By Yasser Latif Hamdani
The article below from Examiner epitomizes bad analysis that some in the US insist on carrying out which is damaging to the much flaunted “common objective”. God forbid if the author is right, it just means that the US is pursuing a perilous path by ignoring advice from Pakistan’s hardened policy hands. The author is absolutely wrong when she says the Pakistan Army “has never been excited” about US aid and intervention. The Pakistani military has always been very close to the Pentagon. What Obama needs is a sustainable strategy which brings on board every key player including Pakistan’s civilian federal government and the Pakistan Army.
This means that the US will have to address Pakistan’s concerns vis a vis Indian involvement in Afghanistan. All of India’s so called interests in Afghanistan are Pakistan specific. Furthermore, the US needs to come out clearly and distance itself from the horrendous and ridiculous Col Peters’ Plan which finds an increasingly audience amongst the new great gamers. How would US do that? Well for one – US has no business dealing directly with the NWFP and ANP. US should make it very clear that its channel of communication is with Pakistan’s Supreme Commander President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. The US Administration should stop making direct contacts with either Asfandyar Wali Khan, Amir Haider Hoti etc and treating them as the founding father and prime minister of a new state. They should be treated on merit as a provincial party and a provincial government. ( I wonder if there are people in the current administration naive enough to flirt with this idea of an independent Pakhtunistan. If there are indeed such geniuses, they should know that their new found favorites will be swept away in a flood.)
Here is the article I was talking about: Continue reading
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, North-West Frontier Province, Obama, Pakistan, Politics, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror, World, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari
From The Dawn:
The price of moral cowardice
AUGUST 11, 1947, in the constituent assembly of Pakistan at Karachi: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” — Founder and maker of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Continue reading
The ANP challenge in NWFP
by Yasser Latif Hamdani
Here is a suggestion: What if instead of a PPP prime minister or PML-N prime minister, ANP’s Asfandyar Wali Khan was to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan? Could this be a viable option?
The high politics of coalition making and breaking have already begun in the capital. Besides the many considerations of judiciary and democracy, the mainstream Pakistani parties which have won- PPP and PML-N- must take stock of the new situation emerging out of the NWFP with ANP’s massive victory there. Informed cynics have begun to question the victory of ANP as part of a grand strategy to bolster up Hamid Karzai and the NATO forces against the rising tide of militancy, the underlying implication being that the elections were indeed rigged in a new and unique manner this time around. ANP and secular Pushtun nationalism has long been viewed as the one party that might be able to successfully challenge the talibanization in the region.
What is forgotten however is that today these two forces or ideas may be loggerheads, but in the past forces of Pushtun nationalism and the left forces have been willingly coopted by the Islamist forces and vice versa. The story of Pushtun left’s romance with the right wing Islamists is a long one, spanning back to the 1920s. There was a time when Mufti Mahmood, the stalwart of the Deobandi Islamist movement, the precursor of Talibanism of today, could preside over the left-oriented National Students Federation.
So make no mistake about it: The portrayal of ANP’s victory NWFP as a victory for secularism and democracy in that province is perhaps too optimistic an analysis given the history. While many Pakistanis, including this author, rooted for the ANP’s victory as a less bitter pill or simply the means of getting the Islamist MMA out of power in the frontier, to suggest that ANP has historically been consistently secular or democratic is not only naive but almost criminal when it comes to history. There is no question that Asfandyar Wali Khan today speaks in favor of the war on terror, but it was his illustrious grandfather, Bacha Khan also known as the Frontier Gandhi, who colluded with Fakir of Ipi in Waziristan in 1947 to bring down the “irreligious” Pakistan government. Their allegation was that the founders of Pakistan are too irreligious and secular to allow Islam to take root in Pakistan. Instead of getting into a protracted war with the Fakir, the Pakistan government carried out the Operation Curzon and very wisely withdrew Pakistani forces, thereby taking the wind out of those machinations. Continue reading