While America lost over 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001, Pakistan lost many more in its fight against terror, a war jammed down upon us by President George W Bush within hours after the World Trade Centre collapsed. Secretary of State General Colin Powell called up General Musharraf with a warning: ‘either you’re with us or against us’. Another threat arrived by the thuggish bully Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. “We will bomb you back to the Stone Age.” Armitage is the daredevil who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the press, but never had the guts to admit it.
Musharraf’s craven capitulation made him Bush’s pet. A supply line of money, military hardware and bonhomie from Pentagon with love to GHQ granted the generals a free rein to be overly magnanimous to themselves and their fellow faujis. Musharraf’s puppet prime minister Shaukat Aziz, falsely claiming to represent the civilian face of Pakistan, promised Pakistan becoming the next Asian Tiger. The phoney only left rubble behind.
Meanwhile, a new milieu was taking root destroying forever the moral, intellectual and social fabric of society. The new order ushered new actors on the scene, most of them corrupt, ignorant, illiterate, extremists and brutal, turning Armitage’s threat into reality. Saudi Arabia and Iran jumped in with their own religious beliefs wickedly wrapped with money that attracted the poor masses like bees to honey.
The brain drain started. Pakistani elites began their exodus to foreign lands taking with them their ill-gotten wealth. America and Britain welcomed them and their cache of money that would fuel further their economies. Meantime, the generals with a $10 billion booty from America got busy in real estate grab along with padding their personal bank accounts abroad dismissing fears voiced by many that Pakistan could become a failed state.
Musharraf we all knew was demonically on a roll. But where was General Kayani during all this time? Promoted to a 4-star general in September 2003, he took charge of the Ten Corps (famous for staging coups) in Rawalpindi. A year later, earning Musharraf’s trust, he was made the chief of ISI. Under his watch, we helplessly witnessed the country slide dangerously down a slippery slope where a suicide bomber struck at will; the chief justice was sacked; NRO and a thousand other ills surfaced. Kayani succeeded Musharraf as the chief of army staff a month before Benazir’s assassination. His promotion direct from ISI chief to army chief is perhaps a first in the history of Pakistan Army. General Kayani must have valid reasons for ignoring the current crisis of governance. Who knows?
By: Anjum Niaz (lives in USA)