Wikileaks and our fantasies

Raza Rumi

The Wikileaks’ damning half-truths pertain to the anti-war movement within the US. This has caused embarrassment to the US war architects and stirred the military industrial complex and its cousin, the corporate and embedded media. Similarly, what has been said about the role of Pakistan and its globally famed Inter Services Agency (ISI) is not something that is really a revelation and is more or less an open secret. Three important questions need to be considered before Wikileaks can be taken seriously.

Do field reports from individual sources, especially disgruntled, anti-Pakistan Afghan nationals constitute ‘evidence’? No. Is there sufficient evidence to substantiate the startling sensational pieces of information? Perhaps not. Is the Pakistan-ISI role central in the Taliban insurgency within Afghanistan? No clear answers can be determined due to the complexity of the Taliban resistance and the involvement of multiple players.<!–more–>

The ‘leaks’ identify that Pakistan, India and Iran are fully involved in the Afghan drama and singling out the ISI is not the whole truth regardless of whatever the western media says. Afghanistan is an occupied and fragmented country, far more layered than the simplified views from Washington, Islamabad or New Delhi.

However, this does not mean that conspiracy theorists in Pakistan are right. It has been the Pakistani state’s determined policy to gain not-so-strategic depth and use the Taliban to rule Kabul by proxy. It was done right under the nose of our most progressive politician in the 1990s. Another prime minister celebrated the Taliban’s quick dispensation of justice. Since then there have been ‘embedded’ analysts and opinion-makers in Pakistan who think that the Taliban are the righteous solution for Afghanistan. It is only when the TTP started to threaten the Pakistani state that this truth was challenged and a war against the miscreants was declared in April 2009.

The revelations are mostly un-sourced and our foreign policy managers have denounced it as yet another conspiracy against Pakistan. But that is simply not enough. The question is whether these revelations will prompt us to rethink where we stand. Unfortunately not. We are glued to our Taliban policy and quest for strategic depth. Already, there are indications that the ‘good’ Taliban will be given a share of post-Nato Afghanistan. Whilst it may serve short-term purposes it is inimical to the long-term stability of Pakistan.

The fact is that the Afghan Taliban are linked to the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan through kinship and ethnic affinities and both entities are not committed to nation-state borders. Their aim is to establish a Khilafat and we cannot pretend that fighting one arm here and supporting another will be beneficial for us. Pakistan, for the last three decades, has been a playground for sectarian, militant movements with considerable finances, outreach and media support. These organisations are working to impose their brand of statehood through violence. How many states will we accommodate, especially when the centre, in present form, does not have great authority over its constituent units?

It would be unwise to dismiss these leaks. It is time to acknowledge that the world knows of our fantasies and strategies. Pakistanis are not interested in what the west likes or dislikes. We are concerned for our security,  especially for the burgeoning youth of this country. It is time to deepen the corrective action within, rather than looking westwards for strategic victories. It is hoped that the civil-military leadership realises this and takes corrective action against the extremists within us and who threaten our very existence.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2010.

Also published by The Australian


Filed under Pakistan

14 responses to “Wikileaks and our fantasies

  1. Brilliant post Raza bhaiya.

    Raza Rumi , YLH and other Pakistanis in this forum and other blogs who want a more tolerant , progressive , liberal version of their religion in Pakistan and elsewhere should understand(which already they do) that Taliban or any extremist organisation is NOT in the interest of Pakistani society in the long term.

    Be it LET , Taliban , TTP or any other, they are all products of same extremist ideology and needs to be prevented .

    Hope voices of people like Raza Rumi , YLH and others will win.

  2. Very incisive analysis of the so called “leaks.” What we need is an analysis of within and rehashing of our policies that should serve us in long run. Clinging to one set of course of action would be harmful for the country. We need to debate such issue in our parliament before finalizing our future strategies. But the only problem I find en route is the lack of intellect and foresight of our elected representatives. What can be expected of people with fake degrees, very low intellectual abilities and mental acumen.

  3. ashu


    Why do you think elected Reps have low intellectual acumen? I would think that winning elections, sustainedly, requires a high level of shrewdness and leadership skills.

  4. Farukh Sarwar

    It is true that the civil military bureaucracy must work together to root out the cause of terrorism/extremism in our country, so that the coming generations can see a prosperous country.

  5. @ashu
    Yes so very true – but legislation and policy making does require intellect and knowledge not shrewdness and so called leadership skills which is used to make fool of illiterate voters.

  6. ashu

    @ Jalal

    You have a point.

    However its always been my personal feeling that these guys do not lack in intellectual capacity, but they get addicted to power, and hence take stands on policy that may not be very sound but are politically beneficial to them.

  7. America and England both have many elected and re-elected national congressmen and senators with both undergraduate and law degrees which are fully earned. These men (for the most part) have good experience of professional life and are fully versed in politics and the law. But many of them are totally addicted to their privileged status in Washington, or London, to their perks and privileges, and to being on the unofficial payroll of various corporate interests. Whom indeed do they represent besides their own narrow self-interest?

    How many of us have never waited on the tarmac of Lahore or another airfield while some relative of a politician or minor mullah has made their leisurely way from the executive lounge to the plane which is being held there for their little conspicuous show of privileged status?

  8. Parvez

    Why Wikileaks90000 document dump is Fake:
    Computer data bases store documents and data sets and then they are coded for attributes such as date, location, type, source, and reliability. In addition security level to access the information is also coded into database. Lower level people get to look very limited information. Larger the information, higher is the level of security. Full data is available to organization heads only. For secure databases, the data is encrypted and even copying is not allowed. When you access a database, your ID will be recorded and displayed to security officials.
    There is a possibility that somebody is maintaining a private database from raw information. A single individual can’t do it over a period of six years.
    In any case it is collection of write up of agencies of NATO and their supporters in Kabul.
    So there you have it. It is an official leak, only by Wikileak.

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  10. Tariq

    What is being said about ISI and their espousal of Taliban is not untrue; it was a necessity in view of the confrontation with India. However the emergence of the Taliban should not be dated from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; the movement began long ago and passed through various “training scenarios”, e.g. the 1953 agitation against the Qadianis, the post-1971 anti-PPP agitations, the urban riotings in Karachi masterminded by the JI in 80’s, the violent students’ movements resulting in much damage and numerous deaths in various educational institutions like DMC and Karachi University and other colleges, to name a few.

  11. Chote Miya

    But you would have to admire the ingenuity behind the conspiracy theories. Some of them are quite stunning in terms of a warped complexity of thought process.

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  13. Tilsim

    “In Pakistan, for the last three decades, has been a playground for sectarian, militant movements with considerable finances, outreach and media support. These organisations are working to impose their brand of statehood through violence.”

    In Karachi, who’s the enemy? Ethnic strife or Religious strife….the mystery continues but my bet would be that Rehman Malik is right – it’s the religious extremists trying to light another uncontrollable fire. We await further evidence..

    Here is how it’s being reported today and yesterday:

    KARACHI: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Tuesday termed the recent violence in Karachi as a conspiracy against the coalition partners in the Sindh government and vowed that banned outfits such as Sipah-e- Shaba and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan would be eliminated.

    While talking to media persons, Malik condemned the target killing of MQM MPA Raza Haider and said that the “enemies were trying to trap us but we would not let this happen.”

    The interior minister said that 20 suspects were held for arson attacks in Karachi.

    He lauded the peace call made by the MQM chief Altaf Hussain and said that no incident of violence had taken place since 4 am on Tuesday.

    He said that heavy contingents of police and Rangers had been deployed in the city. Strict action would be taken against miscreants involved in arson attacks, he added.—DawnNews

    And Express Tribune earlier…

    Chaos in Karachi following MQM MPA’s murder

    The phenomenon of target killings in Karachi assumed alarming proportions on Monday with the assassination of a sitting provincial legislator triggering intense violence in the provincial capital claiming over 30 lives.

    The violence also spread to other areas of urban Sindh, including Hyderabad and Sukkur.

    While it is still unclear whether the assassination was political or sectarian in nature, the gunning down of Sindh MPA from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Raza Haider sparked a wave of fear and violence across Karachi, bringing back painful memories of the terror that plagued the city in the ‘90s’. At least 40 vehicles were burnt in rioting that followed the assassination, while over 100 people were injured.

    Though the city has been in the grip of the target killings for about two years now, it has, to date, only seen the killing of lower-level cadres. Haider was the first high-profile victim of violence that is tinged with politics, ethnicity and sectarianism.

    Soon after Haider’s assassination, the city came to a grinding halt in a hail of aerial firing reported from a number of areas. Major markets and petrol stations shut down almost instantly. Traffic assumed chaotic proportions, with citizens, fearing the worst, rushing to get to the safety of their homes. The authorities, meanwhile, announced that educational institutions will remain closed on Tuesday.

    According to the details, MQM MPA Raza Haider was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while in an imambargah in Nazimabad No 2.

    Along with Haider, Khalid Khan, his gunman, was killed in the hail of bullets unleashed by the assassins. Doctors who received Haider’s body said that the MPA had been hit by no less than 18 bullets. Police, however, said that the fatal shot came from the bullet that hit him in his head.

    Eyewitnesses said that there were six assassins travelling on motorcycles. Haider died on the way to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. He had been a member of the MQM since 1985, and elected to the Sindh Assembly from his Orangi Town constituency in 2008.

    Riots started in the city within two hours of the incident. After the initial dash home by citizens, eyewitnesses said that the streets in the defunct district east wore a deserted look. Only those waiting for public transport could be seen standing on the roads.

    “Everyone was in a frenzy. Shopkeepers in the furniture market beneath my apartments could not close down fast enough. One young man got off his bike to help one stash his furniture inside the shop. People walked home on foot because all the shops and restaurants closed down immediately,” Tehmina Qureshi, a resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar who witnessed the violence told The Express Tribune.

    Compounding the atmosphere of fear, street lights had been shut across the city. Neither city district government nor Cantonment Board Clifton officials were willing to comment on the lights. Heavy contingent of police and rangers were deployed in the tense areas. The dead included activists of both the MQM and the Awami National Party (ANP)

    Casualties were reported from Liaquatabad, Model Colony, Nazimabad, North Nazimabad, Landhi, and New Karachi.

    Meanwhile, the funerals of the political workers of MQM and ANP killed late on Monday night were performed in different parts of the city marked by tension and heightened emotions. Heavy contingents of Rangers and police reached the spot to avert any untoward situation.

    The number of dead brought to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Complex (JPMC) was stated to be 14, while 11 bodies were brought to the Civil Hospital Karachi. Five bodies were brought to the Abbassi and Qatar hospitals.

    Matters in the city were already tense on Sunday after the killing of a former councillor of the MQM and a worker of the ANP.

    MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the assassination of Raza Haider and termed it a great tragedy for the nation. He made an earnest appeal to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to order an inquiry into the incident and apprehend the killers as soon as possible.

    The MQM Coordination Committee has announced three-day mourning over the tragic incident.

    President Asif Ali Zardari, currently in France to meet the French president, has condemned the incident, and directed Interior Minister Rehman Malik to travel to Karachi and have the matter investigated thoroughly.

    While it is still unclear who was responsible, the MQM coordination committee blamed the ANP for the killing, pointing to an earlier threatening statement by ANP Sindh chief Shahi Syed. Member of MQM Coordination Committee Wasey Jalil while talking to The Express Tribune said that “the MQM is hundred per cent sure that Shahi Sayed and the ANP are behind the ongoing target killing incidents and killing of Raza Haider”.

    However, Syed denied the allegations, saying that the killing of the MPA was a conspiracy against peace in Karachi. “We strongly condemn the incident and demand the government to bring perpetrators of the incident to justice,” Syed said.

    General Secretary ANP Amin Khattak while talking to The Express Tribune also condemned the target killing of MQM MPA, and denied the allegations that the ANP could be involved in the killing. Replying to a question, he said that Shahi Syed’s statement regarding taking revenge of the killing of ANP workers was just a political statement.

    He said ANP is with the leadership of MQM in this time of grief. Meanwhile, President Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat Maulana Orangzeb Farooqi also condemned the killing of MQM MPA Raza Haider. “This is a terrorist plot aimed at disturbing the peace of the country, carried out by enemies of Pakistan,” Maulana Farooqi told The Express Tribune. He added: “We condemn the remarks made by Rehman Malik. We do not support violence and terrorism. In this difficult time we stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers in the MQM.”

    Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2010.

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