Fazal ur Rehman Afridi
Unable to recover from the worst catastrophe of its 63 years history, Pakistan is faced with a serious challenge in the days to come. But, political analyst and observers believe, the worst has yet to come. After recovering from the shock and emergency relief efforts, the people will find themselves in a real problematic situation where they will find ruins of what they owned and massive destruction all around. Inefficient government lacking political will and disinterested establishment to rehabilitate the people are playing politics on the dead bodies of the victims by launching dirty vilification campaign against each other in the print and electronic media. This resembles the same situation when Rome was burning, Nero was playing violin.
Some political observers term it a follow-up to a phenomenon just like French Revolution (1789-1799), resulting in evaporation of feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges and embracing of enlightened principals like Liberty, Equality and Fraternity (www.en.wikipedia.org). While French Revolution was for the achievement of the above mentioned objectives, Pakistani masses lack both leadership and goals.
Faced with myriads of problems like terrorism, economic and social problems, masses are really frustrated and have developed psychological problems. Rampant torture and killings have made the people dangerously aggressive and violent, which is resulting in Incidents like Sialkot, when two brothers were brutally tortured and beaten to death by a mob, while police and other spectators were applauding and cheering the murderers. Later the bodies of these teenagers were hanged in front of a police station. This brutal episode shows the barbarity and distrust of the people in the security apparatus and Pakistani Judiciary, resorting to mob-justice time and again (www.observers.france24.com).
Another serious area of concern is the revival of Taliban in the areas where they have been considered weak after successful military operations. The government and military have been weakened considerably due to the destruction of infrastructure and are over-stretched to provide some help to flood victims. Taliban have come out stronger after the floods. This proposition is supported by recent wave of suicide attacks by Taliban-cum-Al-Qaeda-affiliated anti-Shia group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
1. Immediately after the floods, the first alarm bell was rung when 33 people were killed and 50 injured by a suicide bomber at Karbala Gam-e-Shah, Lahore, the capital city of Punjab Province. The enraged Shia-precisionist vent their anger on police, journalists and even rescue workers. Again, the world saw the phenomenon of mob-justice by public, setting ablaze a police station and destroying properties. (Daily The News, September 02, 2010)
2. Second suicide attack was reported at Quetta, Provincial capital of Baluchistan, resulting in the killing of 65 and injuring of 160 of the Shia student processionists of Imamia Students Organization (ISO). The mob reacted in the same way as in Lahore by resorting to indiscriminate firing and destruction of properties. The Quetta attack was more dangerous in the sense as seven journalists were injured in this incident. (Daily Jasarat, September 04, 2010 ).
3. In a similar attack 2 policemen were killed in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In another suicide attack 2 Ahmadis were killed and 5 others were injured in Mardan when they were performing Friday prayer. (Daily Frontier Post, Peshawar, September 04, 2010)
4. Again, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a police station in the southern city of Lakki Marwat, killing 19 people, most of them security officials. (Daily Dawn, Mon, 06 Sep, 2010)
5. Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh echoed with firing on a Shia procession near Impress Market. Fortunately, it did not result in death and injury but the phenomenon of Target Killing mainly between two ethnic groups for the control of the city is continuing and hounding the public in Karachi on daily basis- which has brought the economic engine of Pakistan to a stand still.
It is important to note that all these co-ordinated attacks by Taliban and their affiliate groups took place within a short time span of one week, indicate the strength & superiority of Taliban and weakness of the government. But, this is just like scratching the surface. The civil and military establishment is weakened to the extent, that Gilgit Baltistan area has been virtually handed over to PLA of China. 8000-10000 strong Chinese army has the de-facto control of GB, in the guise of helping the flood victims and rehabilitating them. The construction of permanent military barracks by Chinese Army in GB, shows the real future intentions of China. Selig Harrison, an American expert on Asia, in his article published in New York Times, has termed it a dangerous development which will have negative implications for American interests in the region.
When we analyze these dangerous un-controlled developments in the face of the recent historically worst floods and the consequent destruction of infra-structure, it leads us to the conclusion that Pakistan is about to enter an uncharted territory. New horrible developments, one can forecast for the immediate future are partly explained by General Hamid Gul, former ISI chief, in his thought-provoking article published in Daily Jhang on September 02, 2010, “ The situation is really bad. Historical floods have taken away everything, but now the flood of (angry) people is going to sweep away (Pakistan). Nothing will be able to stop this flood of masses…..the situation demands to bury the 63 years old system. I have always been for Soft-Revolution, which seems to be imminent now.”
Retired generals and establishment fed journalists, forwarding the concept of controlled soft revolution are naïve to understand that it cannot be termed revolution at all but Evolution, as there is no concept of soft or hard revolution, it is always bloody. It seems naïve on the part of an experienced General like Hamid Gul to dream of a soft Revolution, despite the fact that the idea of revolution (either soft or hard) presented by him seems to be real and imminent. As, there seems to be lack of leadership and vision, the angry movement can turn into mobocracy, which can result in civil war and unimaginable destruction. A revolution sans leadership lacking vision and goals will plunge the country into chaos and destruction.
So, to cut it short, the establishment fed journalists and political actors who are proposing the idea of Soft-Revolution to destabilize the present democratic set-up, will have to think twice about the consequences of a Revolution. Pakistan Army will not have a country to rule then, as one political scientist put it, “other countries have Armies, Pakistan Army has a country”. Revolution on the French pattern is not possible as Pakistan lack the values, vision and wisdom of the French people, which transformed France for a better tomorrow. If Pakistanis opt for a real revolution, Army, feudals and religious extremists who are presently at privileged position will not have place in the future political dispensation. Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, already in civil-war like situation- Of course, a revolution can result in Balkanization of Pakistan.