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Friday, November 21, 2008

Three Pessimistic Takes on the Present

In today's Dawn there are two rather pessimistic speculations on the present and the future.

The first one is by Ayesha Siddiqua who in A regime-less change write:

Once the GHQ is back on its feet it might not take a lot of time to convince even an Obama-led administration that the military will deliver better than any other stakeholder.... The two problems are that this system will ultimately weaken the state and be a source of its undoing, and that the civilian leadership never learns. Images of domestic popularity, a sense of invincibility and continued American support are three mirages that often lead to disaster. This time round the clock seems to have begun to tick again. All that remains to be seen is the exact timing of the next change.
And in Crystal-ball gazing Cyril Almeida writes:

For Sharif, who just 12 months ago was an untrustworthy, peripheral figure close to the Saudis, the stars will align. A PML-N government supported by the Islamists will be a credible interlocutor in the Saudi-mediated talks...Sharif can be a better salesman of America’s military demands. On India, a vital part of Obama’s regional solution, Sharif has already said all the right things, including calling for visa-free travel between the two countries, and kept quiet about the bad stuff (the peaceful mass uprising in Indian-administered Kashmir and the rise of Hindu militancy in India proper). Threatened too will be democracy itself. If Sharif ploughs ahead and dislodges the government there is absolutely no reason to believe he will be any better at governance. For now the army has stayed away from politics. But if the two largest mainstream political options fail in quick succession yet again? Worse, rather than Round Five for the military, the next time it may be something else. What that something else is — your guess is as good as mine.
And the third view is by Ayaz Amir who writes in his Daily News Column Burning anger, smouldering silence today:

The army, lest we forget, is a willing accomplice of these developments. Indeed, under its new command, it has brought to this task a new zest. Musharraf never carried out such sustained operations as in Bajaur. He did not use F-16s in FATA. He carried out American orders but only up to a point. That is why our American friends had begun to nurse grievances against him. Up to a point Musharraf knew how to play the Americans. The new combo we have, Zardari and Kayani, is not playing the Americans. They are playing the Pakistani people by leading a loud chorus about sovereignty when in fact Pakistani sovereignty, or what remains of it, lies fatally compromised because of Pakistan's servitude to American interests. There is no winning this war. The Americans eventually will get out.

But the sorry thing is that where there should be an anti-war movement there is none. Ordinary Pakistanis feel dismayed but there is no one to give voice to their discontent. Parliament is not the tribune it should be. A counter-voice is thus missing. So, this is turning out to be a land of the speechless, a land in pain but because of some conspiracy of the stars or of history (I can think of no other explanation) unable to give voice to its misgivings. The resulting void is being filled by the cult of the suicide bomber. Has Pakistan nothing better to offer?


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