01 August, 2014 / Shawwal 4, 1435

“O God, please defeat America’s allies on May 11,” said the imam at a Friday congregation in my neighborhood mosque in Islamabad. Some of the worshippers said, ‘Amen.’ Others were quiet.

Later in the evening, at a reception where they also served alcohol, some of the guests said the same thing, although they worded it differently. “The Americans have dumped PPP. They are now backing PML-N,” said a guest.

“What if America does not have a favorite in this election?” I asked him. This attracted others too and they joined the conversation.

“You want us to believe that the Americans have stopped interfering in Pakistan?” asked Mr. Chaudhry, the deputy editor of a local newspaper.

“Perhaps,” I replied.

“Rubbish,” said Mr. Khan, an architect who works on several US-funded projects. “Pakistan is too important a country to be left alone.”

“Don’t we give too much importance to ourselves? Perhaps, the Americans have other important things to do as well,” said I.

This triggered an agitated discussion on conspiracies.

“Who sent Musharraf?” asked a guest.

“That too was a conspiracy?” I asked.

“Obviously,” he responded, “he has been sent to weaken the Pakistan army.”

“And how would he do that?” I asked.

“See, how because of him the army is being attacked from all sides. If this continues, the people of Pakistan will start hating their armed forces and that’s what America wants,” said another guest.

“Why would America want that? I asked him.

“They are withdrawing from Afghanistan and have helped build a huge force in that country. On the east, there’s India. On the West, there will be Afghanistan. This will force Pakistan to do whatever the Americans want them to do,” said the guest.

“Someone suggested that PML-N is their favorite. If it is true, it means Nawaz Sharif shares their views and he too wants Pakistan to be sandwiched between two adversaries,” I said.

“Well, who knows? All of them are in America’s pockets,” said yet another guest.

Fascinated by these talks, I decided to take the conversation to the bazaar and engaged some while visiting Banni Chowk and Kirtarpura, two old markets in Rawalpindi.

“Imran is the only one who is not an agent of a foreign power,” said Zeb Khan, while offering a plate of delicious mutton tikkas at Bala Tikka House, one of the best in the federal capital area. “He is against the drones.”

“I am not so sure,” said his friend Nasir Malik, “he too has lived in the West, had a western wife.”

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman is not an agent,” said Abdul Hameed, a man from Mansehra who works at a grocery store in the nearby Raja Bazaar.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman not an agent?” the other two cried out.

“He was paid millions of dollars to reform madrassahs,” said Zeb Khan.

What he said next contradicted his claim that the maulana too was an agent but nobody seemed to have noticed this contradiction.

“The Americans fear that religious parties can form an MMA-type government in KPK and want to stop it,” he said.

“Why should they be scared of their own agent?” asked I, while reminding him that he said Maulana Fazlur Rehman was an American agent.

“He may be their agent but they do not want a religious government in KPK while they are busy withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan,” came the reply.

“Does it mean that they will prefer PTI or PML-N to dominate the next KPK government?” I asked.

“Yes, perhaps,” said Mr. Khan.

“But you just said that they too, were American agents,” I reminded him.

“Yes, all this is very confusing but one thing is clear, all these politicians are in their pockets,” he said.

“If whoever is in power will work for America, why should they care who wins the election?” I asked.

This started another animated conversation and all four participants, through some twisted logic, concluded that the Americans do not want the May 11 elections. The army too opposes it as does President Zardari. So, the elections will be postponed with the judiciary’s support.

“Now you are saying that the president, the army and the judiciary all work for America,” I reminded them.

“President Zardari? Of course, he does. The whole world knows that,” said one of them.

“The Americans also have had close links to the military. But I am not so sure about the judiciary,” said another.

“I will not be surprised if they too were American agents,” said the first.

“O God, please defeat America’s allies on May 11,” I repeated what I heard at the mosque as I moved out of Bala Tikka House.

“But then, who will run the country if all are agents?” I asked myself. ——————————————————————————————— The author is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC. ——————————————————————————————— The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Anwar Iqbal is a correspondent for Dawn, based in Washington, DC.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (61) (Closed)


Aftab Kenneth Wilson
Apr 28, 2013 10:38pm

We are only agents of circumstances, suffering from American Phobia. There is no need to blame others but we are the real culprits who fall prey to petro-dollars countries and their sponsors. Our leaders are least interest to put Pakistan's interest first. We behave like commission agents. The day corruption and hypocrisy is removed we can then only dream for a true democratic country and faithful leadership.

Aftab Kenneth Wilson
Apr 28, 2013 10:37pm

We are only agents of circumstances, suffering from American Phobia. There is no need to blame others but we are the real culprits who fall prey to petro-dollars countries and their sponsors. Our leaders are least interest to put Pakistan's interest first. We behave like commission agents. The day corruption and hypocrisy is removed we can then only dream for a true democratic country and faithful leadership.

Khan of Kalabagh
Apr 29, 2013 02:05am

interesting blogs.....

who will run this country...wow excellent ending.

Ahmad
Apr 30, 2013 09:46am

A subject that should be heeded.

Salim Akbani
Apr 30, 2013 06:22pm

Mental slavery always supersedes physical slavery. Pakistan, is now a totally spooked country with one set of paranoids attacking the next.

Stop dragging the US into your internal affairs and perhaps you could live under your own terms.

Concerned expat
Apr 30, 2013 07:33pm

Living outside of the country gives one a unique perspective. The jolt that Pakistan is not of any importance to anyone, is the first component of the culture shock. Sadly, it is felt by only those few who introspect.

Ayesha Khan
Apr 28, 2013 08:32pm
Tragedy--nothing but extreme tragedy. Since the day i can recall i only can remember similar type of conversation by the politicians. But factually i possibily cannot think of one single person who is faithful to his own nation and about its soverignity. It is easy to point fingers at others, but did it occur to any that what efforts our authorities made to bring reforms in our own structure, to remove the discrepencies from the system, to eliminate the negative elements, to further develop the infrastructure, to find ways and be dependent on our own natural resources. No! --Not one single step has been taken by the present govt, and the previous one's as well. All those people who are surfacing on the political level, and are the potential candidates for the next elections are simply wearing a price tag--Under these circumstance why not only America, but any other nation will not step ahead to buy them. Why is not possible for our elected candidates to be prudent enough and try to maintain healthy diplomatic ties, not only with America but all the other significant nations of the world. Saudia is an example, they have robust diplomatic relationship with the US, and their governmental system is not affected by any means. They practice their own religion with liberty, and follow their self determined constitution. It is we who need to change our focus towards the prosperity of our own nation, and to do this we need to have good diplomatic relations with other nations. No nation can survive on its own, the requirment is to be integrated with other nations, which active in trade and bussiness. But the problem is that there is no one who is competent enough, to look at the matter from a professional point of view. We the unfamiliar habitants of the east have such an art of degrading our own image on international scale, that nobody can beat us.The day the ordinary person will realize these facts --only then there might be some hope --until then--the matter is in God's hand, and may he remain kind on our beloved nation---
vvd
Apr 28, 2013 07:35am
Most well written piece.Had a hearty laugh.Keep up the good work.
Bilal
Apr 28, 2013 11:09am
That's what he said......
Akram
Apr 28, 2013 07:45pm
the computer you are reading this on was also designed in America, you also have a connection therefore by your logic, so you must be a agent too.
amna
Apr 28, 2013 07:27am
I say try IK this time, may things change in a positive way for us !!
Akram
Apr 28, 2013 07:39pm
its quite a funny article, funny and absurd how so many Pakistanis are paranoid and willing to believe contradictory conspiracy theories rather than the truth sitting in front of them. My favourites are the ones where everyone is an american agent, but their favoured religious sectarian party is the only one that isn't an american agent. But when you compare that most of the religious groups have killed far more Pakistanis over the last 40 years than the Americans. But that's ok, as its all in a good cause (just as long as your not one of the killed).
Bubba
Apr 28, 2013 04:26pm
On the other hand - I suspect the American's blame much of the World terrorist problems on your Imam's - an opinion likely shared by the rest of the World.
dsp
Apr 28, 2013 11:34am
until pakistanis replace the religious politics by a sound political ideology/system they are doomed to entertain themselves with conspiracies; if a tiny nation like cuba can destroy the pride of america pakistan has a much better chance alas they are ready to be explioted at a single mention of non-muslim powers take it or leave it religion can function and produce desired results in the area of spirituality and god alone the moment you use them for economic social and other purposes its a disaster compare for instance china and america from religion's point of view they are like north pole and south pole but there societies are now comparable if religion had any role to play how can china officially athiest, buddhist cofucious etc could reach same spot like america which is officially thiest god fearing christian etc.(this is just one examples there many more) as some one pointed intelligently if the gods, godesses, godlets,saints, sages prophets and saviors of mankind could (through some chemical or biological process)be wiped out from the memory of every living creature and paradise is automatically reached
Gerry D'Cunha
Apr 28, 2013 04:36pm
religion in pakistan has caused more harm than good
Mustafa
Apr 28, 2013 07:25pm
I agree with your comments 100%,
alakhtal
Apr 27, 2013 01:22pm
You daren't publish this but I'll take a rain check No need to wait that long. he did. Musharraf in prison and Islamabad is Taliban's on May first.
standbyyourpan
Apr 27, 2013 01:31pm
Excellent article. Sadly I believe Musharraf was sent as a distraction. Americas allies are the Army & the USU .. May 11 is important .. but for at least the next few years , democracy is still window dressing in the great country of Pakistan.
standbyyourpan
Apr 27, 2013 01:32pm
ISI I meant
Rana Usman
Apr 27, 2013 01:32pm
A very interesting insight to elections 2013. Your write up depicts the mindset of our nation.
alakhtal
Apr 27, 2013 01:43pm
Democracy gun-downed by Musharraf decades ago. Democracy is another word for corruption as AK-47 is another world for Kalashnikov. McCain Germs call the shots in Pakistan from now.
zeerak
Apr 27, 2013 01:51pm
Why do we see a conspiracy behind everything? I do not think Musharaf was sent by anyone. He came back because he had false delusions of grandeur. He was led to believe by his supporters that Pakistan was ripe for another rescue act and that people would receive him with open arms as they had in 1999. He was mistaken.
Ahmed
Apr 27, 2013 01:54pm
America was a democracy when the Mughal emperor ruled in Delhi, absolute monarchs like King Louis XVI ruled in europe, the Qing dynasty ruled in china. And American democracy has inspired people around the world from the time of the french revolution to the european revolutions of 1848 (when the best-selling book in europe was titled "Democracy in America" by the great french historian de Tocqueville). And American democracy stood like a rock against Japanese Imperialism and the racist Nazi designs, and after their defeat America wrote the democratic constitution that Japan uses to this day. The Chinese and Russian people are still struggling to get complete democracy, again inspired by the US. I am always appalled at the ignorance of Pakistanis (even those who call the US their home!) on these matters.
Khanm
Apr 27, 2013 01:55pm
It is not America. It is not the allies that will destroy Pakistan. These things will destroy the Pakistan: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness. Let us not be naive.. The fault lies with in
Israr
Apr 29, 2013 10:54am
Probably it is the other way round!!!!
Azhar Hussain
Apr 27, 2013 02:39pm
Among all the agents, I think Imran Khan is the best. This agent will do us all good. The rest of the agents have almost destroyed our country. This agents so far doing everything which is good for the country. He is a positive agent.
asif
Apr 27, 2013 03:05pm
Americans hate Pakistan and justifiably so. Pakistan could be a good ally to the US and Pakistan would get something out of the relationship but Pakistan would rather use its mullahs to stab America in the back. No one talks trash about America in Saudi Arabia, even though they are very strict muslims, yet Pakistani mullahs can't deliver a single sermon without bashing America. Pakistan is an ignorant country and needs to invest in education above all else, only then can there be any change. Imran Khan should speak the truth and talk about education and secularism and leave America out of Pakistani politics. America is a superpower and Pakistan is no more than a nuisance to it. Sorry Imran, I know the drone issue is a hot political topic but Pakistan has much bigger problems, namely fundamentalism and a laughable public education system. India has a much larger population than Pakistan, yet it's economy has progressed significantly in the last twenty years, perhaps because they don't blame the US for all its problems like Pakistan. At the rate Pakistan is declining, Bangladesh will be better off in the next twenty years, they are not obsessed with America either.
abomination
Apr 27, 2013 03:06pm
sadly the writer clearly depicts the pettiness of our people, trying to weave together framents of anomolies/information to depict as FACT! if the roots are rotten then the tree will surely die, FACT!
Saleem
Apr 27, 2013 03:32pm
PTI, PLMN, PPP,MQM all are somewhere connected to America.What options in these elections do Pakistanis have?
Samar
Apr 28, 2013 03:23pm
You won't hear that in a mosque! But yeah, my prayer too.
pathanoo
Apr 27, 2013 04:03pm
Pakistan should be renamed,"Land of Conspiracies."
Ali
Apr 27, 2013 04:20pm
a faked cooked up story. No authenticity. If you want to defame some diff ideologies try to come up with something better.
Salman Asad
Apr 27, 2013 04:26pm
Sir even you and I are in their pocket. We live off the IMF, remember, we owe them. They owe us not
Gerry D'Cunha
Apr 27, 2013 04:27pm
“O God, please defeat taliban allies on May 11"
malole
Apr 27, 2013 06:30pm
Pakistanis have the biggest conspiratorial brains in the world. Everthing revolves around these theories which by the way never turn out true but that does not stop them from predicting next theory.
Mustafa
Apr 28, 2013 07:10pm
Akhter, you said well. But you will find 99% of Pakistanis blaming others, not themselves for their problems. They have America on top of the "Cause List".
Ishaq
Apr 27, 2013 06:47pm
Our heroes in Pindi. Because this all mess is created by them to rule us forever in the name of Islam.
Mustafa
Apr 28, 2013 07:04pm
Sorry dsp. Today's world problems are not solved on the basis of which is a Muslim country and which is a Non-Muslim country and who is a Muslim and who is a Non-Muslim. We have worst problems in both Muslim and Non-Muslim countries and we have worst people who are Muslims as well as Non-Muslims,
Amjad Wyne
Apr 27, 2013 07:54pm
Juicy story but why believe - especially when its source is based in Washington DC?
pathanoo
Apr 28, 2013 06:55pm
Ahmed, You have my respect. You are one honest, unbiased, courageous man.
pathanoo
Apr 28, 2013 06:52pm
Well said, Asif.
Akhtar Ali Khan
Apr 27, 2013 11:59pm
I think Pakistani mindset is the greatest enemy of Pakistan.
Samar
Apr 28, 2013 03:21pm
Sorry for the slang but..LOL! Yup, our people are going through a nervous breakdown.
Tariq K Sami.
Apr 28, 2013 03:19pm
America is Pakistan's best friend that money can buy.
Shann
Apr 28, 2013 01:09am
Why do they work for the defeat of someone? why can't they work for the victory of someone? Between positive and negative, it looks their approach is towards negatives. This speaks a volume of their characteristics. Thanks Allah, I am not a Pakistani.
umesh bhagwat
Apr 28, 2013 02:10am
The US will never allow Pakistan to be self reliant,if it can have its way!
BRR
Apr 28, 2013 02:44am
Self-delusional thinking combined with lack of maturity and illogical thinking - the writer seems to have discovered it in all strata of pakistani society. Out of this mess some ruler will be cursed to suceed in the polls, only to have him described as America's stooge. All that faith in their religon has not translated into common sense or self-confidence.
Aziz
Apr 28, 2013 02:48am
Power & money!! who ever can play these two well, will win the election. You put on a good show laced with greed and entertainers will buy tickets. Anarchy and illiteracy will therefore keep on flourishing for the show. Things can never change unless the leaders and public both get realistic about the state of the state. We need leaders who are fearful of their duties towards public and their creator. What more are we waiting for?? Go to a graveyard and see who took what along??
Yawar
Apr 28, 2013 03:56am
A long time ago a Pakistani expat told me that every Pakistani thinks that Pakistan is the most important subject in the U.S. As time went on I began to see his point. We cant build a computer from scratch. We cant build a jet engine, or any engine for that matter. So maybe one way to feel important is to think that a superpower has us as the number one item on its agenda. And the most popular politician is one that challenges the U.S. towards confrontation.
Ali Muhammad
Apr 29, 2013 11:03am
Isn't it other way round?
shariff
Apr 28, 2013 04:58pm
well said
PM
Apr 28, 2013 09:57pm
People of Pakistan are paranoid and thinks that whatever happens in their country US is behind it
Logical
Apr 28, 2013 10:13pm
Conversing with a majority of Pakistani's, about any important subject, is like talking to a 2 year old child. They are ALL clueless.
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Apr 28, 2013 11:37pm
I agree. Cuba is a good example.
Tony
Apr 29, 2013 12:47am
People are all in for IK. But if Imran is elected, I am sure people will think he was an implant from CIA. Since he lived the western life with foreign wife and was sent back as so called "Conservative" and actually be a western Puppet..
SUNIL
Apr 29, 2013 12:51am
Great article describing the cospiracy theory mindset. The rest of the world (especially the US) must be idle, malacious and only preoccupied with wishing ill for Pakistan
SBB
Apr 29, 2013 03:51am
Thank you for sharing your wisdom without using any evidence or substance to support your point.
salim malik
Apr 29, 2013 04:40am
america is not christian but secular country. america has only 25% christian and more than 70% of its population is agonist. all Europe is secular as well. china also is secular. all developed countries have the system and constitution not on the basis of faith but values
MJ
Apr 29, 2013 07:11am
We Pakistanis can cook the best "khayali pulao" in the world!
Adeel
Apr 29, 2013 09:29am
America I hate you! Oh, when is the green card lottery starting again? LOL
Thiru
Apr 29, 2013 09:33am
Perhaps Pakistan should refuse All aid from USA, collect taxes from the rich and then they will see that they do not need USA to let them be self-reliant.