Saturday, October 20, 2007

Peace from the barrel of a gun?

I don't know what sickens me most; the state of Pakistani politics or the western media who haven't a clue about what is going on and present it as a battle between terrorism and democracy. I guess the most sickening thing this week though was the brutal murder of over a hundred people in the streets of Karachi. Life has become cheap and politics so debased that opposition political supporters are considered no better than cockroaches. That is the attitude of the religious extremists who are traitors to their own religion though they claim to fight for it. That is also the attitude of secular politicians with the exception of minor parties such as that led by ex-cricketer Imran Khan.

The circus surrounding Bhutto's return to Pakistan was bound to end in tragedy. Her constant posing in Washington and ingratiating herself to the US establishment had one purpose only and that was to convince them that she was the most pro-US Pakistani politician and that she would give them whatever they wanted. While the yanks like nothing better than servile foreign leaders, they recognise from the past that even when she served as prime minister in the past, she had little or no control over the state. That control as ever lies with the military and the bureaucracy. Therefore, even if she ends up in the same position, there is no likelihood that she will be any better for Washington than any of Musharaff's puppets.

If you read the papers and keep in mind the media propaganda output as a litmus test of western political thinking, it will be clear to you that Pakistan is almost on a par with Iran as the next target for intervention. According to commentators, an embryonic terrorist state within a state is being born in northern Pakistan where Al-Qaeda sympathisers have the upper hand and violence and terrorism are the norm. As usual this is a cleverly concocted lie disguised as an evident truth. The only evidence you need for the scenario are to look at the guns and violence in the region. However, the NWFP has never been a particular peace loving region. Some Pathan tribes have been carrying guns for decades and indulging in murder and drugs behind a veil of fake religious fervour. The actions of Musharaff in sending troops to Waziristan have served only to stoke up the fires.

The real challenge is not to battle terrorism as an external shapeless deadly enemy gathering on the north western borders of Pakistan. The challenge is to rip apart the very foundations of the political establishment in Pakistan - root and branch - and to replace them with something that is consistent with real democracy (not a fake western imposed model). There has to be a negotiated an end to the warring in the region. Peace cannot be imposed from the barrel of a gun unless you intend to commit genocide. Frankly, it looks like an impossible job because the system owns the people. They are enslaved to the big parties or bullied into voting for them. They are brain-washed by the media and abused by the establishment. People grow old and cynical but the system recruits newer generations and perpetuates like an aggressive tumour.


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