All for the next US agenda?

No doubt, credit goes to Imran Khan for raising his voice against corruption. However, he has only targeted Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari

Nawaz Sharif proved to be a genuine populist leader by returning home and facing imprisonment in a politically motivated accountability case. Certainly, it is a big blow in the face of those who wanted to wipe him off the political scene by hook or by crook.

He has now become a symbol of resilience and defiance against the motivated agenda of the military establishment. Perhaps, this is the first open ‘war’ between a politician and the military establishment over the supremacy of the civilian government. It really doesn’t matter if Nawaz Sharif wins the move against the tyranny of dictates or loses his life in the struggle to limit the establishment’s role in such matters. Credit goes to three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for standing up to the paradoxical practices of the establishment.

Across the board accountability should be the national agenda supported by all state institutions. There are no two ways about this. But why is it politicians who are always targeted in accountability cases? Why are the civil and military bureaucracies out of the scope of accountability?

The coward commando and former army chief General Musharraf is enjoying his freedom beyond accountability in UAE. His escape from the country was supported by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif. The public has the right to ask if he will come to face the cases against him or continue hiding abroad. General Kiyani and his brother’s corruption amounting to billions also continues to echo. Will the military establishment make public the efforts made to bring back both Army Chiefs for open trials? What about the looted money? Surely, there must be hundreds of other cases of malpractice and corruption in the military which need to be made public for the sake of transparent accountability!

Across the board accountability should be the national agenda supported by all state institutions. There are no two ways about this. But why is it politicians who are always targeted in accountability cases? Why are the civil and military bureaucracies out of the scope of accountability?

No doubt, credit goes to Imran Khan for raising his voice against corruption. However, he has only targeted Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari. One he was able to get punished. What about all the other thieves in our midst? What about the corruption of his own cronies and ticket-holders?

Khan never spoke against the corruption of Generals and undue fiddling by the khakis. It clearly shows that corruption is merely a slogan against a targeted politician, Nawaz Sharif. It is always essential to eliminate popular leaders to achieve a hidden agenda. Our history is full of such tragic incidents where the military establishment served as a tool for the international agenda.

In the late 1970s, a campaign against Prime Minister (PM) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was needed to eliminate him from the political scene, and to pave the path for General Zia’s dictatorship. As a corrupt puppet, General Zia fought the US’s proxy war in Afghanistan in the name of Jihad. The October 1999 coup against the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led to dictator General Musharraf bowing down to the US war against self-created terrorism — the terrorists that the US created to fight the USSR.

In a strange move, all retired Generals and army officers, their families and friends seem to be using social media platforms to bring attention to Nawaz Sharif’s links with India. All the think tanks being run by the retired or serving army officers are developing surveys and opinion pieces to lobby against Nawaz Sharif. The interim federal and provincial governments have taken all the best possible steps to stop PML-N candidates from actively pursuing their election campaigns. Many have been house-arrested. Many have been beaten up by mobs with direct or indirect support from the establishment. Numerous PML-N candidates are facing threats and being asked not to run their election campaigns.

Let me quote a Daily Times editorial, “…….perhaps the most important of all. Those who run the show fear this defiance that has suddenly become bigger than both man and party. For today, the PML-N chief takes the credit for having single-handedly, if unwittingly, unmasked the ambitions of the establishment.”

The unlawful detention of hundreds of PML-N leaders and workers across the Punjab was a defeat for the establishment. Treating common protestors as terrorists and registering cases against them has only alienated it. Complete lockdown of Lahore, jamming the communication networks and a virtual mainstream media blackout of Nawaz Sharif’s home coming showed the actual motives of the elements trying to eliminate Nawaz Sharif from the political scene.

All such tactics makes the Nawaz Sharif case more significant. Many political pundits believe that the US wants a spineless government in Pakistan to serve its own interests. This time khakis prefer to stay behind the curtain, contrary to the past practices. No military coup is predicted, but a government formed by all the King’s cronies will bow down to the US. Who will be the target this time? The answer is obvious in the following statement.

A couple of weeks back, a Chinese professor of International Studies from the Renmin University Jin Can Rong gave a lecture in Islamabad. In his lecture, he said “the confident China has confused America by taking up aggressive economic and trade initiatives. This time China is not defensive but aggressively moving ahead by taking bold and risky economic decisions. This is the point of extreme conflict and confrontation with the US while China has resolved its conflicts with other countries. Pakistan is a close US aide in the region. So, the US will try to use its influence in Pakistan to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — the backbone of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. It would be a disaster for regional economic stability.”

The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at devcom.pakistan@gmail.com. He tweets @EmmayeSyed

Published in Daily Times, July 17th 2018.