By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam
There is evidence that media houses are being encouraged to hype up the decibel level on the purported external threats to Pakistan. One TV channel is about to start an intensive campaign to highlight the Western plans to cause us damage in collusion with the Indians and the Zionists
The religious, militant and sectarian organizations are having a field day. Led by Hafiz Saeed’s Jamaat ud Dawa, they are holding big rallies across Pakistan. Prominent among those who are attending are some retired military figures. Maulana Fazlur Rehman has delivered fiery oration in Karachi and is now eyeing Islamabad, keen to have a large audience there as well. Barelvi organisations are mobilising and the Sunni Tehrik which has been at daggers drawn with the MQM is moulding itself into a political party.
The whole country continues to be in doldrums due to power shortages, but this did not stop the celebrations of Eid Milad un Nabi, with electric power stolen with the help of illegal hooks on the main lines. On display are also giant posters of the Barelvi leaders, used to mark territory and to keep out intruders.
The clearly spelt out objective of the Difa e Pakistan Conference is to make Pakistan review its relations with the West and stop normalization of relations with India, till the Kashmir issue and the water dispute is resolved. Maulana Fazal also wants to cash in on the possible Islamist dividend, although the real Islamists, the Taliban, do not trust him and have made attempts on his life, at least on two occasions.
There is little doubt that the army wants to expel the two main parties from the corridors of power. Imran Khan does not have the unequivocal support from the army that he was vying for, although this is the impression that one gets from Imran’s supporters in the media. The army has given the go ahead to some power brokers at the national level to cobble together a new political force. Jamaat ud Dawa, who is the progenitor of the Difa e Pakistan council, wants to bring together all the sympathetic leaders such as Hamid Gul, Shaikh Rasheed Ahamed, Ijaz ul Haq and Maulana Sami ul Haz. For this Hafiz Saeed has received a pat on the back from Rawalpindi.
Hafiz Saeed has tried to recruit Imran Khan to the cause, but so far has not had much success. On the other hand Imran wants the Jamaat e Islami to join him, as allies, but some of his own colleagues with JI provenance are not interested.
The Memogate is probably on its last legs. One of the reasons is that if the commission continues its proceedings, it will have to call the ISI chief to be cross examined publicly about allegations that he was trying to seek Saudi Arabia’s blessings to sack the Government. Therefore it has been decided to ease off on the Memo and stick to the NRO case and the judicial activism to remove the government. Mian Nawaz Sharif is also likely to go quiet on this matter in the ‘larger national interest’.
The army is using an expanded Mullah alliance to implement its policy on NATO, Afghanistan and India. It is likely that the mullahs will be included in the next set up to ‘redress the balance’. It seems that the poor people of Pakistan will continue to be saddled with corrupt politicians, unruly generals, adventurous judges and a media gunning for a revolution.
In November 2011, the ISI Chief asked the Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish e Mohammad to speed up their campaign against India and to mobilize Islamists across the country on the platform of Difa e Pakistan, so that a clear signal could be sent to the international community. Fellow travelers such as Shaikh Rasheed and Hamid Gull were reactivated. A real estate tycoon in Islamabad and some rich businessmen of Karachi were asked to offer inducements.
Imran Khan was also put under pressure but he soon started to show reluctance. He rejected the ISI pressure not to accept former Musharraf associates into his party. Previously, Imran had reassured the ISI, that he will try to persuade people from the People’s party and the Muslim League. This has caused both parties to panic and to become more responsive to their own members. As a result, the stampede has stopped and Imran is not getting any new members. ISI has cooled off. Imran has not been totally jilted, but Difa now the favourite. ISI and JuD are also resentful that Imran has not taken a hard line against India.
The Sunni Tehreek is being propped up by the ISI as a fully fledged political party and has been tasked to garner the Barelvi vote. This has caused angst amongst the MQM, the long standing ISI paramour. Altaf Husain has said that the Mullahs are being groomed for power. The MQM is worried that the Sunni Tehrik can steal its Barelvi vote bank.
There is evidence that media houses are being encouraged to hype up the decibel level on the purported external threats to Pakistan. One TV channel is about to start an intensive campaign to highlight the Western plans to cause us damage in collusion with the Indians and the Zionists.
There is a plan to challenge India on the water issue. After March, JuD and the other small parties will start a country wide campaign. India will be challenged not to limit the flow of river water to Pakistan, on the pain of attacks, similar to ones on the Indian Army in Kashmir. All these plans are being hatched by the current and the past higher military leadership who want to sabotage the efforts of normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan. They think that pro India parties are currently in power in Pakistan, hence the MFN status for India, paving the way for Indian domination over Pakistan.
Therefore, mullahs’ role in politics is being strengthened, with the help of the media, to frustrate the western powers in Afghanistan and deny India, its hopes of regional hegemony. ISI and other powerful actors know that the government is entangled in various serious issues, it is a very unpopular government and is under tremendous pressure from the judiciary. Extremism is on the rise and the sectarian parties are at war with one another in Karachi. In this situation, if government is brought down, which parties will come to the fore? This is the questions that the adventurous mullahs of Pakistan and their powerful friends are trying to answer.
The writer is an investigative journalist, his recent book Punjabi Taliban has been published by Pentagon publishers India.
Source: The Viewpoint