‘Absolutely Not’ | By Askari Raza Malik


‘Absolutely Not’

BRIGADIER Iqbal Hameed (late), in the twilight of ZA Bhutto’s career had helplessly lamented, ‘Farland is here, it is the end of ZAB.

’ Joseph S Farland, ex-US ambassador to Pakistan was the undisputed champion of regime changers in the third world.

Many a night after partition Iqbal Hamid had slept on the footpaths. Whether it was this tough schooling, or the hard work that had earned him the reputation of a brilliant officer or his mystical imaginations, he had proved right.

ZAB’s sin was too big to be ignored.France had gone back on the deal to help Pakistan build a nuclear reactor.

ZAB, a proud feudal lord, could not take the insult. He decided to go at it alone. A dynamic person that he was, he had in no time whipped up a team of Pakistani scientists working abroad to come back and ‘save their country’.

The response was as emotional, immediate and immense.He had upset the apple cart of the Western global and regional grand plans. No Muslim country had any place for it on the global nuclear canvas.

At the regional level Israel and India were the only two ‘Most Valuable Buddies’ allowed to possess the bullying instrument.

ZAB was another prowler.He was removed.He lost his life because he was too proud to beg Zia for mercy.Another prime minister of Pakistan had been terminated. Zia was also a victim of a similar infliction. His going his own way on Afghan policy was unacceptable.

Unfortunately, the American ambassador was also on board the plane with Zia where he was not supposed to be.

But the deed had been done.Alas! American ambassador.There was no going back. The plane crash that killed all on board still remains a mystery.Benazir Bhutto had no mind to follow her father’s path to martyrdom.She in the very first instance opted for American crutches.

In return it was ensured that she took the reins of government in Pakistan.But she failed to deliver.She had no control on the nuclear program that she had promised to roll back. She soon found the sword of Damocles hanging on her head.

Against the advice of her friend Maliha Lodhi, our ambassador in Washington, a desperate BB travelled to the Master’s court.

She could not go beyond the court guards.That prematurely ended her tenure. When Musharraf was in dire straits BB was encouraged for a while but soon discarded as “unreliable”.

Zardari rode the sympathy wave of BB’s murder to become the President of Pakistan. The tragedy had just begun. Zardari and Sharifs according to the Charter of Kleptocracy signed on a foreign land were to take turns in vandalizing Pakistan.

The sorry saga commenced the day Pakistan opted to join America in a well-defined by-polar world, perhaps only because India had already jumped into the cozy lap of Russia.

According to a story by Syed Rashid Hussain published in the Arab News, President Truman had asked Liaqat Ali Khan to use his influence with Iran to hand over its oilfields to America.

Liaqat Ali Khan refused. When they got rough with him, he told the US to pack up her bases in Pakistan and quit. That struck like a thunder bolt, too rude to deserve the king’s mercy.

President Daud of Afghanistan to rule out the US involvement, provided three assassins on the US promise to ensure creation of Pakhtunistan in 1952.

Akbar killed the prime minister of Pakistan to be immediately killed by his fellow assassin to cover the tracks.

It was the cruelest cut of all, and much more consequential than the murder of ZAB or Zia. In the usual drought of leadership, the infant Pakistan was left fatherless.

A lot regrettable that followed was due only to the absence of Liaquat Ali Khan from the political scene of Pakistan.

The foreign meddling in Pakistani politics is not a figment of imagination of the proponents of ‘conspiracy’ theory.

It is a fact of history now.The powers that be do not have patience for the third world riff raff nurturing the nobler notions of freedom, liberty and justice, values reserved only for the white world.

On the other hand, no other people in history have produced more men and women ready to sell their souls to the devil than the Muslims.

Mir Jaffar along with his thirty thousand strong cavalry force deserted the ruler of Bengal, valiant Nawab Sirajud Doula, to join Robert Clive of the British East India Company.

The battle of Plassey, 1757, proved to be the springboard to British rule in India. Mir Sadiq betrayed famous Sultan Tipu, ‘the Lion of Mysore’.With him the last resistance to British rule in India was eliminated.

As it goes in the native parlance, the ants had brought down the elephants. The history of Pakistan is no different. Every dictator found political turncoats help him sustain his rule.

Every effort to change a non-compliant government in Pakistan found abundant political support in waiting.

The ‘Nine Stars’ had joined hands to kill the giant of a Bhutto. Some of the second generation ‘Nine Stars’ have resurfaced, the prophets of chaos, the self-serving unscrupulous politicians and some known religious’ thugs.

This time Bhutto’s own grandson is a key player in the effort to see Imran Khan’s back. No one can predict the outcome of the present political commotion. Leaders come and go.

Pakistan might see the comeback of the tested and tried faces, the triumph of the status quo ante, the hoary lullabies, sweet poison, Minto’s ‘Empty Bottles, Empty Canes’.

It is not Imran Khan’s success or failure that really matters. It is a defining moment for Pakistan itself.

If there was a regime change after IK’s “Absolutely Not”, Pakistan needs to struggle longer and harder to be a truly free country.

— The writer, a retired Maj Gen, is a Rawalpindi-based freelance columnist and author of book, “Pakistan in search of a Mesiah.


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