Monday, November 05, 2007

Is not that the military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf has imposed martial law. Much like Poland under Jaruzelski or the recent crackdown in Burma, martial law in Pakistan was not a transition from one kind of state to another but rather a shift from the hypocrisy of a velvet glove to the honesty of an iron fist. Pakistan is no more a dictatorship today than it was a month earlier.

Pakistanis, it must be said, are not universally outraged by dictatorship per se. The wily and ruthless General Zia ul- Haq was a fairly popular figure in his day. Wild-eyed deobandi fanatics, opposed to Musharraf's regime, long for a Sharia-state tyranny that would be far more brutal and incompetent than is the current government in Islamabad. Nor is the growing corruption of the army in Pakistan the central problem; Benazir Bhutto's party, the democratic faction, once looted government coffers with gusto while wrecking the economy. Her father, once Prime Minister but later executed by Zia, was a notable menace to the concept of good governance.

Pakistan's central problem is a crisis of legitimacy. Nationalism is a waning force these days and even anti-Indian feeling is sustained by a marriage of nationalism with Islamist radicalism. Once, a Pakistani leader could declare that Pakistani's " would eat grass" to make their country the nuclear equal of Hindu India. No more. Musharraf's fear of "national suicide" did not rouse his countrymen to his side and there are some, even in the army, who would hold up jihad above the nation. Well above.

Without nationalism or state competence, people fall back on primary loyalties. Pakistan has no intrinsic reason to exist unless it can be welded together in men's minds.

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mullah cimoc say benjamin frankling so ashame now if see ameriki people not to rise up and help him brother in pakistan.

somewhere ameriki lose way, now not to support him freedom fighter. now just for the kill and him ameriki not to care. this because usa media keep ameriki so stupid with war news blockade.

also, usa woman now the slut take the LBT (low back tattoo). this the punish.
"Without nationalism or state competence, people fall back on primary loyalties."

On point. But if that is true we are in for a turbulent period where some critical states may begin to come apart until a substitute unifying force can emerge. This issue is not exclusive to Pakistan.
also, usa woman now the slut take the LBT (low back tattoo). this the punish.

It's true: They hate us for our tramp stamps.

I will only point out that "Cimoc" is comic backward. So true ....
I have to wonder if the fundamentalist aspect is over stated. Certainly certain regions of Pakistan are allegiant to tribal factions (NW Frontier) but I'd ask when have these regions ever been otherwise?

Further, and correct me if I'm wrong, while there have been reports of various defections and insubordination within the Pakistan military they seem both sporadic and restricted to the lower echelons of rank.

In this respect it's hard for me to imagine a shattered Pakistan beyond the traditional (and politically marginal) fragmentation that has defined it thus far. Will Mushi lose his reign? Perhaps. But I have hard time believing the Paki military to simply dissolve a la Iraq post invasion if he does.

I'll step out on a limb here and suggest that what you might see sans Mushi is something in line with the current Turkish situation. A popular and secular political movement (the above mentioned Bhutto, perhaps) backed by a shadow framework and literal watchdog via the Pakistani military.

Maybe Musharraf's collapse will prove a boon for Pakistani national legitimacy as the remnants, both political and military are forced to coalesce and hold their tired nation together.
"Tramp stamps" LOL! Mithras, perhaps Mullah Cimoc can issue a fatwa on tongue piercings as well.

Hi Andrew,

Yes, I think this can be generalized to...many, many states.

Hi Sub

My limited understanding of Pakistan is that the army is an anglophiliac & elitist institution where the bearded nuts top out around brigadier or major general and are sent out to pasture to play politics with the hicks and the loonies (Gul, for example). Secondly, that army has grabbed too much for itself under Musharraf without generating any economic growth for everybody else(unlike Zia).

No I don't think they will pack up the tent but they are de-legitimizing themselves by appearing greedy.
It would be a misunderstanding of the history of Pakistan to refer to nationalism. There is not now, nor was there ever such a thing in that place.

The very name Pakistan refers to something that never existed. It is not the name of a nation; it is an acronym (Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir) with the -stan suffix. Jinah, pictured above, was leader of the "Muslim League" in pre-WWII British India, and wanted a Muslim nation without the secular, but Hindu dominated Congress party, out of the dissolution of the Raj. He got it.

It was a disaster of the first water. The break-up between Pakistan and India (60 years ago) cost around 500,000 lives and resulted in the uprooting of millions of people. The partition of Palestine was a pifle by comparison.

The original Pakistan spit up in the early 70s when East Pakistan (n/k/a Bangladesh) revolted against the Western half of the country.

Pakistan is an utter failure as a state. The only institution it has is the Army, and the only thing the Army can do is dominate the machinery of government. It can't fight the Taliban. In a real war it would disintegrate, and it may be about to do that now without a real war.

In the end, I think that the US and India will have to form a condominium to put Pakistan into receivership. I doubt that India would want to take it on by itself, but neither India nor the US can let it lapse much further into chaos.
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