The situation that Pakistan finds itself in today is perhaps the most precarious that it has ever experienced. Many years ago the traumatic events of 1971 had left us as a devastated nation reduced to ashes, almost literally. The present and the foreseeable future look even grimmer.
Recovery from of the events 1971 would not have been possible but for a man called Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Whatever his detractors may say, in one context or another, it was his leadership and ability to mobilise a lifeless and fallen nation due to which we actually survived to become the Pakistan of today. He also nurtured the military back which found its lost morale all over again. It was also under him that we embarked on the road to becoming a nuclear power and this ensured that we would be safe from external aggression. This is what needs to be done once again in 2008 and with an even greater sense of urgency. The PPP of today has the gigantic task of living up to its past legacy (or it risks losing everything) – especially now that General Musharraf is no longer on the scene.
Coming back to the present situation let me say that whenever an army, howsoever powerful and resourceful, is over extended or stretched to limits it can potentially lose its military balance and eventually collapse under its own weight. This is true for the Pakistan army today and will be true for the US army in the coming years if not months. Because of the manner in which we are forced (through the machinations of hostile foreign intelligence agencies) to deploy all over the length and breadth of NWFP and Balochistan, the army is in no position to defend Pakistan’s borders should a conventional war break out. What prevents us from being attacked is hence our nuclear deterrence and the fact that charging across international borders with armoured divisions in the lead has now gone out of fashion.
The modern day methodology of destroying a state is to target it from within, through insurgencies and political uncertainty and by providing weapons and money to indigenous dissidents. The economy automatically collapses and so do all the other state structures. This is exactly what is being done to Pakistan while we all watch with a disgusting indifference.
Pakistanis today wait with bated breath for the political parties in power to realise very quickly the actual dictates of national security and interests. Musharraf is now history and the politicians should now put the country’s security on top of their agenda and get down to putting the ship – so to speak – in order.
Pakistan and Pakistanis are at war with each other. NWFP, from one end to the other, is on fire. The destruction of Pakistan cannot be too far away if the insane and callous killing of the Pakhtuns continues. The politicians have to realise that a second opportunity may not come after this one. They also have to realise that the security apparatus of the country, which primarily revolves around the army and the intelligence agencies, has to be strengthened not weakened. There is also a dire need to have the a correct equation between the political and the military hierarchy in which the military component remains aloof from politics. The present army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has demonstrated that this is possible and that the army is ready for such an arrangement. At the same time the politicians shall have to know clearly that the army and the intelligence agencies will not be able to stay indifferent if threats to the nation’s integrity, cohesiveness and security are ignored.
A united move by the political and military hierarchy to put an end to all international and domestic conspiracies against the country is now needed. They need to end the fighting within our borders immediately and follow it up with bold political and development steps.
Those politicians who are in power today should also that understand that all those people who ditched Musharraf and joined the PPP-led new government will be the first to ditch it in case things begin to go wrong. And that is why the present government should itself dump these turncoats. Pakistan stands at a crossroads today and needs leadership that is not built around parasites and sycophants.