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The rot from within

MUSLIM history is replete with examples where its enemies exploited persons from within the community to treacherously betray the nation and grant victory to the inimical forces. Mirza Muhammad Siraj-ud-Daulah commonly known as Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, was the last independent Nawab of Bengal. The end of his reign marked the start of British East India Company rule over Bengal and later almost entire South Asia. Siraj succeeded his maternal grandfather, Alivardi Khan as the Nawab of Bengal in April 1756 at the age of 23. Betrayed by Mir Jafar, then Commander of Nawab’s Army, Siraj lost the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757, almost a hundred years before the War of Independence. The forces of the East India Company under Robert Clive invaded, and the Administration of Bengal fell into the hands of the Company. Siraj-ud-Daulah was executed on 2 July 1757 by Mohammad Ali Beg under orders from Mir Meerun, son of Mir Jafar in the aptly named Namak Haram Deorhi as part of the agreement between Mir Jafar and the British East India Company.
Siraj-ud-Daulah’s tomb can be found at Khushbagh, Murshidabad. It is marked with a simple but elegant one-storied mausoleum, surrounded by gardens. More importantly it tells the sordid tale of treachery by Mir Jafar, which has become a synonym of traitor. Then there is Tipu Sultan (20 November 1750 – 4 May 1799), who was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. Tipu Sultan introduced a number of administrative innovations during his rule, including his coinage, a new Mauludi lunisolar calendar, and a new land revenue system which initiated the growth of the Mysore silk industry. He expanded the iron-cased Mysorean rockets and commissioned the military manual Fathul Mujahedeen and is considered a pioneer in the use of rocket artillery. He deployed the rockets against advances of British forces and their allies during the Anglo-Mysore Wars, including the Battle of Pollilur and Siege of Seringapatam. He also embarked on an ambitious economic development program that established Mysore as a major economic power, with some of the world’s highest real wages and living standards in the late 18th century.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Emperor and Commander-in-Chief, sought an alliance with Tipu Sultan. Historically it is noted that owing to the treachery of his Minister Mir Sadiq, the British broke through the city walls, and French military advisers told Tipu Sultan to escape via secret passages, but he replied, “Better to live one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a jackal”. Tipu Sultan died defending his capital on 4 May. Similarly, in an anti-state article published in Weekly “Friday Times” (8-14 March 2019) by Ayesha Ijaz Khan it has been surmised that India is not the only country that blames Pakistan for cross-border terrorism. Similar allegations have been made by the US, Afghanistan, and more recently, Iran. This should give Pakistan pause. She asks the ultimate question: Why does the world tilt towards India’s position more than ours? Perhaps it is time to address this rationally without playing the victim card. Sure, it could have something to do with the fact that India is a bigger economy and that the West is looking to India to contain China, but that alone does not explain it. There are other factors too. India’s narrative of terrorists trained in Pakistan attacking the Indian Parliament in 2001, Mumbai in 2008, an army camp in Uri and Pathankot Air Force base in 2016. It may seem unfair that questions are not asked by global powers of India for all the state terrorism it perpetuates in Kashmir. It is easy to pin the war-mongering on a hysterical Indian media and Modi’s upcoming election.
She sermonizes that if Pakistan wishes to bolster its image globally, it must dismantle terror networks. In order to do this, the state requires a clear vision and must understand that it needs as much support as it can get. It cannot, therefore, be hounding and disrespecting political opponents and simultaneously expect to make headway on this existential threat. She believes that the current govt is lucky that the opposition is mature. She downplays the peril arising from the “Dawn Leaks” and calls it a hoax. To add fuel to the fire, Ayesha claims that “It may seem unfair that questions are not asked by global powers of India for all the state terrorism it perpetuates in Kashmir. But here is a thought: does harbouring terrorists help Kashmir in any way? It may harm India and its soldiers, but does it help Kashmiris? More importantly, has it helped Pakistanis?” And then there is the young Bilawal Bhutto, who in a bid to deflect attention from the corruption cases against his family, says that he doubted the actions of the government against leaders and workers of the banned organizations under the NAP. He claims: “I do not believe that you arrested them rather than you took them in your protective custody so that they are not hit by Indian aircraft,” he said, adding that how could he believe that the government had frozen accounts of leaders of banned organizations. Reiterating his demand to sack three federal ministers having alleged links with banned outfits, Bilawal warned the PTI government that it would be responsible for consequences if it does not stop blackmailing and using authoritarian tactics. If Pakistan has to move forward, it must stem the rot from within.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.