Photo by AFP
South Punjab has reacted sharply against the federal government’s veiled intention to launch a Waziristan-like military operation in the region – a bid to provide NATO forces an indirect access to the region. The reason: the local religious organisations have direct contacts with al Qaida and the Tehreek-i-Taliban, Pakistan.
It is generally believed that if somebody wants to weaken Pakistan, they should weaken the Punjab through dividing it in many parts, encouraging complaints from smaller provinces and dividing people on religious, ethnic, linguistic and economic bases.
Our political, bureaucracy and military elites have played havoc with the system drawing bad name for Punjab.
The chief security officer of the martyred Benazir Bhutto, Mr Rehman Malik, has hinted at the possibility of launching such operation. And who is not aware of the strength, power and influence of him as his conviction was pardoned (by the president) even before the ink of the verdict was dried. This shows the efficiency of Presidency where Farhatullah Babar and Fauzia Wahab deal with public and political affairs. Like Mr Rehman Malik, two other Punjabi convicts, Ahmad Riaz Sheikh and Sajjad Haider, have also benefited from the President’s House.
Kahuta is very close to Sihala Police Training School where so-called Blackwater agents remained for sometimes. Close to Sihala was the base of a Pakistani retired major who would supply prohibited deadly weapons to his foreign clients. One does not know what has become of the major. Does he have got another lucrative contract?
It is said that nuclear sites Chashma and Khushab are located in south Punjab. One should not forget that it was America which was all praise for former president Musharraf. And it was President Zardari, his foreign minister, a pir and makhdoom from the south, and Pakistan ambassador to the US (new Sindhi from Karachi) all praise for Kerry-Lugar Bill. Another aspect not to be overlooked is rhetoric of a retired general and commander of the Jalalabad operation who thinks that he is on the hit list of the US and NATO forces. His second front is on the Narowal border where he got agricultural land allotted for his meritorious services for forming the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad.
All the indications mentioned above are a routine matter in our political traditions and morality. Everybody knows Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, former primer Nawaz Sharif, Javed Hashmi, Chaudhry Shujat Husain and Mehtab Abbasi unanimously voted for the 8th Constitutional amendment during the Zia regime. Now, they all have stood for the 18th Amendment in the Zardari regime. But such somersaults are not new in our political landscape.
The establishment tried to divide the province on political lines through suspending the provincial coalition government in March 2009. The establishment, however, could not arrange turncoats from the morally bankrupt factions of the Q-league.
The recent entry of the MQM, responsible for the May 12 carnage, to the Punjab may be the part of a greater scheme.
The attitude of Punjab bureaucracy has also created bad name for the Punjab. A letter appeared in Dawn on May 28 May, which highlights the highhandedness of the Punjab bureaucratic circles. The correspondent, Jahangir Ahmad Khan, of Karachi, says: “The Establishment Division maintains a pool of officers of DMG, police and secretariat group collectively called the All Pakistan Service (APS). The APS officers have to serve in both federal and the provincial government … Contrary to the policy, only the officers of the smaller provinces are sent not only to other provinces but to the toughest areas. Merit and rules are violated for the officers from the Punjab. Punjab is reserved for women officers from Punjab itself and for the direct inductees from the armed forces while male officers from Punjab are posted in Islamabad. There have been instances where officers from Lahore started their UT-ship in Lahore and served in Lahore till the age of retirement. These people are commonly referred to as the Shahdara Group. This unjust policy based on ethnicity has strongly demoralized the civil servants”.
And apart from the bureaucracy, there are other government institutions or the pillars of the state which have played havoc with the solidarity and integrity of the country. For instance, armed forces have their own carved image about themselves. For example, two Indian army officers simultaneously won the Military Cross on Burma Front in the World War II. One was Major Niazi (The Tiger Niazi of Bangladesh ‘fame’), and the other was Major Mirza Hasan Khan from Kashmir state army who won the colour during Dera Doon Academy. As he was an officer from Kashmir, therefore after conquering Gilgit and parts of Kargil, he was required to command the Pakistani army. After Partition, to be inducted as commissioned officer, he had to appear before Sher Ali (later Nawabzada Lt-Gen Sher Ali Khan), who incidentally was also a major when Hasan (of Rawalpindi conspiracy case) was serving as major on Burma Front). Sher Ali congratulated him to be selected for the Pakistani commission as lieutenant. That made Hasan junior to dozens of Pakistani officers who were much junior to him in the 40s on Burma Front. Such ways have ruled the armed forces making a system that has earned ill-will, bad blood and accusation against Punjab to a great extent justified.
Source:DAWN. Thursday, 03 Jun, 2010
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