Pakistan in Self-Destruct Mode
Pakistan' President Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan Army headed by General Kayani seem to have placed and pushed the nation- state of Pakistan into a self-destruct mode. Pakistan today is in a virtual civil war state and is burning while the Pakistani President and the Pakistan Army fiddle with the destiny of Pakistan for their own self-perpetuation. Under them the Talibanization of Pakistan has become inevitable with devastating prospects for Pakistan, Afghanistan and more particularly the United States.
Pakistan's strategic and political landscape today is bleak and marked by daily terrorist bombings, suicide bombings and imposition of medieval Sharia law in the frontier tracts of Pakistan. Pakistan which was being projected by its Western patrons as a progressive Muslim State qualifying to be designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally is today submitting itself willingly and meekly to Talibanization courtesy the Pakistan Army.
Pakistan in terms of domestic political dynamics is in turmoil and deeply polarized as a result of the policies of President Zardari reneging on the written pledges that he gave to the main Opposition Party the Muslim League led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that the former Chief Justice of Pakistan and sixty other Judges sacked unconstitutionally by the former military ruler of Pakistan would be reinstated. President Zardari and the Pakistan Army headed by General Kiyani have a vested interest in clipping Nawaz Sharif's political wings. President Zardari is likely to be constitutionally ruled out of office if the sacked Judges are restored as pledged before his election.
The Pakistan Army is determined to keep Nawaz Sharif from recapturing political power once again fearful that he would adopt all possible powers at his command, while at the political apex, to bring the Pakistan Army under firm civilian political control which he nearly did in 1999 until displaced by General Musharraf in a reactive military coup.
Convergences therefore exist between President Zardari and the Pakistan Army to prevent Nawaz Sharif returning to political power and both of them stand further worried by the rising political popularity ratings of Nawaz Sharif and the steep decline of Zardari's ratings. The contrived upholding of Nawaz Sharif's disqualification for political office by the Zardari-installed Judges is a blatant pointer to this effect.
Next week the legal fraternity of Pakistan is all set to storm Islamabad with massive political support from all mainstream political parties in demonstrations reminiscent of the 2007 protests by the legal fraternity demanding restoration of the sacked Judges. Nawaz Sharif becomes the natural political spearhead of this political movement as a result of his consistent stand and demands on this issue.
In strategic and military terms, the Pakistan Army's image stands severely dented as it has been ineffective by incompetence or by deliberate design to stem the creeping Talibanization of large areas of Western border regions. State sovereignty of Pakistan in these areas is non-existent as the Pakistan Army has prodded the civilian government to arrive at truce agreements with the Taliban warlords and also succumb to their demands that Islamic Sharia laws would predominate in these regions.
The Pakistan Army much lionized by Western countries is today in retreat against the Taliban, more by design than otherwise. It confirms the assessments by Indian strategic analysts over the years, including this Columnist that the Pakistan Army, its hierarchy and its intelligence agency stands deeply penetrated and dominated by Islamist fundamentalists.
If the Pakistan Army does not shake out itself to neutralize and prevent the creeping Talibanization of Pakistan moving towards the Pakistani heartland of Punjab and if President Zardari does not make sincere efforts to stop the critical political polarization of Pakistan arising from his broken political pledges, then a civil war in Pakistan is well nigh inevitable and so also its self-destruction.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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