Thursday, January 03, 2008

Suicide bomber must die, if he means to kill

Kenya is burning and the West has once again lost the plot. Days after the United States stood clueless about what to do in Pakistan after Benazir's death, the one country everyone thought was on the right track in Africa, went up in flames. Elections were held in Kenya the day Benazir died. Elections were peaceful, the outcome has not been. President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in within an hour of declaration of results — a poll process that was dubious from the start. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who belongs to a rival tribe, refused to accept the rigged results and the tribal clashes that erupted have cost nearly 400 lives. Kenya is home to a large number of Indians, mostly business people, who are now living in temples as fires raze in their business establishments. Kenya, like most of Africa, is still divided among tribes and the nascent nationalism is often threatened by ancient tribal instincts. As the international community twiddles its thumbs, it's time to go back to the double-standards of democracy as preached and practised by it. As much as the West professes and propagates democracy, it looks the other way when democracy doesn't seem to serve its interests. And stability is the excuse offered every time there is discomfort. In Kenya's case, Daniel Arap Moi was tolerated by the international community for over two decades because he offered stability. There was this comfort of dealing with a known devil, even if he suppressed democracy. After 1978, the first elections that were considered free and fair took place in 2002 and Mwai Kibaki became President. But he has learnt from his predecessors to stay glued to the chair, so what that glue is called fraud. And the world did not say a word. True democracy can take a hike; the proponents of democracy want stability. That greatest hawker of democracy to the world, the US, nourishes and protects the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia. Washington's cover to the Jeddah royalty is the reason why the al-Qaeda was born. Washington not only backed Pervez Musharraf in uniform, but also directed the farce that played out in Pakistan as he doffed it.

That brings us to Pakistan
A long time ago, London-based Pakistani author Tariq Ali wrote a book doubting the survival of Pakistan. The book Can Pakistan Survive? was banned in Pakistan. In 1997when both India and Pakistan turned 50, Times colimnist Tunku Varadrajan asked another question: Should Pakistan Survive? And he gave the answer: No. He argued that "midnight's child born on the wrong side of the bed" should be abolished. We wouldn't go so far as to say kill the idea of Pakistan, but what do you do if the idea commits suicide. If you look at Pakistan today, it's damn well bleeding to death. General Zia-ul-Haq, who sowed the seeds of Islamism in the establishment and vowed to make India bleed by a thousand cuts, must be bleeding in his grave. His country lies lacerated from Sindh to Frontier. Sindhis have no love lost for Punjabis and vice versa, NorthWest Frontier Province remains in an Afghan state of mind. Waziristan and Baluchistan are terrains where even the mighty military fears to tread. Northern Areas are part of Jammu and Kashmir. And all of these areas are swarming with suicide bombers. A suicide bomber must die to inflict harm on others. The country, increasingly becoming the capital of suicide bombing, has itself become a suicide bomb.

The bomb that bombed
So why is Pakistan breaking up? The bomb that was supposed to infuse vigour into the country has ripped its raison d'ĂȘtre. Pakistan's rulers, military or otherwise, always invoked the ghost called India whenever they faced an internal turmoil. When India tested its nuclear bomb in Pokhran, Pakistan followed this up with urgency and determination. A fountain of dust rose from Chagai Mountains in the Baluch hinterland, Pakistanis clapped in the joy of achieving sheer equilibrium with India. Suddenly, they had the ultimate deterrent. There was no fear of India. There was no threat to Pakistan. There could never be a war with India because a nuclear turn would mean decimating each other.
That joy was short-lived. Pakistanis had lost their common enemy, the factor that got them united in jingoism. The large number of unemployed, the army of victims of its feudal system, the Pashtuns, the Sindhis, the Punjabis, the Waziris had no history of being together. Living together was the idea of India. Separation was at the root of Pakistan. They have no shared history. Sixty years is not history, it's recent past. The Pakistani education system did not allow history to go beyond 60 years, because that would have meant teaching Indian history.
The nuclear bomb or Islamic bomb has done the Islamic Republic of Pakistan what no enemy could. India may have become free on the same date, but it was born centuries ago. As a country, Pakistan is an adolescent and adolescents must not carry dangerous arms. They tend to harm themselves.

A for al-Qaeda, B for Pakistan
You can accuse him of mass murder but you can't accuse Osama bin Laden of stupidity. The most dangerous mind on the planet today lives anonymously in the mountains of Pakistan, along the Afghan border. Afghanistan is dangerous, even for bin Laden. There are American troops, there is the Afghan Army and the hills are infested with spies and self-declared commanders who can turn him in for money. Pakistan is a safe haven. The West-educated bin-Laden knows that 9/11 was the best trick he could pull off on the world. The next big trick is acquiring a nuclear arsenal. For the last five years, various intelligence agencies have pointed out that al-Qaeda was trying to build a dirty bomb.
Recent reports say Osama has shifted his focus from Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking over bombed-out countries has not given him much in return in the years since 9/11. He's looking at taking over a country with military power and most importantly the bomb. Doomsayers say that Osama would do everything to fuel the fire in Pakistan and that he would inflict a thousand cuts and bleed it into submission. The US is worried, not so much about Pakistan's well-being, but its N-weapons. And rightly so. So what should India do? Nothing at all. Pakistan never considered India a friend. Now in this war within, it's not even the enemy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We await a new post from you..