Mountains of hypocrisy

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    Cultivating a culture of cupidity, corruption and crime

     

     

    “It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.”

    –Thomas Paine

    The abominable manner in which the current rulers have abdicated governance has no parallel even in Pakistan’s history. They seem overly eager to pass on the mantle of ruling to the GHQ in a bid to save their ceremonial positions. But, hidden beneath this apparent madness is a Machiavellian plan to lay permanent siege of the citadel of power.

    The problem with the ruling mafia stems from their gross intellectual dishonesty which is the ideal breeding ground for deformed thinking and cultivating a rationale for indulgence in every manner of loot and plunder. Their greed and cunning are limitless as is their paucity of capability and capacity. Democracy is the cloak they wear to hide the tentacles of theocratic despotism that they want to inflict on a grossly underprivileged people. There is no trick which is vile enough, there is no mechanism which is reprehensible enough, and there is no method which they would measure on the benchmark of legality and morality in pursuit of their objectives. Their overriding and criminal ambition is the only driver that creates the law and the wherewithal for securing their plans. This is further aggravated by their simultaneous and shameless claim to holiness and the imagined wonders they claim to have heaped upon the people.

    “Within a matter of days after its passage, the fanfare of the 21st amendment has vanished, the claims to try terrorists in the military courts have haemorrhaged and the resolve to eliminate terror has taken the back seat. The hanging spree, ill-founded in its inception, has also subsided while most of those sent to the gallows were condemned to be involved in the attempt on Musharraf’s life. It would be wrong to see this as signifying any change in the rulers’ plans. It was always meant to be like this and those who were reading a different message in the ceaseless harangue emanating from various functionaries of the ruling mafia have only themselves to blame for not having read through the deceptive script.”

    Within a matter of days after its passage, the fanfare of the 21st amendment has vanished, the claims to try terrorists in the military courts have haemorrhaged and the resolve to eliminate terror has taken the back seat. The hanging spree, ill-founded in its inception, has also subsided while most of those sent to the gallows were condemned to be involved in the attempt on Musharraf’s life. It would be wrong to see this as signifying any change in the rulers’ plans. It was always meant to be like this and those who were reading a different message in the ceaseless harangue emanating from various functionaries of the ruling mafia have only themselves to blame for not having read through the deceptive script.

    Under relentless pressure from the military, and with growing piles of documents against the manner of their governance and their indulgence in corruption and nepotism, the ruling mafia unceremoniously ceded ground to the GHQ. This was followed by the clamour of the two institutions being on the same page peaking deafeningly. But, that was then, almost two months ago. Apparently, the government wanted to give the military a message of solidarity and support, but the real intent was to buy time to make its own move that would further strengthen its complicity with the extremist groups of the country and, consequently, its hold on power.

    The abdication of governance has other belittling manifestations which are adversely impacting key state interests. The manner in which the proscribed organisations and their leaders were allowed, even encouraged to lead the chant on Kashmir on February 5 is a living example of how the ruling mafia is hell bent on damaging the cause, or whatever is left of it. Most of the people ruling the pulpits on the fateful day were the ones whom the government has publicly vowed to banish from the mainstream. It also follows that they would also be appropriately punished for their involvement in spreading the extremist culture in the country. Additionally, the inordinate space and time given to these people by the media also speaks of a total absence of understanding and direction in helping the cause of Kashmir. It looked like the Kashmir issue only mattered to the proscribed organisations. The government was hardly visible.

    “The proscribed preponderance of sloganeering for a cause that is perceived to be integral to Pakistan’s ethos is a reflection of the way in which the rulers think and what their real intentions may be. Behind the clamour of seeking international support for Kashmir, the ruling mafias have virtually forfeited the cause of Kashmir to the extremist groups and those who represent the regressive right in the existent political divide. Seeing the likes of Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin and associates leading the charge, pleading for abnegating the peaceful way of tackling the long outstanding conflict and taking to the armed option, seeking help from a hopelessly divided Ummah, even marching out of the United Nations, would only dent the cause of the people of Kashmir as the sole arbiters of the fate of their country. Nothing could be more damaging, more poisonous.”

    The proscribed preponderance of sloganeering for a cause that is perceived to be integral to Pakistan’s ethos is a reflection of the way in which the rulers think and what their real intentions may be. Behind the clamour of seeking international support for Kashmir, the ruling mafias have virtually forfeited the cause of Kashmir to the extremist groups and those who represent the regressive right in the existent political divide. Seeing the likes of Hafiz Saeed, Salahuddin and associates leading the charge, pleading for abnegating the peaceful way of tackling the long outstanding conflict and taking to the armed option, seeking help from a hopelessly divided Ummah, even marching out of the United Nations, would only dent the cause of the people of Kashmir as the sole arbiters of the fate of their country. Nothing could be more damaging, more poisonous.

    As part of the National Action Plan (NAP), one heard a ceaseless clamour regarding the need for rendering the proscribed organisations dysfunctional, registering and regulating all seminaries in the country, blocking the flow of funds to their coffers and a host of other initiatives aimed at denuding the sources of terror in the country. Such pragmatic approach was also required as part of moving forward on the prospect of improving relations with Afghanistan. The opportunity occurred when President Ashraf Ghani travelled to Pakistan, visited the GHQ and vowed to ‘bury the past’ and move forward. How has Pakistan responded to that initiative? Instead of moving quickly after the passage of the 21st amendment to counter terror, the government went on the back foot in the face of stiff opposition from the religious parties who are its coalition partners and whose sources of funding would, understandably, have been drastically threatened as a consequence of implementing the recommendations of the All Parties Conference (APC). The constitution of the military courts has now been challenged in the Supreme Court (SC) also and their formation inordinately delayed. The federal and provincial governments are also dragging their feet with no substantial and meaningful movement even after a lapse of almost two months since the passage of the constitutional amendment, this being a matter that poses a real-time existential challenge to the state.

    “The government remains busy following this dual charter: keep the military and public opinion quiet by releasing a barrage of hyperbole on the need of confronting the terror challenge and its good intentions in formulating and implementing effective remedial strategies and launching operations to do so, but, on the quiet, continue doing what it is committed to doing with its criminal partners, thus endangering the existence of the country as a genuinely viable state.”

    Apparently, it may appear to be bizarre, but this scribe is one of those who had predicted it immediately after the government agreed to follow the army’s directives and convened the first All Parties Conference (APC). The whole move was smitten with a lack of sincerity and commitment. It is the same government that then wasted over six months in constituting its own closet Taliban committee to negotiate with the real-time Talibans on the fundamentals of reaching agreement for peace in the country. The government acted to the exclusion of the liberal and progressive elements within the society who constitute a majority of the national population. It is like they did not exist at all and the fate of the country was left to be decided among people exclusively representing the regressive minority. When the matter dragged on endlessly from discussing one nondescript issue to the next, the army unilaterally launched the Zarb-e-Azb operation in FATA, leaving the government no option but to join in. Even then, it took over forty-eight hours to do so, thus indicating its palpable unwillingness.

    “Either the anti-terror clamour has to end, or the ruling mafia has to change its course and get on with governance. The dual-track hypocrisy has neither brought any relief to the people, nor is it likely to. This must go – and, with it, those who have preached and promoted it!”

    The second count has startling similarities with the first one: lack of sincerity and commitment. The government is not interested in initiating any serious action to eliminate terrorism from the country because those perpetrating the scourge are their political partners and they are still needed for further strengthening the tentacles of regression. The cause is common and the tactics are the same. The liberal ethos has no bearing for the rulers who are criminally engrossed in advancing the cause of the proscribed outfits and their patrons and promoters. That’s why the NAP remains dormant and, in the likely probability, will remain so in the foreseeable future as well.

    All this is the offshoot of intellectual dishonesty and the mountains of hypocrisy which have been raised over time. The ruling mafia is not interested in fighting terror, but doesn’t have the courage to say so. Instead, they flow with the stream of pressure and public opinion, but, clandestinely and deceptively, continue conspiring to do what they remain beholden to doing: to advance the regressive narrative that creates and promotes the terrorist mindset. The government remains busy following this dual charter: keep the military and public opinion quiet by releasing a barrage of hyperbole on the need of confronting the terror challenge and its good intentions in formulating and implementing effective remedial strategies and launching operations to do so, but, on the quiet, continue doing what it is committed to doing with its criminal partners, thus endangering the existence of the country as a genuinely viable state.

    Either the anti-terror clamour has to end, or the ruling mafia has to change its course and get on with governance. The dual-track hypocrisy has neither brought any relief to the people, nor is it likely to. This must go – and, with it, those who have preached and promoted it!

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