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Sunday, April 21, 2024

The beginning of civil war in Pakistan

Unrest has spread across multiple major cities, resulting in unprecedented scenes of defiant crowds breaking into military properties and setting the homes of army personnel ablaze, directly challenging a usually untouchable force that has long sat at the apex of power in Pakistan.

What was being predicted by the analyst and the doomsayers is coming true. A glimpse of Pakistan getting engulfed in a bloody civil war was seen yesterday. The outraged PTI activists were on a rampage after hearing the news that IK had been arrested and news were circulated that he had been manhandled and mistreated. One social media clip gave the news that IK had been hit with a rod on his head and his injured leg. The social media went wild as if heavens had fallen. The purpose was to further inflame the emotions of the people. Never before such kind of vandalism was seen before. Not even after the hanging of ZA Bhutto and the murder of Benazir.

The PTI leaders had already warned that the arrest of IK would mean crossing their red line and it wouldn’t be tolerated.

Social media has proved to be utter poison which has removed the thin line between right and wrong, between true and false and the latter has buried truth.

Read more: Imran Khan’s U-turn: From military’s man to army critic

Understanding the matter better

When a lie is spread by a vested group, it is widely circulated and whispered in the ears that are approachable, and the circulation continues till the blatant lie is converted into a true story.

The falsehood gets overshadowed when the same news is broadcast by Indian and western media. With the passage of time more and more juice is added to authenticate the fake story.

The choice perceptions and narrative building has been going on in Pakistan at a super grand scale from 2003 onwards to poison the minds of the so-called educated lot who in reality are half-baked, and can be easily misled. They do not have a penetrating eye to distinguish between truth and falsehood and cannot read the punchline message inscribed in every article, or the themes that are played upon electronic and social media.

It took India 23 years to poison the minds of Bengalis who had been in the vanguard in the Pakistan movement. Power-hungry ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib were used by the international players to bring down Ayub Khan and to roll back his golden rule.

In 1970, the deprived classes in WP considered the 22 rich families as their enemies who had deprived them of Roti, Kapra and Makan. The Bengalis considered West Pakistanis as their sworn enemies and India as their friend and savior.

After the breakup of Pakistan in Dec 1971, similar techniques of subversion were applied by RAW in interior and urban Sindh, in Baluchistan, in KP, and achieved considerable success.

We saw the Pakhtunistan movement, Baluch insurgencies, Jeay Sindh movement and MRD movement. We saw anti-KBD lobbies which obstructed the construction of the vital dam at the behest of India. We saw the negative effects of the cultural invasion of the West and India and the programmed undermining of Islam.

Pakistan was forced to fight the war on terror so as to destabilize, secularize, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan. We saw the birth of over 60 terrorist groups in Fata and Baluchistan. 19 administrative units in FATA and PATA came under the control of TTP and its militants were knocking at the gates of Isbd in June 2013.

The Army, FC and Rangers employed in restive areas were maligned and projected as the American mercenaries. A stage came when the army officers traveled in civies from their houses to offices and didn’t use official jeeps and cars or displayed flags and stars. Even the name boards on houses were removed on account of insecurity.

Read more: Latest picture of Imran Khan from court room goes viral

When 20-year proxy and hybrid war failed to achieve any of their objectives and Pak security forces managed to break the back of terrorism and re-established the writ of the state in all parts of Pakistan, the masterminds decided to employ another trick to weaken the trunk of the Army by creating fissures in its rank and file.

Pakistan media was heavily funded by the USA, UK, Israel and India to spread liberalism and obscenity, undermine the concept of jihad, clone the minds of the urbanites that had traditionally stayed away from politics.

To start with, liberalisation of media was done with the help of Gen Musharraf who came out with the idea of enlightened moderation which was a route to secularism. Street agitation was injected through the lawyers movement in March 2007. Lawlessness in Sindh was maximized after the murder of Benazir Bhutto in Dec 2007. Corruption was legalized during the Zardari rule which gave political space to PTI under Imran Khan in 2011.

The military establishment that has been meddling in politics since the 1950s, had nurtured Bhutto, Mujib, Nawaz Sharif and

Altaf Hussain. It picked up IK in 2011 for its new experiment which proved fatal. The international players also got involved in upgrading IK’s political career.

PTI was made the 3rd largest party in 2013 elections and given KP to rule. From June 2013 onwards, IK was pushed and guided to capture power in July 2018 elections. The establishment and the judiciary provided him full support.

The international players started taking a deeper interest in IK after seeing his meteoric rise and becoming the most popular leader. They considered it as an opportune moment to use his charisma and popularity for the achievement of their unaccomplished objectives.

By that time they had been able to make appreciable gains on the media front to make the desired audiences in Pakistan to dance to their tunes. They decided to play the trump card of launching the indoctrinated and mind cloned educated and working classes of urban centres under the magic spell of IK at an opportune time against the army.

The PTI social media played a big role in uplifting the political fortunes of IK and in discrediting PDM leaders particularly the Sharif family.

Read more: Crackdown against PTI racks up after Imran Khan’s arrest

Corruption was projected as cancer and the biggest sin, while all other elements of morality were ignored. While declaring his political opponents as thieves and involved in plundering the national wealth, he, his family and party members quietly indulged in corruption. His hypocrisy couldn’t be challenged since the army and the judiciary stood behind him.

On one hand he promoted the culture of dance, music and songs, and on the other hand he used religion as a card to draw political mileage. He used the crutches provided by Gen Bajwa to take over power and to run the country and then became his sworn enemy.

IK constantly injected germs of defiance, agitation and mob violence into the minds of the mesmerized youth with a missionary zeal.

IK exposed his real face after his fall in April last year. From that time onwards, he has been constantly berating and abusing the govt and the senior army and ISI officers, and inciting his party activists, fans and supporters,  exhorting them to get prepared for the jihad to storm and overwhelm Isbd. He gave these calls on 25 May 2022 and in Oct, but both the long marches fizzled out. He had expected one million people in the first march and 3 million in the 2nd march. He was disappointed with the small number of his supporters taking part in the protest marches.

After targeting Gen Bajwa and three senior officers of ISI with a vengeance, he turned his guns of hate against Gen Asim Munir since the latter decided to stay away from politics.

A day before his arrest, IK once again named Maj Gen Faisal Naseer as his most probable assassin and stuck to his demand of dissolution of all the assemblies on 14 May and elections in Aug/Sept.

Read more: Imran Khan arrested as per law: IHC

IK and other senior leaders of PTI are facing a series of corruption charges. Due to the extraordinary softness of the higher courts never seen before, and exuberant support of his supporters, he couldn’t be arrested by the police. His Zaman Park house in Lahore was converted into a no-go area. Earlier on, his Banigala House was made a no-go area.

Fearing his arrest during his appearance before IHC yesterday to obtain bail,  IK gave a final call to his followers to resort to vandalism and arson if he was arrested. Another call was given after his arrest.

His directions were obeyed and the militants in PTI went berserk after he was arrested by the Rangers on orders of Chairman NAB retd Lt Gen Nazir. Their targets of angst were the military installations including the Corps Comd houses in Lahore and Peshawar, GHQ, Mianwali airbase. They broke a monument of the Shuhada and burnt several vehicles of Army and paramilitary forces. Buses and metro buses were also not spared. The strength of the law breakers was however very small which once again was a big disappointment for IK and the hawks of PTI.

These acts of arson were rejoiced by the PTI lovers and they expectantly looked forward to a Sri Lanka model ending, but it was another fiasco. They would have been happier if the PM House and Interior Minister House had been torched.

PTI and their devoted fans have been continuously selling the narrative of snap polls and emphatically emphasized that it was the only solution to overcome multiple crises.

Had early elections taken place as desired, it would have certainly spilled a lot of bloodshed due to the role of hidden hands and the situation would have become graver than the current one. Given the extreme polarization and divisions in the society, it could have triggered the much feared civil war.

Read more: Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan arrested as aides call for nationwide protest

As a strategy, the miscreants were given a free hand by the govt and the army to give vent to their pent-up feelings that had been gradually intensified by IK from 12 Apr 2022 onwards.

It is now the turn of law enforcers to get hold of all those directly involved in arson, and their abettors and sympathisers.

The army and Rangers have been deployed in Punjab and KP to control law and order

The process of nabbing the miscreants has already begun and hundreds have been arrested. PTI senior leaders are also being netted. PTI key leader Asad Umar was arrested today. The leading lights of PTI are on the defensive and are vainly trying to shift the blame of arson on the government. They all could be tried under the charges of sedition.

Restrictions are being imposed on PTI-run social media networks and misled veterans’ websites engaged in spewing venom against their mother institution. Stringent actions are in the pipeline.

If it has been decided to go all out to deal with the lawbreakers, their sponsors and handlers and the venom spewing on social media, it would prove unproductive if cosmetics steps are taken to overcome immediate problems.

Pakistan is in the deadly grip of hybrid war and the whole generation has been thoroughly mind cloned. The 60 % youth bulge and the contaminated families require rehabilitation spread over the next 15 to 20 years under a well-thought-out national action plan.

The army needs to work out comprehensive reform plans how to prevent the brainwashing of serving officers, restore the confidence of the juniors in seniors, and how make the misled veterans community useful and productive.


The writer is retired Brig Gen, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, 6th book under publication, expresses his views on TV, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. asifharoonraja@gmail.com.

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.