The Pakistan Army has cultivated the image of 180 million people of Pakistan with nuclear devices strapped to their collective body threatening to take the world down with it, said Pakistani author Mohammad Hanif. In an opinion piece, Hanif, the author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), explains how generals of Pakistan Army turned Pakistan into an international jihadi tourist resort
He said that the Pakistan Army, throughout its history, has refused to take advice from politicians as well as thinking professionals from its own ranks.
Talking about General Zia-ul-Haq’s reign following a bloodless coup in 1977, Hanif said that his rule had brought automatic weapons, heroin and sectarianism in Pakistan; it also made fortunes for those who dealt in these commodities. “And it turned Pakistan into an international jihadi tourist resort,” he wrote.
The Army has never listened to historians and sometimes ignored even the esteemed religious scholars it frequently uses to “whip up public sentiments for its dirty wars”.
Hanif said that Pakistan is a society divided at many levels. All these factions may not agree on anything but there is consensus on one point that General Zia-ul-Haq’s coup was a bad idea, said Hanif, adding that the Army has, however, has continued Zia’s mission.
“Successive Army commanders, despite their access to vast libraries and regular strategic reviews, have never actually acknowledged that the multinational, multicultural jihadi project they started during the Zia era was a mistake,” he said.
“Looking back at the Zia years, the Pakistan Army seems like one of those mythical monsters that chop off its own head but then grows an identical one and continues on the only course it knows,” he added.
The author said that the Army and its advocates in the media often worry about Pakistan’s image as if Pakistan is not “suffering from a long-term serious illness but a seasonal bout of acne that just needs better skincare”.
“The Pakistan Army, over the years, has cultivated this image of 180 million people with nuclear devices strapped to their collective body threatening to take the world down with it. We may not be able to take the world down with us; the world might defang us or try to calm us down by appealing to our imagined Sufi side. But the fact remains that Pakistan as a nation is paying the price for our generals’ insistence on acting, in Asma Jahangir’s frank but accurate description, like duffers,” he said.
Talking about the 1999 Kargil “misadventure”, the author said that the war between India and Pakistan was forgotten as if it “was a game of dare between two juveniles” of Pakistan Army–General Mahmud and Air Cdre Abid Rao–who were now beyond caring about who had actually started the game.
Nobody pointed out the basic fact that there was no enemy on those mountains before “some delusional generals decided that they would like to mop up hundreds of Indian soldiers after starving them to death”, said Hanif.
The architect of this mission, the daring General Pervez Musharraf, who didn’t bother to consult his colleagues before ordering his soldiers to their slaughter, doesn’t even have the wits to face a sessions court judge in Pakistan, let alone a court-martial.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)