Running with the hare, hunting with the hounds!

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By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Pakistan’s history after military dictator General Ziaul Haq’s creepy advent into power can singly be defined as a catalogue of crimes. Intrigues, follies and running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. In this context, hare signify the Mulla community as manifested in Taliban and dozens of proxy mercenaries taking up arms for puppet masters in uniform in pursuit of various causes they justify ideologically to fight for.

As opposed to the running with the hare is to hunt with the hounds that Americans and the Western world represent free society. The tug of war is on between the two ever since 9-11 bombing of Twin Towers in New York, destroying of Afghanistan through fratricidal unending conflict and the war within Pakistan where it seems to have learnt to sleep with the enemy.

Despite its claims to have quashed terrorism incidents such as Quetta bomb blast the other day in which several persons were killed with many injured—speak of the lack of performance by law enforcers.

Despite the undeniable fact that Pakistan after having betrayed Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s vision of a secular, liberal, democratic and progressive social welfare state has been brutally fractured and its ideological moorings twisted into a security state that has a constitution  and a parliament but where powers flow from the barrel of the gun as manifested in the recent amendment in the Constitution giving three-year extension to Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa almost at gun point much like earlier setting up of military courts. Any media

Questioning by the media about the extension fiasco is considered blasphemous. Samaa TV under pressure edited part of a recent interview, including Q & A with President Arif Alvi about reappointment of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa when President Alvi said that he had just signed the summary.

As a consequence of all ‘engineering’ and gerrymandering at the hands of the Establishment that we have witnessed that came into effect after 2008 elections—life in Pakistan has moved from one crisis to another, one more serious than the previous leading us into a deeper quagmire.

Life in Pakistan has been rendered into short, brutish and nasty. According to a report in Journalist Diaries of ‘The Centrum Media’, ‘Pakistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a journalist. Ranked 142nd out of 180 counties by the World Press Freedom Index Pakistan is seen to have low level of pluralism media independence and respect for safety of journalists. In the last twenty years dozens of journalists have been killed in line of duty while many others have reported assault, harassment and even torture.

‘The Centrum Media’ brings the ‘Journalist Diaries’ telling the brave stories of the men and women who not persevered in this context but also Delivered some of the hardest hitting news. They reflect on the experience doing the work they love for which at times they risk their lives.’ Remember gruesome murders of Saleem Shahzad, Daniel Pearl and lately Aziz Memon in Sindh.

While journalists are exclusive targets of vested interests that lead to their forced abductions, the way youngsters are being raped and killed is yet another blood chilling chapter of the rapid deterioration in the law order situation. There is hardly a day when one does not come across any incident of child kidnapping and rape. The number of Paedophiles too is increasing and the most unfortunate part is that most men involved are shameless clerics.

One of the demands put up part of their negotiations by the Labaikis was the release of Padeophiles belonging to them. It is regretfully noted that most of cases of rape and murder of women children take place in the largest populated province of the country where police is supposed to have rendered Punjab into a police state. The murder of a senior police officer is nothing but a sad reflection on the performance of the police. 

In the post 9-11 Pakistan’s main problem was terrorist infiltration. Hordes of armed Taliban were running riot in the country. Their ingress in the Northern areas spread like invasion of locust. And it was shocking to know that Mullah Fazle Haq better known as Mulla Radio seemed to have a blank cheque from dictator General Pervez Musharraf who allowed him to violate brutally the writ of the

State to the extent his Jihadi warriors were 80 miles away from entering the Federal Capital short of capturing it. It was just then democratic Government took over and ordered the then Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to stop them and have their areas that had seeen mass exodus of local population, to be forcibly evicted by the terrorists.

President General Pervez Musharraf, as confessed by him repeatedly, used these hordes of terrorists for cross border intrusions into India and Kashmir. The key instruments in this operation were Hafiz Saeed and his JuD, Maulana Masood Azhar of JeM and several other groups declared internationalist terrorists. Hafiz Saeed was singled out by the Americans and the Indians as the mastermind behind Mumbai carnage of 2008. Only recently Hafiz Saeed has been sentenced by the ATC to 11 years for money laundering.

Surprising has been the story that has followed Hafiz Saeed’s conviction, the JeM chief Azhar Masood who was listed as a designated terrorist by UNSC1267 Committee on May 1, 2019 has been found missing with his family members much like killer Ehsanullah Ehsan of APC mayhem. Pakistan has accordingly informed global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Masood Azhar, founder of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has disappeared. Azhar was listed as a designated terrorist by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee on May 1, 2019.

Independent analysts believe that conviction of Hafiz Saeed is to influence the FATF that is presently reviewing Pakistan’s case to see if it fulfills the global standards criteria to combat terror financing. However, American official spokesperson Allice Wells has welcomed the conviction. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and the FATF is presently reviewing Pakistan’s case to see if it fulfills the global standards criteria to combat terror financing.

It is indeed, unfortunate that despite best efforts of Pakistan to combat terrorism, its western friends continue to see it as part of the continuing game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds, that is, keeping itself at best of terms with both.  

(Author is former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist.)