By Mahboob Khawaja
[Rescuing people trapped in the cold storage room at the airport. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD NOMAN. Tribune PK.][K]arachi is on flame again. The raging smoke from the Karachi Jinnah International Airport tells a lot about the people, political governance and its future under the constant guns of a renegade group. Within a short span of 48 hrs, there were twice large scales running gun battles at the nation’s most vital and busiest airport. The news media reports 29 deaths in the first encounter and 38 in the second attack and close to 100 or so wounded. The dark clouds of smoke and fires could well be interpreted as if there is no responsible political governance to ensure the safety, security and integrity of the innocent people – the net fatalities of the Taherk-e-Taliban Pakistan- TTP brutal attack on the biggest civilian airport. Why this senseless killing spree on the people of Pakistan? Pakistani nation is fast becoming degenerational in a culture of continuing violence, killing of the innocents and lost sense of national security. These were not unexpected and unknown attacks where deaths and destruction are a common place in the minds and sensitivities of the masses. The only people who did not care or lacked advanced knowledge of the insane attacks are the politicians and the nation’s security and intelligence apparatus.
The Karachi airport is managed by a civilian administration within the context of politically elected governance both at provincial level and at national level. The attack and its time sequence portray a horrible scene lacking expert intelligence – security imagination and a terrible sense of helplessness on the part of those who were responsible for the security operations and causing ordinary workers to lose their lives in protecting the airport. This is not the first incident in Karachi creating havoc conditions, loss of human lives and undermining the image of Pakistan as a country vulnerable to all kinds of inhuman mishaps and unworthy of global business investments, relations and visits. If incidents of this magnitude had happened in another country governed by responsible politicians, most would have submitted resignations and accepted the responsibility for failing to protect the common folks and the largest airport. Not so in Pakistan. The nation is held hostage for several decades by well known thugs and crime riddled political conspirators occupying the political powerhouses. Suspicious and paranoid masses are used to breathing abnormal normalcy under a universally hated and feared political culture of the few elite ruling families. Analyzing critically, you may assume varied scenarios for these brutal attacks on human rights and dignity and safety of the masses.
(1) The masses and their security is left open to political conjecture and in-house rivalries between the politicians and the intelligence establishments.
(2) The civilian administration responsible for protection of the vital national infrastructures are incapacitated by continuous challenges and the use of limited resources lacking advanced know-how and sophisticated systematic mechanism to ensure effective security framework.
(3) Obsessed indifference and incompetence raging across the local-regional and national security establishments to plan and organize coherent and unified resolve and practices to deal with situations of unusual events and emergencies calling for swift actions.
(4) A prevalent culture of corruption and tyranny appears to persist across all the major walks of social, administrative, political and economic life that needs to be changed and remodeled to serve the best interests of the nation.
(5) At times in history, when egoistic and wicked leaders foresee the fast approaching end to their ambitions, they could resort to most unpredictable behavior in conventional wisdom. Could this attack be the outcome of a joint TTP- Sharif ventures to embarrass the armed forces of Pakistan? After all, they were in contacts for so called peace talks.
Against this background, the continuing attacks by the TTP and other splinter groups should not go unchallenged for short-long terms consequences of their triviality and viciousness. But such challenging discourse could only come from people of political vision, leadership and integrity who are not part of the political gangsterism. But for too long, Pakistani politics failed to produce any leaders of moral, spiritual and political force demonstrating intellectual vigor and political prowess. The filthy politics breeds and brings forth thugs, known criminals, traitors and most incompetent people proven shameful to the honor of the nation. The list can include Bhutto’s family, Zardari, Nawaz Sharif family, General Musharaf and so on.
Pakistan’s problem rests with power politics. Those who grab the power through intrigues, political conspiracies, military coups, sectarian killings and large social-economic disruptions do not foresee any exit to their hegemonic control. These are household names of hatred and disgrace to thinking Pakistanis. The Nation that allows criminally indicted and most corrupt people to hold offices of national governance and responsibility cannot be viewed as a nation of moral values and honor. This is how East Pakistan was lost. The political curse and disintegration of the social, moral and intellectual culture goes on for ages without an end in view. The TTP groups seem to be exploiting these inherent weaknesses across the Pakistani political culture.
Unless thinking people of the Pakistani Freedom Movement and Foundational Values reactivate their thoughts and energies for a Navigational Change, the Nation is at critical crossroads for its own fragmentation and by its own so called monstrous political leaders. How to Change the political cruelty and tyranny of the few unto anew value-based political system of institutions, responsible leadership and governance? Pakistan desperately needs people of new educated generation enriched with Proactive Vision, New Ideas and political imagination to safeguard the freedom of the nation from ultimate chaos and ruins. Those who are part of the problems cannot be part of the solutions. Foreigners will not help Pakistan; their plans are working to disintegrate Pakistan. Nation’s own future is at stake. Andrew Gavin Marshall states in “ http://www.globalresearch.ca/imperial-eye-on-pakistan/25009Imperial Eye on Pakistan- Pakistan in Pieces, Part 1 (Global Research: 5/28/2011), that “in December of 2000, the CIA released a report of global trends to the year 2015, which stated that by 2015, “The war in Afghanistan is inherently related to the situation in Pakistan………. Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and dependent on international financial assistance.”
Further, it was predicted, Pakistan:
Will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties.”
The current governance under PM Nawaz Sharif and the Taherk –E-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have lot in common as they interact in a theatre of absurdities, intrigues and backdoor conspiracies as if they hold worthwhile credibility in public perceptions. Pakistani Taliban are not a political entity formed or shaped under known credible leadership, but are an outcome of transitory political climate linked to the belligerent affairs, overwhelming deaths and destruction in Afghanistan, and now onward to Pakistani towns. Taliban are not a legitimate political entity in Pakistani politics as their aims and guidance originate from the embattled Afghanistan landscape. Their secretive recruits hide their faces while perpetuating violence as means to sustain their identity. Their standing in public image is not worthy of any strength in moral and religious values. They are known to operate extortion schemes, drug trade and killing innocents in major cities across Pakistan. How could such questionable groups ever negotiate peace making deals? They lack a sense of moral and political accountability and are not a rationally organized construct of systematic politics. Their claim of Islamic “Shariaha” hardly corresponds to the genesis of Islam and its real world functional apparatus.
Disillusioned and disconnected with its roots, Pakistan continues to move forward – not towards change, normalcy and progress – but towards tragic events fomenting planned deaths of the citizenry, destruction of the social, economic and political infrastructures, incapacitated and broken lifelines and ultimately to become a battle ground for mindless ethnic and regional divides and national collapse. TTP is one of the factors in these imposed cruelties on the masses. If these trends resulting from the inhuman and barbaric policies and practices of the ruling elite remain in the pipeline, the nation could end-up losing its freedom and integrity. You might wonder, “Is the problem insolvable?”
The Taliban appear to be a collection of rogue and lose groupings of many associations and liabilities. Some could well be doing the proxy wars on behalf of the foreign master chipping-in cash dollars and obsolete weapons left-over across the old Afghan graveyards. Mr. Sharif and the Pakistani intelligence networks are not competent enough and have no foresight how to manage the hidden conspiracies of the few against many impinging on the public nerve for a decade.
Taherk-e-Taliban of Pakistan (TTP) claim adherence to one-way code insisting on the promulgation of “Sahariah” as system of politics, of which they have no knowledge-based understanding or commitment except emotional outbursts and delusional perceptions of Islamic precepts and practices. Islamic faith does not embody systematic brutality against innocent people and it cannot sanction individualistic absolutism against the collective interests of the Ummah. The Taliban groups failed miserably to capture Islam as a force of moral and intellectual persuasion to spearhead change and reformation (“islaha”) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Naïve jihad and violence tell the real Taliban narrative of life and struggle to forge presence in Pakistan.
In situations of emergencies, competent leaders offer hope and build trust of the nation to articulate workable remedies. But Pakistani politicians are used to blame game, often pointing fingers at India and others for their failure. Pakistan is being destabilized and dehumanized by its own wicked so called leaders who lack understanding of the ideology of the Muslim nation. Pakistan’s future is not linked to Nawaz Sharif or peace talks with the TTP. The Government and the Taliban are buying time and opportunities to readjust to the changing geo-political climate of the region. America is set to withdraw its NATO led forces in few months. Pakistani officials and the TTP would hurry to fill-in the gap and to acquire upper hand in future strategic priorities. Pakistan security forces are relentlessly watching which way to turn the table and to counteract the tide of bloody insurgency dipping into the political psyche of Pakistani culture.
How can there be a change in the political cruelty and tyranny of the few into a new value-based political system of institutions, responsible leadership and governance? Was this attack planned by somebody to overshadow the continuing failure and irrational policies and practices of the Sharif regime? Western analysts claim Pakistan to be a ‘failing state’ as it is run by dubious political-military elite. Pakistani leaders exhibit deafening silence to respond to the US-European accusations. Often when sadistic politicians cannot solve one set of problems, they could come up with smart but naïve ideas to create more critical problems to distract the masses. What is the solution to the morally and intellectually sickening political culture of Pakistani politics? In view of the obvious failure of the current regime under Nawaz Sharif, the National Assembly should initiate immediate action to set up a new Government of National Unity replacing Nawaz Sharif with a non-partisan, intelligent and honest leadership. This appears to be the urgent political shift to restore normalcy and sustainable political governance. If the Assembly fails to act and shows indifference to the national interests, it will reaffirm its irrelevance and incompetence being a stooge of the rulers and unable to provide workable democratic option under the circumstances – when facts of life warrant a change, the responsible institutions must respond to facilitate change to safeguard the national interests, freedom and integrity.
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012.