Identifying the malaise

This Article was published in
Pakistan Observer (June 20, 2011)

By Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri

Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan’s founding father, wanted to formulate the country’s foreign policy on the principle of parity in line with its unique geographical location to safeguard her interests in the region and beyond. He wanted Pakistan not only to become invincible by treading the path of economic and political sovereignty but also become a role model for the rest of the Islamic world. After his death, the policies contrary to his vision, continue to be followed. The situation has come to such a point whereby serious dangers have been posed to the country’s security, sovereignty and integrity.

Today the ruling elite is intent on neglecting those friends of Pakistan with whom the Quaid-e-Azam wanted to forge ties. Alas! Today’s foreign policy represents the continuation of the same. Our body politic is getting wound after wound to the point that the feeling of numbness has marked our conduct. Whenever efforts on improving relations with China get underway, resistance against such efforts emerges. This aspect needs to be probed and looked into. In view of Pakistan’s regional and global interests, there is a dire need to reformulate its foreign policy on the guidelines given by the father of the nation. The present policy does not represent the will of people and is premised on trading country’s sovereignty for a few dollars.

On the one hand, Pakistan is fighting a war against terrorism. The banned organizations are busy in implementing their nefarious designs and agendas on the other. The terrorists are getting the supply of arms and ammunition to fight against the security forces. The religious seminaries also continue to impart lessons based on hatred, extremist tendencies and violence to their students. The militants are getting training, while the process of brain-washing the impressionable minds into suicide bombers is also underway unabated. The fact of the matter is that the nurseries of terrorism are those religious seminaries in whose syllabi lie the seeds of hatred, violence, sectarianism and extremism. A tendency of neglecting these glaring and dangerous realities is manifestly present in the officialdom, while the country fights off terrorism and extremism as well. The branches of trees of terrorism are being chopped off, whereas the roots of these trees continue to be watered at the same time.

An organized attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team was interpreted as an isolated incident of terrorism and the entire matter was laid to rest. The result of this ostrich-like approach is that no cricket team of the world is ready to visit Pakistan. The impression of Pakistan being an insecure and unstable state is getting further strengthened in the world today. This explains why the country’s economy is not on track in the absence of international investment. It is about time that the military and civilian leaderships put their heads together and identified the malaise which afflicts our body politic.

Coming on the heels of the Abotabad incident, the attack on PNS Mehran in Karachi is a watershed deserving of serious reflection and soul-searching at the collective level. These and other incidents have shaken the security establishment. If we shrug off our shoulders and term them as merely acts of terrorism, then this attitude of dilly-dallying can result into serious consequences in future. What we need to understand is that undeclared war has been launched against Pakistan in the garb of terrorism. The earlier we understand it, the better.

The way PNS Mehran Naval base and Sri Lankan team was attacked does not seem to have been undertaken by simple terrorists. Rather, it is the work of professionally trained anti-Pakistan elements, who through their resistance, put a strong question mark over the security of our military installations. That they were helped from within is only stating the obvious. The question arises as to why P-3 Orion aircrafts were attacked at the Mehran base? The defence analysts know how crucial those aircrafts are for Pakistan and what is the state of our security without them? P-3 Orion aircrafts were responsible for protecting maritime boundary of Pakistan and they possessed the quality of preempting the attack from submarine and retaliate in time. The destruction of these aircrafts certainly signals danger.

Any sane person can discern that the attack on PNS Mehran naval base was much more than merely an act of terror. This is an important point that warrants deep consideration. The military needs to discriminate between simple acts of terrorism and direct attacks on the country. Both modes of attacks need to de-hyphenated, for we stand at a critical juncture of history where erring is not an option any more.

The hundreds of covert agents such as Raymond Davis are wandering in the streets of Pakistan. The people are justified to ask whether this is part of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Why is superior judiciary, which won its rightful independence after many sacrifices, mum over the matter of direct attacks on the country? Why have those responsible for this state of affairs not brought to face law?

Whether it is about foreign policy, end to terrorism or difference between terrorism and foreign aggression, the powers that be and the military establishment need to face reality instead of following the shadows. The domestic and foreign policies should be formulated in the light of ground realities. Unless we identify the real malaise, we cannot get out of the present crises.