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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Pakistan going through toxic times -Part 1

Crucial to the current crisis is understanding how Khan’s government fell. While Khan was Pakistan’s first prime minister to be ousted via a no-confidence vote, he joined each of his predecessors as prime minister in not last five years — the length of parliament’s electoral term — in office.

Pakistan is going through toxic times in its history and many say that the current situation is much more dangerous than the 1971 crisis which led to the division of Pakistan. After successfully poisoning the minds of the Bengalis spread over 23 years and creating Bangladesh, RAW has continued to inject hatred into the minds of the latter generations of Bangladesh to keep the two separated countries perpetually hostile.

RAW in collaboration with other intelligence agencies hostile to Pakistan has now poisoned the minds of the segments of Balochis, Sindhis, Muhajirs, Pakhtuns, Punjabis and Gilgitis through subversion. The youth is their favorite target whose raw minds can be easily subverted. Urban girls and women are also easy prey. Their latest targets are the retired armed forces officers and the rank and file of the army.

Read more: IMF Resumes its Extended Fund Facility for Pakistan

This silent and invisible war has indoctrinated the minds of the marginalized younger generation of the lesser developed provinces of Pakistan. They hate the Punjab heavy army and the Punjab-dominated federal government. Subversion has become a bigger threat than the Indian threat, or the threat posed by terrorism.

Unaccomplished objectives of adversaries of Pakistan

After 9/11, RAW in collusion with CIA, MI-6, and Mossad, launched a massive covert war from Afghan soil from 2002 onwards, which was beefed up with cultural war, hybrid war and drone war to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and Balkanize Pakistan. The tool of sabotage and subversion was also used extensively. They intended to achieve their hidden objectives by posing to be friends of Pakistan, and they managed to dupe Gen Musharraf who became a willing partner.

The multiple visible and invisible wars together with intrigues and conspiracies failed to achieve the major goals due to the extraordinary grit and resilience of the armed forces, the ISI and the people of Pakistan. The invaders after fighting the war on terror for 20 years had to hurriedly exit from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in Aug 2021. The spoiler RAW also bolted in haste.

Gains made

The conspirators, however, made good progress in inflaming ethnic, sectarian and religious tensions and widening the divides in the Pakistani society, polarizing politics and creating political instability, bleeding the security forces and Pakistan’s economy, straining civil-military relations, intensifying religious extremism, and damaging the image of the country.

Pakistan was presented as the most dangerous country in the world and Pakistan’s archrival India was economically and militarily strengthened to become a bulwark against China.

Core goals not given up

The offenders have not given up their core objectives and are continuing to hatch new conspiracies for the accomplishment of their incomplete goals. While the Taliban regime in Kabul with which the US had signed the Doha peace deal is being economically penalized by the loser USA, Pakistan which is held responsible for the Afghan debacle is being punished by further stimulating political instability, fomenting uncertainty and insecurity, and discrediting the state institutions. The IMF and FATF were used to crumble the economy.

Read more: Pakistan’s War Against the “Spoken Word”

The two-party system had failed to improve the living conditions of the marginalized people and Pakistan had come under huge debt. Owing to the dismal performance of PPP and PML-N, Imran Khan (IK) led PTI emerged on the political canvas in 2011. From that time onwards the graph popularity of IK kept rising and his party won the elections in July 2018 with a slim majority. The Establishment had helped the PTI to defeat PML-N and PPP and gain power.

IK disliked by Joe Biden

IK had enjoyed cordial relations with Donald Trump, but he fell from the grace of Joe Biden’s administration. Already miffed by the US-based PTI supporters campaigning for Trump in the presidential election, and the PTI regime’s rapport with the new regime in Kabul, Biden cold-heartedly ignored Pakistan’s colossal sacrifices in the US-imposed war, IK government’s facilitation in arriving at a peace agreement, and helping in the safe withdrawal of the US-NATO forces. Biden refused to make a phone call to IK and didn’t invite him to the Climate Change Summit.

In response to a question from a visiting western journalist whether Pakistan would provide an airbase to the USA for counter-terrorism in Afghanistan, IK bluntly said “Absolutely Not”. He said so since he was peeved by its coldness of Biden. The reply of IK was drummed up by the PTI’s media cell and IK’s fans which further incensed Biden.

Matters worsened when IK undertook a visit to Moscow at the invitation of Putin on the day when the Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24. Pakistan not only refused to condemn the invasion, but it also abstained from voting in the UN.

The US undersecretary Donald Lu at the behest of his boss, conveyed a threat through Pakistan’s ambassador Asad in Washington on March 7, 2022, that if IK didn’t change his tack, there would be a regime change. The US definitely didn’t want one of its oldest and most obedient allies Pakistan, which is already very close to China, to veer towards Russia.

It is now a matter of conjecture whether the US had a direct hand in the vote-of-no-confidence moved by the PDM against IK on April 3 or not. While there is no doubt about the US interference in Pakistan’s internal matters, so far no proof could be found that it was a conspiracy and the US ambassador in Isbd and the Consular in Lahore played a role in buying the loyalties of PTI’s 35 MNAs and some allies. It was essentially Zardari’s bagful of money that enticed the dissidents and the allies to change their loyalties, but the US backing cannot be ruled out.

Read more: Drowning Pakistani Rupee against the US Dollar

Centre of gravity of Pakistan residing in the Army

If the US had a hand in the regime change, it was not because of its love for the PDM, but because of its unfinished agendas of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program and scuttling the CPEC. Having determined that no headway could be made without enervating the custodians of strategic assets, the whole focus of the conspirators shifted towards the trunk of the army, which they feel is the only obstacle in their way to accomplishing their sinister objectives.

Consistent attacks were made to smear the image of the Pakistan Army, the beginning of which was made by India in 1970-71 in former East Pakistan. Next was during the Baloch insurgency in Baluchistan in the 1970s. During the war on terror, the foreign-paid TTP berated the army by saying that it was fighting them to earn dollars.

The BLA and BRA in Baluchistan held the Frontier Corps and intelligence agencies responsible for enforced disappearances and mutilated bodies of the Baloch. In order to hide the crimes of the MQM goons, Altaf Hussain blamed the army and the agencies for killing the Muhajirs in Karachi and sought support from India.

The sold-out anti-army propaganda brigade, a segment of media and some think tanks, and the foreign-sponsored NGOs in league with the international media continued with their efforts to tarnish the reputation of the army in the eyes of the public. These efforts succeeded in welling up hatred against the army in the minds of segments of Balochis, Sindhis, Muhajirs and Pakhtuns, but failed to draw a wedge between the people and the army.

IK’s idea of a new Pakistan proved illusionary

The mostly unemployed younger generation, disillusioned with the corrupt systems and fed up with leaders deficient in morality and leadership qualities, got fascinated by the charisma of IK and his idea of a new Pakistan. But the PTI could make no headway in converting Old Pakistan into New Pakistan during its unfinished tenure from Aug 2018 to April 2022, since the party was unprepared and not qualified to fulfill the farfetched promises. All its assumptions proved elusive.

Read more: Flood Devastation Across Pakistan

IK’s premature ouster last April turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him. His popularity was on the decline due to lack of performance, rising inflation, price hike, rupee devaluation, and mounting debt. It surged up again after he played the victim card of the US conspiracy.

Apart from galvanizing the urban youth, the urban middle working class and the urban women, as well as the Pakistani ex-pats, for the first time the majority of the retired officers and their families as well as a segment of serving armed forces officers came out in support of IK and turned against the army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. This change in their thinking came after IK held Gen Bajwa responsible for his ouster and callously named him Mir Jaffar. They couldn’t reconcile with the new government comprising MNAs from 12 parties with shady pasts and more than 50% of the cabinet ministers including the PM on bail.

Breakthrough for the enemies of Pakistan

Fissures within the rank and file of the army and the hostile attitude of the veterans towards Gen Bajwa amplified on social media were a big breakthrough for the inimical forces. ‘India Chronicles’ and Jewish-Western media got connected with the PTI’s social media and sprinkled oil to widen the cleavages. From April 12 onwards, the dreams of the adversaries of Pakistan to make a dent in the trunk of the army began to materialize.

An Indian analyst Maj Goraya thanked PTI for doing what India couldn’t do in 75 years. The Indian military has begun to hone its weapons and is making war preparations.

 

 

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defense, political and security analyst, international columnist, and author of five books with his sixth book under publication. asifharoonraja@gail.com.

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