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Intelligence Dumps Zaid Hamid?

Cross-posted from Khawer Khan’s blog.

Zaid Hamid’s meteoric rise and recent fall has been analyzed by a number of commentators. One aspect of his story that has been missing is Zaid Hamid’s connections to the Pakistani intelligence community. In any case, at this point it seems that the intelligence community has withdrawn its support from Zaid Hamid.

So how did it all start?

Zaid Hamid arrived on the scene as a “security analyst”, commenting on international security issues. He launched a low budget show called “Brasstacks”, named after his own security consulting business, at the fag-end of the Musharraf era.

Well placed sources close to key figures in Pakistani civilian intelligence claim that Intelligence Bearu officers were, at one point, bragging about their success with the Zaid Hamid project. There is considerable confusion regarding the actual reporting structure of IB. While officially it answers to the Prime Minister many allege that the military remains a powerful influence.

In any case IB wasn’t the only parent in the intelligence world for Zaid Hamid. Even before he got his own show, Hamid appeared on PTV with as an analysit on Ahmed Qureshi’s show. Qureshi, himself a product of Musharraf’s demise, has long thought to be linked to the ISI.

The intelligence world does not work like many people think. “Journalists” and other assets of the intelligence community are usually not on a “payroll”. Although this certainly does happen at times, what is more common is that a journalist falls under the influence of intelligence agencies that often feed the journalist with information that helps his or her career grow. While Zaid Hamid is not a journalist, he is a media personality. So it stands to reason that his links to the agencies are of a similar nature.

Nor do Pakistan’s three intelligence agencies (IB, ISI, MI) always work in unison. They are often at odds with each other and can behave like three passive aggressive housewives of a poor man.

It is in this context that Zaid Hamid was adopted, apparently collectively by IB and ISI, and promoted as a mouthpiece. While what he said was shocking to many thinking people, many have observed that what he said was usually in consonance with official state doctrine as expressed in education policy.

In an article on extremism, but not specifically Zaid Hamid, Pervez Hoodhboy quotes the National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks Federal Ministry of Education.

Social Studies: At the completion of Class-V, the child should be able to:

* “Acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan.”[pg154]

* “Demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of Allah.” [pg154]

* “Make speeches on Jihad and Shahadat (martyrdom)” [pg154]

* “Understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan.” [pg154]

* “India’s evil designs against Pakistan.” [pg154]

* “Be safe from rumor mongers who spread false news” [pg158]

* “Collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and National Guards” [pg158]

* “Demonstrate respect for the leaders of Pakistan” [pg153]

If the last of these can be understood to mean the military leadership, Zaid Hamid has been hitting the nail on the head in terms of reinforcing state sponsored ideology. As always, the function of ‘state ideology’ is to promote an understanding of the world that aligns with the interests of the ruling elite. If we take a step back and actually look at what Zaid Hamid had been promoting in terms of geo-politics we see clear links with these interests. But that requires another piece, lets get back to the point…

In recent weeks we have seen the security establishment in Pakistan reposition its self in response to changes in Afghanistan. Several key leaders of the ‘Afghan Taliban’ have been arrested in Pakistan. There has been speculation that these arrests were to ensure that Pakistan has a seat at the table when U.S. Imperialism plays its final hand in Afghanistan. The anticipation is that the U.S. is stuck in an unwindable war and will be forced to take a backseat role soon, allowing “reconciable” elements of the Taliban a share in power. Apparently the Pakistani establishment has decided that it had better mediate on behalf of the Afghan Taliban. This requires that the leadership of the Taliban be in Pakistani possession. This new calculus is in sharp contradiction with Zaid Hamid’s position that the Afghan Taliban must be supported openly.

This fact coupled with the recent revelations that Zaid Hamid had misled his followers about his views on Muhammed Yousef Ali have made Hamid less of an asset and more a liability for his erstwhile masters. The intelligence world seems to have dumped Hamid.

So what indications do we have these these lovers have broken up?

A number of right-wing groups, also supported by the state, have risen up in opposition to Zaid Hamid due to his views on Mohammad Yousef Ali. If Zaid Hamid continued to enjoy the backing of the intelligence apparatus, the issue would have been handled differently. After all, Hamid’s links to Yousef were well known from the start.

More recently even ISI mouthpiece Ahmed Qureshi has been distancing himself from Hamid. On a recent note on his facebook page Qureshi writes:

“Several young Pakistanis have emailed me a link to this article and asked me if I support Mr. Zaid Hamid’s position in the current controversy over a convicted blasphemer, Yusuf Kazzab.

My answer is: No, I don’t.

This article was written in 2008 and has nothing to do with Mr. Hamid’s current positions and projects. It was a response to criticism by defeatist elements in the Pakistani media who were upset at the increase in the number of PakNationalist writers promoting a new assertive strain in Pakistan’s foreign policy and advocating a stronger stance on Pakistan’s legitimate security and strategic interests in the region.

So the context of this article is Pakistan’s policy issues. As for the current controversy, I regret to inform you that I disagree with Mr. Hamid’s position of not coming clean on the issue of the convicted blasphemer. As such, I do not support his current work and public statements relevant to this question. Mr. Hamid’s current position has resulted in an unfortunate and unnecessary confusion among young Pakistanis.

A distinction must be made between promoting Pakistani interest, which is commendable coming from anyone including Mr. Hamid, and between his personal religious views which are his own business, especially the refusal to accept Supreme Court’s verdict on a convicted blasphemer. Whatever his position, this issue has nothing to do with the pro-Pakistan movement that young Pakistanis are spearheading across Pakistan. Please keep the two separate.

This clarification is important in order not to confuse the context of my article written in 2008 – which touches on a general debate between defeatist and pro-Pakistan camps within the Pakistani media – and the current controversy.

As for TAKMEEL project, I have nothing to do with it. It’s a great idea and I know many of its organizers and supporters. They are well-intentioned and patriotic Pakistanis. But I am afraid the project has been detracted by kooky ideas and zombie theories. Any effort that turns divisive and fails to unite is more harmful than useful. Let’s hope for the best.

This comment answers several points that I have received in tens of emails and privates messages and calls over the past few days.

Don’t let unnecessary controversies and divisions stand in the way of shaping a new, storng and prosperous Pakistan in this century.”

This is a significant development since Qureshi went a step beyond distancing himself from Hamid due to the Yousef Ali controversy, and has gone so far to to refers to Hamid’s views “ kooky ideas and zombie theories.”

Zaid Hamid might still have some currency for the intelligence community, but recent signs show a clear distance between Hamid and the three wives of the poor man.

At long last, we may be closer to a time when we no longer have to say the words “intelligence” and “Zaid Hamid” in the same sentence. They never quite seemed to belong together.

About the author

Khawer Khan

10 Comments

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  • Very interesting analysis, Khawer.

    In Zaid Hamid’s case, it seems our “intelligence’ guys did not conduct a proper background check.

    The Yousef Ali controversy is increasingly compromising ZH’s potential as an ‘asset’. His liability has exceeded his value.

    His fast track career and ideologies are being termed as ‘kooky ideas and zombie theories’ by no other than Mr Ahmad Qureshi.

    Badalta he rang aasmaan kesay kesay

  • He had to go down; it was just a matter of time. The 3 or 4 times I made the mistake to listen to his lectures; it was nothing more than “Hate speech”. I am glad that finally there will less of ZH on TV now.

  • Sanity prevails at the end! However interesting to note that former friends of Zaid hamid such as Ahmed Qureshi decided to ditch him as times changed! But Mr.Hamid was just a prototype and there would be other who would spread venom with the same vigor. The problem lies with our educational system which promotes hate speech and this indoctrination produces inflexible extremist who can be misguided in the name of Islam or the supreme national interest.
    Until we form an unbiased rational curriculum such problems are likely to continue

  • Brasstricks

    Fasi Zaka is a columnist, and TV and radio anchor.
    By Fasi Zaka
    April 14, 2010
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    A student member of Brasstricks is writing to his friends on the net about the failed Pakistan Resolution on March 23 by Syed Samad Bond in Lahore at Al Hamra.

    Dear friends in fashionable revolution,

    Our army of mummy daddies made a massive show of strength today at al Hamra with the new Pakistan Resolution that shall Inshallah make Syed Samad Bond founder of Brasstricks-i-Hind quarters. All 37 of us there shall be remembered forever. We proudly announced we are the new-cons against the neo-cons.

    Tragically, 99,951 of our members could not make it. The ‘Maria B complex’ was also seen in China promoting Islamic sleeveless at the time, a very important front in our geo-political-regional nexus against Jewish and Indian designs. God willing, our naked ambitions for total dominance will be achieved. Ali Dazmat could also not attend because he was fighting a jihad on Facebook, risking his life in a crucial game of Mafia Wars against the global Zionist media.

    It is said he will go on one to one against neo-con Paul Phoenix in a game of Tekken on Xbox as Momin Marshall Law next. Our fearless leader made the correct decision to abandon the event because he greatly feared the ulema who had gathered outside against him. They claim he follows a false prophet, but we know that is not true, he only follows personal profit.

    We were prepared for any contingency; most of us were wearing Ray Bans and LUMS t-shirts. The smellies from government universities were kept in the background, they make photos look bad. We all gathered on stage like FBI bodyguards with bandanas because we knew someone may try to assassinate our glorious leader, even though there was no audience and all the seats empty, but you know RAW and Mossad are invisible forces.

    Luckily there was electricity at the venue and no loadshedding, so it is now confirmed that Wapda is not a Zionist organization. But the samosawalla is a paleed Jewish agent because he only had the aloo variety and no pyaz ka pakora. Inshallah, our new TV programme will begin, we are about to finalise as soon as auditions for a hot chick to ask questions from Syed Samad Bond are finished.

    As you know, Syed Samad has knowledge of everything and will explain how he guided Sir Syed Ahmed Khan in Islam, gave speeches that started the revolt of 1857 and how he single-handedly brought down Israeli planes attacking Pakistan with a nine mm pistol. Thanks to Allah we were not born Yahoo-dis. We became what we are due to a fearless leader. Please do not try to contact him this month, he is in hiding, you know how angry mullahs are. We hate these fassadi mullahs for trying to expose our facades.

    Your friend,

    Jimmy ‘I do the shimmy’ Akhtar

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/6537/brasstricks-2/

  • At this point the whole nation is disillusioned by different thoughts,idelogys and theories.
    As a firm believer there are so many incidents that for sure suppoprt the conceot of free masonory and refer to Zionist rise to power as one single ruler for the globe.(New world reform)
    As a nation and as humans I request all that instead wasting time lets get to the basic of our relegion teaching us humanity,justice and stand up as a nation.I am sure once we do that we can certainly make more friends than enemies and bring more peace to the world instead of loosing lives every single day.To date I feel asahmed cause myself and all have lost integrity,nationalisim and are just a crowd and nota nation anymore.

  • As i m thinking after reading this, there are two separate parts of a single man, there might be a chance that Mr. Zaid Zaman Hamid was the friends of the Kazab, i think now he know the his mistakes and he changed himself, from last couple of yaers, i m listening his views and reviews, many of us think that it is hateful speeches in his programs, but it is not like that, i never listen in the promotion of “Kazam idelogy”, never against the respect of Mohammad prophet, and never against teh law of Khatam -e- Nabowat. He always defend Pakistan, our Army and ISI and other Pakistani assets, he never spoke against the ideology and Two nation theory. On the question abou the intelligence dump ZH, it will be not, because they is one spokes person in the media, which ISI and align intelligences used him to clear the minds of the people about ISI and army which is more beneficial for ISI than to dump him. Zh is trained by ISI and used by them.