article by the Pak scribe Ayaz Amir, a familiar figure in India
because of his many visits and bold writings, appeared in
"DAWN' give readers a glimpse of the mood in Pakistan, and its
connotations with USA's impending elections.
At The Gate
at last we have it in black and white, what many people in our
frontline state had long suspected: that the United States is
pressing Pakistan to find Osama bin Laden to ensure a Bush victory
in the presidential election.
story, which is about to hit the newsstands and which already has
been reported by CNN, is in The New Republic, a moderately
influential Washington journal. Pakistan intelligence officials
(unnamed of course) are cited as sources.
Bushites would love to have Osama's scalp by end July so as to take
the shine off the Democratic convention later this month. Failing
that they'd definitely want it before the votes are cast on November
Americans haven't been able to pull off this coup by themselves.
Indeed, the occupation or 'democratization' of Afghanistan is
proving to be a messy affair, the Taliban resurrected and staging
more attacks rather than being finished, much of the country still
being given over to warlordism and Karzai as little of a strongman
as when he was first installed in Kabul.
the dirty or spectacular work - depending upon the angle you're
looking from - is being expected of the ever-reliable Pakistan army.
This army is already trying to be as helpful as humanly possible,
the Wana operation being an example of its readiness.
if Osama bin Laden, Zawahiri or Mullah Omar are not to be found for
love, satellite imagery or money, what is Pakistan to do? To suppose
that any of these figures is in our tribal belt is to stretch
credulity to its limits. So we have a problem here, as much for the
Pakistan army as for the Americans.
this shows how desperate the Bush camp is getting as the end-game in
the presidential election approaches. Iraq is a true quagmire with
one, two or more Americans dying every day. As for the economy,
between now and November
expect a million jobs to be created. So barring a miracle Bush is on
a slippery slope.
a double whammy can rescue him: a fall in US gasoline prices, which
will fuel a temporary feel-good factor, and for which Saudi help is
needed, and a an Osama or Mullah Omar scalp which can be used to
dazzle the American people. For this Pakistan is considered crucial.
hinges on this US election. No wonder, millions of people around the
globe, although not lit up or enthused by the Kerry campaign, are
hoping fervently for a Bush/Cheney drubbing as the least the duo
deserves for its lies and arrogance.
think even the Pakistani political scene will be affected by the US
election for the simple reason that this Pakistani government has
tied itself firmly to the coattails of the Bush administration. Once
this link is snapped some consequences, even if not all that clear
at present, can be expected to follow.
will lose none of its geographical importance and, as long as the Al
Qaeda threat remains and Afghanistan festers, President Musharraf
will be looked upon as an important ally. But any change in
Washington can be expected to have a bearing on Musharraf's decision
to retain or discard his uniform. So don't expect any decision on
this issue before the outcome of the US election is known.
there is no shortage of other events to keep the people of Pakistan
occupied. As a sample, consider this, the views expressed in the
Urdu paper, Khabrain, by a former inspector-general of police for
the Punjab province, Sardar Muhammad Chaudry.
Aziz may be a good finance minister," says the
inspector-general, "but I fear that after becoming prime
minister he will do such things that will pose a danger to Pakistan
because he will not be representative of the spirit of Pakistan.
for all practical purposes he will have been elected by Hindu votes
(a reference to the sizable Hindu population in the Tharparkar
constituency in Sindh, one of two constituencies from which Aziz is
standing), not Muslim votes. This is a clear negation of the
ideology of Pakistan, of Pakistan itself, and of the thinking of
Allama Iqbal and Hazrat Quaid-i-Azam."
week I wrote half a phrase in favour of Aziz and because of that
received an e-mail asking me whether I had been bought over. My
answer was I had been offered the presidentship of two banks and was
considering which one to choose.
Aziz the second week in a row runs the risk of painting me as a
public relations manager for what newspapers here are calling the
prime minister-in-waiting, surely a constitutional first for any
I have picked up this priceless quote not because I am bowled over
by Aziz's economics - I am not - but because, frankly, the quote is
priceless. It requires a florid imagination to come up with
something like this and it sets you wondering what kind of people
have risen to the top in our central services.
may add that Sardar prides himself on his political connections and
on the 'political' role he played as a police officer. But this
observation of his takes the prize and shows what mettle he is made
these were the observations of an individual it wouldn't matter.
Every society is entitled to its share of bizarre philosophers.
Sardar, however, is emblematic of a way of thinking, and indeed a
school of thought, which flourishes in Punjab and, I daresay,
Karachi, the other great bastion of the theory known as the ideology
a process of subliminal association, Sardar reminds me of something
I read years ago in the memoirs of a former spook, one Brigadier
Tirmizi, who was in the ISI in the eighties.
"Profiles of Intelligence", the author recounts past
triumphs and glories, the turning and recruiting of agents, etc. The
book as a whole is an intriguing read with much that would appeal to
anyone with an interest in cloak-and-dagger stuff. But what excited
me no end was what the brigadier had to say about Indian seduction
techniques. I can do no better than let
speak in his own words.
says the brigadier, "exclusive parties are held at the
residences of diplomats amidst dimly lit candles, oriental music and
red wine. Wives of some Indian diplomats, attired in their
traditional saris, are always there to entertain and engage their
guests in sweet conversation. Probably few other cultures and
traditions nurture their girls in more soft and serene mannerism
(sic) than the (sic) Hindu culture."
the pace quickens: "These aphrodisiac (sic) nagmanis with naked
bellies linger over their guests throwing meaningful smiles here and
there. The stage is set with such a delightful but cunning
perfection that the guests cannot resist and soon get disarmed. They
start to speak out their minds. As the saying goes, 'when the wine
sinks, the words swim'."
things have me foxed. Firstly, why only red wine, why not white? Or
is red wine more conducive to the higher art of seduction because of
its dangerous colour? Secondly, aphrodisiac is a noun.
is the brigadier using it as an adjective? Or does he want to
suggest the full gamut of emotions from wild to licentious and could
hit on nothing as fully descriptive as this word?
in the light of this useful information I must decry my own
inadequacy. Although I have known Indian diplomats off and on now
for nearly twenty years, and have even been to their residences, I
must sadly report that I have yet to be showered with meaningful
glances by any aphrodisiac nagmani (snake-woman). But the
brigadier's narrative is such a heart-warmer that I live in hope.
don't know how the years have treated Tirmizi, whether he potters
about in his garden or has been gathered to his fathers. But with
his kind in the ISI and guys like Sardar in the police force, it is
reassuring to know that the country's moral frontiers - never mind
the physical ones - are well guarded.