بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
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Pakistan’s increasingly perilous position has in the last few weeks become desperate as the country verges towards economic collapse. Faced in the coming days with exhausting its foreign exchange reserves the situation in Pakistan is fast deteriorating from a crisis to a disaster in the making.
This has been most aptly demonstrated by the huge unexpected power cuts that have left many parts of Pakistan without electricity for up to 12 hours a day or more. Officially the Pakistani regime has sought to deflect widespread anger by claiming there is not enough power producing capacity left in the country. However this disingenuous claim does not explain why load shedding has gone up from a few hours a day just a few months ago to almost no electricity during most of the day in most parts of the country. This has been followed now by a sudden announcement that load shedding will be suspended in the cities. The truth is that the rapidly diminishing foreign exchange reserves have forced the Pakistani regime to burn less and less oil in its power plants in recent months to stave off economic collapse. With growing load shedding protests and the fortuitous collapse of the oil price from nearly $150 a barrel to about $60, the Zardari regime has now decided it can afford to keep the lights on in the cities to stave off further unrest.
An enforced IMF bailout now seems all but inevitable. Yet remarkably the economic crisis is just one of the multiple crises facing Pakistan. Continuing American attacks, growing civil conflict and the failure of Pakistan’s political leadership to address Pakistan’s growing problems have left Pakistan facing a catastrophic situation as it continues it’s slide into chaos.
Pakistan’s security situation has continued to deteriorate and remains the biggest threat. America’s ‘War on Terror’ has well and truly been dragged into Pakistan with America continuing to launch airstrike after airstrike on Pakistani territory at will. Many Muslims have been killed in the process. Yet the latest and most profound turning point came on 3rd September 2008 when American ground troops attacked a village in Angoor Ada inside Pakistan in which 20 civilians were shot to death, including women and children. This raid has marked the beginning of a dangerous phase in the American campaign on the Pakistan-Afghan border. This American action has been matched with a marked increase in verbal rhetoric. Admiral Mullen, the US Chief of Staff, told a US Senate Committee hearing on 10th September, “In my view, these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them…..We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan… but until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.”
Off the record, US officials have been even blunter; together with their mouthpiece in Kabul in the shape of Hamid Karzai, a surge in the number of verbal attacks has taken place over the past several months lamenting Pakistan’s apparent failure to help stem the growing violence engulfing Afghanistan. In a story run shortly after the ground assault the New York Times claimed that Bush had given secret orders in July of this year for sanctioning ground operations inside Pakistan. An anonymous official quoted in the story said, “The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable, we have to be more assertive. Orders have been given.” The message is loud and clear; America is changing the focus of the war to Pakistan itself.
As part of this undeclared war, America is seeking to create a perception of Pakistan as a lawless failed state. It has also launched a smear campaign against the ISI labeling it as being infiltrated with ‘terrorist sympathisers’ and claiming repeatedly Pakistan has not done enough to fight the Taliban. This increased American political rhetoric is an attempt to provide political cover and legitimise American attacks inside Pakistan. General David Petraeus the new Central Command leader said in May 2008 “Al Qaeda’s senior leadership has been strengthened in the Fata, even as though their main effort still is assessed to be in Iraq by them, as well as by us. But the organisation of an [9/11 type] attack, if you will, would likely come from the Fata.” America has strongly condemned any negotiations by Pakistan with the militants in the tribal areas. America has denounced any agreements and claimed military force by Pakistan is the only solution.
However this lie is exposed as both America and NATO have themselves started negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan with Saudi sponsorship. Faced with military defeat they are seeking to secure a favourable deal that will allow them to continue their presence in return for allowing what they hope will be more pragmatic parts of the Taliban a share in power. Moreover General Petraeus who is credited as being the architect of the ‘Awakening Councils’ strategy, whereby the loyalty of certain Iraqi tribes has apparently been bought with American money, is unsurprisingly in favour of such talks and has been charged with attempting to apply this same scheme in Afghanistan and apparently in Pakistan’s tribal areas as well. Why America is better placed to strike deals inside Pakistan than Pakistan’s government itself remains unexplained by the Americans. Every time Pakistan has negotiated a political deal with the Pakistani tribes, there has always been an American airstrike in the tribal areas. It is obvious that America is seeking to create mischief and is deliberately creating a pretext for military intervention and civil conflict inside Pakistan.
The seeds for such a disastrous situation were first laid by General Pervez Musharraf and his regime beginning in late 2001. Prior to the events of 9/11, there was no ‘insurgency’ in Pakistan’s tribal areas; they were at peace just like the rest of Pakistan. There were no suicide bombings and there were no military operations by the Pakistan army inside Pakistan. In reality this is a situation ignited by America’s strategic interests in Central Asia. By aligning with America and her ‘War on Terror’, Musharraf actually declared war on his own Muslim people in Pakistan and the Muslims in Afghanistan. Without active Pakistani co-operation, America and her NATO allies would never have gained such a strong foothold in Afghanistan as they enjoy today. Moreover Musharraf allowed America to establish military bases together with numerous FBI and CIA stations throughout Pakistan. The result has been the kidnapping of countless Pakistani citizens, such as Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was taken from Karachi along with her three children in 2003, without any due judicial process whatsoever. America is now in the position to undertake and carry out a subversive destabilising campaign inside the country using the various assets it now has inside Pakistan. The fact is that Pakistan’s sovereignty has been sold to America in return for a few billion dollars that Pakistan’s ruling elite enjoys every year.
This is demonstrated by Asif Ali Zardari’s new democratic regime which has continued the policies of General Pervez Musharraf in using the Pakistan armed forces to attack its own people in the tribal regions of FATA, Waziristan and the Swat valley. American pressure has been used publically by the new regime of Zardari’s to continue and justify military operations by the Pakistan army in the tribal areas. Zardari has labeled this as ‘Pakistan’s war’ and the regime has embarked on a public relations campaign by taking out advertisements in Pakistan’s national newspapers to rally support for a policy that has no public support. Zardari shamefully confirmed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that American forces had permission to launch attacks inside Pakistan. Zardari also went on to label the Kashmiris opposing Indian rule as ‘terrorists’, and made the ludicrous claim that India has never been a threat to Pakistan, discounting three previous wars in the process. This must have been like music to the ears of the Indian leadership which has accused Pakistan for many years of sponsoring terrorism. The betrayal of the Pakistani leadership could not be more clearer.
Despite the removal of Pervez Musharraf, General Ashfaq Kayani has actually intensified the military operations in the tribal areas that have resulted not only in the deaths of many innocent men, women and children but also in the displacement of more than 500,000 civilians that has left them as refugees in their own country. The inevitable result has been more clashes between the tribesman and the army as mutual hatred has increased. Coupled with the frequent suicide bombings by hitherto unknown perpetrators, panic and fear have gripped many parts of Pakistan. America has fully utilised this situation and has a result expanded her attacks on Pakistan in a deliberate and calculated plan to weaken and eventually destroy Muslim Pakistan. It would seem that with these operations and the continued American airstrikes, a scorched earth policy is being adopted with the intent to deliberately cleanse the area of ordinary civilians as a means to tackle the growing rebellion. Hamid Mir, Pakistan’s Geo TV’s political analyst, has also claimed that no Taliban or Al Qaeda are being killed and it is just the poor villagers who are being attacked and killed.
The Pakistani government’s response has characteristically yet again been a deceitful one. Under pressure from America to which it is beholden to for billions of dollars of ‘aid’ and at the same time caught between the fierce reaction from the Pakistani people, Asif Ali Zardari’s government has sought to pacify public opinion with statements of protecting Pakistan’s sovereignty whilst continuing to co-operate with America in her ‘War on Terror’. Whilst the COAS General Ashfaq Kayani spoke of defending Pakistan’s territory no matter what the cost, Prime Minister Syed Yousef Raza Gilliani shamefully declared that “we cannot fight America”. With ongoing American airstrikes continuing in Pakistan the treachery, cowardice and double talk could not be clearer.
The fact of the matter is that America’s attacks on Pakistan could not even be contemplated with the active co-operation of the Pakistani regime. With hundreds of trucks carrying fuel, heavy weapons and supplies for American and NATO troops in Afghanistan crossing the Pakistan border daily, the American war machine would grind to a halt instantly without these supplies. Moreover a country which has nearly 600,000 troops in its army together equipped with a modern air force and nuclear weapons cannot be so easily pushed around; Russia’s recent war with Georgia demonstrated America’s real weakness.
Pakistan’s economic crisis now presents a further opportunity for the West to arm twist Pakistan into complying with its aims. The economic situation has become so dire that Pakistan’s rulers have been begging for money from country to country in the last few weeks. Unsurprisingly these efforts have been without success so far. The much vaunted ‘Friends of Pakistan’ group launched by Zardari in September in New York, including Saudi Arabia, France, Britain, UAE and other nations, has failed to materialise any money thus far. Pakistan is again faced with the humiliating prospect of turning to the Western loan shark, the IMF. At the time of writing a bailout package of up to $15 billion dollars spread across the next two years is being cited. With a scheduled meeting of the ‘Friends of Pakistan’ set for 17th November it is highly likely that with a token measure of support from the ‘Friends of Pakistan’, the bitter medicine of the IMF will also be packaged together. It is inevitable and widely reported that the IMF will demand spending cuts and increases in taxation over the next few years. Moreover with the inevitable loan conditions the IMF will lay down, Pakistan’s future budgets will have been all but already written in the IMF’s headquarters in Washington.
Runaway inflation has already crushed the lives of ordinary Pakistanis. The previous IMF ‘structural programmes’ have already wreaked havoc in Pakistan’s economy. The previous rounds of privatisation have seen state assets being sold off to cronies for peanuts and allowed foreign multinationals to enter Pakistani markets by ruthlessly undermining and destroying the local industry due to their sheer economic size. The new IMF imposed ‘austerity’ measures and conditions will simply squeeze the life out of many millions more, adding to the swelling ranks of the poor living in poverty who cannot even afford to have three decent meals in a day.
The irony is that Pakistan is facing a foreign exchange crisis shortfall of $4 billion mainly because it has up to $3 billion of debt repayments falling due on old interest based loans. In other words Pakistan is going to seek new loans from the IMF just mainly to make repayments on old debt. If the West genuinely wanted to help Pakistan they could have cancelled the debt, even partially, instead of offering new loans. Whilst America and the rest of the Western world suffer from the worst economic crisis in living memory, Pakistan’s rulers continue to look for answers from a West which has no real solutions and only seeks to exploit the poor as its method for continued hegemony. The current Western dominated international financial system is loaded against countries like Pakistan whose people have to earn paper dollars in exchange for goods and services produced with their hard worked sweat and blood.
This crisis has also shown that Musharraf’s so called economic progress was simply a mirage. There was no programme of mass industrialisation or development of Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Instead Shaukat Aziz under Musharraf’s regime simply helped create financial services led growth by creating a consumer debt bubble in the urban centres which fueled the local real estate and stock markets and made a minority elite class even richer. Together with the ‘rewards’ given by America in re-scheduling debt payments and a few billion dollars in aid, it helped create the economic illusion that was necessary to ensure the longevity of a regime that was long past its sell by date.
Just as then as today, there is no doubt that America and the West in a concerted effort are seeking to again engineer Pakistan’s economic future so as to further ensure compliance with its ‘War on Terror’ agenda. Once again the betrayal of the Muslim rulers is clear as they obediently follow the Western powers. Instead of directly lending to a country like Pakistan, they are prepared to entertain lending to the IMF who in turn will lend to Pakistan with crippling conditions attached.
America has initiated a carefully crafted plan to deliberately create civil conflict in Pakistan, gradually weaken the Pakistan army by creating a domestic insurgency and at the same time hamstring Pakistan economically by mortgaging it to the IMF. The real tragedy is that Zardari’s regime has shamefully played along, realising that this is the one and only way of forcing the Pakistani people to comply with America’s hated war. Kamran Rasool, the Defence Secretary, said as much when appearing before Pakistan’s Senate standing committee on Defence saying “Pakistan‘s credit rating is nearing bankruptcy and its economy cannot afford sanctions by the world powers …..Pakistan’s financial position was very week and the country could not talk about taking on the US.”
The crisis confronting Pakistan is about more than just the attacks by America and its failing economy. The fundamental crisis is the consistent failure of the Pakistani political system to address and resolve any of these critical issues in a sincere and effective manner. The democratic government of Zardari has proven itself to be no different to that from the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf’s regime. These regimes have continued to blindly pursue policies that benefit no one except the ruler of the day, America and her interests. Pakistan’s crises lie at the feet of the collective failure of Pakistan’s rulers and it’s political system. Since Pakistan’s creation both democracy and dictatorship have miserably failed the people of Pakistan; these ruling systems have brought nothing but pain and suffering.
It is clear from America’s new strategy that it has accepted defeat in trying to win the allegiance of the Pakistani masses to its side and as such is actively engaged in attacking and killing Pakistanis’ as it sees fit. It is also a measure of America’s desperation that it has been forced to turn to Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP, a man and a party which have been so thoroughly discredited. The PPP is nothing more than an attempt to present an acceptable democratic face to the nation whilst continuing with the same policies of the previous Musharraf regime.
The truth of the matter is that Islam as an ideological way of life is reviving in the hearts of the Muslims right across the Muslim world. This is what America and her cronies fear the most; the return of a powerful Khilafah state. They fear the Khilafah because it will put an end to the freehand that a morally and economically bankrupt West currently enjoys in looting the resources of the Muslim world. This is also what they fear the most about Pakistan; Pakistan has all the ingredients for a powerful state to emerge in sync with other Muslim lands in the region. This is the real reason behind America’s undeclared war on Pakistan. Amongst the Muslim states, Pakistan is key due to its mix of natural resources, high level of Islamic sentiment, strategic location and a powerful military equipped with nuclear weapons. Pakistan has a population of nearly 200 million Muslims, some of the world’s largest coal reserves, the world’s 5th largest gold and copper reserves, is the world’s 5th largest milk producer and the world’s 9th largest wheat producer. Pakistan as it stands cannot be attacked directly by America; America must adopt more treacherous means of achieving its aims with Pakistan.
Though the Pakistani leadership may attempt to convince the people day in day out that Pakistan is weak and a country de-linked from the affairs of the Muslim world, America has grasped the true reality of Pakistan and seeks to deal with it as a part of its greater plan for the Muslim world. The emphasis on Pakistan should dispel any illusions that its campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were solely to do with oil. America has recognised the resurgence of Islam as a political force in the Muslim world and as such is engaged in a race against time to dismantle every state that could form the bedrock of any future Khilafah. This is why retired US Colonel Ralph Peters, a highly regarded commentator for the American right, has already described craving up the Muslim world which shows Pakistan with other Muslim states being broken up into smaller pieces.
The change in American leadership with Barack Obama becoming the new President will not change this American policy; American foreign policy is guided by it’s strategic objectives, not personalities. Obama has in fact said very clearly that he sees Pakistan as the real war instead of Iraq and will not hesitate to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. In an interview days before the Presidential election, Obama said “The most important thing we’re going to have to do with respect to Afghanistan, is actually deal with Pakistan. And we’ve got work with the newly elected government there in a coherent way that says, terrorism is now a threat to you. Extremism is a threat to you. We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India, but on the situation with those militants.” There has been consistent talk of the Pakistan army being re-configured to deal with counterinsurgency instead of fighting a conventional war with India. Musharraf had already previously offered dropping the UN plebiscite without India conceding anything; now with Zardari at the helm this can only be a settlement on India’s terms. Obama’s policy on Pakistan can be clearly discerned. The International Herald Tribune, a New York Times subsidiary, days before the Presidential election floated the possibility of Indian troops being deployed to help secure Afghanistan as a tangible dividend from this process; the threat to Pakistan could not be clearer.
The Muslims of Pakistan need to understand clearly the objectives behind America’s campaign. This war is about the revival of Islam and the Khilafah. They should understand that in the coming weeks and months America will continue to create further excuses and pretexts to widen it’s attacks to destabilise and weaken Pakistan. It is likely that America will look to slowly broaden the areas inside Pakistan that it attacks. With reports that American military advisers have established a base at Tarbela, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are growing in vulnerability as America increases it’s military footprint inside Pakistan. Most important of all the Muslims of Pakistan should understand that it is the existing ruling system that is the problem; military rule and democracy have always failed to solve Pakistan’s problems. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said:
“The believer is not stung from the same hole twice.” [Bukhari]
After spending more than 60 years first as a client state of Britain, now as America’s, run by a political elite that utilises a corrupt system that serves only their interests and that of their foreign masters, the Muslims in Pakistan must act quickly or inevitably witness greater destruction. The Khilafah is the only way out for the Muslims in Pakistan. It will re-establish Allah سبحانه وتعالى system on this earth and provide the shield for the Muslims which they are so badly lacking. It will free the Muslims from the economic slavery of the West and implement the Islamic economic system which will genuinely develop the resources of the Ummah through industrialisation and wealth distribution. Most importantly it will stand up to the West’s unrepentant tyranny and defend the weak from the aggressor.
It is incumbent upon all the Muslims in Pakistan to work to reestablish the Khilafah, especially those Muslims who have the power and influence to make a difference. They need to help propagate the call for the Khilafah and help create the opinion amongst the sincere people amongst the powerbrokers of Pakistan – the army, the business class and other influential people who feel the pain but do not see a way out of the fire engulfing them. These Muslims should not let themselves be held back, especially by personal circumstances. Allah سبحانه وتعالى warns plainly:
قُلْ إِن كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ
“Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight – are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision (punishment): and Allah guides not the rebellious.“ [Surah Taubah 9:24]
Those who are currently enjoying the spoils of power in Pakistan and siding with America and her war should understand very clearly that the momentum for the Khilafah in the Muslim world is now unstoppable as everything else now stands discredited; the Khilafah’s return is very close. They can either support the return of the Khilafah or they can continue to support the current regime’s embrace of America; there is no in between. If they continue to support America they should understand clearly that they will be held to account when the Khilafah is re-established and will suffer the lower punishment in this world before the greater punishment that awaits them in the hereafter.
They should recall Allah سبحانه وتعالى words, for He has power over all things. He سبحانه وتعال says in the Holy Qur’an:
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُم فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me. ‘If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.” [Surah Nur 24:55]