Friends Not, Masters
By Humayun Gauhar
We are better than the whore who claimed she was raped because her client’s cheque ‘for services rendered’ bounced. Our cheque has finally been honoured. Bravo!
I moved the comma forward by one word in the title of President Ayub Khan’s autobiography, ‘Friends, Not Masters’ to ‘Friends Not, Masters’ to change its meaning 180 degrees to reflect our abject surrender to America. Enslavement is our humiliating reality.
Seven months of false bravado ended with a whimper when Pakistan reopened its supply routes to help the US and its stooges continue their ‘NATOcide’ in Afghanistan. We reverted to the old terms and sold our honour for $1.1 billion ‘for services rendered’, just as our native potentates sold their honour to the British in return for fiefs, titles and gun salutes. Britain ‘honoured’ them with knighthoods; America has invested us with ‘major non-NATO ally’ status. It’s in our genes that we that we are underlings, dear Brutus, not in our stars.
Our creed is Islam: so says our constitution. It is our state religion. That this document made by a rump assembly is rived with hypocrisy and contradictions reflects badly on Pakistanis, not on Islam. “No law can be made that is repugnant to the Quran or Sunnah,” says our constitution grandly. Which also means that no action can be taken that is repugnant to the Islam of the Quran. To help an occupier is un-Islamic in the extreme and anti-Jihad. To help an occupier exit is to help end occupation, which is truly Islamic and pro-Jihad. We should have opened only NATO exit routes, not supply routes. But what is the point of saying this in a state that is full of Muslims but empty of Islam?
The notion that it is the first duty of governments to protect their own people, properties and the State becomes an excuse to justify wrongdoing. Protect them, certainly, but not by helping occupiers. It is like destroying your neighbour’s house to save your own, not realizing that it gets destroyed anyway. It comes easily to us because that is our pathetic history: if we hadn’t helped the British to occupy our homeland just to settle personal scores, India would never have been colonized. Why don’t we admit that we have neither spine nor faith, that our independence is just a myth, and come out of our misery and into our reality?
We closed NATO’s supply routes after the US wantonly killed 24 of our soldiers in Salala. It came just six months after the Abbotabad attack in which Osama Bin Laden was allegedly killed, compounding our embarrassment. The routes won’t reopen unless America ‘apologized’, we proclaimed. Well, it didn’t. Hillary made a pre-arranged phone call to our foreign minister in the middle of the grandly named ‘Defence Committee of the Cabinet’ meeting just as the agenda item came up. All present heard her. She said ‘sorry’ and ‘regret’, but didn’t apologize. We had that seven months earlier anyway, so what was the sorry spectacle all about? It was about petulance, not principle. The US State Department spokeswoman said, “Both sides said sorry”. What were we sorry for? For inconsiderately putting our soldiers in the way of US bullets and bombs and embarrassing them?
We closed NATO supply routes to try and create the image of a free people with spine, little realizing that people without faith or ideology can have neither. It was a mirage that had to evaporate to reveal the desert of our values. The image we have created now is of bondage, not freedom.
What could have changed our minds? America honouring its cheque, perhaps? The US aircraft carrier standing off the coast of Gwadar, perchance? America moving with alacrity to bring us to heel fearing that the space left by it may be filled by Russia and China, maybe? Threatening our rulers with exposure of their corruption, possibly? With stooges it could be anything.
Our American stooge members of the Langley Club claim that many good things will happen now. Milk and honey will start flowing. I can bet that it if any milk and honey flow, it will be on American streets. Only blood flows on ours. Such people upgrade ‘pragmatism’ to the art of surrender and ‘realism’ to an excuse for surrender. Our realism is to follow the reality created by someone else’s idealism, not our own.
Idealism is the stuff reality is made of. Dreams are the raw material of revolution that creates a new, native and contemporary reality in consonance with global realities and changing times. It called the status quo, not static but dynamic. Our Prophet (pbuh) was initially regarded as an unrealistic idealist, a romantic, a dreamer. He struggled and succeeded and changed the world for all times to come. When he was offered the wealth of Mecca, he replied: “If they place the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, I will not betray my mission.” We have betrayed ourselves for pennies.
If our reality amounts to a few billion dollars, outdated weaponry, bailouts and borrowing to service debts that increases our indebtedness, then that is the reality of our mental and physical enslavement. We are no inheritors of the Prophet’s (pbuh) tradition. We exemplify the traditions of the opportunists and hypocrites who spread fitna and fasad – mischief and disharmony.
Sounds very idealistic, doesn’t it? Well, I am very proud of that, for the realists and pragmatists who only see rocks and hard places have brought us to the point of extinction. They are wedded to the constitutional and legal mores of the colonizer-occupier that have crafted our iniquitous status quo that is reflected in our constitution and which our alien political and judicial systems and media protect. Those who work these systems and institutions don’t know any better, for their Ka’aba lies in Washington. It is the direction from which they seek guidance. Such people cannot bring revolution. Their function is to prevent revolution and protect the iniquitous status quo.
Pakistan started out with great fervor and excitement. Our fathers and grandfathers worked their butts off, sitting on crates not chairs with planks for tables, using thorns as pens and pins, garages for offices with an old solitary fan, bicycling to and from work. Where has that fervor gone? How have we come to this sorry state?
Because of our actions that fly in the face of our avowed creed, our hypocrisy and contradictions, that’s how. Our creed charges us to choose our leaders from amongst ourselves and from amongst the best. We choose or select leaders who are not exclusively from amongst us for they hold dual nationalities. Which begs the question that I was the first to ask years ago: “Which of their countries would they betray if the two were to go to war?”
British parliamentary democracy that we slavishly ape forces us to choose from amongst the worst for only the worst are on offer. Those from amongst the best would either lose out or get polluted by this dirty system. Thus there is no point in saying that people get the government they deserve. What can they do if all the choices before them are from amongst the worst?
So today we have a partisan, stigmatized president and stigmatized leaders in waiting, a prime minister with an ongoing investigation against him, a Senate Chairman who is rumoured to be a land grabber, a National Assembly Speaker whose husband is highly controversial, a recent prime minister who couldn’t see what his sons were allegedly up to, an army chief who doesn’t know what his brother or brothers may be up to, a chief justice fallen off his high pedestal who couldn’t see what his son was allegedly up to… Are they all blind?
Everyone in our ruling gang is naked in our national bath and unclean too because it has no water for dearth of electricity to pump it up with. The information minister’s hole in the bucket argument was a gem: “There is no electricity because there is no water.” Try wrapping your mind around this one.
You want freedom you have to win it from your ruling gang, not from America. America does what is in its good; we also do what is in America’s good, not in ours. If we sell ourselves, cheap or expensive doesn’t matter, why shouldn’t America buy us if we are worth it?
The result is that peoples’ stakes in the country have weakened. We have multiple power centres working against each other rather than in tandem, many transgressing their domains – parliament-legislature, executive, judiciary, legal bars, army, media, big business, feudal barons, tribal chieftains, warlords, drugs and land Mafiosi… The result: we have a right royal mess. This parched land is thirsting for the blood of the rulers, not the ruled.