C N Anand
Acting on questionable intelligence, the USA dived headfirst into Iraq to search for WMDs. When nothing was found, attention turned to Iran which is far from making a bomb but is accused of having an irresponsible democracy – understandably, democracy should not result in tyranny of the majority. The logic of USA’s domestic policies, “guns don’t kill, it is people who kill” does not apply to WMD proliferation. Exceptions: All these years the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb was building a retail network for peddling nuclear know-how so that the profits could help Pakistan acquire strategic depth in Afghanistan by providing succour to the Taliban. A country teetering on the edge of economic chaos, obsessed with Kashmir’s freedom but fetters its own judiciary, is bristling with WMDs. Surprisingly, no one is shrilly drawing attention with, “The actionable WMDs are here stupid.”
The 60 year old track record of Pakistan is full of long spells of military dictatorship punctuated by experiments with short-lived democracy. The latest flirt with democracy is warming and the honeymoon is about to begin. The feudalistic Pakistan Peoples Party continues its old ways heeding Benazir Bhtto’s Will. Fearing assassination, she did not want the party to democratically squabble over PPP’s leadership and so willed Zardari to head the party in her absence. Zardari felt abashed saying he is not a blue blooded Bhutto and so branded his son Zardari-Bhutto and lifted him and plonked him on the chair of the chairperson of PPP, and said that till he comes of age and completes his education, Zardari will be the regent to back-seat drive PPP. Bilawal Zardari-Bhutto speaks propah English and needs a translator to communicate to fellow Pakistanis. In his PPP-chairman acceptance speech, he thrilled everyone with a passionate, “Democracy is the best revenge.” He took time off from studies in Oxford to pop in at Islamabad and declare and anoint Pakistan’s Prime Minister. It will be interesting to hear the Prime Minister’s first address to the nation. Will he stir Pakistan with, “This is our finest hour…”? Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharrif is waiting in the shadows thirsting for his bit of sweet revenge, which is ensuring Musharraf’s exit.
As yet, no party has articulated an economic policy. The problems are many where industry is suffering because of power outages, leading to massive job shedding. The two major reservoirs have touched dead levels and water shortage portends crop failure. Galloping inflation, flour shortage and gas shortage is resulting in despair driving many to suicide. Law and order is breaking down with incidences of highway robberies increasing. Almost every day, one hears of suicide bombers going about their work with deadly efficiency. The army is stretched thin with the defense budget breaking records. The people are desperate for results and will not spare much time for the honeymoon period. Musharraf’s ouster and restoration of the sacked judges is the least of the concerns of the average Pakistani. If democracy does not deliver this time, the Taliban will insist that it is their turn to honeymoon. Will they see reason and exchange the WMDs for economic goodies? Will they cut down the defense budget? Their track record in running Afghanistan before 9/11 should fill the USA with dread.
If presented actionable Intelligence, Obama said he will act against high-value terror targets inside Pakistan. If Intelligence confirms imminent collapse of democracy, is the intelligence actionable enough for Pakistan to be defanged of its WMDs? It will be interesting to see if the situation in Pakistan waits till the November elections in the USA, where the intelligence of the contenders is not being questioned.
- » Published on March 23, 2008
- » Type: Opinion
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