Pakistans General Problem. (Murshid..marwa na dena)


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Pakistans General Problem
How Pakistans Generals turned the country into an international jihadi tourist resort

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe youll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhuttos elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: Murshid, marwa na daina. (Guru, dont get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishtis troops didnt face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a bloodless coup. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following yearsin military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate in interior Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachis Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didnt even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Armys ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Armys high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearmentmurshida bit too seriously and dictators cant stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

Thirty-four years on, Pakistan is a society divided at many levels. There are those who insist on tracing our history to a certain September day in 2001, and there are those who insist that this country came into being the day the first Muslim landed on the Subcontinent. There are laptop jihadis, liberal fascist and fair-weather revolutionaries. There are Balochi freedom fighters up in the mountains and bullet-riddled bodies of young political activists in obscure Baloch towns. And, of course, there are the members of civil society with a permanent glow around their faces from all the candle-light vigils. All these factions may not agree on anything but there is consensus on one point: General Zias coup was a bad idea. When was the last time anyone heard Nawaz Sharif or any of Zias numerous protgs thump their chest and say, yes, we need another Zia? When did you see a Pakistan military commander who stood on Zias grave and vowed to continue his mission?

It might have taken Pakistanis 34 years to reach this consensus but we finally agree that General Zias domestic and foreign policies didnt do us any good. It brought us automatic weapons, heroin and sectarianism; it also made fortunes for those who dealt in these commodities. And it turned Pakistan into an international jihadi tourist resort.

And yet, somehow, without ever publicly owning up to it, the Army has continued Zias mission. Successive Army commanders, despite their access to vast libraries and regular strategic reviews, have never actually acknowledged that the multinational, multicultural jihadi project they started during the Zia era was a mistake. Late Dr Eqbal Ahmed, the Pakistani teacher and activist, once said that the Pakistan Army is brilliant at collecting information but its ability to analyse this information is non-existent.

Looking back at the Zia years, the Pakistan Army seems like one of those mythical monsters that chops off its own head but then grows an identical one and continues on the only course it knows.

In 1999, two days after the Pakistan Army embarked on its Kargil misadventure, Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed gave a crisp and to the point briefing to a group of senior Army and Air Force officers. Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, who attended the meeting, later wrote that they were told that it was nothing more than a defensive manoeuvre and the Indian Air Force will not get involved at any stage. Come October, we shall walk into Siachento mop up the dead bodies of hundreds of Indians left hungry, out in the cold, General Mahmud told the meeting. Perhaps it was the incredulousness of the whole thing that led Air Commodore Abid Rao to famously quip, After this operation, its going to be either a Court Martial or Martial Law! as we walked out of the briefing room, Air Commodore Tufail recalled in an essay.

If Rao Abid even contemplated a court martial, he probably lacked leadership qualities because there was only one way out of this messa humiliating military defeat, a world-class diplomatic disaster, followed by yet another martial law. The man who should have faced court martial for Kargil appointed himself Pakistans President for the next decade.

General Mahmud went on to command ISI, Rao Abid retired as air vice marshal, both went on to find lucrative work in the Armys vast welfare empire, and Kargil was forgotten as if it was a game of dare between two juveniles who were now beyond caring about who had actually started the game. Nobody remembers that a lot of blood was shed on this pointless Kargil mission. The battles were fierce and some of the men and officers fought so valiantly that two were awarded Pakistans highest military honour, Nishan-e-Haidar. There were hundreds of others whose names never made it to any awards list, whose families consoled themselves by saying that their loved ones had been martyred while defending our nations borders against our enemy. Nobody pointed out the basic fact that there was no enemy on those mountains before some delusional generals decided that they would like to mop up hundreds of Indian soldiers after starving them to death.

The architect of this mission, the daring General Pervez Musharraf, who didnt bother to consult his colleagues before ordering his soldiers to their slaughter, doesnt even have the wits to face a sessions court judge in Pakistan, let alone a court martial. The only people he feels comfortable with are his Facebook friends and that too from the safety of his London apartment. During the whole episode, the nation was told that it wasnt the regular army that was fighting in Kargil; it was the mujahideen. But those who received their loved ones flag-draped coffins had sent their sons and brothers to serve in a professional army, not a freelance lashkar.

The Pakistan Armys biggest folly has been that under Zia it started outsourcing its basic jobsoldieringto these freelance militants. By blurring the line between a professional soldierwho, at least in theory, is always required to obey his officer, who in turn is governed by a set of lawsand a mujahid, who can pick and choose his cause and his commander depending on his mood, the Pakistan Army has caused immense confusion in its own ranks. Our soldiers are taught to shout Allah-o-Akbar when mocking an attack. In real life, they are ambushed by enemies who shout Allah-o-Akbar even louder. Can we blame them if they dither in their response? When the Pakistan Navys main aviation base in Karachi, PNS Mehran, was attacked, Navy Chief Admiral Nauman Bashir told us that the attackers were very well trained. We werent sure if he was giving us a lazy excuse or admiring the creation of his institution. When naval officials told journalists that the attackers were as good as our own commandoes were they giving themselves a backhanded compliment?

In the wake of the attacks on PNS Mehran in Karachi, some TV channels have pulled out an old war anthem sung by late Madam Noor Jehan and have started to play it in the backdrop of images of young, hopeful faces of slain officers and men. Written by the legendary teacher and poet Sufi Tabassum, the anthem carries a clear and stark warning: Aiay puttar hatantay nahin wickday, na labhdi phir bazaar kuray (You cant buy these brave sons from shops, dont go looking for them in bazaars).

While Sindhis and Balochis have mostly composed songs of rebellion, Punjabi popular culture has often lionised its karnails and jarnails and even an odd dholsipahi. The Pakistan Army, throughout its history, has refused to take advice from politicians as well as thinking professionals from its own ranks. It has never listened to historians and sometimes ignored even the esteemed religious scholars it frequently uses to whip up public sentiments for its dirty wars. But the biggest strategic mistake it has made is that it has not even taken advice from the late Madam Noor Jehan, one of the Armys most ardent fans in Pakistans history. You can probably ignore Dr Eqbal Ahmeds advice and survive in this country but you ignore Madam at your own peril.

Since the Pakistan Armys high command is dominated by Punjabi-speaking generals, its difficult to fathom what it is about this advice that they didnt understand. Any which way you translate it, the message is loud and clear. And lyrical: soldiers are not to be bought and sold like a commodity. Na awaian takran maar kuray (That search is futile, like butting your head against a brick wall), Noor Jehan goes on to rhapsodise.

For decades, the Army has not only shopped for these private puttars in the bazaars, it also set up factories to manufacture them. It raised whole armies of them. When you raise Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish Mohammed, Sipahe Sahaba, Sipahe Mohammed, Lashker Jhangvi, Al- Badar Mujahideen, others encouraged by the thriving market place will go ahead and start outfits like Anjuman Tahuffuze Khatame Nabuwat and Anjuman Tahuffuze Namoos-e-Aiyasha. Its not just Kashmir and Afghanistan and Chechnya they will want to liberate, they will also go back in time and seek revenge for a perceived slur that may or may not have been cast by someone more than 1,300 years ago in a country far far away.

As if the Armys sprawling shopping mall of private puttars in Pakistan wasnt enough, it actively encouraged import and export of these commodities, even branched out into providing rest and recreation facilities for the ones who wanted a break. The outsourcing of Pakistans military strategy has reached a point where mujahids have their own mujahids to do their job, and inevitably at the end of the supply chain are those faceless and poor teenagers with explosives strapped to their torsos regularly marched out to blow up other poor kids.

Two days before the Americans killed Osama bin Laden and took away his bullet-riddled body, General Kiyani addressed Army cadets at Kakul. After declaring a victory of sorts over the militants, he gave our nation a stark choice. And before the nation could even begin to weigh its pros and cons, he went ahead and decided for them: we shall never bargain our honour for prosperity. As things stand, most people in Pakistan have neither honour nor prosperity and will easily settle for their little world not blowing up every day.

The question people really want to ask General Kiyani is that if he and his Army officer colleagues can have both honour and prosperity, why cant we the people have a tiny bit of both?

The Army and its advocates in the media often worry about Pakistans image, as if we are not suffering from a long-term serious illness but a seasonal bout of acne that just needs better skin care. The Pakistan Army, over the years, has cultivated this image of 180 million people with nuclear devices strapped to their collective body threatening to take the world down with it. We may not be able to take the world down with us; the world might defang us or try to calm us down by appealing to our imagined Sufi side. But the fact remains that Pakistan as a nation is paying the price for our generals insistence on acting, in Asma Jahangirs frank but accurate description, like duffers.

And demanding medals and golf resorts for being such duffers consistently for such a long time.

What people really want to do at this point is put an arm around our military commanders shoulders, take them aside and whisper in their ears: Murshid, marwa na daina.


Mohammed Hanif is the author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), his first novel, a satire on the death of General Zia ul Haq


Politcal Worker (100+ posts)
no use of blaming others, we should concentrate on solution facing us. No doubt we should learn from history, but blaming any one for the whole pandorama is a little bit selfishness.


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Pakistani Army Pleads for Respect


Pakistan's army leadership, under mounting domestic pressure since a U.S. strike team infiltrated its soil to kill Osama bin Laden, issued a rare defensive response to domestic critics Thursday, offering to reduce its reliance on U.S. military aid and training and setting strict limits on American intelligence operations within the country.

EPA Pakistanis supported the country's beleaguered military in May, carrying a banner showing army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, upper left.

Since the May 2 raid, army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his inner circle have had to contend with American demands for more cooperation in the fight against Islamist militants while trying to reassure soldiers who are openly questioning the rationale for Pakistan's tight military embrace with the U.S.
Pakistan's opposition politicians have joined the fray, spurring public disenchantment with the military, for decades the dominant political and economic powerbroker in the country.
The roughly 1,000-word statementat various points apologetic, belligerent and stridentwas the clearest indication to date that in striking a balance between the competing demands, Pakistan's military leaders are looking to first assuage their own people, even if that means scaling back ties to the U.S.
The statement also offered an indication of the crisis now gripping Pakistan's military and the lengths its leaders are potentially willing to go to restore public respect. The statement also said the army would be willing to divert U.S. military aid to help improve the lot of ordinary Pakistanis.
The military's attempt to court the public faced an immediate challenge Thursday when a video emerged of paramilitary soldiers in Karachi shooting dead an unarmed teenager who was pleading for his life. It was aired nonstop by television news channels and overshadowed the military's statement.
Gen. Kayani in recent weeks has attempted to rally his troops, going from garrison to garrison to explain that he shares their sense of humiliation over the raid but that now is no time to jettison ties with the U.S.
"I felt betrayed by the U.S. military action as I have been involved deeply in developing strategic relations with the United States," he told senior field officers at Islamabad's National Defense University last month, according to people who attended the event.
After the speech, a colonel in attendance pointedly asked: "How can we trust the United States?"

On Thursday, Gen. Kayani told senior commanders the army was responding to that sense of frustration, according to the military's statement. He said the army had "drastically cut" the number of U.S. troops stationed in Pakistan and ended U.S. training of Pakistani soldiers.
Gen. Kayani also told commanders that U.S. military aid for Pakistan should be diverted to help the economy, signaling that he no longer sees it as essential. Pakistan said it received $8.6 billion in U.S. military assistance in the past decade through an American program meant to reimburse the country for money spent fighting militants. The figure is slightly lower than numbers provided Thursday by the Defense Department.
Gen. Kayani, however, said that only $2.6 billion of that sum went to the armed forces and the rest was spent on budget support for Pakistan's cash-strapped government.
The Defense Department said Pakistan had requested the number of U.S. military trainers in Pakistan be reduced. It didn't provide numbers, but U.S. officials have previously said troops would be cut from a high of about 330 last year to slightly more than 200, and some training operations were being curtailed.
Thursday's statement also indicated Gen. Kayani is unlikely to heed U.S. demands for expanded cooperation in the fight against militants. He told commanders Pakistan won't be pressured to agree to a timetable to attack North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal area that borders Afghanistan and is home to a slew of militant groups, including one at the top of the U.S. target list, the Haqqani network.
Gen. Kayani also told commanders that U.S. drone strikes against militants in the tribal areas "were not acceptable under any circumstances." Pakistan has always publicly condemned the program while privately acquiesing and, at times, assisting it. Since the bin Laden raid, Gen. Kayani has faced widespread criticism among his ranks for letting the drone strikes continue.
U.S. reaction to the Pakistani statement was muted. American officials said they understood Gen. Kayani needed "breathing space" to get his own people back on his side. "The government has been in a difficult spot domestically since the bin Laden raid, and the Pakistani military is probably tying to re-establish some of the credibility it perceived it lost," said a U.S. official in Washington.
Some Pakistani officers fear that anger over the bin Laden raid could make lower-ranking soldiers more amenable to Islamist influences. One group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has roots in the Middle East, clandestinely dropped pamphlets in military cantonments after the bin Laden raid calling for officers to establish an Islamic caliphate.
"It is a slap in the respected officers' faces that on May 2 American helicopters intruded in the dark of night and barged into a house like thieves," the pamphlet read. It added: "It could not have been possible without the acquiescence of your high officials."
Military officers said it was highly unlikely the pamphlets could have been distributed without assistance from in the ranks.
The U.S. has assiduously courted Gen. Kayania stand-out student in the 1980s at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.since he took control of the army in 2007.
Many U.S. officials say Pakistan is supporting Afghan Taliban factions in the hope of using them to maintain influence there once the Americans leave.
Pakistanis are insulted by such talk. They point out that they have caught numerous al Qaeda members. A third of Pakistan's army is arrayed along the border with Afghanistan fighting local Taliban militants, a campaign in which almost 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have died. Many generals, Gen. Kayani included, say the nation is now critically exposed to attack from archrival India on its eastern flank.
In the field, soldiers say they are angry at the lack of recognition from the U.S. for their losses fighting militants.
"We are fighting for the whole world. It's very bad it's not recognized," said Lt. Col. Fazal Rabbi, a helicopter pilot with the Frontier Corps.
U.S. pressure to do more, which would inevitably mean pulling more soldiers off the border with India, has deepened Gen. Kayani's concerns. "The Americans," said one senior Pakistani officer, "talk to us like they don't give a damn if Indian soldiers can walk into Pakistan."
In much of his dealings with his American interlocutors, Gen. Kayani chain smokes and nods but never says much, according to a former official who worked with him.
Some U.S. officials acknowledge that the general sees the Americans as short-timers in the region. "We're like high school kids talking about what do Friday night," said a senior U.S. military officer. "He's planning what he's going to do after college."
Gen. Kayani's skepticism was summed up at a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in October.
After Mr. Obama pressed him on the need to move against Taliban sanctuaries, Gen. Kayani handed over a 13-page document outlining the distance between Washington's short-term focus, which centers on getting out of Afghanistan, and Pakistan's long-term challenges of living in an unstable region alongside a more populous and powerful India, say U.S. and Pakistani officials briefed on the meeting.
Write to Matthew Rosenberg at [email protected] and Tom Wright at [email protected]


Minister (2k+ posts)
maybe awan4ever, does not know what it feels like when someone from family is killed/matyred figthing for the sake of the country. All people like him can do is criticize and criticize and criticize. It's better never to argue with an idiot.


Prime Minister (20k+ posts)
maybe awan4ever, does not know what it feels like when someone from family is killed/matyred figthing for the sake of the country. All people like him can do is criticize and criticize and criticize. It's better never to argue with an idiot.

Thats why I have him in my iggy bin among Indians


Minister (2k+ posts)
What people really want to do at this point is put an arm around our military commanders’ shoulders, take them aside and whisper in their ears: “Murshid, marwa na daina.”

Total tabahi !


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
maybe awan4ever, does not know what it feels like when someone from family is killed/matyred figthing for the sake of the country. All people like him can do is criticize and criticize and criticize. It's better never to argue with an idiot.

Maybe you dont know anyone who lost a family member in drone strikes/army operations/ISI covert operations.

Ignorance is the real idiots hideout where you abide right now.


Minister (2k+ posts)
Maybe you dont know anyone who lost a family member in drone strikes/army operations/ISI covert operations.

Ignorance is the real idiots hideout where you abide right now.

Who the F said that people dying by drones is not an attrocity? No denying that! Soldiers follow orders, the top brass(military and political) is the problem not the ordinary soldiers.


Senator (1k+ posts)
Who the F said that people dying by drones is not an attrocity? No denying that! Soldiers follow orders, the top brass(military and political) is the problem not the ordinary soldiers.

awan4ever also meant top brass my dear, we all love our soldiers, but I never understood why a poor soldiers is so helpless that they can kill their own brothers , kids , mothers on top brass orders...

isnt it pathetic ..


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Who the F said that people dying by drones is not an attrocity? No denying that! Soldiers follow orders, the top brass(military and political) is the problem not the ordinary soldiers.

Read the title of the post again.