Millennium Post

Between devil and the deep sea

The current state of Pakistan is messy and full of existential contradictions. A nation ­– built on the false premise of a potential ‘identity crisis’, had it stayed as a part of independent India­ – has been feeling the pinch of such ideological maneuvering.

The book Apocalypse Pakistan: An anatomy of the world’s most dangerous nation gives a candid journalistic account of ground realities, and weaves broader canvas by charting broadly the crises in South Asia, not alone Pakistan.

Supported with facts and insights, gathered during the authors’ personal experiences in this region, the book pulls the curtain off Pakistan’s internal politics and its painful, everyday confrontation with domestic mayhem. It provides a multifaceted narrative on Pakistan’s contemporary history freely and fearlessly.

The book is rich – in first person accounts, reportage and interviews with two generations of the Bhuttos, the Sharifs, among others. But the most striking of them all is the first-ever interview given by Mohammed Hafiz Saeed, the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to a woman journalist. The authors seem to have a good knowledge about how Pakistan’s elite function and the irreparable damage they have inflicted on the nation. Sadly, the Pakistan government has practically shown no reservation against rogue statements. Rather, time and again, terror networks have been used against India by the ISI and Pak armed forces. As the book suggests, the Mumbai attacks were not hatched alone by those who ‘executed’ it. In fact, it was a grand plan, channelised from Pakistan, and involved multiple players including David Headley, a CIA double agent.

One of the reasons the US went compulsively soft on its spoiled spy is that it is hardly an external entity in Pakistan. It has a huge military presence inside the Af-Pak region and diplomatic cover is running even on a much higher scale. More than the bravery of American guards, several of these factors not only helped the US take down Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad in May 2011, but they also contributed towards muting the debate on deadly drone attacks in Pakistani soil.

Pakistan has been and will be nothing more than a voiceless spectator of inescapable intrusion. It can’t afford its complete divorce from the US, which has easy money to lend for its strategic misadventure against India in Kashmir. Still, a sense of disenchantment is surfacing among Pakistani people, who are not the part of this design and live a marginalised life in their own country. Sadly, their voices are not strong enough to check the nasty intentions of organised fundamentalist forces. The book dwells well on a new political organisation, the Difa-e-Pakistan (DEP), or the Council for the Defence of Pakistan, for which 30-40,000 people would take to the streets at any given time. This organisation, founded by the leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), Muhammaed Hafiz Saeed, brings together about 40 terrorist and fundamentalist groups.

With their striking findings, the authors assert:
‘Under its banner ‘JUD’, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Jamat-e-Islami, the Jamat-ul-Islamis Fazlur and other organisations with disturbing acronyms have taken refuge. Among the leaders, alongside Hafiz Saeed, are to be found the former head of the ISI, Hamid Gul, and Maulvi Sami-u-Haq, head of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (an organisation of Deobandi tendency known for its links with the Taliban) and Liaqat Baloch. A substantial number of these signature groups that are now part of the DEP belong to officially designated ‘rogue’ organisations, but no one seems to notice anymore’.

Even worse, according to the DEP, Pakistan is ‘God’s gift’, the only country in the world, where jihadist forces may freely assemble to protect Islam in the region and in the world. They believe the US, India and Israel are the enemies of Islam and consequently Pakistan’s democratic government that has allied itself with the West and is not at war with India, is an enemy of Islam and betrayer of its people. Although these declarations place the council clearly in favour of bloodied atmosphere, unfortunately, the Pakistan government has no overt standing on such matters. The title of the book, though very strong, is justified by virtue of the current condition of Pakistan. The authors were not loved and allowed a free hand in the country, even before this book was written. Nevertheless, the book is a remarkable addition to the oeuvre discoursing new Pakistan.
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