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Pakistan is geo strategically located on the shortest approach for Asian giants to reach the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, thus being of vital interest to the USA, thereby necessitating extension of magnanimous economic and military aid in exchange for spy plane bases and subsequent war in Afghanistan when thanks to the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Mujahideen and petrodollars Soviet Union was not only defeated and withdrew but also disintegrated as a nation marking end of the Cold War and emergence of a single Superpower world. China too has been supplying Pakistan with equally important military hardware and with its newfound economic power has invested billions in infrastructure geared towards Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Pakistan between military regimes and civilian governments has worked itself through bad governance and corruption into a quagmire of circular debt and is completely at the mercy of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and western nations that sponsor the Fund specifically the United States that have dictatorial leverage over the politicians, Army generals and bureaucrats, key positions are held by loyalists who perform at the beck and call of the State Department.

Image by Nishaan ahmed


A change had come about with the army sponsored election of Imran Khan as Prime Minister, he had been an international cricket playing icon who attended Oxford University and married a Goldsmith, since cricket is a sport played in every neighborhood ranging from 14,000 feet high plateaus to metropolis of Karachi, his celebrity, good looks and easy going demeanor is unmatched. His manifesto was mainly to provide justice to all and eradicate corruption, his government’s performance was mediocre at best and in a desperate attempt at managing the economy he met with Putin to make a deal for oil a day before Russian invasion of Ukraine, making statements like ‘absolutely not’ to hypothetical questions by the media ‘if USA were to ask for military bases’. Anyhow he was voted out of office by a no confidence motion passed in the parliament by a coalition of opposition parties, supposedly brought about by maneuvering from Washington.

Imran Khan has a sizable diehard following prepared to demonstrate support and street protests as was witnessed yesterday upon his arrest during a hearing at the Supreme Court in Islamabad when he was forcibly abducted by paramilitary troops, video footage shows that he was being manhandled and shocked by tasers, he has been charged with a white collar crime that certainly doesn’t warrant such behavior, anyway its a third world country and by the time orders eare interpreted down the chain such is expected. The unprecedented violence that has ensued in which houses of corps commanders have been attacked and torched according to unconfirmed reports eighteen protesters have been killed so far despite the fact that security forces are under orders not to open fire on unarmed civilians. Some people are of the opinion that protesters are deliberately being allowed to have a free run so that when the dust settles charges against the perpetrators are so serious that the party and its leaders can be disqualified from participation in the elections.

It remains to be seen how and when the protests might die down, for the time being the violence continues unabated across the country mostly directed against the army which is one of the largest in the world, is well trained and heavily armed with most modern weapons. Some veterans are calling on serving officers to bring to account senior generals responsible for interfering with the political and judicial affairs of the country in particular officers at helm of the ISI that has an ever expanding political wing supposedly indulging in all sorts of illegal activities. It is not possible really to foresee discipline deteriorating to the extent of an internal uprising but stranger things have happened. The real danger here is that of nuclear regime, which in case of internal strife could be compromised, there are external forces at work here as well, namely India and Israel who have interest in neutralizing that capability, they have tried it in the past and continually update plans to increase their chances of success. They would be quite content with partial success too, since Pakistan has a lot of tactical warheads as well which may not be easily overcome in one clandestine swoop. Strategically it would be in American interests to make the country impassable for Chinese goods or forces and conversely it would be in the interests of China to have relative calm to allow movement of goods and if need be forces.

India at the outset would be celebrating this predicament facing Pakistan, but it certainly wouldn’t want it to go out of control because that will make matters quite untenable for India as well which is enjoying its economic super power status and wouldn’t want to disrupt its increasing capacity to match or get ahead of China and of course leave Pakistan coughing in the dust imploding under the weight of its mismanaged government. Iran is also benefiting from the turmoil in Pakistan, in that smugglers purportedly operating under the protection of the army are importing fuel and exporting wheat in large volumes filling up coffers of corrupt politicians and officials. In the era of social media news gets around, everyone knows all that’s happening causing evermore resentment among the poor and underprivileged. Afghanistan a landlocked country has most of its trade transit through Pakistan, it though has lived through war for past four decades and is quite adept at capitalizing on turmoil will perhaps be the least affected by breakdown of law and order in Pakistan.

To conclude be careful what you wish for, the Pakistan Army Chief is sitting in Oman and directing operations from there, the present Prime Minister is in London where he has gone to attend the King’s Coronation and visit his brother, lord and master, directing operations from there, while the ex Prime Minister is abducted from court on trumped up charges resulting in widespread violent protests with every likelihood of spilling out into the ranks of regular troop formations, shoddy example of a banana republic in the twenty first century. Pakistan needs to clean the slate and recommence earnestly with the ideological struggle that brought it into existence at the time of partition from India.

"Be careful what you wish for, the Pakistan Army Chief is sitting in Oman and directing 

operations from there." 

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Mahmood Khan 
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