by Talha Mujaddidi
While Zardari, Gillani and rest of the Pakistani politicians were busy going at each other’s throat. Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Kayani spent one week in D.C and elsewhere in U.S meeting top CIA, Pentagon, U.S Military officials and Congressmen. Gen. Kayani is the most influential person at the moment in Pakistan. On Dec 20th 2008, Newsweek mentioned Kayani as the 20th most powerful man in the world. Kayani is not like Musharraf in any way at all at least not until now. Kayani comes from Gujar Khan clan of Punjabi people. For the last one thousand years the most favorite profession of this clan has been military.Even before the Mughal’s ruled India, Gujars were part of any army that ruled India. Kayani is a deep thinker; he is a very professional soldier, he is media-shy, doesn’t talk much and his 650,000 troops think very highly of him. He is constantly in touch with his troops, often on a daily basis, and he’s constantly in touch with lower level officers and officers on different parts of Pakistani borders. Before being appointed as the Army Chief he was head of the most powerful intelligence agency of Pakistan, the ISI. Kayani has earned high respect of the U.S military commanders not by being complacent in front of them but by showing deep commitment to Pakistani national interests.Kayani has also been politically correct as far as the Pakistani public is concerned. Kayani was ISI Chief when Musharraf was about to oust Choudary, Kayani politely told his Chief (Musharraf was army chief at that time) that he does not think it is a wise idea, and he will remain neutral in this matter. Kayani had sensed that Musharraf’s decision will result in mass upheaval and eventual downfall of Musharraf. That is precisely what happened. Kayani closed the political wing of the ISI and took ISI out of domestic politics and 2008 elections. So far Army has remained out of Pakistani politics under his rule. There is a lot more that Gen. Kayani has done right since he has been in charge of Pakistani Army but the time for litmus test is going to come soon.U.S will not support a fast failing and unpopular government. This lesson U.S has learned the hard way in Iran after the revolution there in 1979. U.S will let the Zardari government fall if it does so under the weight of its own incompetence. Plus the fact that the Democrats are now in power in D.C and are not much interested in NRO deal that was brokered between President Musharraf and Benazir under the eyes of Condi Rice, and associates. They would like to deal with a new setup if possible.
The Pakistan Army will not come to support PPP government if it cries for help. This is basically because the public opinion is against this government. Also, neither, the Pakistan Army nor U.S like Nawaz. U.S doesn’t like Nawaz for his close links with Saudis. But Clinton and his wife, madam Secretary, may still have a soft corner for Nawaz since he agreed to Bill Clinton’s July 4th 1999 demand to remove Pakistani troops from Kargil region where Indian and Pakistan were involved in a mini-conflict (the details mentioned in Clinton’s book ‘my life’). Nawaz is not liked by Pakistan Army for his removal of Gen. Karamat who was Army Chief in 1998, Nawaz’s weak stance on Kargil issue, and Nawaz’s attempt to remove Gen. Musharraf from office on Oct 12th 1999. Surprisingly, Shahbaz the younger of the two brothers is still liked by the Pakistani public and even might be acceptable to Pakistan Army. Then General Musharraf mentions in his book that he liked Shahbaz (the reason being that Shahbaz was against Nawaz removing Musharraf and was not on board the decision to remove Musharraf in Oct 1999) and had offered Shahbaz to become PM after his coup. But Shahbaz did not want to betray his brother.This political tug of war will result in a complete stalemate. The public is fast growing sick of this U.S imposed sham democracy and will demand removal of the government. At that time Gen. Kayani can ask President Zardari and PM Gillani to resign and go home. This has happened before in 1993, when Gen. Kakkar (Army Chief at that time), asked President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and PM Nawaz to resign and they had no choice but to oblige.This all may sound too un-democratic to Western readers but when you have such corrupt and pathetic sham-democratic, puppet governments like we have had in Pakistan, then you welcome Army take over and martial laws. I still remember Oct 12th 1999 clearly, when Gen. Musharraf took over, people distributed sweets in all cities of Pakistan. Sadly the happiness was short lived, and Musharraf collapsed under U.S post 9/11 demands. If Zardari does not resign from office, the Army will have no other option but to carry out a coup and the Pakistani army needs just twenty minutes to complete a coup. All coups in Pakistan have been bloodless coups. The army can then setup an interim government and go back to barracks; the interim government can set a date for new elections. A new plan is also being discussed by influential quarters (retired Generals, bureaucrats, think tank experts, etc) in Islamabad, and that is called ‘Bangladesh Model’. This involves setting up a technocrat based government for at least two years if not more, and banning all political activity until certain political reforms are completed.The last card left in Zardari’s hand is the removal of Gen. Kayani. This will surely spell disaster if he does so and even if Gen. Kayani accepts his removal after few months, Zardari will try to oust another Army Chief, and there eventually will be a coup.In Washington D.C I am sure that Kayani and U.S authorities must have agreed to one of the options discussed. But the question is what does the U.S want to achieve in Pakistan in future? There are two ideologies still working in the U.S. Both are mothered by foreign mothers, impregnated by the father of U.S. imperialism. One is the hard-line ideology that Pakistan will become a failed state and will result in breakup of Pakistan, and terrorism will take over Pakistani nuclear weapons. The other mindset is that of gradual "neutralizing" of Pakistan for an imperialist agenda. Pakistan should remain intact but gradually the entire region Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India will be contained, neutralized and pacified if Father Washington has his way. At the moment U.S is giving mixed signals and it’s not clear what exactly will the U.S do with regards to Pakistan’s internal politics? But in April it will be clear when U.S announces its new ‘AfPak’ (Afghanistan and Pakistan) policy.Two things are clear from all this. Firstly, Pakistan’s domestic politics is about to get messier and bloodier. Secondly, the U.S agenda for Pakistan may be acceptable to the Pakistani ruling elite and to a lessor extent the Pakistani Army, but the 180 million people of Pakistan are just not going to accept it. OPEDNEWS