“They had behind them, to my mind, the terrific suggestiveness of words heard in dreams, of phrases spoken in nightmares.” — Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
It is not a mean feat to host and run a talk show on the issue of the Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) without letting the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) members anywhere near your set. But from the day the GLOC was locked — to borrow a phrase from Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s diction — and we were invited to listen to the director general military operations’ attributable presentation, I have done my best to block them from appearing on my show. As the ranks of the DPC swelled, this stand attained the nature of self-excoriating churlishness when some friends from the marketing department repeatedly suggested that they be brought to the show as their presence would ensure high ratings. Perseverance, however, has its rewards.
Even though today the damaged goods — huddled together in the DPC by some unsung Plato — are planning to march on Islamabad, they look like a tool that has outlived its utility. If sanity prevails, their rhetoric will eventually pare down and the party will be put to an early end. On the off chance that someone decides to see some merit in its existence, let us argue for one more time that such dark jokes should now be eschewed.
It is widely believed that the DPC was brought into existence by the country’s deep state to seek support for the Nato supply routes blockade or the GLOC. But this might not be true. There is hardly any love lost between the banned outfits that constitute a pivotal component of the DPC and the country’s General Headquarters at this stage. The stories of their deep mutual liking sound like water under the bridge, as most of such banned outfits have become terrible liabilities. And barring a few mid-ranking officers, no one can be so stupid to do something that ends up implicating the country’s army in such an act.
But if our army is not responsible for the creation of this group then who is? Of course, not the federal or provincial governments either. To understand what is going on look closely. There are men like Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil in the council who are known for their close relations with Ayman al-Zawahiri. We also know that in the last two decades, al Qaeda and its sister organisations have repeatedly invested money in Pakistani politics to bring down unfriendly governments. Why wouldn’t they invest their resources in exploiting an environment of distrust between Pakistan and the US? Since such groups were close to General Ziaul Haq’s regime, all crony politicians of that time have fallen in line. Hence, in the last seven months, the said group has not only tried to build pressure on the government and the army against the resumption of the GLOC but the gentleman mentioned above has gone to the extent of appearing on television and warning, albeit implicitly, that such a decision could attract more suicide attacks.
A group has the audacity of calling itself the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and then simultaneously threatens to kill its people. The question that arises then is why has the country’s establishment tolerated this ragtag army of thugs thus far? Somehow, everybody forgets that the transformation that it was asked to bring after 9/11 was so onerous that it might not have brought the dissent under full control and hence, the calculated and cautious approach. The fact is that we have witnessed some uncharacteristically huge mishaps in recent years and yet, if this scribe is asked to put his life in the hands of our government and the army, he will willingly do so. But tolerance of such terrible outfits is nothing short of criminal neglect. Perhaps, the DPC long march schedule from July 8, will give us definitive proof of whether the country’s deep state is involved in its genesis or not.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.