Avoiding the rebirth of Junejo


By Farman Nawaz

Someone has rightly said “History repeats itself”. In the last months of 1987, the situation in Afghanistan and the decision of Gorbachev on January 10, 1988 had created cracks in the civil and military leadership in Pakistan on one side and Pakistani army and US on the other. And today again the deadline of 2014 for the exit of foreign troops from Afghanistan and elections for new political setup in Pakistan has brought the poor Pakistanis to retrospect the Ojrhi camp incidence.

Pakistani army perspective about Afghanistan did not change in the last three decades. General Zia differed with Junejo on the issue of exit of Russian forces and establishment of Mujahedeen led government in Afghanistan. Zia wanted to get the brokerage of pimping and broking by ensuring the establishment of Mujahedeen led government in Kabul. He was of the opinion that Russian exit is not the end of the problem. Similar reservations and solutions have been expressed by Pakistani army officials on different occasions about the post 2014 scenario of Afghanistan.

In the past Junejo differed with Zia and signed Geneva accords and it ended with the dismissal of the political government and, maybe I am wrong, on the ‘murder’ of Zia. Today again the question of composition of governing parties in Kabul is creating problems between US and Pakistani military. But this time surprisingly political leadership has avoided interfering in the Afghan policy of the army. However the future needs of establishment are not coinciding with the political setup of the present coalition government.

Establishment cannot waste the opportunity of establishing a pro-Pakistani government or having a strong lobby in Kabul just by adhering to its ‘new stance’ of noninterference in political process in Pakistan. Can Pakistani establishment wait to see who will form the government in May 2013 in Pakistan before the exit policy of 2014? Isn’t Pakistani establishment afraid of any Junejo in disguise? Though it is very difficult that someone will dare to stand against the military but still a cent per cent pro-establishment leader will be better than a leader who believes in squaring off with everyone. Post 2014 scenario is blurred and uncertain and any political gallantry will wither away the dreams of Pakistani establishment.

The present waves of efforts of delay in elections seem the links of the same series. Tahir ul Qadri who fully supported the referendum of Musharaf, MQM, whose leader Altaf Hussain once called the patriot Generals to save Pakistan, and, maybe I am wrong, the attacks of terrorists on political leaders show that the likeminded have been entrusted the agenda to postpone the elections or to enable the pro-Taliban parties to take advantage of the situation or to create favorable environment for bargaining.

Pakistani establishment is waiting for the time when foreign forces will leave Afghanistan and then the dispersed Taliban groups, both pro and anti Pakistan, can be amalgamated to control some parts of Afghanistan.  But that is never going to happen. US is not going to leave Afghanistan completely. Negotiations between Taliban and US will only pave way for bringing cracks in Afghan Taliban. It is no more than a fantasy that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan can be utilized in post 2014 Afghanistan. The recent attacks on Pro-Pakistan Taliban leaders in South Waziristan must open the eyes of Pakistani establishment.

TTP claims that the reason to attack Pakistani security agencies is the involvement of Pakistan in war on terror. But do they really want to punish Pak army for its alliance with US? If yes so why Afghan Taliban are not against Pakistan instead of the fact that Pakistan is providing safe passage to containers going to Afghanistan? The weapons and other items sent in those containers are used against Afghan Taliban so why they don’t attack Pakistani security agencies. It’s my personal analysis that Pakistan is attacked to punish for its role in favour of Afghan Taliban.  It’s a question that I want to leave for the opinion makers to think about it.

In the post 2014 scenario the complicated relations of Pakistani establishment with Taliban groups can lead to situation of post Russian exit of 1988 in Pakistan. Pakistani establishment is not ready to accept its wrongdoings in Afghan policy. And today TTP is unmanageable for Pakistani agencies. Afghan Taliban contacts, though in conformity with Pakistan’s consent, with US will surely lead to a kind of political-military proxy war in Kabul. After getting a safe shelter in their motherland Afghan Taliban may not be able to carry out all the coquetries of Pakistan. Pakistan support to Afghan Taliban will provide a pretence to TTP to continue their activities as a tit for tat. Afghan Taliban are not and will not stand against TTP. In that scenario, which will not take years to happen, Pakistani politicians may dare openly to unfasten their lips against the already trembling military establishment. That’s why to avoid the rebirth of Junejo the hidden hands have started knitting the web of conspiracy. Though the mainstream political leadership cannot be sidelined but creating unfavorable situation for elections can give better chances of bargain.

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