Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PAKISTAN SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL


An article entitled Militants Escape Control of Pakistan, Officials Say, in the New York Times of January 15, 2007 has acknowledged what has been quite apparent for quite some time now.

In the recent past, militants have increasingly turned against their former handlers, the ISI, have fought the Pakistan Army and have executed many deadly Fidayeen attacks in the very heartland of the country. They may also have been responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The ISI is unable to control their Frankenstein creation. As per the article in the NYT, “The threat from militants…Pakistan is unable to contain.” An intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has admitted that” We indoctrinated them and told them, ‘You will go to heaven’. You cannot turn it around so suddenly.” Many in the ISI itself are an indoctrinated lot.

Pakistan, as I have written in a number of posts earlier, has become the victim of the policy of ‘bleeding India with a thousand cuts’ that it has been vigorously been pursuing, almost ever since it was carved out of the mother country. The growing strength of the militants and the Talibanis in the backdrop of the looming presence of the Arab-led multi-national Islamic terrorist outfit, the Al Qaida, poses a really grave threat to the very existence of Pakistan as a nation state.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the tallest Sindhi leader who was able to keep the faith of ordinary Sindhis in the idea and concept of the Punjabi dominated Pakistan, might just unhinge that ethnic compromise irretrievably, particularly if Islamic terrorism spreads more into Sindh and the establishment visibly loses control beyond Baluchistan and the Frontier, where it has already given in, for all practical purposes. In any case, Sindh and Sindhis have been the fall guys who have been hit really hard by the creation of Pakistan. But for the Bhuttos, who wielded some political power, Sindhis have been marginalized in Pakistan, even reduced to a minority in the cities by the Mohajirs, the real ideologues of Pakistan, who migrated from India after Partition.

Pakistan’s megalomaniacal and overambitious hate based national policy has given wing to the now uncontrollable pan-Islamic ideology epitomized by the Al Qaida that is not bound by the limited national identity that the Pakistani state represents.

To the Al Qaida, Pakistan and Afghanistan are little more than convenient launch pads for the fulfillment of its global ideological ambitions, based solely on its version of Islam. A Pakistan that does not convert itself to that ideology is a thorn that cannot be tolerated for long. Thus, for the Al Qaida, it is necessary to ensure that the landmass represented by present day Afghanistan and Pakistan is brought into its fold, both politically and ideologically.

What does Pakistan do? If it chooses to fight the Al Qaida and other outfits created by the establishment, it invites the wrath of ordinary citizens and even educated and westernized politicians like Imran Khan for fighting America’s war in which ‘Muslims are killing Muslims’. If, on the other hand, it decides to align with these elements, it faces only one certain outcome. The only uncertainty is as to who will be the victor and what shape he will give to the remains of the Pakistan that will dissolve into history as dramatically as it arose.

Knowing where Pakistan is headed is not enough. It is what you do after you know is what matters. I am not sure whether the Americans or the Indians are giving a serious thought on how to fill the dangerous vacuum that is going to be created once Pakistan is consumed by itself.