I was trying to figure out why our security establishment (rated number one in the world, according to the 200 emails I have received in the last few days from army officers and their cousins and admirers) is so helpless in the face of these killers? How is it possible that the ISI, the “finest and most competent intelligence agency in the world”, has no clue where these mysterious Taliban are located? More seriously, why is it that the establishment is still divided over this war and GHQ is unable to ask its publicity agents (Ahmed Qureshi, Shireen Mazari, Zaid Hamid, etc) to stop spreading confusion and disarray? And then I found this fresh article on ISI’s site (Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz) that pretty much explains everything.
As is clear from the article and the comments posted on it, our security establishment and its fans sincerely believe in “the clash of civilizations” and the coming world war between good and evil (as described in a hundred different Zaid Hamid videos). Once you accept that worldview, its not that hard to think that the killing of Sifwat Ghayoor, the bombings in different cities, the ongoing double-game with the taliban, all are justified in the light of the higher objective. If we take serious action against all the jihadis, then we are taking action against the very people who will be the frontline soldiers in the inevitable next phase of this war.
I would add that of course I don’t personally believe that ISI is the finest intelligence agency in the world. I think they are rather incompetent and internally divided, as is the entire establishment. The point is not that they are all single-minded closet jihadis, but that too many of them subscribe to a worldview (Islamic Ummah versus the rest of humanity, India as eternal enemy, the need for strategic depth, and so on) which prevents them from taking decisive action against dangerous terrorists. As an example of what I mean, let me relate a phone conversation I had with a friend: speaking of the tragic death of a fine officer like Sifwat Ghayoor, he put forward the possibility that someone in the ISI may have helped to target Ghayoor. This may not be true (I think it is probably NOT true) but the fact that many in Pakistan are not sure whose side the establishment is on makes this entire dirty war ten times harder than it should be. Consider India, whose security agencies are more primitive and rickety than our heavily funded agencies and are probably equally or even more corrupt. But if a senior Indian officer is assassinated by terrorists, one expects the entire establishment to be looking for the assassins, not shielding them. In other words, when it comes to terrorism, they are all likely to be pulling in the same direction. The only exception may be Hindutava terrorism, in which case some of them may have divided loyalties. But Hindutava terrorism has not yet taken on the state or reached the same proportions as jihadi terrorism in Pakistan, so that exception is not in the same category at all. Unless the Pakistani establishment makes up its mind about which side they are on and stops playing games and promoting Zaid Hamid type nonsense, we are in very deep trouble.