If wishes were horses! Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) tweeted this in reply to my article, “The State of Pakistan”. It surprised me and left me wondering. Was I shooting in the air to think of Pakistan as a failed and jailed state? Was it a dare? I was curious. Did some digging. Found out that he is credited with raising the Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army. Seems I had touched a raw nerve. Hmm. Need to put things in perspective.
Many Pakistanis liked the General’s reply and are still supporting him. That is fine. After all, he must be a popular man and many Pakistanis support their Generals. However, one handle caught my eye due to the sheer profanity of the Pakistani mindset. The General has very intellectual followers indeed! At another level it reveals a very deep schism. Hatred and intolerance of other religions is now fundamentally ingrained in Pakistan. Looters in control with committed perverts as flag bearers. A dangerous place indeed.
I grew up in a syncretic society, where a hardcore atheist ruling party did not stop anyone from learning about Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and other religions. I come from a land where St Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Christ, rests. We had a Muslim President revered by all Indians. This Tamilian loved ‘Thyagaraja Kirtanas’. He learnt Telugu in his late fifties to understand them. Southern sufism. My first introduction to Sikhism was through my school which was located in Gillnagar, Chennai! I remain rooted in the Hindu way of life. I have learnt in the six plus decades of my existence that religions are great but some humans are not. When masses opiated with religion, get blindsided and lose the differentiation between the state and faith; nations grow weak.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a beggarised, nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. Present-day Pakistan is floundering under the ‘Looters of the Fifth Reich’. Surprisingly, Pakistanis welcomed this Reich as they did with others. In all previous cases, the Reichmaster took it to great heights, grew bigger than himself and was then booted out in disgrace. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day. Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) is a part of all these Reichs.
This is not from my imagination. Except for identifying the Reichs, I have heavily plagiarised from Pakistani writings. Two articles from Dawn put things in great perspective—“All Fall Down” and “Year End Yearnings”. Everything becomes clear. The story of each Reich becomes clearer when you see the caricatures/cartoons. They depict an undeniable reality.
THE FIRST REICH: THE BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP OF AYUB KHAN
Ayub Khan carried out the first popular military coup In 1958. He facilitated an unprecedented industrial growth in the country. He aligned Pakistan with the US to enable perpetual military and financial aid. By 1961, he had largely restored Pakistan’s economy. He instituted a complex electoral system that he called ‘Basic Democracy’. He discarded the 1956 Constitution and instituted a new one in 1962. It enshrined Ayub’s idea of ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’.
The ‘benevolent dictator’, tried to crown his economic and political achievements with a military triumph against India. The ensuing 1965 war, turned into a stalemate. It drained the country’s resources. He was accused by Bhutto (who had instigated him into war!) of ‘losing the war on the negotiation table’. East Pakistan, accused him of leaving it open to an Indian attack. Ayub faced a spontaneous students’ movement in October 1968. In 1969, Bhutto’s PPP, National Awami Party (NAP) , the National Students Federation (NSF), radical trade and labour unions and rural area peasant organisations joined the movement. Awami League and other Bengali nationalist groups demanded provincial autonomy for East Pakistan. He was supposedly shocked when he heard that some of his ‘children’ (the term he used to describe his subjects), had called him ‘Ayub Khan Kutta’. Ayub threw-in the towel and resigned, handing over power to General Yahya Khan who immediately imposed the country’s second martial law. Ayub, died in seclusion in 1974.
THE SECOND REICH: YAHYA KHAN’S GENOCIDE AND PAKISTAN BREAKUP
The Second Reich was so gory that all Pakistanis develop instant amnesia when you mention it. Guilt , shame or denial? Who knows? Yahya Khan held the country’s first general election on taking over. In the 1970 elections, the Awami League won 98% of the assembly seats in East Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was to be the PM. Unacceptable. Mujibur was arrested in March 1971. Yahya Khan went into Genocide mode and began Operation Searchlight. For the next nine months Bengali civilians were massacred by Pakistani soldiers. Estimates for the total number of deaths range from 500,000 to over 3 million. Rapes exceeded 500,000. 10 million refugees streamed into India. The third round of Indo Pak war of 1971 resulted in utter defeat and break up of Pakistan. A group of military officers, forced Yahya to resign and invited Bhutto to form the government. A sordid case is of Tikka Khan, who headed the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan. He was called the ‘Butcher of Bangladesh’ by Time Magazine. He was promoted in 1972 to become the Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan. What a nation!
THE THIRD REICH: RADICAL ISLAMISER ZIA-UL-HAQ
Gen Zia-ul-Haq imposed the country’s third Martial Law in July 1977 with the tacit support of political opposition to Bhutto. He adopted an ‘Islamic’ agenda, and ruled Pakistan for 11 years. In 1979, he arrested, tried and hanged Bhutto. Zia instituted harsh measures such as public floggings, executions, sentencing by military courts and torture. Opposition was simply mowed down. He was the lead in the anti-Soviet ‘Afghan Jihad’ in 1979. He became a frontline ally of the United States, Europe and Saudi Arabia in backing the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. He overtly started Punjabisation of Pakistan through businessmen. He aligned businesses with radical religious outfits he fostered. There was a burst of religiosity within Pakistan. He crushed three attempts for restoring democracy. He died in a mysterious plane crash in August 1988. He left a legacy of radicalisation of Pakistan. Pakistan is paying for it till now.
THE FOURTH REICH: THE WILY CONMAN PERVEZ MUSHARRAF
General Parvez Musharraf’s coup was welcomed despite the Kargil defeat due to economic downturns, corruption and chaos of the 1990s. The US shunned him till 9/11 when he agreed to become a frontline ally of the US in its ‘war against terror’. It also meant Pakistan making some U-turns on handling religious militant groups. He started Pakistan’s policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.
In 2002, Musharraf began to crack down on some extremist organisations while maintaining and promoting links with Kashmir and anti-India terror outfits. Despite posing as a religiously moderate and a socially liberal modern day Ataturk, his actions started a trend of suicide bombings within Pakistan. The militants started hating him. He even put AQ Khan, the father of the Islamic Bomb under house arrest.
In 2006, Musharraf dismissed a Supreme Court judge, Iftikhar Chaudhry , who led a lawyers strike to end ‘the illegitimate orders of a dictator’. His action against radical clerics and their supporters of Islamabad’s Red Mosque led extremist militants to target public places. Musharraf had weakened politically. He allowed the return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On return, Benazir was assassinated in a bomb attack in December 2007. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz led their parties to victory in the 2008 elections and both squeezed Musharraf to resign as President and Army chief. He is to be tried for treason and is in exile.
The wily conman, conned Nawaz Sharif into a military defeat, conned himself, conned Pakistan into becoming a terrorist state, conned Americans that he was working for them and conned militants that he was their supporter.
THE FIFTH REICH: THE LOOTER OF THE FIFTH REICH QAMAR BAJWA
General Qamar Bajwa is something. He has upstaged all his predecessors. He is a dictator without being one. He is a looter second to none. He bootlicks the Chinese while getting politicians to shine his boots. He has ensured his tenure is extended legally. He has jockeyed into a position that all political parties look up to him for survival. He is expanding the army business empire rapidly. He has become an extra constitutional authority. The Pakistani Army now controls most major projects including CPEC.
He is making grounds to ensure that permanent Chinese presence in Pakistan is a reality. In short, he is not only looting Pakistan but also selling it off to China, as an impoverished nation sinks deeper into debt. With US drawdown from Afghanistan being imminent, he is busy trying to create strategic space once again. Balochistan is not only being sold off but there is a huge hidden and sordid tale of extra judicial disappearances and assassinations. He has continued the Pakistani tradition of using terrorists as an instrument of state policy. There is no let-up in this.
Ashraf Jahangir Qazi was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, India and China. These are his words: Few people in the world have been so consistently betrayed by their leaders, governments, political parties and security institutions as the people of Pakistan. They have been lied to; denied basic human rights, dignity and entitlements; robbed of essential human development resources to finance elite priorities and lifestyles; induced to look to the hereafter for justice, etc. Shows a sense of utter dismay and despondence. There is no doubt that the true state of a pauperised Pakistan is as depicted below.
The fundamental problem with modern Pakistanis is that the opiated people are yet to decide whether they are Turks, Arabs, Chinese or Afghans since deep down they know that culturally and historically Pakistanis do not exist! They have a great identity problem. Also, I would like Lt General Ghulam Mustafa (Retd) to note that Pakistan is a nation under perpetual defeat. It has chosen to go to war with India four times at a place and time of its choosing and has been defeated always. It is often spoken that the Pakistani Army is the best army never to have won a war. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com.
In Pakistan, successive governments have deliberately fused obscurantist faith with state militarism. It has resulted in the country weakening by the day. Further, five successive Military Reichs have converted Pakistan into a nuclear, frontline, failing, rogue state. The Looters of the Fifth Reich are smart. They have jockeyed into a position in which they own the nation of impoverished masses through governing puppets. The current Reichmaster is ensuring that Pakistan plumbs new depths each day.