IN OCTOBER 2007 I RECIEVED AN E MAIL FROM MR MANZAR DURRANI RUNNING THE PAKISTAN THINK TANK USA SITE THAT A JOURNALIST HAD SENT HIM SOME QUESTIONS.MY REPLY TO MANZAR DURRANI WAS AS BELOW. ITS INTERESTING TO COMPARE THIS NOW WITH EVENTS IN SEPTEMBER 2008:
Here are the questions. Do you think it would be possible to get it by Tuesday, Oct 9?
1. The newly appointed army chief Lt General Ashfaque Kiani is said to be a close ally of Musharraf. What would be the effects of this appointment to Musharraf (if he gets elected as president) and to Bhutto who might become the prime minister? (meaning that Musharraf is also making sure that he would still hold control of the army despite stepping down) What are the tactics?
There is no guarantee that Kiani would do exactly what Musharraf says. Musharraf would lose the institutional power to manipulate army appointments. He may influence some but his hold on the army will be weakened.Kiani is from Jhelum, a district which was loyal to the British against Muslims so he will be loyal to USA in the fight against Muslims in Waziristan! However a Punjabi chief from Jhelum , an area famous for being parochial would certainly favour his Potohari kinsmen. Generally the best tactic to control the army is to remain the army chief and have a Vice-Chief as Zia adopted in 1978. If Musharraf relinquishes COAS post he would definitely lose control over the army. If not initially then at least in next one year from the time he relinquishes charge. In case, martial law is imposed by Kiani, this would be the exit of Musharraf since he would be placed in a situation like Maj Gen Iskandar Mirza in 1958.
2. Benazir has been saying that during Musharraf's rule that extremism and violence have gone up. In your opinion, doesn't this coincide with the aftermath of 9/11, where the American government was and is still on the prowl to fight terror, which to many Muslims and others, it seems (again) one of America's bad foreign policy? And we are seeing the extremist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan picking up arms in the name of fighting the West. Do you think it is a big business scam or there is seriously an anti-American feeling among the Pakistanis? What could be done since the Pakistani government doesn't have control over the tribal areas and production of arms are rampant in these areas too, which to some is a traditional trade/occupation passed from generation to generation?
Benazir is not in touch with ground realities.She is playing like Musharraf guaranteeing USA that she is good collaborator and dog catcher for USA. The USA wants to destroy Pakistan from within so Benazir is being seen as a good option by USA. She is like Rani Jindan of Punjab who was afraid of the Sikh Army and conspired with her lovers General Tejh Singh and General Lal Singh both Hindustani Hindus to get the Khalsa destroyed by treachery. Col Malleson a British writer admitted that but for treachery the Sikh Army could have destroyed the British Army at Moodke and Ferozshah battles in 1845-46. Benazir if she comes will not succeed in reducing militancy. Rather it will receive a boost. She is making very stupid statements that she would welcome US strike on Pakistan's soil if Osama is there. It will not be surprising if she is administered coup de grace by a common soldier like Indira Gandhi IN 1984. Musharraf, Benazir and his leading generals are into business scams. It is the regular business of Pakistani politicians to do business by promising they will be good collaborators of USA. I am sure that they are all on paid retainers by CIA. This way American tax payers money is saved as USA will weaken Pakistan from within and thus spend less on the so called war on terrorism.
3. Benazir had said Musharraf is not doing much in the tribal areas. These areas are certainly difficult to govern and certainly Benazir or Nawaz would have a hard time trying to rein in control in these areas, if they are in office. What is your opinion? What could be done? What are the challenges facing the new prime minister and president?
Without security in tribal areas not much can be done. The main challenge of new PM and President would be to wage war against the tribesmen and Al Qaeda and this would be a tough affair. The Pakistan Army would be losing more credibility and Pakistani leaders would gain great credibility in US eyes.
4. As you know, the American government has a say in how the political situation would pan out in Pakistan. They are believed to be the ones who are pulling the strings from behind. What do you think the American government wants now, judging from current events and statements by Musharraf and Benazir? Hence, where is democracy when it's controlled by a velvet glove from America? More so when America is pumping billions of dollars every month in the name of fighting terrorism.
The USA wants a real good collaborator and they have identified Benazir as one, as good as Musharraf.
5. It seems that the only thing that works in Pakistan is the triple A's -- the Army, Allah and America. With regards to the Army, they not only have power over arms but also on businesses. What is your comment on how it has impacted the country and moving forward, what would be the likely scenario or would it remain the same as before? Could you comment on the influence of religion and extremism in Pakistan?
All along Pakistan has been a US vassal. The Army is a trade union of generals mostly from humble background who make big money after usurping power. However in the eyes of the Pakistani populace, at least a large segment of the army has lost a great deal of credibility. It appears to be the grand US design also. The army is now the main business complex. Actually it is an army with a state not a state with an army.
6. What do you think of the funding from American to fight terror in Pakistan? Do you think it should be stopped? Or it's just another avenue to keep the businesses going including the extremist groups that have been cashing in as well. Do you have statistics on how much the Americans are pumping in a year to Pakistan in the fight on terror? What is the estimated funds that the extremist groups are getting and where is the source coming from?
Good for army generals and corrupt politicians. Naturally the USA should adopt this cheaper option since the Pakistani Army is much cheaper to use than the US forces. Good as well as cheap pointer dogs as the Washington Post said. They have a tradition of being good Christian collaborators from time of 1857 specially the Punjabis from North of River Jhelum and Pathans specially Khattaks who are good mercenaries. The extremist groups are getting much less but they are more motivated so less corrupt. The army is less motivated and highly corrupt. The soldiers being used to fight the militants don't have motivation and are not militarily very effective. I did a study for a client about militant funds. At least 60% are donations from good Muslims while 40% are coming through smuggling drugs/tyres/spare parts etc. As I wrote in an article published in 2003 in NATION, 10 Million USD per month are sufficient to keep the US Army bleeding in Iraq and Afghanistan for 200 years. According to my estimate Taliban and Al Qaeda budget in Afghanistan is like 1 to 1.5 Million USD per month. Suicide bombers families have been paid 2 to 5 Million Rupees in many cases not because the bomber wanted but to motivate people that they gain not only in the next world but here too. In Iraq the militants are getting funding well over 10 Million USD from philanthropist Arabs.
7. Would this be a likely scenario: Benazir as PM, Musharraf as President? What would this mean to the country in terms of the quality of leadership, the fight on terror, and development for the country as a whole in terms of economy, health, infrastructure and education?
They will constantly fight and conspire against each other and there is a 60% chance that there would be a showdown within one year. And then the USA will go for a Martial Law option and good Hayata type army chief from the martial collaborator races in between River Jhelum and River Indus. That appears to be the US game plan , extensively war gamed.
8. What would be the immediate tasks that the new PM and president should focus on?
Reconciliation and less emphasis on the power of the army to bring about a military solution.More emphasis on Soft Power, better intelligence gathering.
9. The protests that we are seeing are mainly confined to the lawyers, lawmakers and journalists, which are considered the elite groups in the country. Some were said to be paid to carry out these protests against Musharraf and there were those who enjoyed the limelight from the media. Besides, the number of protesters are small, around 100 or so. The common people are nowhere to be seen. In fact, I have a feeling that Musharraf is widely popular amongst the common people. What is your take on this? Are these protests genuine? Do you think the media has been biased?
The common people are apathetic. They are more worried if they will have something to eat the next day. But remember the Bolsheviks with just a hard core of 10,000 captured power in Russia.