Friday, 13 May 2011

Foresight: A forgotten warning

Mahmood Khan Achakzai is a unique Pakistani politician. A Pashtun nationalist from Balochistan, he is considered a man of integrity in Pakistan’s dirty world of politics. The central tenet of his argument in 2003 was that Pakistan would pay a price by continuing with the military establishments policies.

This is a link to his speech to Pakistan’s Assembly in 2003 translated by HafsaQ on twitter, for those who don't understand Urdu. 
He accepts that as a British army officer fought Faqir of Ipi's mujahideen. He's a Muslim, goes by the name Muhammad Khan & look what he's done: he's spilled the blood of Pashtun freedom fighters in Waziristan.
Sardar Shaukat Hayat, a prominent leader of Muslim League, mentioned in his book that he had fought for British in Waziristan. We've a saying in Pushto: "It's the fate of us Pushtoons to bathe in blood,
and once we get rid of an enemy, there's always the next one". 
Honourable Speaker, what’s happening in Waziristan? Why is our foreign office lying? Why won't ISI speak truth? Honourable Speaker, there indeed
are thousands of people in Waziristan who've been imported by you (points his finger accusingly at the Speaker of the house).
Give any Wazir member a Quran (to swear
by), he wouldn't know where Chechnya is?

Honourable speaker, you the government, your Political agents (Political agent is the sole representative of Pakistani Establishment in Federally
Administered Tribal Areas, where no other state institution is present. It has been a colonial legacy handed down by British but Pakistan has done nothing to change the status Quo), your intelligence
Agencies, brought the whole Arabs & non-Arab lot into Waziristan and asked the locals that they've been displaced from Tora-Bora and treat them as guests.

Now you are asking them (Waziris) that don't send
them (foreigners) to us because Americans are giving us a hard
time, but fend for yourself (we won't help you if these foreigners are giving your trouble). Honourable speaker, we can't go on like this. You, honourable speaker, according to an estimate brought 40,000
armed Arabs into Afghanistan, the whole world says so, and we say so.

We didn't know Bin Laden! We didn't know Bin-Laden's army! Both you, and United States betrayed Afghans.

You asked them to fight the Soviets, and they fought them. When
Soviets left, it was incumbent upon Americans & Europe to help in re-building Afghanistan, ensure peace over there, invite political parties to establish a democratic Govt. Instead of that, the Europeans left
 for their own lands and we (Pakistanis), with due apology to my friend Ejaz-ul-Haq (pointing to Ejaz-el-Haq, a member of National Assembly, who was involved. His father, Zia-ul-Haq, was the military dictator
who involved Pakistan in overtly supporting Afghan resistance to Soviets), started dreaming about colonizing Kabul. Why did Nawaz Sharif and Ejaz-ul-Haz need to go to Kabul.

 They said: 'We'll go and pray there, we've just established a new colony'. They (the ruling party: Muslim League, under Nawaz Sharif)
taunted Pakistan People Party with : 'you lost Dhaka, we won Kabul'.
 Well, you haven't won Kabul, instead, you'll lose Pakistan. Honourable speaker, you didn't even let your own Cronies: Mujaddiddi, Gulbadin, Rabbani and Gilani establish a Govt there. And then, the Brave General of PPP (reference to Naseerullah Babar) , took a team from here saying 'I want to establish Taliban there'. And you've established them! You’re involved in that! The world is right that you've harboured terrorists from the world over, and supported them, patronised them!

Now, we won't let any General, any Imran Khan, any Mehmud Khan, any Leghari to hand our country over to terrorists. IT WILL NOT BE PERMITTED
TO ANY PERSON! This is our country, we've fought wars, so far so good. But now, we've to accept (our mistakes) & make sure that we don't repeat (them). What’s the approach we should follow? Well certainly
not the one we are following right now! 

We can lie to China, we can lie to Iran and we don't worry about our buddy India (sarcastically referring to the enmity between the two coutries) where we are always
involved, but for God's sake, don't play games with America. You asked a Pashtun General to blow up Ojri Camp in order to deceive America. What were the consequences? End result was: Both Ejaz-ul-Haq
(actually referring to Zia-ul-Haq, his father) and Akhtar Rehman were punished (referring to the flight crash in which both died). Honourable Speaker, we should not be playing games with America,
we have to come out clean where they are concerned. But when we (I) talk, we have Agencies' (Intelligence agencies specially ISI) men, in media and elsewhere, after us. We held a press conference in Peshawar
, where we presented the same solution about Waziristan.

 I'll be a bit quick because of time constraints. Waziristan's solution is this: let the local Waziris, who you've burdened with these guests (reference to foreign
terrorists. According to the Pashtun custom of hospitality, anyone who enters your land is granted asylum, even if he is enemy & treated as a guest), to negotiate with Americans so that they (guests')
are given a safe passage and we are absolved of the blame of terrorism. And we'll have to find a country for them. It could've been Libya but now we've blamed them for attempting to assassinate
(President and Gen) Musharraf. 

Engage (in dialogue) all these Arabs & Chechens, along with Waziris, and find a solution so that we don't lose face (for betraying our guests) and the destruction here is stopped as well. The moment I presented
this solution, the Newspaper Mashriq came up with the headline that "Mehmud suggests handing all the foreigners to America". I'm not such a traitor, I won't even hand-over an ant, let alone a human,
from my house to America. I'm not a traitor, I love this country. The only way to run this country (now addressing all members of the assembly), as the General himself correctly pointed out once, Quoting
Quaid-e-Azam is, that serve the country with honesty & dignity, and that Pakistan should come first. We need to make a resolve of not letting army and bureaucracy to have a part in politics. This is the only solution. 

We are not against the military, may they develop into a more advanced one than their American counterparts. But they've adopted a wrong approach. Can an American soldier even think that he'd break the Parliament? Can a Chinese do that? Can a French soldier dream to do that? When Armies all over the world have agreed not to interfere in politics, our army has to accept this bitter truth as well. Either that, or we,
with the help of our countrymen, have to make them accept this. If we don't do so, Pakistan would sink. It is close to sinking and we don't want it to sink. We want this country to function and
we want to live in this country as independent citizens. 

What is the reality of Pakistan? Let's talk about its Nuclear capability. I haven't met Abdul Qadeer Khan (Nuclear Scientist) to this day but its
such a pity that one of our Ministers here in the assembly hails him (Dr Abdul Qadeer) as our hero but when we pick up the newspaper, we see him being slandered for being a spendthrift in his daughter's

They (the slanderers) should be ashamed of themselves. You hailed him as hero at one point and now you talk about how he gifted houses and cars to people. This farce cannot go on anymore.
What is it that our neighbour (India) hasn't done? It has made an atomic bomb, and they are making other bombs and ballistic missiles, but not a soul can question them about that. Why? Because their
Dr. Qadeer becomes President of the country while we declare our Dr Qadeer as a thief (for stealthily exporting nuclear capability to North Korea & Iran), who we've been
kind enough to pardon. It wasn't a petty theft either, not like stealing a horse or a television from someone's house. Honourable Speaker, it was a major crime! Aitizaz Ahsan) is right.

You, in front of the whole world, made him (Dr. Qadeer) declare that yes, we have indeed sold atomic weapons. And now who's the witness? Its Libya! Pick-up the newspaper today, it alleges that we've
taken a hundred million (dollars). Honourable speaker, this crisis has to be handled courageously. Otherwise, Pakistan will be destroyed. Honourable Speaker, for God's sake have some courage!
The problem of this country, for the past 25-30 years, is intelligence agencies, it is their Military sponsored external and internal policies that have failed.

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