On wednesday night ( September 21st, 2011) in his show, Najam Sethi alluded to a joint ghairat brigade assault on the PPP govt given deteriorating relations with America on the Haqqani network issue. His analysis went thus: the US exasperated by the lack of will to take on the Haqqani network by the Pakistanis will do an intensive strike – drone or otherwise – in North Waziristan.
According to Sethi (known as shady by those who have known him a long time!) this will create a massive uproar by the media, most political parties and even the judiciary. There may be an incident (according to NS), say, in a massive demo outside the US embassy, which will trigger massive unrest. The fallguy in all this will be the PPP govt and Zardari in particular. Sethi also stated that the entire process will be controlled/manipulated by the army. He also stated that ANP will go along with N League once the chorus starts and join the right wing coalition. Also MQM will make a familiar volte face and join the side that appears more powerful.
There are obviously a number of issues this ‘analysis’ or rather fed information to Mr. Shady raises. First, Shady says that he is 100% sure the US will attack with much greater force than in the past. He kept on repeating that if drone strikes may kill 200 in a day. While this maybe informed conjecture but by no means is a foregone conclusion. The US has many other military as well economic-diplomatic tools to arm twist the Pakistani deep state.
Second, even if we assume Shady is correct, why should the civilian govt become the fall guy for the exclusive mendacity of the deep state? This is not a moral issue but Shady conveniently jumps to the strange conclusion based on dubious assumptions. He assumes that the US knowingly will do something that will lead to the demise of its own civilian support base in Pakstan and push Pakistan completely in the embrace of the rightists.
He also says that after the right wing coalition takes over, relations with the US will normalize to the extent that the two important groups dependent on America – the army and big business – will go back to business as usual viz. Pak-US relations. This is, to say the least a heroic assumption. You remove the largest civilian group from power based on anti-US sentiment on the street and the US will work happily ever after with the right wing coalition!
Third, he also states that the ANP will join the right wingers on the coat tails of N league. While there may be some sympathisers of N league amongst the ANP leadership, this will be suicidal for the party. It will effectively amount to joining the ranks of the Taliban and give up its identity of a secular pashtun nationalist outfit. One can expect such political blunders on the part of MQM but not from ANP.
Fourth, Shady also did not factor in the politics that Zardari will play if such a situation occurs. He will obviously not tamely surrender; that is not how he has done politics in this round. And what about the poitical fallout in Sindh and Balochistan where there is little sympathy for such right wing sentiments?
This is not to say that a dip in Pak-US relations, thanks to the incorrigible bad boy antics of the deep state, will create serious problems in the near future. But for Shady to twist this to claim that the civilian govt will be the biggest loser seems like a plant from some desperate fantasizer in Aabpara. Having followed Shady’s writings for more than a decade, I can safely say all the points raised here would have been considered by him if he was not pushing the Aabpara agenda in this instance.