What do Pakistani generals want? Answer: The same thing any general in a state of war would want – support from all other pillars of the state. And what do Pakistani generals need to guarantee the longevity of the Pakistani state? Answer: The same thing that any general in a state of war needs – esprit de corps, sense of unity, chain of command and the confidence of 185 million Pakistanis in their armed forces.
What do the generals really want? The generals have little or no interest in derailing democracy but they would not let democracy derail the state either. Pak Army is in a state of war – the longest and the bloodiest war that Pak Army has ever fought.
This is a war where the distinction between a combatant and a non-combatant is blurring. This is a war where the distinction between a soldier and a civilian is blurring. This is a war where the distinction between war and politics is blurring. As of right now, Pak Army is fighting a deadly 4G war within and must, at the same time, stand prepared to defend Pakistan from the 3G threat from the east.
To be certain, GHQ, IK and Qadri are completely different species. Apparently, the three do interact and this interaction among ‘unlike organisms’ is called symbiosis. GHQ is in it to control – and dominate – the national narratives. GHQ wants to do four things: One, control the India-Pakistan narrative. Two, drive the Taliban narrative. Three, protect the corporate interests of the armed forces. Four, goad Pakistan into what they perceive is the right direction.
Right now GHQ is busy doing six things: One, fighting the war. Two, reconfiguring the contours of the state. Three, re-demarcating territories of various actors. Four, re-capturing lost space. Five, drawing future red lines for all actors in the game. Six, cutting Nawaz Sharif down to size.
Now over to IK. IK wants to be the prime minister – any way possible. IK has convinced himself of two things: One, that elections were rigged. Two, that he will win mid-term elections. IK is challenging the PML-N’s electoral right to rule and now wants chaos to suck in the army and force mid-term elections.
Qadri is dying for a political role – any way possible. Qadri has convinced himself of two things: One, that Pakistan is headed in the wrong direction. Two, that army must take over to lead Pakistan into the right direction. Qadri is challenging the PML-N’s moral right to rule and now wants chaos in order to suck in the army.
Lo and behold, GHQ would love to use chaos – managed chaos – to cut Nawaz Sharif down to size. Chaos is, therefore, the orbital overlap among GHQ, IK and Qadri (sucking in the army is the orbital overlap between IK and Qadri). My feeling is that the generals also feel that Pakistan is headed in the wrong direction. Qadri speaks of a ‘revolution’ to change that direction but armies around the world love evolutionary change, hate revolutions.
To be certain, IK is abrupt; GHQ is deliberate. IK is careless; GHQ is mindful. IK is loutish; GHQ is sophisticated. IK can be uncouth; GHQ agile. Conclusion: The two cannot march together.
Now just 20 words on the PML-N: The deeper the PML-N goes into itself the more it will realise that the PML-N is its own worst enemy. I remain convinced that the generals have no intention of derailing democracy. But more importantly, if our democrats keep on digging a grave for the state the generals will not let democracy bury the state in it.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @saleemfarrukhDr Farrukh Saleem, "GHQ, IK and Qadri," The News. 2014-07-06.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Army-Pakistan , Armed forces , Indo-Pak relations , Democracy , Taliban , Elections , PM Nawaz Sharif , Qadri , India , Pakistan , GHQ , IK , PMLN