Pakistan is a divided society today with everybody seeming to be fighting each other. It is a self-inflicted wound.
And the May 9 mayhem has shattered dreams of Pakistan to be the voice of Muslims with a Muslim Bomb.
Targeted on that day by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) cadres were several Army installations, including the official residence of the Lahore area commander- in -chief, a house once bought by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
The Army, politicians and the judiciary must shoulder the blame for the mess Pakistan is in seven decades after it was carved out of British India as the land of the pure for Muslims.
The three players appear clueless about the future.
The sports hero turned demagogue Imran Khan and the unruly forces he has unleashed have pushed them to the drawing board, literally.
The Generals, who constitute the GHQ Shura, are working overtime to retain the Army’s vice-like grip over the political theatre, but appear to be at their wits end on how to tame maverick Imran Khan.
For the present the Army has managed to virtually banish Imran from the media and isolate him politically.
The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has been full of sound and fury but has not earned any brownie points.
Its two main constituents, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), are trying their best to curry favour with the Army – PML N to secure the return of its exiled supremo Nawaz Sharif, and PPP to secure the anointment of its crown prince Bilawal Bhutto as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The Army appears to have lost interest in both these parties. It is engaged in creating a new king’s party “Istehkam-e-Pakistan” (Pakistan Stability Party) with turncoats from PTI.
The judiciary is no less divided as the society over L’affaire Imran. Some senior judges support Imran Khan while others do not.
Arguably, Imran must bear the cross for shattering Pakistan dream.
His Afghan policy has come unstuck. He had pampered the Taliban to force the exit of US led NATO troops from Afghanistan. And the Pakistan Army invested heavily in re-building the Taliban regime but what a shock the protégé has administered.
TTP, the Pakistan wing of the mainstream Taliban of Afghanistan has killed more than 100 security personnel during the past five- six months. Scores of civilians were dead. In fact, hardly a day passes without gun fire and suicide attacks by the TTP.
Expectedly, most Pakistanis are dumbfounded by the Taliban decision to extend help to the TTP, which has vowed to destroy the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistan.
TTP was founded in 2009 as a sequel to the Pakistan Army’s raid on the Red Mosque in the heart of Islamabad under the orders of the military ruler of the day, Gen Pervez Musharraf.
The Red Mosque had played a crucial role in the US-led and Saudi financed Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989). It recruited and trained mujahideen to fight with or alongside Afghan mujahideen.
In yet another jolt to Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban leaders are said to befriend India, and on its part, India appears willing to extend a helping hand.
New Delhi has already sent a technical team to its embassy in Kabul and its mission is “supporting the Afghans in their hour of need.”
Frankly, Pakistan has to curse itself for the Taliban’s volte face.
Islamabad’s refusal to formally recognise the Taliban regime has forced Kabul to take a hard look at its relations with the ‘brother’. And Pakistan’s dream of reaping rich dividends crashed with a loud thud.
Clearly, recognizing Taliban regime would have harmed Pakistan’s interests more so since Afghanistan was placed on the sanctions list, and Pakistan itself is dangling on the edges of a financial abyss.
But for the Taliban it was a case of betrayal. Alienation of the Taliban from Pakistan patrons became a natural corollary. And so was the support of the Afghan Taliban to the TTP, as if to teach a lesson to duplicitous Pakistan.
Pakistan has nurtured two dreams for long.
One of securing a strategic depth beyond the Durand Line and thus becoming the number one South Asia military and economic power.
Two of annexing India ruled Kashmir with the help of China and Islamic ‘brothers’.
Turn of events show both dreams will remain no more than a pipe dream.
Pakistan has yet another dream of zooming past India with the help of US dollars and the Chinese Yuans. That dream too lays shattered with the inflow of dollar becoming a trickle and the Chinese unwilling to stuff the Pakistani coffer.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist and commentator)