:Well put. If only Pakistan had a few Fareed Zakarias to shine a positive light on our country …


  • Anti-Truth
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:48PM

    @Shahbaz Asif Tahir:

    you and your “innocent” leader must have done some sin that you both need repentence.
    Nation done nothing wrong. so spare the nation.
    And we all know changed ground realities… imran khan is kissing feet every person, whom he called corrupt.
    if this is changed realities then you should check your eyesight.

    pti is Clean shaved Jemaat -i – islami and nothing more.
    by the way, if all pakistani with suyapa Khan then why on earth he needs land mafa, peer mafia and corrupt mafia…


  • Umer
    Dec 9, 2011 - 10:56PM


    Well i think PTI can do what u said,
    but is there any other party which can
    do anything like what u said?????



  • Aseff
    Dec 9, 2011 - 11:55PM

    “The way we see the problem, is the problem.’
    Great perspective! I wish we as a nation could appreciate the facts and realities of the world from a more learned and informed standpoint rather than being hoarded emotionally.


  • Samsn Simon Sharaf
    Dec 10, 2011 - 12:10AM

    If not PTI, name someone else who can?


  • Dec 10, 2011 - 7:02AM

    Let me recall a tweet I read few days back. It read something like, ‘i don’t understand why people stoop to character assassination, when they have some decent ways to disagree.


  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Dec 10, 2011 - 8:09AM


    No one on earth is free from sins, and all of us, need to seek forgiveness.
    You need to fear Allah Subhana, for your arrogance, since such behavior is doomed.
    Rather than criticizing others, it would be far better, that you assess your own issues.
    You look too confusedRecommend

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