Regime Change or Cosmetic Surgery

Brigadier (R) Samson Simon Sharaf

When we as Pakistanis discuss the partition of the sub continent and creation of Pakistan, we usually refer to the freedom movement led by both Congress and Muslim League in the backdrop of events within the united India and the Jinnah-Nehru rivalry. We also ignore to shut our eyes to the reality that despite a sustained freedom struggle, Jinnah’s Pakistan has remained elusive due to the instability created by various power houses within and outside Pakistan’s politic body. 

By 1951, most of the die hard and ideological supporters of Jinnah had become back benchers, others left for India and those who dared became traitors or got the lead clad in copper. The entire construct of Pakistan as an equal opportunity and democratic republic evaporated in the heat of political machinations exploited by elites and zealots who themselves were never the vanguard of Jinnah’s movement. By 1956, the army as the strongest institution was hobnobbing with USA and in 1958 in full grip of political power. This political seesaw has continued without addressing the factors of perennial political instability; except that all interventions notwithstanding military or political have served to secure great power interests while compromising Pakistan’s strategic equilibrium and political institutions. 

Though most Pakistanis recognize and acknowledge the foreign intervention factor, none dilate that this same factor could have had an effect on the creation and future of Pakistan, evidently so because such research does not help our process of inventive nationalism and distortion of history. Had the bull be taken by the horns then, our generation of Pakistanis and the one before us would have evolved a modern and prosperous Pakistan.

History suggests that at the end of WW II, USA having emerged as the greatest military, economic and maritime power was not interested in dividing India. However due to relentless pressure of Jinnah and Nehru’s rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan, it was not possible for Britain to deny freedom to India through partition. It was also in their interests to create a Muslim buffer between the godless communism and rapidly growing relations between the congress, USSR and China. Hence Pakistan was given freedom with a bleeding Kashmir wound and the containing Radcliffe Award drawn not by Mountbatten as the common perception is but by Frank Wavell who handed him a map cutting across the Indus River System. The controversies thus created would ensure that Pakistan does not grow beyond a certain point and coalesce with other Muslim neighbors to challenge imperial interests. Britain’s Afghan Policy with obsession of CARS could be pursued through a containment front that ultimately served the British and US interests in the 80s.  This remains the constant road map; and hence the interchangeability of military interventions and political instability.

Ayub Khan’s intimate relations with USA not only allowed him to modernize the armed forces but also urged him to become the first military dictator of Pakistan. Yet when he began to say, ‘Friend not Masters’ it needed a price hike in sugar to remove him through another military man who presided over the partition of Pakistan.

When Bhutto coalesced too close to the Saudis and Iranians to make an Islamic Union, challenge the world through an oil embargo, settle Durand Line with Afghanistan and nuclearise Pakistan, he was sent to the gallows by another military man harvested in the killing fields of Jordan.

The man who served US interests so well in the Mock Afghan Jihad was blown up in air because he too had begun to harbor notions of a greater Ummah and Islamic Bomb.

Benazir was thrown out twice not because she was corrupt but for supporting Pakistan’s Nuclear Development much beyond the point her father had envisioned and bringing political stability to a war torn Afghanistan by cajoling Mullah Umar and Taliban. She was murdered because it was impossible to kill the Bhutto in her.

General Pervez Musharraf was forced to resign not because he wanted but because he was accused of playing a double game by USA. He was guilty of not doing enough.

If this be the precedence, empirically what is next?

The print and electronic media is rife with conspiracy theories about the winds of change. There are at least five lists being circulated by aspirants, technocrats and fly by night reformers. Most pundits due to obvious reasons rule out a conventional military intervention. Some theorists are pointing towards a military backed political change with the objective to eradicate corruption and usher good governance. There are still others who pray that the change takes place constitutionally in light of various Supreme Court Judgments and their defiance by the government. Yet there are diverse dreamers who wish to re revamp the entire system through a revolution and either return to Jinnah’s Dream or a Talibanised Emirate.

Having been a keen and critical student of Pakistan’s political sociology, allow me to comment that that if a change does take place, it shall only be cosmetic. In view of many skeletons in the cupboard, only the pawns will perish and Pakistan will continue to serve other’s interests but its own.

As ever, I also pray that if a constitutional change does take place, it pursues the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. This wish is not asking the moon.



Filed under Pakistan

23 responses to “Regime Change or Cosmetic Surgery

  1. moniems


    This is heavey artillery in the size of a 2 inch mortar!

    Who, would you say, represents the “aspirations of the people of Pakistan.”?

  2. Interesting reading and I agree the notion of the cosmetic change. As for who represents aspirations of people of Pakistan, sadly no one.

  3. moniems

    @ Jalal HB

    “As for who represents aspirations of people of Pakistan, sadly no one.”

    You have hit the nail on the head!

    Does any one know what those aspirations are?

    I would be thankful to anyone who can answer that for me.

  4. Midfield Dynamo

    Aspirations of the people are to ride the wave of progress. It can be had with a good business model, adopted either through inspiration or by shafting backsides…..differing means to the same end.

  5. AZW

    Benazir was thrown out twice not because she was corrupt but for supporting Pakistan’s Nuclear Development much beyond the point her father had envisioned and bringing political stability to a war torn Afghanistan by cajoling Mullah Umar and Taliban. She was murdered because it was impossible to kill the Bhutto in her.

    The article hints at a hidden hand that is removing Pakistani Presidents and Prime Ministers as they become too big for that hidden hand’s comfort. It is as if the short sighted policies adopted by the Pakistani leaders was not a good enough reason to begin with.

    The problem with these vague and undefined hidden hands (say the US or the UK) and their covert roles is that anything can be attributed to them quite conveniently. This article is a good example where the whole history has now been attributed to a sequence of events where the individual rulers (Bhutto, Ayub, Musharraf) did not pay for their poor judgments or leadership skills, which seemed to be aplenty in all of their cases; but rather got targeted by the hidden hand.

    I picked the above paragraph from this so-called analysis. Care to cite your sources and name some names as to who exactly wanted Benazir Bhutto out. Last time I checked she was the one considered closest to the US interests by the establishment in Pakistan. So by replacing her with Nawaz Sharif, who achieved what?

    Another gem from this analysis:

    As ever, I also pray that if a constitutional change does take place, it pursues the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. This wish is not asking the moon..

    Right, so what are the aspirations of the people of Pakistan? And constitutional change means what? Who replaces who?

  6. The writeup by Brigadier Sampson Sharaf is one of the best and most perceptive-in-a-nutshell about Pakistan (proves, were proof necessary, that not all our generals, generators and janitors have been a potful of nuts, a plotful of residue or plotting rodents.

    In spite of my SOS persistence (my favourite flower since 1958 has been Cauliflower!), I tip my Jinnah cap for Bridagier SSS.

  7. Samson Simon Sharaf

    On this blog not once but twice I have described how some of the regimes fell. Being a writer my words will not fade into the distant memory; rather I am accountable to history.

    My information is based on first hand PRIMARY. You could falsify me with your facts and are welcome to do so.

  8. AZW

    Mr. Sharaf:

    Ever heard of Occam’s Razor? I found your current article rather disjointed until I came across this gem from two years ago where you invoked every conspiracy, every minute connection to invoke the CIA connection behind Miss Bhutto’s death.

    According to you, the hidden hand killed Miss Bhutto because the Bhutto inside her was “unkillable”. Hidden hand removed her because she went farther in the nuclear program than what the hidden hand wanted. Too bad the hidden hand replaced her with someone who ended up taking the nuclear program to the whole new level by exploding the bomb. Hidden hand is not so smart after all.

    So to bring back the Occam’s Razor, here is a simple straightforward explanation for Miss Benazir Bhutto’s assassination:

    1) She clearly mentioned in late summer of 2007 that she will allow the US military to go after the Taliban and terrorists inside Pakistan

    2) Baitullah Mehsud threatened her personally and said that she would be welcomed with 50 suicide bombers on her arrival to Pakistan.

    3) On her arrival in Karachi, a suicide bomber blew himself up next to her vehicle. More than 150 people died during that attempt.

    4) Government of President Musharraf warned her clearly that there were suicide squads out to kill her and she must curtail her campaign activities.

    5) 12 days before her death, Musharraf forcefully precluded her from holding a rally at Liaquat Bagh since her life was in imminent danger. There were suicide squads hunting for her according to the intelligence reports.

    6) On December 26, a suicide bomber blew himself up right next to her, with another person firing a few shots at her just before the blow up. This time people who had been trying to kill her since her arrival in Pakistan got her. But only because she was waving cheerfully outside her vehicle, against the specific instruction of the ragtag police escort that was given to her. Had she not done that she may have survived yet again, just like she did in Karachi two months before.

    7) In a typical haphazard Pakistani way (the way country is governed, the way crisis are handled), crime scene was washed clean by inept city police officials.

    8 ) Her autopsy was stopped by the request of her own husband, not by someone else. The doctors who performed her final surgery gave full statements to the investigating officials as well as the UN enquiry commission afterwards.

    9) No further sniper fire was ever found. Punjab police was able to determine the identities of all five people that arrived in Rawalpindi for that operation, how they prepared for the operation. The names of the bomber and the man who fired the gun are all known now. All of them came from South Waziristan specifically to kill Miss Bhutto, with the ring leader under specific directions from one named Baitullah Mehsud.

    Now I invite you to jump through the hoops and let all of us know how the hidden hand was able to kill 150 people in Karachi, find readily available suicide bombers, and why Mr. Musharraf forcibly stopped Miss Bhutto from holding rallies. And if Miss Bhutto was the one most closely aligned to the West and the US, why the hidden hand a.k.a CIA got her killed in the first place. What did the hidden hand achieve by killing her that was not possible if she had been alive and the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

    And why the suicide bombing seminaries are only being found in the former headquarters of Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan that Pakistan Army is now controlling. Is it the same hidden hand orchestrating these suicide attacks (that happen to be exactly like the ones that killed Miss Bhutto) for the past few years in Pakistan, or the hidden hand found readily available suicide bombers like those of Baitullah Mehsud.

    Regarding your primary source source, there have been a few participants here on the forums who have quoted primary information because either they or their grandfathers were witness to historical events. This line of argument since cannot be either verified, nor trusted, I suggest that we stay away from primary sources when working up grand conspiracy theories.

    And while we are at it, I would invite you to explain further what are the aspirations of the people of Pakistan, what does a constitutional change exactly mean, and who replaces whom.

  9. Midfield Dynamo

    What are the names of the Bomber and the Firer, was the Firer killed in the explosion or did he get away? If they could kill Benazir with such impunity, then what was stopping them from killing Zardari, Gillani or other PPP leaders who profess the same agenda/policy. One can never be so sure as yourself, your emphatic stance indicates a motive to mislead the people. I am not saying that SSS is credible in anyway, but neither are you.

  10. ishfaq

    View from Bangladesh. Pakistanis seem to suffer from a perennial self-delusion, a state of denial. That they are the kingpin and the world is going around them conspiring, conspiring, they all know it, still cannot catch a single conspirator. I watched Mr. Zaid Hamid on youtube, laughable at best, yet I hear that thousands of Pakistani youths are behind him dreaming of marching on to Red Fort, Delhi. I see no future for a nation that suffers from such mass hysteria.

  11. moniems


    I agree with you entirely.

    We keep talking about Indian conspiracy in Baluchistan. When a correspondent confronted the Indian Foreign Minister in the presence of our FM, the reply was simple. The Indian FM said, “We were told Pakistan will provide us some evidence in this matter, but so far not even a shred of evidence has been produced”. Our FM kept sitting quietly like a Bheegi Billi. This is how we make fools of ourselves.

    Nations are not built on falsehoods. Our nation is known for telling white lies with a straight face. When we are caught out we do not even feel ashamed.

    The time is upon us when no body has any respect for us, but there are many who are afraid of us. Fear is not going to get us many friends.

  12. AZW

    Midfield Dynamo:

    What are the names of the Bomber and the Firer, was the Firer killed in the explosion or did he get away? If they could kill Benazir with such impunity, then what was stopping them from killing Zardari, Gillani or other PPP leaders who profess the same agenda/policy. One can never be so sure as yourself, your emphatic stance indicates a motive to mislead the people. I am not saying that SSS is credible in anyway, but neither are you.

    There were detailed news story back in 2008 in major newspapers detailing the results of investigation by the Punjab Police in cooperation with CID. The one I read was published in The News. The link to that story in The News is now broken, but this story from Pak Observer details the results from the investigation by the Punjab Police.

    The whole operation and its members were uncovered by February 2008 by the Punjab Police. Perhaps other readers may be able to give more updates on the results and the status of the arrested gang members. It is my understanding that some of the members, including the main player named Ikramullah, are either still at large.

    The Daily Times story is the more recent update on the four arrested suspects and is dated January 18, 2010.

  13. Midfield Dynamo

    The reports referenced are fraught with contradictions in themselves. They are designed to mislead the people and add to the complications of the conspiracy theories, their concoctions are based on illegitimate witnesses.

    If you believe in them, the only person you are fooling is yourself.

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  15. Samson Simon Sharaf

    I did post a link that has not been moderated by the editors. It would have answered many questions raised by ASW.
    I would request the blog managers to reproduce my article ‘The Pyre Must Burn’ to answer many questions. It can be Googled.

  16. AZW

    Mr. Sharaf:

    There is a fundamental problem with conspiracy theories. They need elaborate assumptions, and assumptions behind assumptions to be justified. These theories may give one some solace, they may take the crushing weight of our own failings from our shoulders. These theories at the end harm no one but ourselves.

    Your fixation with the hidden hands and the world-out-to-get-us is rather surprising. I read the (so called) investigative report that you have titled The Pyre Must Burn. If this is what you consider answers to the questions that will invariably chase the fanciful conspiracy theories, then I wish you the very best. You will be chasing these shadows for a long time.

    During the past decade, Pakistanis have perfected the art of the evil hidden-hand-nexus against us. Some examples:

    1) 9/11: Jews conspired to kill Americans so that Americans can attack a third world nation like Afghanistan. Why, what was achieved, no one ever uttered a peep later. Not to mention that hundreds of Jewsdid die in the 9/11 attacks.

    2) Taliban: They were branded agents of R&W, with more fanciful accounts proclaiming that uncircumcised Hindu males were found donning Taliban dresses. What happened to that conspiracy theory.

    3) India is behind the Balochistan insurgency. Oh well, insurgencies by definition start against perception of injustices. And since we have seldom acknowledged ourselves as being the unjust ones, let’s blame it on India. The last time I checked India (and the world) is still waiting for a proof of Indian actively fanning insurgency in Balochistan.

    4) 11/26 attacks: Conspiracy theories were crying hoarse that the Mumbai attackers were wearing saffron wrist bands. Right, that theory was wildly popular for a full six months after the attack.

    5) Blackwater: was about to take over Pakistan just a year ago, right?

    And finally, 6) Miss Benazir Bhutto was murdered by a hidden hand. This is in face of the investigation by the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan, in face of the sheer stupidity of having the closest to America leader murdered by America (hidden hand) so that Taliban can be attacked. The hidden hand was stupid enough to bring Pakistan to the edge of precipice by murdering her only truly federal leader. A chaotic Pakistan is what a Taliban salivates for. Is hidden hand Taliban? Or hidden hand CIA? Have no worry as the resident theorists invoke hidden hand as CIA/MOSSAD, General Parvez Musharraf and President Asif Ali Zardari among many for the muder.

    It is a free for all pick-your-favourite-conspiracy-theory season.

    What has this mentality done to us? It took Pakistan until 2007 to realize that the Taliban (the good guys before) were out to annihilate everything that a civilized Pakistan stands for. Hiding behind the conspiracy theories, we never saw the cancer that was spreading from the militant Islam that was being nurtured in Afghanistan by our proxy regime there. We were busy blaming Jews and Hindus for our misfortune, while the fault lies with us all along.

    And while the only leader,who had the guts to speak out against Baitullah Mehsud and his fanatic band of followers, was killed by a suicide bomber after repeated attempts, we are busy looking for hidden hand for our woes, and her murderers.

    It all becomes as-convoluted-as-it-gets as the resident theorists construct these parallel worlds. The conspiracy theories come, live out there shelf life, enflame passions, constructs more imaginary enemies, and then eventually leave town as slowly the facts discredit these theories. But if last 10 years are any indication, we have been at this exercise for a long time. Belatedly we act when our shortcomings are hung out in public for everyone to see, when we become the most dangerous (and equally the most delusional) nation on earth. Our patriotic chest thumping seldom looks inward. The chase for the imaginary enemies continues.

    And last but not the least: I have asked you this a few times already. I suspect that in this whole labyrinthine construct of yours, no one would ever know what are the aspirations of Pakistanis, who is replacing whom, and what does a constitutional change exactly mean? Another badly constructed woe originating of a muddled search for the enemy I presume.

  17. Midfield Dynamo

    Beautifully written, but quite astonishing that a person of your eloquence would conclude B.B to be Pakistan’s ‘only truly federal leader’ and Baitullah Mehsud to be her undoubted killer. Which could be a possibility but your unequivocal stance makes you an ass wipe for US imperialism, that’s what I dislike about you. Like a new age Uncle Tom, you are desperately trying to justify your existence and loyalty to the empire.

  18. AZW

    Midfield Dynamo:

    Three points regarding your comment:

    1) Discrediting our pastime habit of weaving elaborate conspiracy theories does not mean swiping someone else’s bottoms. These conspiracy theories have kept us busy looking elsewhere as the cancer was spreading from within. You are most welcome to call me New Age Uncle Tom for questioning the failed approach. Your argument does nothing to help the failed approach. A failed approach will remain a failed approach.

    2) If you can point out the flaws in my argument, by all means go ahead. I do not believe in elaborate conspiracy theories that defy common sense and need elaborate assumptions and arrangements unsupported by the facts. Importantly, there is no counter theory to a conspiracy theory.

    Questioning the theories is not a result of following someone else’s dictation. This us-or-them mentality as phony as it gets; whether when a right wing Muslim proclaims war on the infidels, or when an American President proclaims a war against the enemy.

    3) At the time of her murder, Miss Benazir Bhutto was the most federal political leader in Pakistan. She had popular support in all four Pakistani provinces, as does her party to this day.


    Calling Brigadier Sahib the ”Ass Swipe is not cricket and wrong, and why are peiople resorting to unparliamentary branding and of the wallstigmas.

    I say, BBB was kjilled because her head was hit by the open door of her security-proof car.

  20. Midfield Dynamo


    Granted, conspiracy theories are a waste of time and could be diversionary as well, by the same token to have unquestioning faith in your choice of conspiracy theory, for which evidence is circumstantial, arguments are debatable and absolute decisions are a far cry the basis is as flimsy as the other conspiracy theories and could be a diversionary ruse, whether instigated knowingly or inadvertently is something you must judge for yourself.

    I may fail to employ the choice of words and will surely fall short in composition, but my attempt will be an unbiased common sense opinion of the failed approach. The popular support of her party is based on corruptive coerciveness employed through greedy local leaders who bloat their own bank accounts and have the ability to continually fool the voters. And yes unfortunately these corrupt greedy politicians are for the taking in every province. The failed approach thus is not concerned with conspiracy theories, the failed approach is in lacking the moral courage to speak the truth and in your words ‘salivate’ over the probability of sharing that ill begotten wealth, towing the official line, you can call it ‘democratic totalitarianism’.

    Instead thus, to concern yourself with conspiracy theories, you should desist from patronizing corruption even if it is ‘popular’, better still you should denounce it.


    AWZ, however, is perfectly right that facile (bit on the romantic side as well) Hidden Hand theories and related apologetics have kept us busy looking elsewhere than where the trouble brewed and lies. This too has patronized and facilitated massive corruption, irresp;onsibility and bred double-standards and apathy which are beyond description or tolerance. Our priorities have been upside-downed and contaminated. Now we are rudderlessly operating powerlessly.

  22. I am new to this issue and have been spending a lot of time researching the Pakistani issue.