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Imran Khan's Naya Pakistan is KAPUT

By Lieutenant General PRAKASH KATOCH (retd)
February 21, 2022 08:54 IST
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The Pakistani military may shortly give Imran Khan the boot, substituting him with another puppet, predicts Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch (retd).

IMAGE: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the inauguration of an ICU at a hospital in Peshawar. Photograph: Kind courtesy Imran Khan/Twitter
 

Post the general elections in Pakistan on July 25, 2018, which resulted in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) winning 156/342 seat, Imran Khan was installed as the prime minister on August 18, 2018, heading a coalition government of 177 members including the PTI, Muttahida Quami Movement, Balochistan Awami Party and others.

Imran launched his scheme of creating a Naya Pakistan amid much fanfare.

But more than three years down the line, Imran has admitted that Naya Pakistan remains utopian.

During a ceremony to award certificates to top 10 best performing ministries and divisions on February 11, 2022, he admitted that his government and ministries have failed to deliver Naya Pakistan.

'In the beginning,' he said, 'we wanted to bring change immediately through revolutionary steps, but later realised that our system was incapable of absorbing shock.

'Are our ministries performing on how to stabilise the country through increasing exports and how the condition of the people can be improved, how poverty can be eliminated?'

'The biggest problem is that there has been no connection between the government and the interest of the country,' he pointed out.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was ranked 11th in the list of performance delivery units, and Imran distributed the certificates personally only to his 10 best-performing ministries, leaving Qureshi out.

According to ARY News, allies of the PTI government expressed disappointment when their ministries were not named among the top performers.

Qureshi was earlier in Pervez Musharraf's cabinet and was picked up by Imran as his foreign minister perhaps because Qureshi's radical views matched his own.

Qureshi reportedly wrote a letter to Imran's aide concerning the establishment, discouraging the ranking and questioning its criteria.

Interestingly, photographs of Qureshi sitting at a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Ambassador Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, with the sole of Qureshi's shoe turned towards Al-Malki, ran riot on the media.

The Pakistan public slammed Qureshi for showing disrespect to the Saudi envoy, especially with Saudi Arabia having helped Pakistan from its economic miseries on so many occasions; $6 billion in loans given to Pakistan to tide over its balance of payments crisis; it even helped Pakistan pay for procuring its first batch of F-16 fighter aircraft in the 1980s.

Since its very birth, the military has ruled Pakistan directly or indirectly.

Its foreign and defence policies are designed and executed by the army chief.

For the army to retain the stranglehold over Pakistan, terrorism and its export are intrinsic to both these policies, which in turn have affected the internal functioning of Pakistan.

Pakistan's generals have no compunctions about mortgaging Pakistan's sovereignty to China as long as their empire is intact and they continue to make money.

China has already provided $15 billion to Pakistan as commercial loans, foreign exchange support initiatives, which includes $4 billion stored in China's state administration of foreign exchange deposits.

In a significant statement, Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a consultative conference on terrorism in Islamabad on November 18, 2021, said that extremism was not rooted in the madrasas, but schools and colleges in Pakistan.

According to him, teachers were hired in the 1980s and 1990s to 'basically teach extremism' and students of 'ordinary schools and colleges', not of madrasas, were involved in incidents of extremism in Pakistan.

'You closed their (school and college students) minds. If you cultivate a society where an opposing view is immediately declared kufr (heresy) ... how can you present an opposing view?' Chaudhry asked. 'And if no opposing views are tolerated, how will you bring a soft change (in society)?'

A surprising admission from Chaudhry, who never tires of wagging the nuclear tail at India, was.

'We don't have any potential threat from India. We have the sixth largest army in the world, we are an atomic power, and India cannot compete with us,' Chaudhry has said.

'We face no danger from America. We face no danger from Europe. The biggest danger we face (today) is from within (Pakistan).'

Chaudhry, of course, was lying about madrasas possibly because of his own radical thoughts.

Nasir Abbas Mirza, in his article in Pakistan's Daily Times newspaper on May 11, 2009, wrote, 'There are thousands of madrasas spread all over Pakistan's urban centres that are producing millions of neo-drones ... Take a little boy and incarcerate him in a remote madrasa. Indoctrinate him with a distorted version of a religion and tell him that he does not belong to this world.

'Teach him about the fanciful world that awaits him in heaven and that in order to attain that he has to destroy everything that stands in his way, including his own body... At full steam ahead in Pakistan, this is a monstrous experiment in brainwashing and it is on a par with, if not worse than, Nazi Germany's eugenics.'

On September 8, 2008, Pervez Hoodbhoy, a physicist at the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad wrote, 'The promotion of militarism in Pakistan's schools, colleges and universities has had a profound effect on young people. Militant jihad has become a part of the culture in college and university campuses, with armed groups inviting students for jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

'The immediate future of Pakistan looks grim, as increasing numbers of mullahs are creating cults around themselves and seizing control over the minds of their worshippers.

'It may yet be possible to roll back the Islamist laws and institutions that have corroded Pakistani society for over 30 years... To do this, political parties, government officials and, yes, even generals will have to embrace democracy, in both word and deed.'

Imran Khan was overjoyed on becoming prime minister. He would know that the PTI win was engineered by the army, as is the norm in all elections in Pakistan.

But perhaps he was unaware why he was installed as prime minister.

Why the army chose Imran was because: First, prior to the 2018 general elections, Imran Khan and the PTI were opposed to the CPEC. China wanted him tamed which was more than achieved after making him prime minister; Second, wary of the terrorist threat to the CPEC, China perhaps thought Imran's radical credentials will provide necessary safeguards, and; third, the military wanted to continue with terrorism but a scapegoat was required to fix the blame if situations became adverse -- so who better than Taliban Khan?

Pakistan has gone down too deep in the vortex of radicalisation and terrorism, the fallout of which is not difficult to perceive.

The Pashtuns may split Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Besides, Pakistan is in the crosshairs of both the Tehreek-e-Taliban and the Afghan Taliban.

Naya Pakistan is kaput and the Pakistani military may shortly give Imran Khan the boot, substituting him with another puppet.

Lieutenant General Prakash Katoch (retd), PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SC is a former Special Forces officer. He is a third generation army officer and has participated in the 1971 India-Pakistan War and in Operation Bluestar. He commanded a Special Forces Battalion in Sri Lanka, a Brigade on the Siachen Glacier, a Division in Ladakh and a Strike Corps in the South Western Theatre.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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