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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Fauji Mindset

I just watched a Q&A show with P J Mir, who said in his concluding remarks, "Let us all work for the interest of Pakistan."

I am writing this with those remarks in mind.

His guest in this segment was one General Zahid Ali Akbar. Among other things he discussed Kahota, Zia and ISI.

ISI Backgrounder:

1: A notification put it under Interior, which was defended by unelected co chairman of the hand written will from Dubai, and then at 3am the next day PID press release placed the ISI back under the PM. All this happened while both Rehman Malik and Yusuf Raza Gilani were heading for Washington DC.

2: In DC Gilani got an earful from lame duck George Bush, who wanted to know who really controls ISI. The US hinted her dissatisfaction with ISI's meddling in Afghanistan and its alleged support of Talibans.

3: The other key issue is Elected Civilian budgetary control over the Defence Establishment. The Army saw this as the first volley and not used to any but the most perfunctory civilian control over its budget and affairs, it reacted strongly, trying to nip it in the bud.

4: The ISI is perceived to have evolved as a runaway multi headed monster which has jumped its original mandate and now interferes in internal Pakistani political processes. The Civilians want this angle de-fanged.

With this background in mind, General Zahid Ali Akbar's comment to PJ really struck hard. He said ISI can only be discussed by three persons, the PM, the President and the Army Chief and then added this, "These sundry people should not get involved in discussing ISI."

These sundry people? That included the press and ordinary and concerned citizens.

I would like to remind the exalted general sahib that this "sundry" person has every right to discuss ISI, and its alleged involvement with the Talibans, then and now, its alleged mercenary activities on behalf of outside states, its alleged buying of politicians and media moguls, [Veni, Vidi, but not Vici!] its alleged extra judicial activities....I will explain the reason, in case you are unable to understand, sir.

The state, the land, the assets of Pakistan belong to its people. The People work and support all state institutions. These "sundry" people have every right to exercise control over all the institutions of the state. And lawfully they can do so through their elected representatives.

An unsolicited advise to those who live in another universe. Please wake up and smell the roses. No one is, and no one should be above the law - in our case both divine and man made.


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