The Anniversary of a Catastrophe.

The first step towards containing and then treating a malady lies in its identification, followed by its dissection to see how far it has travelled, and the areas to which the infection has spread.

On nearly every subject there may be a thousand contending views in Pakistan, but no matter where one stands, there is near unanimity on two: 1] that in the last decade or so Pakistan has come to be defined by the insatiable greed of its “elites” which drove them to subject the state to massive plunder; and 2] that the two houses of inequity at the forefront of this charge against the state, have been the Zardaris and the Sharifs.

No less a man than the great General Bajwa himself [along with his high command] was fond of regaling his guests with stories of Nawaz Sharif’s corruption. But that was before he changed his mind, sold out, and brought Imran’s government down!

[It is difficult to decide if our prime traitors are better defined by their baseness or their capriciousness.]

April 10 is the anniversary of Imran Khan’s ouster from power orchestrated by the High Command with orders from Washington. This year, this has coincided with Eid which may act as a foil against which to view the horrendous extent of our tragedy, or have its stark effects be moderated by colourful clothes and dainty dishes for those who can afford them. This depends on how one chooses to see it.

However, the catastrophe lies elsewhere. It lies in the formal decision of our erstwhile defenders that Pakistan will henceforth be defined by the rule of inequity, injustice, and theft, without the moderating impediment of the law, at the cost of the people of Pakistan. This, our High Command stands committed to standing by and enforcing.

When they bent all their might and brought to bear every manner of brutality deception and chicanery, to bring to power the houses of Zardari and Sharif, no other conclusion can possibly be drawn from their decision. Seldom has wickedness paraded itself around without the need to cover itself. Brazenness has seldom done better.

Their decision to empower the thugs using a vast array of criminalities executed by them to ensure this, lays down the groundwork for the catastrophe which will come in the form of the eruption that must surely follow, because no people will allow itself to remain enslaved to eternal injustice. When every avenue of a peaceful remedy to a situation is blocked, this only leaves violence as a remedy. It is here that this catastrophe becomes existential for Pakistan.

I do not see a revolution coming, but riots mushrooming into civil strife are not difficult to predict. And these riots will feed into the twin insurgencies in Baluchistan and KPK. Deployments of an unwilling army to quell these insurgencies will only add fuel to them. Unwilling soldiers lacking public support will always engage the “enemy” at the greatest distance possible, to enhance their own security, while using excessive firepower to overcome the insurgents. Thus I foresee an increasing resort to the use of heavy weapons, artillery, and tanks in the KPK, not excluding air power, as the insurgency spreads. With this will spread collateral damage, and this will further inflate the problem which the army would have set out to “resolve” by crushing it. As casualties of the army mount the High Command, instead of drawing the right lessons from this, will likely double down and reinforce this disaster which will be largely of its own making. So, the more they try to suppress the insurgency the more it will spread, and the higher the price which Pakistan will have to pay.

This will eventually strain Pakistan at its seams and the state will become undone in the process. Only four types of people will not be able to see this coming: the idiot, the blind, those whose aim it may be to destroy Pakistan, or those infected by a contrary strain of genius.

Those still willing to see, should be able to spot the beginnings of a replay of East Pakistan 1971 in the unfolding events.

It is good of our High Command to have come to the aid of Israel in its greatest hour of need to the extent that, reportedly, they have denuded their own stocks of first-line ammunition to supply the latter. But it would be worthwhile for them to cast a look at Hamas whose 30000 fighters were to be wiped out in no more than a month by the 300,000 Israeli soldiers drafted to do the job. Yet six months on, Hamas, trapped in a brutal siege for the last eighteen years, are still fighting. Here lies a lesson to be drawn. You can suppress and enslave a people only for some time. After that, they will come after you. From slaves, they sometimes turn into masters.

But drawing the right lessons from any situation becomes difficult when discipline requires it of you not to do so.

Discipline today demands that nothing be said that does not accord with the thinking of the genius at the head of our army who, having ended corruption and smuggling, fixed our agriculture and having turned our economy around, has now decided to put our education system in order.

Where he finds the inspiration to set himself such heroic goals is difficult to know, unless it is from the same mines of fantasy where he sees these goals being realised. But for his streak of clearly discernible malice, he would have outdone “Baghdad Bob’s” optimistic declarations to lift Iraqi morale. In his case though, it seems, he is lifting only his own morale and that of his benighted High Command, while together they are happily screwing the rest of the country.

Thinking about the High Command’s decision to hand the reins of the country over to the thugs, and the consequences of this decision that await us, it is difficult not to recall Lord Byron’s quote: “A thousand years scarce serve to form a state; an hour may lay it in the dust.”

Pakistan did not take a thousand years to make, but surely the blood it took to fertilize its dust, and the screams that rent the air on its creation, made it deserving of a few more years of hope and the dignity of existence. But this the High Command, too much in a hurry to enrich itself, was too mingy to grant. The only festivity it left to the people of Pakistan was the doleful celebration of a catastrophe!

This, from now on, instead of Pakistan Day, will mark our annual day of recalling and ruing our day of independence, and of deep reflection and chest-beating.

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