Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not A Vain Sacrifice!

Not A Vain Sacrifice!

Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad 40, is murdered. His body was found some 200 kilometres from Islamabad a couple of days after he went missing on Sunday. He reported an inconvenient truth about the Pakistani establishment just a week ago: links between Al- Qaeda and Pakistani Navy.

It is an open secret that religious fanatics call the shots in Pakistan and moderate voices are stifled, and people like Shahzad who dare bare murky dealings of the armed establishments with mercenaries is silenced. With more than 100 Nuclear warheads and capacity to send it far and wide, Pakistan, a failed nation (in terms of economic growth, welfare of the people etc), is the become the most dangerous place in the world for themselves and those who are in their striking range. India should be most worried; it is very difficult to deal with a rouge state.

The dark clouds of suspicion are hanging thick in the sky: Shahzad is killed by Pakistani intelligence, though ISI is formally denied it, but it is known to exist in denial, as Mumbai 26/11 investigations reveal.

So WHY does the state apparatus, or as Pakistani’s popularly refer to as ‘state players’, react so vehemently to kill any voice of sanity or reason, as if a traitor. Shahzad and before him Punjab governor Salman Taseer had to fall to the bullets, just because he supported liberal and progressive ideas in a company of religious fanatics?

The message is clear to journalists: do not poke your nose into the affairs of ISI if you have to breathe in this country (that anyways stink intolerance!).

Killing Shahzad is no big deal for intelligence agencies, he was a closed chapter the day he carried the story. It is perhaps true for all countries, even democratic state like ours, where intelligence agencies are obliged to kill renegade elements. But what is peculiar of Pakistani state is their inability to face and deal their own truth. (As Albert Einstein said: Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.) They have to shoot the messenger because there is always more to hide. They are in the business of deceit and cheat as a state policy.

Pakistan foreign policy is a reflection of their philosophy of nationhood, at least from the point of view of those who run the government. Their supply of help to dismentle terror is available for a price. The price is humongous, but there are takers for it. They also get elaborate, hi-tech infrastructure to kill efficiently almost for free in return for being a paid-partner against terror.

Behind the scene they foster terror, or rather blatantly, see Osama lived in a mansion in an army town of Abbottabad. So do Dawood and Choota Shakeel in Karachi in their palatial houses, and there are 47 known terror mongers enjoying Pakistani hospitality.

Pakistan’s relevance is that they are needed to dismantle terror as we define it today. The moment that mission is accomplished, Pakistan loses its relevance to the outside world, and they almost become pariah. So it is logical that they work hard to protect their relevance. It is a catch-22 situation: fund and arm Pakistan to deal with terror, which is actually feeding in terror. Pakistan is pivotal of a vicious cycle of deceit propelled by religious fanatics inside and outside of the establishment.

My thoughts go to Shahzad who I met briefly when he was in Delhi about a year ago. He did what he was supposed to do, and did it well. His work is like a mirror to the establishment; they seem to hate their own image. His work helped us understand Pakistan better. His work bared the true nature of Pakistani state. His sacrifice will add to the critical mass that will depose this despotic setup in Pakistan, if Pakistan is to survive.

Pakistan’s survival in a more tolerant avatar is critical to test of the world.

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