War on Terror & Siege of Pakistan: Conspiracies Against Pakistan
By Usman Khalid
Most books about Pakistan are written and published abroad are either by Western authors who need to justify their angle on Islam or Pakistan or by Pakistani academics seeking to fit in with the Western academics. It is rare to see a book reflecting the point of view of a mainstream Pakistani about Pakistan particularly in the English language. This book is indeed the views and fears of a mainstream patriotic Pakistani.
Dr Shahid Qureshi has collected a vast amount of documents that are often ignored or sidelined because they do not support the subjective point of view that the author holds. In this book all relevant material on difficult subjects is compiled that is useful for further research or in support of facts for which references are not easily available. This book is particularly useful for students who need fact to draw their own conclusions or for writing a pro-Pakistan narrative as a part of their course of study.
Many analysts believes that ‘the so called ‘War on Terror ‘ was planned long before the 9/11 terrorist attacks and regime change in Pakistan from Nazwaz Sharif to General Musharaf in October 1999 was some how part of the plan’? Is it a mere coincidence that military rule was in place in Pakistan on both Soviet and US invasion of Afghanistan? This book provides information and analysis of the events as well as role of the players within the power circles of Pakistan.
One often wonder why is it so easy to install puppet regimes – civil or military – in a country like Pakistan that has a clear polity enjoying wide and strong public support! I admire the author of this book – Dr Shahid Qureshi – for his courage and patriotism to have attempted to provide an answer. In few words, the answer is the existence of ‘organised minorities’.
Organised minorities find it easy to infiltrate the establishment and influence the people because Pakistan is an open society. The core of the society is fair, generous, and hospitable. They are fair to the point of giving preference to the ‘other’ point of view over their own. They are generous – ever eager to forgive and forget. These characteristics provide for ease in maintaining social harmony. But they also make infiltration very easy.
Pre-independence politics saw the creation of two powerful elements to influence and control the Muslim core – Qadiaynis and the feudal. The Qadiaynis remained the sole subversive element who continued to flourish until they were declared non-Muslims in Pakistan by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Thereafter, those who wanted to influence Pakistan’s policies found it easier to consort with the Army Chiefs who emerged as powerbrokers. The foreign powers seeking to determine policy infiltrated the military as well as the political system to influence promotions in the armed forces as well nominations of ministers in the cabinet as allegedly happened after February 2008 elections.
The major foreign influence on Pakistan is of US. During the Cold War, when the objectives of Pakistan as well as the USA in South Asia were identical or complementary, this influence was benign, even helpful. But India has worked its way into favour and has become the principal US ally in the region. The watershed moment was the betrayal of Pakistan when USA supported Indian invasion of East Pakistan in 1971.
American CIA carried out a study how the vote of the rural majority elects a government and the urban discontent removes it from power. They found that the political inclinations of the population in rural as well as urban areas of Pakistan were similar except in Karachi. They concluded that even a popular government could be removed by agitation in Karachi. That is the raison d’etre of the MQM.
The fear of the Qadiaynis and the MQM is widespread in Pakistan. Like the backlash against Qadiaynis in the seventies, there is every likelihood of a backlash against the MQM in the coming decade. But it is avoidable. The identity of the MQM is ethnic, not sectarian. It is books like this, which help limit the damage they can do and create a space for them to return to the mainstream. Pakistan was split into two when a conspirator (an Indian agent) was able to gain the trust of the Bengali people. That may be happening again. The leaders of all the main political parties are leaders for life, and General Musharraf wants to be one. All of them depend on foreign support largely. In such an environment, the two organised minorities – Mirzais (Qadiaynis) and MQM can operate freely to subvert Pakistan from within.
The people trust the military but not Musharraf. Could the military support patriots among politicians to frustrate the subversives? I believe that disclosures and analysis like in this book improve the prospects of that to happen. Each one of us has a duty to come forward and call a spade a spade. It is only through such courage and patriotism that ‘robust unity’ of the core of the nation will be mobilised to frustrate the subversives in our country ‘under siege from within’.
Moreover, It is always dangerous for anyone to criticise politicians because they tend to be vindictive. However, it is safer to comment on military rulers and their surrogates. This book is written during the Musharraf era when Internet opened the lines of communication and information became freely available. The book compiles useful information on all the important events of the last decade with references included to link past events. Tabooed subjects like the MQM and its links with India; the Qadianis and their patrons; insurrection in Baluchistan and the role of India, Russia, and America in it; co-operation between Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad; the accusation of nuclear proliferation against Pakistan, are all covered.
This is a book providing information that is hard to obtain; it is a book that helps understand complex events linked to and surrounding Pakistan; and it is a rich source of themes and ideas. I commend it to readers.
War on Terror & Siege of Pakistan
By Dr Shahid Qureshi
Freemedia Publishers, Lahore
ISBN 9781 42599 5454
(Usman Khalid is Director, London Institute of South Asia)