In an attempt to settle blazing dust of the May 2 US unilateral assault in Abbotabad and assuage political-cum-public tempers, Prime Minister Gilani on Friday arranged an in-camera briefing for the parliamentarians to provide them first-hand information on how Pakistan’s sovereignty was violated blatantly, which was also certainly aimed to lessen the intensity of scathing criticism on the military and political elite.
However, people of Pakistan have the right to entertain the feeling of being left out since they were denied the opportunity of listening to the guards of their frontiers live, and the questioning-cum-reasoning ability of if-gutsy elected representatives of the two highest houses.
Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that for the first time in the military-dominated tattered history of Pakistan, the most powerful organ has surrendered to the parliament, conceding its blunder, and offering resignation. Reportedly, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt.-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha submitted his resignation to the Premier, who rejected it immediately. “Keep on working,” Gilani directed (read requested) ISI’s top man, who admitted failure, sought apology, and bowed to say, “The failure was unintentional, but I admit that it was a mistake. I consider myself answerable to the Parliament, which is supreme. I am feeling relieved after presenting myself here.”
Stooping-to-conquer Pasha also informed the resignation-demanding parliamentarians – sans even a single credit of quitting after many fiascos – that he had made up his mind to resign after consulting his family, but COAS General Kiyani vetoed him.
Pasha did not fall short of assuring scared people that Pakistan had the capability of giving befitting reply to India in case the latter actualises its belligerent postures. To him, the nuclear arsenal was also immune to any aggression. Whether these statements would satisfy Pakistanis carry a big question mark, especially after the armed-forces’ recent failure in the garrison city. This scenario is further compounded when he also admits that his agency lacked resources and technology in comparison to the CIA.
The depth to which our rulers lowered for becoming ‘the loyal of all US stooges’ can be gauged from the briefing. General Pasha, while asserting that country’s national security was foremost, averred that we could not bow to American’s every command. This amply depicts the fact that the so-called friend-cum-ally is also bent upon destabilising the country in the name of bringing prosperity and progress by continuing “programmes of public welfare” as Senator John Kerry claimed during his last visit to ease out double murder convict Raymond Davis’s release.
Can we reject the white-man burden now? Pasha told the elected reps that ties with the US were not congenial, and would not improve in the near future. This statement establishes that our ruling elite wished to continue playing its role as ‘front-line state for US War on Terror’, and is not in a mood to off-load the Americans from the sinking boat.
Another shocking revelation was made by Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations) Air Marshal Muhammad Hassan when he mentioned that the land of the Shamsi Airbase was purchased by the United Arab Emirates, which constructed the air strip and handed it over to the Americans. “It falls beyond our control,” he succinctly gives himself a clean chit. There was no tangible reply to a query by PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar regarding the agreement as per which the Airbase was being used by another country.
While asserting that the US helicopters were equipped with highly sophisticated technology and escaped detection (by our radars), Hassan mentioned that the US stealth technology was exclusively possessed by the Americans. The question is: Why is not the PAF equipped with latest technology despite ever-increasing defence budget?
On the other hand, Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman is awaiting orders – did not mention from whom – for shooting down drones, which have caused heavy human losses of innocent civilians inside Pakistan repeatedly reminding us of our vulnerability to unashamed violation of country’s sovereignty.
Ever-belligerent Opposition Leader Ch Nisar Ali Khan alleged General Pasha of ‘talking politics’ and demanded guarantee that such a blunder won’t be committed again. Certainly such an assurance falls beyond human capacity. However, Nisar’s estranged colleague Makhdoom Javed Hashmi’s suggestion to the General was pragmatic, “We forgive you as you are shouldering many responsibilities. However, dish out a few to us.”
In a way, the joint briefing apparently also absolved the political leadership of its responsibility to act as people’s mundane protectors. Secondly, is it really so that the army stood embarrassed and exposed, and it needed some sort of political cover?