A rebuttal to Fulton’s “Yes We Khan” - By Mr. Shayaan Zaraq
A rebuttal to Fulton’s “Yes We Khan”
October 8th, 2011, In World-Geekbites, by Shayaan Zaraq (SleekGeek)
I offer here, in seriatum, a rebuttal to George Fulton’s recent article, “Yes We Khan”:
1) When was Robert Gates “political” talent? He is a civil servant who spent nearly his entire professional life in the CIA and other agencies. He served as the CIA top man in both the Obama and Bush Administrations. What legacy does he leave behind other than the emergence of Blackwater operatives and CIA agents operating freely without hindrance in alien lands which eventually culminated in the Raymond Davis affair?
2) Unearthing Hillary Clinton as a political talent? That’s laughable! I am sure the former First Lady and New York Senator would be offended by the suggestion that she emerged as a political talent only after Obama brought her to the limelight. The only reason Mrs. Clinton was offered the VP job was to close in the fissures created by the Hillary-Obama presidential nomination dogfight, which has been the most bitterly contested in recent history. This was not only realpolitik on part of the Democratic Party, it was widely expected by commentators at the time and is certainly not equivalent to Obama finding a “diamond” in the rough.
3) That said, Imran Khan has attracted many people of serious intellectual calibre: within the political ranks of the PTI, we already find such diverse personalities as retired Judge Wajihuddin Ahmed, Dr. Arif Alvi, Mrs. Fauzia Kasuri, Firdous Naqvi, Hamed Khan, Dr. Shahid Zia, Dr. Humayun Mohmand, Nadeem Bhinder and Samson Sharaf. However do these “capable” people signify success at the box office? Since electoral success in Pakistan is dependent upon a peculiar mix of feudal (or in the case of MQM, mafia) influence and electoral fraud, I highly doubt it. This leaves Khan with two choices: (a) recruit corrupt and ineffective but electable candidates forever compromising his political philosophy which earned him the esteem of his followers thus far or (b) stick to his guns as the party’s most prominent face, create a quasi-cult and bolster the chances of his other able but less than politically astute and charismatic candidates.
4) Imran can also be defended on the basis that politics in Pakistan is based on the cult of personality. Jiyay Bhutto anyone?
5) I concede that Imran is by no means a modest man. And neither should he be. Quite frankly, he didn’t make his name by doing reality shows in Pakistan the way Mr. Fulton did. Would Mr. Fulton term this statement a pointless ad hominem attack upon his character? And decry it as sensationalist garble that is beside the point? Then imagine what Khan must feel.
6) Our reliance on foreign aid is well documented. But let’s make one thing clear: Pakistani politicians are more reliant on aid than Pakistan itself. What has post-9/11 American aid given us? It has embittered political struggles for ascendency. Politicians dream of making dollars now rather than serving the nation. And America – that ancient supporter of dictatorial regimes and corrupt governments the world over – now reaps what it sows: if Pakistani leaders continue to receive easy dollars for tackling “terrorism”, why would they slay the goose that lays the golden eggs or shall I say eradicate the thousands of mullahs, fanatics and other ultra-radical elements that destabilise our nation? What is truly sad, however, is that the aid itself doesn’t fill the nation’s coffers but a few Swiss Bank accounts abroad. In light of the above, it is hard to dispute Khan when he says that we don’t need foreign aid in the first place. Other third world nations fare (or fared) well enough without it, why can’t we if we just give up the habit?
7) On Khan’s “purported” views on Afghanistan, I beseech analysts not to render an overly simplistic model of his views. Khan’s views are not reducible to the few sentences Mr. Fulton has sought fit to mention. Khan argues quite clearly that the roots of terror are not just religious. Rather terrorism is rooted in a crisis of identity, injustice and alienation. Are Balochi separatists terrorists? Is the MQM a terrorist organisation? Are the armed Pashtuns fighting in aid of their Afghan brothers terrorists? In all these cases, the answer is not simple. But we see a common thread in all three: the emergence of the Balochi, Mahajir and Pushtun nationalism was spurred by perceived injustices caused by state sponsored backing of unequal distribution of wealth creating regional imbalances. The MQM rectified the Mohajir plight by emerging as a political force courtesy the generous patronage of one Zia-ul-Haq. But the Pushtuns and Balochs were not so lucky. The solution they have is war. And in their eyes, it is a just one. Drone attacks and other means of violent repression have never in the history of nations fully stamped out nationalist sentiments. And Afghanistan, along with China and Abyssinia, are three nations that have never been subjected to foreign rule. I can only wish luck to our dollar-driven leaders, our ready-to-be-duped “qaum” and the neo-colonial American blunderers. For Imran and his views on Afghanistan, I reserve only deep-seated admiration.