Honor, Freedom and Faith

(Askari Raza Malik, )

A young PPP enthusiast asked me, “Can we fight America?” I smiled.

General Pervez Musharraf on receiving the American threat of being bombed into stone age, had war-gamed the same issue, “Could we fight America”? The answer was “NO”. This must have been the silliest war-game of his long military career. Technically speaking no one nation can fight America with a defense budget many times that of entire Pakistan.

There is an old American saying, “If you can’t lick them, join them.” Musharraf joined them. And in doing that he unnecessarily dived headlong into slavery surrendering everything, national honor, freedom and self-respect. When the Americans bombed a madrassa in KP killing over 80 innocent children as ‘would be terrorists’, he owned the sin of his masters to save them international rebuke. In the same vein we are about to ban criticizing America as sacrilegious, unholy and sinful.

Around the 500 BC Athens was faced with an imminent threat of invasion from Persia (Iran), a superpower. The affluent tradesmen advocated that the war would be cost prohibitive. Peace would enable Athens to remain one of the leading Greece states in wealth and prosperity. For the honorable, freedom was paramount, costs notwithstanding. Athens opted for referendum. The freedom lovers won. In a long-drawn conflict, Athens gradually joined by other city states was able to inflict a decisive and comprehensive defeat on the Persians.

The Muslim history is replete with examples when the faithful had defeated the enemy despite huge disadvantage in comparative strength ratio. From Badr, against the Makkans to the battle of Qadisiya, against the Persians, a superpower, the Muslims continued to win against heavy odds. The apparent power quotients have no meanings once the battle is joined. The latest is Afghanistan, making one after the other two superpowers regret and leave in disgrace.

The war is no option for Pakistan. We need not fight America as we do not have to surrender before it. Joining American War on Terror might have been a mistake of strategic judgment. Behaving a slave was purely of General Musharraf’s own choosing. Islam makes fighting incumbent upon Muslims only when they are attacked. That is Jehad like the Afghan Jehad to preserve their freedom. In that case there is no other course open for the faithful.

Seeking refuge in the linguistic circumlocution is a senseless exercise. Intervention or conspiracy? It is only a conclusive conspiracy that makes intervention possible. Conspiracy in itself alone at best is an irritant like the Indian incubator hatching out anti-Pakistan conspiracies on daily basis. The lexical rigmarole apart, no self-respecting nation could accept outside interference in its domestic affairs. It challenges a nation’s sense of self-respect and honor, according to Iqbal, ‘Mata e Gharoor’, or the assets of ego.

The Pakistani ego seems to have suddenly come to life catapulting the issue of national honor as an unending top trend on the social media and a compelling headliner on national news. Pakistani leaders’ reluctance to compromise on national integrity is not new. Liaquat Ali Khan was martyred before he could take the nation into confidence on the American bullying. Z A Bhutto made a feeble attempt to expose the conspiracy against him by waving the threat to a spontaneous gathering at night in Raja Bazar Rawalpindi. His judicial murder closed the chapter forever.

The world has changed. In this global village it is difficult to throttle dissent, internal or external. The social media has assumed gigantic proportions. The print and electronic media render emotions extremely contagious. Pakistanis from all over the world have fallen for the narrative on national ego. Pakistani nationalism reigns supreme, is universal, loud and irresistible making all other affiliations obsolete.

Pakistan must assert its independence and freedom in formulating its domestic and foreign policies. The cost is immaterial. If physically attacked and no one dare do that, Pakistan must fight back with all its might like the Afghan brethren. The doctrine, “There is no God but God” needs emphatic revival.

The American foreign policy analyst made no bones about it. America did not take kindly to our growing relations with China, our cozying up to Russia in search of cheaper oil, gas and wheat and our steadfast (stubborn) stance on Afghanistan. She welcomed the new government in Pakistan, cock sure that it would redress all American concerns like the good guys of the past. America orders us to remain away from certain countries. Conversely it could order us to chose our friends as she liked. For example, India, America’s strategic partner in the region. For this purpose, we would have to contest Kashmir with kid gloves as before. The question of our nukes would be reopened with those who had previously also proved amenable to the nuclear program rollback. America would guarantee our security against nuclear threat like the promise given to Ukraine. India thus could bully Pakistan at will with her overwhelming superiority in conventional means of war. All smiles for the American strategists.

Imran Khan’s assertions on freedom, national honor and defiance of slavery have evoked historic response from the Pakistanis at home and abroad. Maintaining the agitational momentum itself would be a Herculean task. Even if it succeeded and early elections were called, which is highly unlikely, Imran Khan would be faced with extremely heavy odds on the domestic and international fronts. He could as well be killed. We have seen a ‘teaser’ in the murder attempt on Shahbaz Gill, the PTI activist.

The selfish have deserted Imran. ‘The night-runners’ have made notion of justice stand on its head, ridiculed and demeaned. The law-and-order is to be maintained by ‘The Model Town’ experts. An ominous gloom surrounds Pakistan.

Still, against all the so-called superpowers and powers that be, God is Pakistan’s only hope and indeed, He is the best of helpers.

(Major General ® Askari Raza Malik, Author of the book, ‘Pakistan in Search of a Messiah’)


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