Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pakistani Liberals in lock-step with Army

Dr. Mohammad Taqi writes:

Ironically, this right-left harmony was also on display when several Pakistani soldiers were killed in a 2011 NATO air attack at the Salala check post. A country that unanimously, and rightly, demanded a US public apology over the Salala episode, quite disingenuously wants India to move on after the recent massacre of its soldiers.

Salala was not the only incident where the Punjab-based Pakistani liberal intelligentsia toed their security establishment's line. With some honorable exceptions, the liberal crowd in Pakistan, including those who have been part of the Track II peace process with India, hold views on Afghanistan that are remarkably similar to the Pakistan Army's.

In his recent talk show, eminent liberal Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi called the "Indian-trained" Afghan National Army "anti-Pakistan". He also laid the blame for the surge in not just the Balochistan's nationalist resistance, but also the sectarian terrorism a la Lashkar-e-Jhangavi (LeJ) at India's doorstep. In his newspaper editorial later, he has quite curiously described the term "assets" to describe the Indian consulates and diplomats attacked inside Afghanistan by the Islamist terrorists.

While it is not beyond the realm of possibility that outside forces can seek to exploit existing fault lines in a society, this theory that India, through its presence in Afghanistan, is enabling the LeJ sectarian terrorists is quite preposterous given the track record of the Wahhabi-Salafi terrorists against India. Also, dismissing the current segment of Baloch nationalist struggle just as India's proxy war attempts to delegitimize the very serious grievances the Baloch have and legitimises the atrocities unleashed on them by the Pakistani armed forces.

Never mind the decades of Pakistan incubating sectarian and jihadist terrorists and deploying them from Kashmir to Mumbai! Here again Pakistan and its intelligentsia quite conveniently played the victim card and seem reluctant to do an honest introspection.

General Ashfaq Kayani is celebrated by the liberal and conservative Pakistani media alike for making a speech every six months about internal threats to Pakistan being the army's primary focus. However, as the person at the helm of Pakistan's national security for half a decade, Kayani has remarkably little practical steps to show. What is somewhat new is that this lip service is being peddled as the new peace gospel not just by the obscurantist Urdu media, but also sections of the liberal English press. A side effect, or possibly a desired effect of the liberal voices unquestioningly adopting the Pakistan Army's line, is the narrative being picked up and assimilated by the western media.

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