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Rulers in Disguise

Asif M Basit

Samira Shackle advises not to be “fooled by the elections” that are due to take place this month in Pakistan; she suggests that “the military is still in charge”. (www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/dont-be-fooled-by-elections-the-mil…).

Samira is absolutely right in advising not to be fooled by the elections because this advice stays evergreen in Pakistan; it just doesn’t change. But who is actually in charge? Samira might want to give it a second thought. 

The mullahs have, in the name of Islam, taken control of every matter in the Pakistani society. Even if one wants to argue that the military is still in charge, they will eventually reach the conclusion that the mullahs take charge of the army too, just like all other crumbling organs of the frail body of Pakistan.

It all started off when the Republic of Pakistan, only an infant at that time, was abducted by the clergy and transformed into a so-called “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan. All this happened within the first three years of the birth of this state, established as a safe haven for those who classed themselves as Muslims. But by 1953, the definition of “a Muslim” was being controlled by the clergy. To ensure that only their type of Muslim was classed as Muslim, the mullah-mafia had penetrated into the flesh and bone of the Pakistani society – from the executive to the legislative to the judicial bodies. 

Since America has always had its gazes fixed on the Pakistan Army to fight as their ally in the anti-Soviet conflict, the Pakistan Army had to be “Islamised” in the name of jihad. This is where the clergy found their way into the control centres of Pakistan’s armed forces. The coup of Zia-ul-Haq saw the army turn into a religious fatwa-factory controlling religious affairs within the country rather than a military force appointed to protect the borders. The infamous Ordinance XX by General Zia-ul-Haq, defining the do’s and don’ts for the Ahmadiyya sect, was the most shameless act of a man in charge of the armed forces of Pakistan, who happened to be the self-styled Head of State. What followed is ample proof to show that the Pakistan Army is, like other institutions of Pakistan, a mafia controlled by extremist mullahs. 

The plot to topple the Benazir Bhutto’s government and assassinate the entire army command in 1995 was led by none else but a group of high ranking army officials under Qari Saifullah's leadership and with strong ties with the banned extremist group Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami. Fifty-seven officials of the Pakistan Airforce were found to have connections with banned extremist groups in 2009. The attack on the Mehran Base of the Pakistan Army – for which the Tehrik-i-Taliban accepted responsibility – turned out to be fully assisted by the army-men inside the camp; militants were seen dressed in uniforms and seemed to know the facilities too well.

So, agreeing with Samira that the military is in charge and at the helm of affairs in Pakistani politics, we need to look behind this smoke-screen and see the faces of the actual culprits: the extremist groups functioning in the name of Islam, attempting to bring down the whole structure of the state that was founded in the name of Islam.

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