Dawn News

Have we really seen the enemy?

WHILST the United States and Great Britain are doing whatever they think best to preserve Pakistan — naturally in their own national interests — Pakistan apparently is doing its best to destroy itself.

At some point Pakistan, its government, its parliament and its citizenry must realise that the US — and in fact the rest of the world — does not awake each morning, scratch its head, and ask ‘Huh, I wonder what Pakistan is up to today?’ No, the US and the world have much with which to more than fully occupy themselves.

It is Pakistan that wrongly assumes it is the centre of the world, that it possesses some extraordinary ability which makes it the universal ‘victim’ and which provokes others to attempt to destroy it or at the best to do it down. It imagines itself beset and surrounded by enemies, with its one sole real and true friend being the mighty Middle Kingdom (which also does have a national interest) — not even the other Kingdom, as that cannot be fully relied upon because of its ties with joint enemy number one, the US, in tandem with the ‘traditional enemy’, India, which has little better to do with itself than plot attacks upon Pakistan with the aim of annihilation.

The obsession of the country’s armed forces with its ‘traditional enemy’ is quite understandable. They need India, and the ‘core’ issue which sadly will not go away, to feed and succour them, their existence depends upon maintaining the status quo of 64 years’ duration. Never mind that they have provoked and lost two wars, and lost a third through the arrogance and poor abilities of early leaderships. The nation has accepted all that and happily and readily allowed them to become the richest, most powerful and leading industrialists of the country. It has forgiven multiple sins and transgressions and with a couple of hiccups here and there never failed to back them.

It has been brainwashed through its meagre educational system and through efficient propaganda into believing that, yes, India is an alien creature and ‘the’ enemy (to give this government its due it has made feeble attempts to right this).No one has told it that as early as 1948 prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated: “If today by any chance I were offered the reunion of India and Pakistan, I would decline it for obvious reasons. I do not want to carry the burden of Pakistan’s great problems.

I have enough of my own.”

And such has been the sensible thinking of successive Indian politicians. For a comprehensive understanding of this destructive mindset recommended is a book published last month by Routledge, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy — Escaping India, written by Aparna Pande, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington. One focus is on how from its inception Pakistan’s foreign policy has focused on ‘seeking parity’ with India and ‘escaping’ from an Indian South Asian identity.

To locate a loyal Pakistani who will admit to descent from inhabitants of the subcontinent is rare. The now natives of this country will go to great lengths to explain that their ancestors had little to do with the subcontinent other than to invade it or settle here, always originating from either Arabia, Central Asia, even Iran — anywhere but the subcontinent. Such is the complex. All very sad. And this, of course, contributes in no mean manner towards the ‘traditional enemy’ obsession and the status of the armed forces.

What the people should now be worried about — and perhaps they are — is the status of the armed forces following the Abbottabad incident and the latest Mehran naval base fiasco. Worrying in the extreme should be the fact that the Pakistan Navy cannot count. It is clueless as to numbers.

Even more worrying is the national state of denial, on which this newspaper editorialised on May 26, following the nonsense sprouted post-Mehran. Yes it is time to face up to facts and take the TTP at its horrible face value and believe it when it tells us what it has achieved. This is no time to fantasise about Star Wars, Mr Interior Minister. You should descend to Earth and tell it to the nation as it is.

As for the US, which knows and admits that it is now feared and loathed by a good many loyal Pakistanis who have been convinced that, like India, its sole desire is to see the break up of Pakistan, what might be giving it sleepless nights is the present state of this nation, with the local Taliban crawling all over it, seemingly unchecked by any law-enforcement agency or military might from wreaking havoc wherever it can be wreaked.There may now possibly be some doubts, on the latest showings, about the statements emanating from here and from Washington about confidence that the nuclear assets are fully guarded and in safe hands.

It is all highly depressing, and Pakistan is far from blameless — as are all of us who have been here since its birth. As rather eloquently put by Ralph Peters, a retired American army officer who was posted in Pakistan in the 1990s and has now turned his hand to writing: “Pakistan knows only a wretched past that keeps repeating itself in a deteriorating cycle.” We have created monsters — so be it. Undoing creation is not a simple task, pussyfooting is no way to go about it. It has to be ruthless to work.

As exclaimed Pogo, on the famous 1970 Earth Day poster: “We have seen the enemy and it is us.”

arfc@cyber.com.pk


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