Pakistan “Army Drama”

The title of the news in DAWN was Pakistan army drama to show human face of war. However, later on DAWN decided to take the news (I don’t know why) but God bless Google which keeps track of such things through cached pages. You can find the cached copy of the news here.

In case the above link does not work, try reading the cache version on Google

A friend of mine highlighted the fact that, there is an actual phrase “army drama” in the title of DAWN article and wondered how did it happen? I said may be it is a case of Freudian slip.

The news item goes on to say that the “multi million” dollar drama is an effort from Pakistan Army to win the battles of hearts and mind and to show the valour of Pakistani soldiers. As if dramas could win the hearts and mind of people. I think rather than spending billions in Iraq and Afghanistan on people, war lords and corrupt leaders, US should make dramas showing brave American soldiers laying down their lives for safety of Iraqi/Afghani people and this would help in winning Iraqs/Afghanis hearts and minds.

I don’t think so any of us doubt the bravery with which our foot soldiers lay down their lives in this wasteful exercise when it has been clearly stated by Ashfaq Pervez Kyani that this war is only till US leaves the region and then we will be pals with the Talibans.

Working so closely with US has an adverse impact on our army. It now thinks like US rather wants to repeat their mistakes. Making this drama is akin to pro-war propaganda of US during vietnam era. No body doubted the bravery of American soldier fighting in the Vietnam war. But it was a wrong war that resulted in so many lives being wasted.

Spending “multi million dollars” on a drama to win hearts and minds is such a shameful waste of money. But what is shameless is getting the sons of this soil killed for a war that GHQ does not even want to win.

America’s War on Terror

There was a time that a healthy skepticism to US fed propaganda was considered OK. Now if anyone says anything against it, he or she is considered fundo, pseudo-intellectual, out-of-touch etc. The most recent article that has been receiving such criticism is Imran Khan’s in Guardian where he rightly called the current war on terror in Afghanistan as America’s war.

Is there any doubt left that this is America’s war? One may find some justification for attacking Afghanistan post 9/11 but attacking Iraq under the same premise was a war crime as to date they haven’t found any evidence of weapons of mass destruction nor a link between al qaeda and saddam’s regime and the western media might say that Iraqis are better off but the daily bombing and killings in Iraq have made them worse off that during than Saddam’s time. Moreover, since we tend to forget, in the last ten years of Saddam thousands of people died not because of his policies but US sanctions on supplying food and medicine to Iraq. I am not justifying Saddam’s rule here just recalling a bit of historical facts which in the current media frenzy we all seem to forget.

US had a hard time convincing its European and NATO allies to come to Iraq and in the end US went in with its poodle UK only based on a “sexed up” dossier that was presented to UK parliament. Even Musharraf had agreed to send Pakistani troops to Iraq and it was only the protests by our religious parties in the Assembly (their own will or backdoor pushing by Army who knows) that we didn’t send our men to get killed in Iraq. [for the naives, google the news and you shall see]. Anyway, the men we saved by not going on an adventure in Iraq, we are killing in war with Talibans.

Regarding calling America’s war in Afghanistan “our war” is a mistake only the liberal elite and ex-military idiots of this country make. Because our Chief of Army Kiyani does not consider this war “our war” and he is just wasting our men and resources till Americans leave and they will leave so that he can against implement the Pakistan Army’s plan of “strategic depth”.

I am not making this up. Here is General Kyani (the end savior of liberals) in Washington Post.

The two countries’ “frames of reference” regarding regional security “can never be the same,” he said, according to news accounts. Calling Pakistan America’s “most bullied ally,” Kayani said that the “real aim of U.S. strategy is to de-nuclearize Pakistan.”

The above article is to be read in full to realize the the double face of our army which is getting our people killed on both sides (Army and the people it is fighting).

Now if General Kiyani talks like this, no wonder the man on the street is right to believe that US is after our nuclear weapons.

So if I get it straight, Kiyani is fighting as long as US is there and will change strategy once US leaves the scene. To me it clearly seems the case that Pakistan Army believes that it is America’s war on terror and will make a U-turn as soon as US leaves.

Pakistan Army : Is it good for anything?

The most recent item in the news which I reproduce below just goes to show that our army should  stick to waging unnecessary wars and half heartedly guarding our borders.

Though Ayesha Siddiqa has shown in her book that military industrial complex of Pakistan (affectionately called ‘milbus’ by the author) is not as  profitable an  enterprise as we are made to believe with the subsidies and exemptions it gets, yet due to the boring (read ‘non-sensational’)  writing style of the author, the book failed to gain any traction in mainstream media. However, the unnecessary controversy surrounding the book brought the author credibility.

The army chamchas are plentiful in Pakistan and come up with cooked up statistics to show everything is hunky dory under Army rule and sometimes they don’t even bother with statistics considering their outbursts as enough.

The mismanagement or incompetence of Army run businesses is evident from DHA Islamabad, a real estate project that should have been hugely successful but has almost gone bankrupt_ an outcome that is unfathomable as army or DHA buys the land at deep discount without paying upfront cash and sells it at huge premiums.

Below are some excerpts from Dawn on how the army run National Logistic Cell (NLC) is performing. It was also a journalistic mindfuck moment as the headline of the item and first few paragraphs are an attempt by Dawn to show Kyani in positive light and how he is a true professional. WTF!

The excerpts from the article. The chronology of paragraphs has been changed to give a better flow

Everybody sitting in the committee room was stunned when the NLC DG conceded that former bosses of the NLC, Lt Gen (Retd) Mohammad Afzal Zafar and Major General (Retd) Khalid Zaheer Akhtar, and Chief Financial Officer Saeed-ur-Rehman doled out Rs 75 million to a private power generation company as loan in total violation of rules.

About NLC’s massive investment in the stock exchange from 2004 to 2008, which caused a loss of over Rs 2 billion, the committee decided to wait for the report on another audit that is being conducted.

Having gone through all these audit paras, the PAC chief observed, the word bankruptcy seemed inappropriate to explain the financial health of the NLC. Instead, he said, the organisation had hit rock bottom and was down in the dumps.

Stupid is as stupid does

Musharraf’s reentry into politics has received little coverage and even scantier analysis. I have just picked out couple of sound bites which show that the guy has lost it.
According to him, his social system is based on three foundations

1. Quran and Sunnah.
2. realisation of dream of Quaid-i-Azam and
3. Objectives Resolution

Does Musharraf realize who his constituents are or who have been his loyal supporters? To half of his followers who fall on the left side of left-right spectrum commonly described as liberals, intellectuals in Pakispeak, the second foundation is  contradictory to first and third foundation. According to them, Quaid-e-Azam wanted a secular state that has nothing to do with religion of its people. Moreover, these liberals also describe Objective Resolution as betrayal of very principles Quaid described in his 11th August 1948 speech.

Later on in the speech, he offers another pearl of wisdom saying that he wants

“to make Pakistan into a progressive Islamic state”.

Huh? I thought Pakistan was supposed to be a state for Muslims of Subcontinent rather than an Islamic state? Some of you might not find a difference in these two but according to the intellectuals there is a huge  difference between them. Islamic state is contradictory to Quaid’s dream. Quaid-e-Azam wanted a state for Muslims (not an Islamic state) where they could rule themselves under secular laws_I know how ridiculous this sounds but this was the vision of Quaid if one listens to intellectuals.

Anyway, this post is not about Quaid. It is about Musharraf and by making this statement Musharraf is turning away his supporters who lie on the liberal/secular side of the spectrum. The question arises then who is he aiming at? Doe eyed fresh graduates and hardened Musharrafites of urban middle class in whose books and statistics Musharraf could do no wrong.

Personally, I think he has shot himself in the foot with this speech. The majority of the right wing dislikes or hates Musharraf except for the young middle class which made money in Musharraf’s credit fuelled bubble economy. Unfortunately the bubble burst at the same time as Pakistan was transitioning to democracy so the politicians ended up taking all the blame for the economic slide (not that Zardari & Co. have done anything to stop the downward slide ).

The purpose of all this is that Musharraf has started on the wrong foot and he has not judged his supporters correctly. He might be able to take a few votes away from MQM but that is the only major loss I expect and thats why Altaf bhai is in panic mode (thinking of shifting to Dubai, thinking that his days in this world are numbered etc).

Unless, the west or Army brokers a combining of all Muslim Leagues under Musharraf (similar to ISI engineered IJI) I would be surprised if Musharraf even gets a single seat in the coming elections.

Destinations : Getting ready for Martial Law [updated]

The way the media campaign is being orchestrated right now against Zardari and in praise of  Army, I honestly believe ground is being set for Martial Law. To borrow a phrase from FiveRupees on the situation, Zardari is the favorite punching bag of the nation at the moment. The following links give an excellent analysis of the situation. There may be overlaps as all are discussing the same situation but each one has something to add.

From BBC

Criticism of Zardari hides a political game:

And indeed, the current anti-Zardari campaign in the media started before the floods hit the headlines.

The criticism began after British Prime Minister David Cameron made remarks in India on 28 July where he accused some in Pakistan of “looking both ways”, exporting terror to neighbouring countries.

On 31 July, Pakistan’s Geo TV reported that the chief of the ISI intelligence service, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, had cancelled a scheduled trip to the UK because of Mr Cameron’s remarks, but Mr Zardari was continuing with his planned trip.

Pakistan’s ubiquitous TV news presenters began questioning President Zardari’s patriotism and personal integrity.

One of the best pieces on the topic, from Cafe Pyala:

Burn Baby Burn?

Here’s the other myth that is being perpetuated: that the flood relief efforts that the army is undertaking are somehow divorced from the government’s response, almost, it would seem, in opposition of government directives. Is the army separate from government? Isn’t the military hardware being used in the airlifts and food drops, as well as the soldiers, paid by the government and people of Pakistan? And to take nothing away from the brave work of the jawans who endure hardship and danger to rescue people and provide them food, but why are we being made to feel that the army is doing the people of Pakistan a favour? As if this were not really their job but are doing this only out of the goodness of their hearts?

From The Independent

The man who really matters in Pakistan

Yet, it [the world] has chosen to ignore that the real wielder of power – General Ashfaq Kayani – may be quietly tightening his grip and burnishing the credentials of his ever-ambitious army.

Even before the onset of the catastrophic floods, which prompted Kayani to head to the worst affected areas of the north-west ahead of any other political leader, it was clear that the military was gearing up to expose the government as unfit to look after Pakistan’s interests.

Lastly, Mosharraf Zaidi has this to say about the situation (slightly weaker than above posts but worth reading in full) :

A hyperactive cocktail

The impact of the floods can be captured by the word confidence. Or, rather, lack thereof. Within government, the NDMA doesn’t enjoy the confidence of Interior, which doesn’t enjoy the confidence of the GHQ, which doesn’t enjoy the confidence of the KP provincial government. The people don’t have any confidence in government–no matter what turf issues they might have. International donors don’t have any confidence in the federal government, and little confidence in the provinces. The provinces don’t have the confidence to deal independently with the international donors, or the INGOs. They also don’t have the confidence to cede a reasonable degree of their executive authority to the NDMA.

[UPDATE]

Mrs. Obama is also facing flak in US media for her travel to Spain when the country is going through economic crisis and even called a modern day Marie Antoinette. From the Independent:

Let them eat tapas?

Unpacking back home in Washington yesterday after a holiday with her daughter Sasha, the first lady found herself in the middle of a political tempest – accused of taking a page out of Marie Antoinette’s book and living it up while the country limps through an economic crisis.

Conservative critics seized on details of her itinerary to paint her – and by extension her husband the President – as at best tone-deaf and at worst feckless.

So its not only our non-chief-executive President who faces criticism for pleasure trips when the country is facing its worst crisis.