You are advised to refrain from reading between the lines, as understanding the contents of this article may be harmful to national security
Important people are often told that they are being kept in isolation “for their own safety”. Such people usually include apostates, blasphemers, rapists, murderers, politicians and pop stars. Of these, the only self-respecting category is, of course, that of rapists and murderers, because the right-wing mullahs (with and without beards) will come down hard on apostates, blasphemers and pop stars while politicians (in cahoots with the mullahs) will denounce all those save the aforementioned criminals. Mostly because 99 percent of all rapists and murderers have, at one point, themselves been or been associated with politicians. And there is definitely more honour among rapists and murderers than there ever was among thieves. But that isn’t a real statistic.
Like I was saying, important people aren’t usually allowed to wander freely in our fair backwater. This is primarily because the-powers-that-be do not want important people to associate with other important people so no important ideas can be transmitted. Take the May 12, 2007 arrival of the-then deposed Chief Justice in Karachi. It was obvious from the MQM’s posturing and Musharraf’s bravado that this was a well thought-out move on part of the-powers-that-be. Recall also the premise and circumstances of the exile of the Super Sharif Bros following Abu Hamza bin Musharraf’s declaration of democracy.
Also keep in mind the house arrest of all deposed judges effectively until after the February 2008 elections. While extenuating circumstances were at play in all of these cases, the common denominator was that all of these people, at that time, posed a grave threat to national security. Remember that the definition of national security is as fluid as mercury at room temperature and has been tempered to suit the purposes of rulers of our fair estate since 1947.
Keeping important people away from other important people is also important because some unimportant people may wish to cause harm to the said important people. This was the justification used to confine Benazir Bhutto to Latif Khosa’s house in swanky DHA, days before her assassination at the hands of (Cough! Sneeze! Wheeze!) Baitullah Mehsud’s handymen. This was also the excuse used to keep Dr Atom Bomb away from the public eye. Most recently, such treatment is being meted out to the right honourable Hussain Haqqani, our erstwhile envoy to the United States of Great Shaitan. According to highly informed sources (read Twitter junkies), the most controversial man in Pakistan is currently in hiding in the Prime Minister’s house, for fear that if he steps out into the public eye, he may be mobbed by grateful jiyalas, ungrateful establishmentarianists and unscrupulous press vultures, all of whom want their pound of flesh. And rightly so.
But it was not always like this. There was a time when Mr Haqqani was a well respected university professor in Boston, writing books and ticking off ruffians such as the ISI and the military high command from the comfort of his subzero faculty room, somewhere in Massachusetts. At that time, Haqqani’s opinions were no different from the ones voiced in the infamous memo, which to this day Haqqani maintains he never got or wrote. Why then, pray tell, has he been assumed guilty? Is it because he has a lot of money and is incorrigible in his attitude towards the holiest of holy, their Excellencies, the top brass of the armed forces of Pakistan? Is it because he knows too much and has now himself become a threat to national security?
God knows. But what is clear, to borrow from comedian Russell Peters, is that “somebody gonna get a-hurt real bad,” and it isn’t going to be El Jefe himself. Therefore, the next logical patsy would be dear friend Hussain Haqqani. Sound like a cunning plan? Well, what did you expect?
Many have been busy this past weekend, wishing Asma Jahangir all the best in her endeavours to “stand up for democracy” in Pessimistan. However, it is clear from her withdrawal that the former ambassador is, in fact, a goner. It is painfully obvious that the courts will never bow to the findings of the parliamentary commission on the matter, firstly because no such commission has ever come up with any worthwhile findings, and secondly because even if they did, they would never be made public.
Therefore, it is safe to assume that Asma has expertly ejected herself from a lost battle, ostensibly at the advice of someone who knows more about what is to come than she, or I, or even you. Then, pray tell, what is so heroic about her ‘bold move’? To me, it reeks of yellow-bellied cowardice in a land where principled stands are the last refuge of the scoundrels who is trying to claim the moral high ground because they don’t really have much else to go on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I will miss Hussain Haqqani. Not because he was a great professor or a better diplomat or an exceptional statesman. I will miss him because he is a goat. A poor scapegoat. Just like you and me. How’s that for empathy?
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