Pity the nation

Pity the nation
If the Miltablishment is the irresistible force, then Nawaz Sharif is becoming an immovable object. Indeed, the more the Miltablishment engineers political change to suit its designs, the more Nawaz Sharif strengthens his narrative of “victimhood” in the popular imagination by exposing its past machinations.

Mr Sharif is being branded a “traitor” and “Indian agent” by the Miltablishment and its minions for publicly challenging its national security paradigm in which non-state militant actors continue to play a central role in asymmetric strategies at home and abroad. It is interesting, however, that he is not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last to admit or challenge this fact. General (retd) Hameed Gul (ex-ISI) boasted of the fact while General (retd) Mahmud Durrani (ex-NSA) and General Pervez Musharraf (ex-COAS/President) candidly admitted it. Asif Khosa (ex-IGP/ex-FIA) and Imran Khan have both publicly criticized this national security “contingency” as proving harmful to the cause of Pakistan but they have done so without arousing the ire of the Miltablishment. Indeed, every academic, local or foreign, worth his or her salt has penned reams on the subject, almost always in critical mode, but no book or article has been banned in Pakistan for articulating such views. More specifically, everything about the Mumbai attack of 2008 has been revealed, either in Pakistan or in India and the USA, in the media or during various court trials of various accused, including the role of the “hidden hand” of the deep state. So, what’s the big deal about Nawaz Sharif alluding to much the same thing today?

In 1964, President General Ayub Khan accused Fatima Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam’s sister, of being “pro-India and pro-America” when she stood up to challenge his legitimacy at the polls. Ironically enough, Nawaz Sharif is now faced with the same allegations when he is seeking to challenge the Miltablishment’s favourites in the forthcoming elections. General Ayub rigged the 1965 elections and but didn’t last long enough to enjoy the fruits of his victory. Will the current front runners meet the same fate?

The Miltablishment may be arrogant and self-righteous but it is not unaware or uncritical of the negative role and dire consequences that these non-state actors have spawned in domestic and foreign affairs. It claims to be seeking ways and means to minimize the militant role of “some” of these actors without directly provoking them and destabilizing the state in unmanageable ways. Its anger at Nawaz Sharif is directed not so much at his challenge of their strategic national security narrative but at his refusal to seek their advice on how to decommission these non-state actors or exploit them tactically in the realm of policy. Therefore, while it may be kosher to privately admit that Mumbai was a blunder that badly backfired, doing so in front of Pakistan’s adversaries is not okay because it is bound to extract a heavy penalty.

The Miltablishment is also angry at Nawaz Sharif for trying to diminish its predominant role in national life by “defaming” its institutional chiefs. General Musharraf’s “treason” trial is the original sin, followed by attempts to degrade General Raheel Sharif’s personal credentials.

The Miltablishment’s outrage over Mr Sharif’s latest remarks is in line with its indignation over Dawnleaks. It did not take umbrage when he expressed negative sentiments in the NSC meeting about the role of these non-state actors controlled by the Miltablishment. But it saw red when he leaked it to the media because it suspected that the leak was aimed at endearing himself to the international community at the cost of the Miltablishment instead of effecting a united civil-military front against it. It may be recalled that its reaction was much the same against Mr Asif Zardari following the Osama bin Laden-Abbotatabad affair in 2012 when it accused Ambassador Hussain Haqqani in Memogate of acting “treasonably” against the “interests of Pakistan” (read Miltablishment). It is once again in the same angry reaction-mode: it sees Nawaz Sharif as trying to save his skin at home by appealing to the international community as the good guy and portraying the Miltablishment as the evil empire. Play best friv games on the site friv games online. The most popular collection of jogos friv games are presented on this mega portal.

The Miltablishment felt humiliated and resentful when Nawaz Sharif sacked COAS General Jehangir Karamat three months before his retirement in 1998 for merely supporting the idea of a National Security Council. It hit back in 1999 when he tried to sack General Musharraf for his irresponsible Kargil adventure. The two sides mended fences to jointly take up cudgels against a common PPP foe in 2012. Now they are at each other’s throats again, with the Miltablishment making common cause with former adversaries. And so it goes on.

The Miltablishment has eliminated anyone who has dared to cross its path and its national security policies have only wrought fear and instability. The politicians, too, without exception, have been corrupt, incompetent or authoritarian. Pity the nation that has been so trampled upon by its custodians since independence.

Najam Aziz Sethi is a Pakistani journalist, businessman who is also the founder of The Friday Times and Vanguard Books. Previously, as an administrator, he served as Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, caretaker Federal Minister of Pakistan and Chief Minister of Punjab, Pakistan.