Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Pakistan’s myths and manipulations

The Pakistani mind is encouraged by the state to nurse certain myths about why the country is in trouble. The Pakistani mind is encouraged by the state to nurse certain myths about why the country is in trouble.
Written by Khaled Ahmed | Posted: February 1, 2014 12:10 am | Updated: February 1, 2014 12:27 am

The Pakistani mind is encouraged by the state to nurse certain myths about why the country is in trouble. The foreign office, ever articulating the current military thinking, encourages this mythmaking by not coming clean on matters that exercise the collective mind.

The first myth is that India must not be present in Afghanistan. Why? Because India threatens Pakistan’s security through its consulates; it is already busy abetting insurgency in Balochistan, for which Pakistan need not present any evidence to India. The Taliban are killing people because “external powers” are manipulating them. America has its own designs on the region, including Central Asia; it is helping India become the big power in South Asia as part of the American “pivot” against China. But on the ground, non-state actors incubated by the state (that is, the army) to carry out cross-border proxy wars are killing innocent people, most of their acts criminal rather than revolutionary because there is money in it. The ultimate myth is that the state is under threat from without and not from within, despite a former army chief’s assertion that it is under threat from within.

These are signs of where Pakistan is headed, its mind collectively warped. A number of American analysts have written books saying Pakistan just didn’t deliver on its commitments as an ally and was in fact colluding with terror; that the Pakistani state was in crisis and couldn’t help itself let alone help the US; that the Pakistan army was internally divided and its intelligence agencies were following strategies that crisscrossed with the grand design of the Taliban-al-Qaeda combine; and that, because of the ongoing collapse of the state, al-Qaeda was bound to make a comeback in Pakistan after being ousted from the Islamic world by drone attacks.

Former US secretary of defence Robert Gates, in Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, says, “Although I would defend them (Pakistan) in front of the (American) Congress and to the press to keep the relationship from getting worse and endangering our supply line, I knew that they were really no ally at all… The US never thought of consulting Pakistan before raiding Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound because it feared that the Inter-Services Intelligence was protecting him. Empowering the Pakistani military at the cost of democratic institutions was an American mistake and Washington’s personalisation of relations with different autocrats has significantly weakened the state of Pakistan.”

Another book, No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad, by ex-deputy secretary of state Daniel Markey, describes Pakistan as the ally who stabbed the US in the back after receiving big dollars from Washington. He flags Pakistan’s “Indiacentric” obsession to which the last retiring Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Pervaiz continued…

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