Friday, December 17, 2010

La Verite En Marche


by Roedad Khan

As I waded through the Wikileak documents, I was reminded of the wisdom of the Arab proverb: the word you have not spoken is your slave; the word you have spoken is your master.

The publication of Wikileaks secret and confidential dispatches has become a cause celebre throughout the world and has hit Pakistan like a Tsunami spreading in fast and unpredictable ways. Pakistan has been shaken up like a sleeping person from a tranquilising dream. A terrible shower of cold water has fallen over the people of Pakistan. This is Pakistan’s bleakest hour. Truth – unvarnished, unalloyed, unedited, has hit “democratic” Pakistan, exposing its fake sovereignty, its fake independence, its fake leadership, in fact all its Potemkin institutions.

In every independent country there are certain articles of faith – national sovereignty, independence, patriotic leadership that protects, not betrays national interests – that people accept unquestioningly, often indeed, in the face of inconvenient facts. The Wikileaks documents have shattered that faith in this sad country. It has thrown tonnes of dirt, filth, shame on the leadership of Pakistan. The shit, as American say, has hit the fan. Pakistan has been betrayed by her elected representatives, betrayed by her rulers, stabbed in the back by power-hungry generals, tripped up by her so-called ally in the war on terror. 

But first, a few general observations on the dispatches themselves. The cables contain narratives of meetings with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, Chief of Army Staff General Kiyani, discussions with prominent politicians, including members of the opposition and private citizens. It is the single largest unauthorised disclosure of secret and confidential documents which chronicle events that have contemporary significance and have a present impact on vital matters of public importance. Also captured in the reports is the internal power struggle, shifting loyalties and Byzantine intrigues. The reports tell us what the ambassador saw and heard from her vantage position: the clash of personalities, the conflicts among the key players, their ambitions, their hopes, their prejudices, their fears, and their frustrations.

Here are a few samples of what our leaders told US Ambassador Anne Patterson: General Kiyani thought of removing and sending President Zardari into exile during the long march days; Asif Ali Zardari disclosed that Benazir Bhutto had come to Pakistan after getting “clearance” from the US; Zardari had promised immunity and safe passage to Musharraf before becoming President; Musharraf wanted to sack Kiyani because he was not helping. Are you with me? 

Faryal Talpur has been named as Zardari’s successor and next president of Pakistan! General Kiyani says Faryal will be a better president than Zardari; Zardari showed Benazir’s will to Anne Patterson to convince her that he is the genuine heir; PM Gilani approved the drone attacks; General Kiyani wanted to remove Zardari and elevate Asfandyar Wali Khan as president; The ISI chief tells the Americans Zardari is corrupt. Are you with me? Moulana Fazlur Rehman asks Anne Patterson to support his PM candidacy; The JUI chief hinted his votes in NA are up for sale; Asfandyar Wali Khan asks for US help to convince Nawaz Sharif and Zardari; Kiyani tells Patterson, he dislikes Nawaz more than Zardari; Zardari says Amin Faheem had spent most of the 2008 election campaign in Dubai, was simply too lazy for prime minster. Are you with me? UK airport Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup called Zardari a numbskull who knows nothing about running a country; US Embassy says the Zardari government is weak, ineffectual and corrupt; Bureaucracy is settling into third-world mediocrity; Nawaz assured US, he supported them; Militants driving agenda in Pakistan’s war on terror; Nawaz wanted to bring A Q Khan in politics; Mumbai attacks closed the door on Kashmir discussion between India and Pakistan; General Kiyani didn’t wish to takeover government. He said he would have taken over during the lawyer long march if he wished to; Zardari told the US, we won’t act without consulting with you. And many more such disclosures yet to come.

The United States posted some of its brightest and best diplomats to Pakistan for the obvious reason that Pakistan possessed considerable importance to American foreign policy. It is therefore not surprising that the Ambassador’s reporting is truthful and of a high quality. There is also commendable absence of bias. It would, of course, be unfair to find complete impartiality as the object of the dispatches is to defend and further the interests of the United States. And most important of all, the emphasis is on what the interlocutor told the diplomat, and not vice versa.

The portraits of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani that have emerged confirm what the people of Pakistan think of them. Both come off as servile, obsequious, lackeys of the United States, insecure, highly dependent on American support, too willing to sacrifice national interest in order to secure American help for themselves and remain in power.

Zardari and Gilani keep the people in the dark, tell them lies, and treat truth as an insignificant value which can be suppressed, distorted, and readily sacrificed to the will for power. But truth is on the march and nobody can stop it. All else will pass, but the truth will remain. I know that precisely because the interests involved are too great and the men who wish to stifle the truth are too powerful, the whole truth will not be known for sometime. But there is no doubt that very soon every bit of it, without exception, will be divulged. No matter how deep you bury the truth, it burrows ahead underground and one day surfaces again everywhere to spread like some vengeful vegetation. It carries the power within it to sweep away all obstacles. And whenever the way is barred, whenever someone does succeed in burying it for any time at all, it builds up underground, gathering such explosive force that the day it bursts out at last, it blows up everything with it.

Fortunately, the independence of the Fourth Estate is now a fact of life and cannot be reversed. No one can prevent the truth from continuing its onward march. Truth shall win. And the men in high positions, who are combating the truth and stifling it, will find to their dismay that as the great Greek poet Euripides said, “Quo vult perdere Jupiter dementat”. Jupiter drives to madness those whose downfall he desires.

Where do we stand today? On August 14, 1947, we thought we had found freedom, but it has turned out to be another kind of slavery. The Wikileaks dispatches make it abundantly clear. The independence of Pakistan is a myth. Pakistan is no longer a free country. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state with a puppet government set up by Washington. I have been saying this for years.

Today Pakistan has all the requirements to make it the perfect American target for recolonisation. It has a rotten socio-political system in an advanced stage of decay and decomposition; its rulers are corrupt, authoritarian, unresponsive to the prime needs of the people, accountable to none; it lacks the will to defend itself because what its rulers represent is not worth defending; it is highly vulnerable to attack; a coup de grĂ¢ce, or a coup de main, a powerful kick and the entire rotten structure will come crashing down.

“Amir!” Quaid-e-Azam told Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad in 1948, “You have no idea of the situation here. I am surrounded by traitors.” The situation we face today is much worse. Therefore, it is a political and moral imperative for all patriotic Pakistanis to expose the traitors, fight for our core values, resist foreign intervention in our internal affairs and destroy the roots of evil that afflict Pakistan. Let us put our hand on the arc of history, and bend it once more toward the hope of a better Pakistan.
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