I disagreed with the PPP, the Party for which I had made great sacrifices, when in 2007 it went against its own political philosophy and legacy by making political arrangements with General Musharraf. Thus, in Dec 2007, I had, with a heavy heart, written an open letter to my very respected leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to wean away from the arrangements being then made with Gen Musharraf. I had always in my meetings with my leader advocated the political path of going with the civil society’s movement for the restoration of the judiciary which would also have given the PPP a huge boost in the then forthcoming elections. This letter was my last attempt, with all the humility and humbleness at my command, to try and convince my very respected leader to break away from the political arrangements that were then being put in place with a beleaguered dictator. Unfortunately, I failed in my last attempt. I have placed that letter here so that the readers can read it in the light of the events that have taken place since Dec 2007 and now. My services for the PPP were recognised by my leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on 30 May,2007, when she put the following remarks on a book she presented me in Dubai on that date.
10 DECEMBER 2007
MASOOD SHARIF KHAN KHATTAK
PESHAWAR, NORTH WEST FRONTIER PROVINCE (NWFP)
TO: – MOHTARMA BENAZIR BHUTTO
CHAIRPERSON PAKISTAN PEOPLES PARTY
Dear Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,
After resigning from the basic membership of the Pakistan Peoples Party on 27 Nov, 2007, I am writing this letter to you elaborating my views, as a common Pakistani, on some burning issues confronting Pakistan today and how these issues, in my opinion, need your attention as a national political leader. Keeping my past association with the PPP, and with you, I assumed that I do have the privilege to write this letter, irrespective of how variant my views maybe with the current stance/political posture of the PPP.
This letter will also be sent to all those who received my email addressed to you when I tendered my resignation on 27 Nov, 2007. Thus, this letter is an open letter which I am constrained to write because of the numerous emails and phone calls that I received in response to my resignation from the basic membership of the PPP. All those Emails and phone calls urged me to state the reasons that forced me to resign from the PPP. Every one of them said that as Pakistanis they had a right to know, especially so, in the given political crisis prevalent in the country. Respecting their viewpoint I had to make this letter an open letter.
I hope this letter will, indeed, amplify, and make it obvious, to everyone the precise reasons due to which I resigned from the basic membership of the PPP. Many people were very surprised on why I, who had served the PPP so selflessly, so honestly, so sturdily and so professionally, in the toughest of times, as well as when I served you as your Intelligence Chief (DG IB) when you were the Prime Minister, had resigned. They too asked me vehemently to spell out the reasons.
After this letter I will put aside the aspect of my resignation from the PPP and move on to serve Pakistan in my own humble manner.
I, like millions of Pakistanis, believe in the BHUTTO LEGACY which stands for “PEOPLE i.e. THE AWAM BEING THE FOUNTAIN OF UNDILUTED POLITICAL POWER” – This legacy was left behind by none other than your own illustrious and incomparable father, SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO.
On 04 April, 1979, the darkest and most horrible day in Pakistan’s political history, your great father SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO did not walk to the gallows alone and leave behind, for us all, THE BHUTTO LEGACY. With him, on that day, marched every single Pakistani in an invisible manner. Even those that may have been his detractors walked with him on that black day. I was a career army officer at that time. I too marched with him. On that day Pakistan was gripped by a devastating and extremely explosive silence. There was not a heart that did not skip a beat. There was not an eye that was not wet. Many Pakistanis, rich and poor, did not eat for days.
Most of us were shameful of the fact that we had been silent spectators while all that happened. In contrast, today, when Pakistan’s judiciary is literally being manhandled and beaten into submission, most Pakistanis have, fortunately, chosen not to be silent again, as in 1979, come what may. I have decided, humbly, to be counted amongst those Pakistanis.
All my personal sufferings and difficulties, including three years of imprisonment, did not bother me at all because of the strength of my belief and my political adherence to the BHUTTO LEGACY. I have to admit that I have not had the heart to see the diminishing of that mighty legacy in recent months.
Today, whatever PPP might say through press statements or press conferences, one has to have only a slight bit of common sense (not even intelligence) to see that the BHUTTO LEGACY that we all were ready to sacrifice for, to any extent, stands effectively neutralised. I am not the only one who feels like this.
The people around you also know this but in their eagerness to get some share in whatever power structure that, they think, may soon be created just keep pushing you on towards the path that can only be politically disastrous for you. Your current political posturing has already taken out a huge amount of sting from your political standing, as well as that of the PPP.
Because you are someone who has been my leader, someone who cannot say that I have ever been insincere to the Party, or yourself, even in the worst possible times, I beseech you to change your political course even now. You still have some time on your side to do so. That time is passing away at a breakneck speed.
Synchronise your voice, without fear of any sort at all, like you use to in the past, with the throttled but very strong, powerful and volcanic voice of the poor, downtrodden and honourable Pakistani citizens. Synchronise your voice with that of the AWAM. Your and my leader, and that of millions of silent and active Pakistanis, was SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO. You have always called him QUAID-E-AWAM and that is what he rightfully was, and will always be.
The same AWAM, that holds SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO in such high regard, as if he was still alive and amongst them nearly 30 years after his judicial murder, is calling on you to switch political course for the PPP and march in step with them.
If you decide to ignore this clarion call they i.e. the AWAM, the civil society of Pakistan, the people of Pakistan as a whole, are going to give their verdict against the PPP in the forthcoming very debatable and controversial elections. The outcome of those elections, even if favourable to you and the PPP, at best, is going to be a short and temporary phase that will then lead to another election that will truly be free and will bring about a proper long lasting Constitutional government.
As a two time former elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and all set to take part in the forthcoming elections, I would like to put before you just two simple questions.
FIRST, CAN THERE BE A FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS IN A COUNTRY IN WHICH IT’S SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE, ALONGWITH A NUMBER OF JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT AND OTHER ECHELONS OF THE HIGHER JUDICIARY, ARE LOCKED UP SHAMELESSLY AS IF THEY WERE ORDINARY PICKPOCKETS?
SECONDLY, CAN THERE BE FAIR AND FREE ELECTIONS IN A COUNTRY WHERE, ALONGWITH THE SUPERIOR JUDICIARY THE ELECTED SUPREME COURT BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT NAMELY, CHAUDHRY AITZAZ AHSAN, AND HIS OTHER COLLEAGUES, ARE LOCKED UP.
I salute all these super souls. I also salute all those who may not have attained personal fame but have made themselves counted. They are now real life legends – real life national heroes. Pakistanis from across all sorts of divides unanimously applaud these heroes.
I shall be failing miserably if I do not mention the role of the media in educating the Pakistani civil society and the general masses about how things stood in the country over the recent past. I have to make a special mention of GEO TV as it has now become a symbol of media freedom by not submitting to the unjust demands of the government spelt out under the garb of code of conduct. I hope GEO never opens up as anything other than what it was like, or better still. Some channels have opened up but have no viewers as they got back on air with hands folded and heads bowed. We hope to see GEO back, even more vocal and fearless.
Lots of brave people have emerged in the media over the last few months. Dr Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir, Kamran Khan, Talat Hussain, Ansar Abbasi and many more are now household names just like Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Mr Ali Ahmed Kurd, Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood, Munir A Malik and company. Their names have already found a place in the history of the now inevitable creation of the new look Pakistan.
The Chief Justice, other judges of the higher judiciary who did not accept the PCO, lawyers and the media persons that I have mentioned, and thousands of others whom we do not know by name, will all go down in our history as the pioneers and engineers of what is bound to happen, and, in fact, is about to happen – the emergence of a truly independent Pakistan where law will reign supreme and information will flow freely thus leaving no room for deviations for anyone, however high and mighty. The Constitution will then not be thrown out of the window as if it was a used tissue paper.
The foundation stone, or the first brick, for the struggle for that truly democratic and independent Pakistan, which is now on the verge of emerging, was actually laid on 04 April 1979, when SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO, still being the first elected Prime Minister of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan was walked to the gallows in that very Constitutional capacity – The Prime Minister. To my understanding he was the Constitutional Prime Minister even at the time he was taken to the gallows. As a Pakistani my head hangs in shame on that event.
Whether SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO’S own founded PPP now upholds the BHUTTO LEGACY, or not, such an extreme sacrifice on the part of the founder of the PPP towards the cause of millions of downtrodden Pakistanis can never go in vain – and it will not.
This was proved, most unexpectedly, when Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, now the Chief Justice of the people of Pakistan (not only of the Supreme Court alone), in the Army House, on 09 March, 2007, and in the presence of powerful uniforms galore, was given the courage by ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY to refuse to resign and thus to lay the second brick towards attaining the truly democratic and independent Pakistan that my generation has yearned for through all these endless and utterly wasted decades.
There is no coming back now. No power can undo these two bricks now cemented together by the civil society. Things may be delayed but only for a while. Pakistanis i.e. educated and enlightened Pakistanis have taken to the streets for a just cause i.e. an independent judiciary and the restoration of the judiciary to what it was prior to the imposition of emergency on 03 Nov,2007. Success is guaranteed and Pakistan has to become truly independent if it has to survive. Survive, it will, INSHA ALLAH.
Having said that, I sincerely urge you to forsake all the ill advised and ill fated political strategies that have been recently adopted by the PPP and come out openly to get in step with the people of Pakistan before it is too late and before events have overtaken you and the PPP. Time available to you is getting limited by the hour.
With all the sincerity I can muster, I have to say, unambiguously and as emphatically as it can be said, that should you carry on with your present political strategy, PPP and your own political future will be damaged far beyond what you might imagine at this point of time.
That polls are rigged in a masterly fashion in Pakistan is a stark reality. We also know that most people think, rightly or wrongly, that actual political power in Pakistan lies with the Army and that the will of the people is always rigged so why not negotiate political power with them i.e. the Army itself or the ruler that it imposes on the country – like General Musharraf, with or without uniform, in this case.
If this is the advice and hypothesis that you are currently following, on the advice of some people, for whom being in powerful seats is the only consideration, then I guess the few political traitors of the PPP who formed the Patriots in 2002 and joined General Musharraf’s bandwagon were right in doing so at that time (2002) and that the majority of the PPP that did not go with them were wrong in staying faithful and loyal to the PPP. The rest should also have followed the traitors. But they did not because of their belief in the BHUTTO LEGACY.
As to who was right and who was wrong I shall say, as vociferously as it can be said, that the PPP turncoats who had formed the Patriots in 2002 were wrong then, and I will also add that you too will be wrong, now, should you go down the same road that they went on five years ago. If today, instead of calling on the support of the people of Pakistan you negotiate power sharing the people of Pakistan will never forgive the PPP and its leadership in the next general elections.
The people of Pakistan expect the PPP to stand with them unconditionally in sorting out the mess in which the country finds itself. The people will pay back the PPP whenever a free and fair election is then held and that will be power, not shared power.
The Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his small band of marvellous men led by the dauntless Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan rallied immeasurable public support by calling out to the collective wisdom and conscience of the people of Pakistan and then we all saw how General Musharraf, with all his power trappings, was so humbled.
General Musharraf finds himself politically isolated, vulnerable and in political quicksand even now while those frail looking Judges appear like caged tigers waiting to be released and let loose by the civil society of Pakistan. The political quicksand for Mr Musharraf is getting stickier and deeper by the day. That is the power of the people. The power spelt out by the BHUTTO LEGACY.
The present political strategy of the PPP, unfortunately, does not show that PPP is in harmony with the voice and feelings of the masses. Who would know better than you that the vast majority always speaks through the ballot paper and I am afraid that what the people of Pakistan are going to say through the ballot box is not going to be good music for the PPP. I know that numerous people around you will paint you a rosy picture and ask you to ignore what I am saying but it is not going to be long before the damage is done. The day of reckoning, 8 Jan 2008, is around the bend.
Having spent twenty years with the PPP and having been your Intelligence Chief (DG IB) during the time that you were the Prime Minister I am positive, beyond an iota of doubt, that you personally believe in what I am saying. I know you believe in the people, almost like faith, in the political sphere. It was this faith of yours in the people of Pakistan that had made them vote for you so that you were Prime Minister twice despite the masterly rigging and machinations of sorts against you. They will not be voting for you and the PPP if you and the PPP are seen as Musharraf’s extension in any way whatsoever – this, unfortunately, is the case at this point of time.
The people of Pakistan will vote you in a third time too and no one will be able to do anything, anything at all, to stop it if you go to the people of Pakistan wholeheartedly – like in 1987, the good old ‘Zia Jawey Jawey’ days to the applause of millions. I am sure you remember all that with a huge amount of rightly placed pride.
Break out of the shell. Break the shackles put around your ankles by people around you who are of far lesser political acumen, and more so, of courage than your own self. Come into your very own. It is late already but, as yet, not too late.
From you, the people of Pakistan want a repeat performance of those great days of 1987. The people of Pakistan loved that defiant anti status quo Benazir Bhutto. In that Benazir Bhutto they saw, and still see Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, whom they have loved so immensely in acknowledgement of his ultimate sacrifice for their rights and for having given a tongue to the poorest of the poor amongst Pakistanis. You are on the centre stage. I, for one, wish to see the Benazir Bhutto I knew and served – The Benazir Bhutto of the people of Pakistan.
Just that one picture/video clip on the print and electronic media of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in an ordinary black business suit sitting in front of a uniformed General Musharraf, looking sternly and straight into his eye, and saying “I shall not resign” put life into the people of Pakistan.
You shall receive the same response if you defy the status quo, like you did in the past. Times have changed as it must be dawning on you with each passing day since your return to Pakistan in October 2007. For the sake of Pakistan and its people I urge you, most sincerely, to realign the PPP with the people of Pakistan. You will see the difference yourself.
The people have now finally awakened and there will be no going back for them without real risk to the very integrity of Pakistan, if their voice, or their vote, is stifled anymore.
They are only looking for someone to come forward and lead them – like u did in 1987. There is still time to alter the present political course of the PPP. If you and the PPP do not do that then I will have to say that a political leadership, at the national level, which is termed as “circumstantial leadership” will surely emerge. I can see that happening. It is nature’s course. If there is a vacuum something or someone has to fill it.
The support from the people of Pakistan for the Chief Justice was an open manifestation of the political hatred that they now have for a dictatorship, in general, and for the regime led by General Musharraf, whatever the façade, in particular.
I am truly proud of the fact that one of my colleagues from my PPP days made the peoples support for the Chief Justice possible. He was ably supported by some of the bravest and best men in Pakistan. Whenever the history of the independence of Pakistan’s judiciary is written the name of our much esteemed colleague Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan will be written there in bold and golden words because of his and his colleagues spearheading the lawyers’ movement, mustering the support from the masses, and contesting the Chief Justice’s case and winning it brilliantly.
What is now happening to Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, being a PPP candidate on a MNA seat but kept in detention as punishment for siding with the Chief Justice, has only raised his image to unimaginable levels at the national and international levels.
For the PPP, Aitzaz’s unfair and totally vindictive detention alone should have been reason enough to walk away from the sham elections that we are soon to witness.
He, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, deserves all praise, appreciation and gratitude from all Pakistanis as do all his other colleagues. The case of people’s power was put forth superbly. They are all now household names and national heroes in their own rights.
Over the past six months or so, you have had the rare and very enviable political option of acquiring the leadership of the entire lot of political parties in Pakistan. I had recommended this option to you when we met in Dubai in May 2007. The PML (N) leadership, including Mian Nawaz Sharif, was imploring you to come to the All Parties Conference (APC) held in July 2007 in London. If you had attended the APC meeting in London, in July 2007, your political stature would have been immensely raised. Those who tell you that you did the right thing by not attending the APC are not being honest with you at all.
Even the religious party conglomeration MMA were saying openly on the electronic media, before the London APC, that they would like to go to Dubai to meet you and seek your support against General Musharraf’s government. The option of trying to take the lead of all the political parties of Pakistan in the struggle to restore true democracy in Pakistan was the option that I think you should have adopted specially so as that would have been in consonance with the will and the voice of the people of Pakistan as well as the BHUTTO LEGACY.
The opportunity should have then been taken. The option is still open, but not for long, and it should be grasped with both hands. You will need a team of real courageous and sharp men and women to handle it as, in my honest opinion, your present inner cabinet will never measure up to this gigantic political task.
Let us face facts as they are. Whatever exists today is Musharraf’s Regime. Whatever existed since 12 Oct, 1999, to date was also Musharraf’s Regime. Whatever is going to emerge after the 08 January 2008 elections is also going to be, effectively, Musharraf’s Regime and will certainly be very short lived. Even if you become the Prime Minister it will still be Musharraf’s Regime. There should be no doubt on this aspect at all and choices should be made in the light of this reality.
General Musharraf’s losing hold over political power is now a reality and how long it might take for him to lose total control is a matter of time only. That, it is going to happen in the foreseeable future is a foregone conclusion. Had General Musharraf not lost a substantial measure of political power Mian Nawaz Sharif and you would not have been in Pakistan today.
The true measure, of any political leader, lies in how correctly he/she can determine when it is time to go respectably and also upon the quality of successor(s) he/she leaves behind. So it will really be up to General Musharraf himself to decide. Many will think, and I agree, that the time to leave was quite long ago.
Almost a decade in power is by itself a factor that will contribute towards quickening General Musharraf’s total loss of political power. This is why, in countries like USA, you may be the best man on earth but you can be the President of the USA for eight years and no more. When that (Musharraf’s total loss of political power) happens the Government formed as a result of the forthcoming elections, even if it has you in the Prime Minister House, will go with him with no hope of ever being voted back by the people of Pakistan. Is this a good political option for the PPP?
The people of Pakistan are the only permanent feature in Pakistani politics and they identify themselves with the BHUTTO LEGACY – power to the people. For you and the PPP the only choice is to be in step with the people of Pakistan if the BHUTTO LEGACY and the PPP is to be saved from a huge political disaster. There is still time albeit very little.
The decision about what course to go on is, without any doubt, yours and that decision is now going to be a make or break decision for your own political future and that of the political inheritance SHAHEED ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO left for the people of Pakistan, THE PPP.
These are truly defining moments for the future politics of Pakistan, in fact, for the very future of Pakistan itself and today it is the judiciary, the lawyers, the students and other professions that are writing the script for the future of politics in Pakistan. The PPP is nowhere in sight on that stage where the script is being written.
The best decision is a decision taken to alter course after a disastrous decision has already been taken and partly implemented.
There is still time, though that time is now very limited, for you to do exactly this and alter your political course in order to harmonise it with the wind of change in the country.
Having said all that on national affairs I will address myself to one more important aspect which lies in the field of International Relations/Affairs and as it affects us domestically. This aspect is also related to your stand on the “war on terror”.
We are aware of the fact that the vast majority of people in USA, in particular, in the West, Europe and other countries that are US allies in the Iraq and Afghan wars, in general, are immensely against these wars. They voice their anti war feelings freely.
The first decision that the newly elected Australian Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, has taken is to announce that there will be no Australian combat troops in Iraq by mid-2008. The Presidential candidates in USA itself are not hesitating in saying to the people, from whom they expect votes, that when they are voted into the White House they will bring the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to an end.
In USA there was also a thwarted legislative move to link further funding for the Iraq and Afghan Wars with a withdrawal date that was to be around the end of 2008. Every day numerous voices, within and outside the western governments, are raised to end these two wars.
In Spain, in Italy, and now in Australia the elections have been decided by mainly this one issue – Iraq and Afghan wars. People who were against these wars won and became Prime ministers in place of the people who took these countries to these wars. The writing, therefore, is on the walls i.e. the people of the west and we in the east want peace with each other. No one wants these wars.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair did not have one comfortable day in office after he took Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The British press, on this matter, was very harsh and hard on Tony Blair. Blair, a man who was a thrice elected Prime Minister through popular vote, has now gone totally unsung, in fact, with a bad taste in the mouth because the British people now know that he lied to them when he took Britain to war.
Keeping what I have just said, in mind, I and all Pakistanis (if somehow they could actually join this discussion) ask you why is it that in Pakistan our political leaders, including yourself, do not express similar anti-Iraq and anti- Afghan war views candidly, and in public?
All Pakistanis think it is time that our leaders also tell the world that we consider these wars most unjust. Pakistan’s political leaders have to now stand up for us, and you have to be in the forefront, and get counted on this aspect in order to be with the sentiments of the people of Pakistan, in general, and those of the NWFP, in particular. Our leaders have to educate the west that we Pakistanis are a very peace loving, hospitable and progressive people.
Yes, we are a religious minded nation and adhere, very proudly, to the Islamic teachings. At the same time we are NOT repeated NOT militants, extremists or terrorists. We are just simply honourable, dignified and peace loving Muslims and are proud of this fact. Religious freedom for all in Pakistan is imbibed in our much maligned Constitution.
What our leaders do not do for the Pakistani people others do for us to project us as a people who believe in tranquillity, progress, prosperity, peace and harmony with everyone.
Recently some US human rights activists (Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, members of the US human rights group Global Exchange and the Women’s peace group CODEPINK) came to Pakistan and held a vigil outside the house of Aitzaz Ahsan, the detained President of the Supreme Court Bar Association because they had not been given permission to see Aitzaz. They have since been deported. I am proud of what they had to say about Pakistanis in a press conference. They said:-
“Aitzaz Ahsan and the other lawyers and judges still under detention must be released and reinstated before there can even be talk about free and fair elections in Pakistan,”
“The US government, if it wants to support democracy in Pakistan, should be supporting the lawyers, journalists, students and civil society, not Musharraf.”
“We were amazed by the reaction of the Pakistani people to our gesture of solidarity. All night long and then again the next morning, people came on foot, bike and car to show support for us,” said Barry. “They brought us soup, tea, sandwiches, sweets, flowers. It was so touching. One woman who came to see us said, ‘If someone shows us a little bit of love, we’ll shower them with love in return.’ That is certainly what we felt,” says Benjamin. “We were visited by students, businessmen, government workers, women with their young daughters (dressed in pink), labor leaders, lawyers. A journalist came at 1am with tea, cookies and warm jackets for us to wear. The police stationed outside Mr. Ahsan’s home built us a campfire to keep us warm. We left the vigil in awe of the generosity, kindness we received from the Pakistani people.”
This understanding of the Pakistani people needs to be spread in the west, without any fear, by our political leaders.
Coming back to the aspect of wars that I was dealing with I shall say that I have been an infantry officer for nearly 20 years in the Pakistan Army and have actually seen a war (1971), am a graduate of the Command and Staff College of the Pakistan Army and have participated in active counter insurgency operations. I am also someone who has directed, personally, one of the most successful anti-urban insurgency operation in recent history of the world.
With all that experience I know for sure that the fighting stamina of the unconventional forces always outlasts the fighting stamina of the conventional forces, no matter how powerful, conventionally, they may be. This is why peace was negotiated in Ireland in the recent years after a very long period of hostility. This is why the Vietnam War eventually ended. This is why the Soviet Union of yesteryears had to abandon its occupation of Afghanistan in the eighties.
This is precisely why I am suggesting that it is time, in fact overdue now, for our leaders to advocate the peaceful negotiations path to the powers that today occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. The negotiations will have to take place and peace will have to return, eventually and inevitably. It has to. But will it not be better if Pakistan’s political leaders respectably stand up now and convince the world powers that its time to look for peace as soon as possible. After all Pakistan is suffering immensely due to these wars on its doorsteps.
If a peaceful solution to years of fighting and bomb blasts can be reached on the table in Ireland the same should also happen in Kabul and Baghdad if the will is there and if magnanimity is shown by the more powerful players in the spiralling and aimless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries on ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY’S earth, has been subjected to wars for centuries by others. In the recent and contemporary past (1979), war was thrust upon Afghanistan through an invasion by the erstwhile Soviet Union. All was fair as long as the Soviet Union was defeated. Pakistan is to date feeling the adverse effects of that war. These effects have now been compounded by the present occupation of Afghanistan by the USA and its allies. In the process, since 1979, the poor Afghans have been in an endless state of war. They have lost generations to war. Where is the free world’s conscience on this aspect?
Political leaders, because they shape the lives of generations, must know “that a war can only breed another war and can never bring about any solution or peace”.
As a Pakhtun myself, it is extremely painful for me to see and hear about Pakhtun blood being spilt at random in Waziristan, Swat, in the madrassahs of Bajaur etc, on the Pakistani side, and in the entire Pakhtun belt of Afghanistan. I also truly wonder why should a British, US or any other soldier from any far off country come and get killed in Afghanistan or Iraq. Why should all this happen at all? Why cannot all be at peace with each other? The good of the world lies in peace and in initiatives aimed at development of the world’s most backward areas. That is how friends are made. These wars must be brought to an immediate end if the deep scars are to be healed between the east and the west.
The tribal people from Waziristan where the Pakistan Army is currently operating have always come to fight side by side with it whenever the Pakistan Army went to war with India be it in 1947-48, 1965 or 1971 (to which I am an eye witness). They were always there at the battle front in Kashmir by the hundreds, with their own personal weapons. In fact, Azad Kashmir owes it’s geography to these very tribal people from NWFP who fought an organised Indian Army in the Kashmir war of 1947-48. It is also now my prayer that Pakistan and India should never ever go to war again. Not ever again.
The question that goes begging then is – why is it that these same tribal people now have to fight the Pakistan Army itself? What went wrong? Where did it all go wrong? Why?
These are questions that our political leaders have to relate themselves to and find a solution that brings the Pakistan Army and our own tribal population at peace with each other. Blazing guns and gunship helicopters will not provide any solution. The scars will only get deeper.
People in the west are screaming hoarse against these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why is it that there is not even one such voice in Pakistan amongst our political leaders? Years of aimless fighting and, as yet, there is no solution in sight. Iraq has by now seen many thousands of innocent Iraqis die on the roadsides. Can anyone calculate how many more people must have become widows and orphans because of these aimless deaths?
Yours could and, in fact, should be the voice from Pakistan for projecting Pakistan and for advocating an end to the Iraq and Afghan wars because you are heard by the western audiences.
Reverting back to Pakistan, do we think that the situation that exists in Pakistan today can go on endlessly and that it will not shake the very roots of our country’s integrity in the not too distant future, if not controlled quickly? This is the ultimate question I shall leave you with.
I, on my part, will say that the solution lies with a leader who has the solid support of the people of Pakistan and if this was not true General Musharraf’s government(s) would have been successful in creating the Pakistan we have yearned for – that NEW LOOK PAKISTAN – a Pakistan which can feed its own people, create employment for them, provide them with education, provide them with social services and make foreign policies that are in consonance with the desires of the people, have the best of dignified self respecting relations with the whole wide world.
To end, I will remind you that in 1992, when I was a serving bureaucrat, I had written a letter to the then President Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan and had been extremely forthright in my assessment of the then existing situation in Sindh and how it could adversely affect the very integrity of Pakistan. No serving bureaucrat must ever have written as bluntly as I did in 1992 to a very powerful sitting President.
I had then sent a copy of that letter to you and you were, at that time, a former Prime Minister. You had appreciated my assessment in a very generous manner and had hoped that I would continue doing the same.
I had also sent a copy of that letter to the then (1992) Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. He too, very kindly, wrote back to me saying that the way I had assessed the situation and the recommendations that I had outlined in that letter was proof of my well meaning intentions and that my letter also conveyed, appropriately, my very high sense of patriotism. I am grateful to him for having said those kind words to me. It is a different matter that when he became Prime Minister again, in 1997, one of the first things he did was to dismiss me from the service of Pakistan only because I had been your Intelligence Chief.
I did not, in 1992, know that one day in late 2007 I will be writing a letter like this one to you after having resigned from the basic membership of the PPP. I do hope you will read this letter too in the same spirit with which you read and appreciated my letter, in 1992, addressed to the then President late Mr Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
On my part, I have written this letter with the same sense of sincerity for you and the PPP that you have seen me demonstrating all through my association with the PPP and during the time I was your Intelligence Chief and all the way till 27 November 2007 when I resigned from the basic membership of the PPP.
As my views, contained in this letter, clearly indicate there was no way I could have carried on and be part of the current PPP political posture. Thus, on 27 November 2007, I parted ways with the PPP.
The prerogative to take any decision either way is yours. The prerogative of what happens to your political status and to the PPP itself, at the ballot box, depending on what decisions you now take, is undoubtedly that of the AWAM – the people of Pakistan.
May ALLAH THE ALMIGHTY be your Guide and your Protector and help you in making the best decisions for the PPP, your own self and, most importantly, for Pakistan. Amen.
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