Scattered amidst our ‘civil society’ are people who look something like this:
Consider this column today by retired bureaucrat Roedad Khan:
When politics or politicians fail to resolve or even to address the great issues people face, what often happens is that civil society rises up to change politics. Historians call such moments “great awakenings” which often lead to big changes in society. Today Pakistan may be on the edge of such a time with a younger generation of lawyers and civil society as its cutting edge, ready to face the challenges and issues that weigh so heavily on this great country.
The political momentum now rests entirely with the “Black Coats” and the civil society. They can smell the march of their own power. At last, people have found their life mission, something to fight for, something to die for: fight dictatorship, military or civilian. They have also found the tool to achieve this mammoth task: street demonstrations
Roedad Khan was a corrupt right-leaning bureaucrat who served as Yahya Khan’s information secretary during which time he was said to have advised the regime to put the fear of god into the East Pakistanis, and as Zia’s Secretary General of the Interior ministry and about whom Shaheen Sehbai wrote:
Who does not remember his role as the leader of the secret election cell in the Ghulam Ishaq Khan presidency in 1990 when he rigged the election blatantly in collaboration with his colleague Ijlal Haider Zaidi and General Rafaqat? His exploits have all been recorded in several books written about those elections. Does that conduct fit into his description of “nothing to die for and nothing to live for” or was it only for a short-term gain?
Today, Roedad Khan has become, like everyone else, an analyst, a member of civil society and like others including Shireen Mazari, a member of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf [edit: am not 100% about this last part]
Here’s a column by Roedad Khan 7 years ago, entitled “Threat to the Islamic World”:
We are told that Pakistan would have ceased to exist if it had resisted US demands and not cooperated in the war against Afghanistan. “When you are face-to-face with a wolf, your only option is to work with it, until it becomes a pet”. Unfortunately the American wolf does not make a very good pet. There can be no friendship between the cat and the mouse. There can be no friendship between the strong and the weak or between unequals.
By succumbing to American pressure, we managed to secure a temporary reprieve. But at what price? Pakistan is splattered with American fortresses, seriously compromising our internal and external sovereignty. Foreign troops stationed on our soil move in and out of the country without any let or hindrance. Pakistan has become a launching pad for military operations against neighbouring Muslim countries. We have been drawn into somebody else’s war without understanding its true dimension or ultimate objectives.
Which was a good summary of the reasons for Roedad Khan and his kind’s (Aslam Beg, Hamid Gul, etc) break with the army from that point until Musharraf’s dismissal last year. It was not a principled break but a tactical one due to a difference in perspective which today, with the help of some unimportant leftie lawyers, has been resolved in their favour.
So we should be worried. In Pakistan it doesn’t really matter what people are saying because more often than not they all talk the same old shit: about human rights, and dignity, and the glory of Islam. What matters is who is saying it, and why.