Pakistan today once again is precariously perched on the brink of a chasm as a result of the unholy combine of General Ashfaq Kiyani as the Pakistan Army Chief and Benazir Bhutto's widower, Asif Ali Zardari as the President of Pakistan. For the first time in Pakistan's history a Director General of Pakistan's notorious intelligence agency, the ISI, was made the Pakistan Army Chief. Notoriously again, President Zardari entered this high office of the President of Pakistan with a tainted and corrupt past. He may have won the elections but the way he raced to grab the Presidency by throwing away all the pledges that he had given in writing to his coalition partner the Punjab Muslim League headed by former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and by being brazen enough to declare that political pledges are not like the Holy Quran, is an ample indicator of his character and moral fiber.
It is said that the true character of men emerges in a crisis and by that token both the Pakistan Army Chief , General Kiyani and President Zardari have emerged as puny characters in the wake of the international crisis that has engulfed Pakistan following the Mumbai 9/11 terrorist strikes by commando trained terrorists from Pakistan.
President Zardari has retreated from his earlier statesmanlike assertions under immense pressure from the Pakistan Army Generals and in particular General Kiyani. The Pakistani Army Generals have left President Zardari naked in front of the international community by forcing him to eat his words. He is now mouthing the sheer crap fed to him by the Pakistan Army and the ISI leaving him a pitiable figure. His credibility has been tattered.
The Pakistan Army Chief and his Generals would like the world to believe that the Pakistan Army and the ISI are not in any way connected to the Mumbai blasts. The Pakistan Army Generals have never ever enjoyed international or regional credibility and their being in a 'state of denial' about the terrorism war launched by them against India is understandable and a predictable response.
They could have continued with this charade but for the fact that this time the victims included citizens from USA, Israel, UK and other countries like Japan etc. They too have carried out their independent investigations and have come to the conclusion that the terrorists originated from Pakistan.
Further, the commando like tactics and heavy firepower used by their terrorists and the logistics involved in a seaborne terrorist strike was beyond the capability of a para-military terrorist organization like the Lashkar-e-Toiba without the direct involvement of the Pakistan Army and the ISI.
In two interviews of this Columnist in the last two weeks by Pakistan's GEO-TV , there were three thrusts discernible namely what was the purpose of the Russian President's visit to New Delhi and whether an Indo-Russian nuclear strike was on the cards. When it was pointed out that the Indo-Russian discussions centered on nuclear power generation, the anchor thanked that it was good this was clarified as the perceptions in Pakistan were otherwise. The second thrust was that India was not presenting any evidence of Pakistan' involvement in the Mumbai 9/11 strikes, this Columnist pointed out that if only the Pakistan Army had not vetoed the visit if their Director General ISI to India earlier agreed to by the Pakistani President, Pakistan could have been presented with all the evidence that stood presented to other foreign dignitaries who visited India to get a first hand evidence of Pakistan's involvement.
The third thrust was that while the anger and outrage in India over Mumbai 9/11 was understandable was it right that the two nations should be brought to war. It was explained that India would have no option but to go in for hard alternatives as the Pakistan Army and the ISI was not amenable to civil control and would not desist from their state-sponsored terrorism.
Reverting back to the main theme of the present Column, it needs to be said that the Pakistan President, the Pakistan Army Chief and the ISI stand totally discredited within Pakistan despite all the rhetoric emanating from the establishment in Islamabad.
In public ratings of the Pakistani public by a Pakistani newspaper, President Zardari was given only three months longevity in office by nearly 25% people and less than a year by about the same percentage. Obviously, this present crisis may see the end of President Zardari as President and the Pakistan Army making yet another bid for a military regime by General Kiyani.
But there is a catch here and that is that in a survey carried out by the IRI , a rightist body from USA the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis want former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as President.
And that is what brings Pakistan to the brink of a chasm because General Kiyani and the Pakistan Army Generals do not want Nawaz Sharif at the helm of affairs in Pakistan knowing fully well that under him the Pakistan Army would be brought under firm civilian political control.
In the interests of democracy in its purist form returning to Pakistan and bringing the wayward Pakistan Army under firm civilian political control for the sake of peace and stability in South Asia, one sincerely hopes that the people of Pakistan can prevail over the machinations of the Pakistan Army and their external patrons.
As asserted in my last Column, only the people of Pakistan can save Pakistan. Maybe PUBH, The Holy Prophet would this time smile on the endeavors of the Pakistani people and deliver them from falling into the chasm that surely awaits Pakistan if the Pakistan Army continues to call the shots.