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Harmful Effects of Cultish Culture

Cult Leaders in Pakistan

We bore the harmful effects of the Mujib and Bhutto cults which cut the largest Muslim State of Pakistan into two.

Despite having played a key role in dismembering Pakistan in 1971, Bhutto was invited by Lt Gen Gul Hassan, Air Marshal Rahim and some other senior army officers to takeover the reins of the country. Gen Yahya was forced to resign.

The cult of Bhutto continued to mesmerize the people of truncated Pakistan. The pied piper wanting to better the lives of the poor, played the tunes of Roti, Kapra, Makan’, but polluted the morals and discipline of the society and destroyed Pakistan’s economy. He neither bettered the lives of the poor, nor of Pakistan.

The Bhutto cult has still not died down in interior Sindh. It helped Benazir, and Zardari to rule the country and now Bilawal is aspiring to become the next PM.

Mujib’s legacy has been revived in BD by his daughter Hasina, where there is one party rule and BD is subservient to India.

We then saw the painful era of Altaf Hussain’s cult in urban Sindh, the effects of which are still there in Karachi.

Imran Khan’s cultish culture has overtaken the past cult leaders. He has mesmerized the whole generation. The infatuated people include the youth, girls and middle-aged women, the middle class, the half-baked educated, the pseudo intellectuals, the liberals, the radicals, the veterans and a segment of serving officers and their families, and Pakistani expats. Apart from the above supportive audiences, several lobbies and foreign powers are also secretly supporting the cult leader.

Cult Leaders Nourished by Military Dictators

The cult leaders were the darlings of the military. ZA Bhutto was the blue eyed boy of Gen Ayub Khan and was introduced to him by Maj Gen Iskandar Mirza.

Sheikh Mujibur Rehman was pampered by Gen Yahya Khan to the extent of pandering to each and every illegal demand to appease him.

Gen Ziaul Haq had a hand in the creation of MQM under Altaf Hussain in 1984, and his justification was to confront the interior Sindh based MRD movement, which had become threatening.

One seater IK could never have attained an impressive victory in 2013 elections without the back up support of a team of officers, and full support of Gen Bajwa and his team in 2018 elections .

Darlings became Hostile to Mentors

All the darlings became despots and turned hostile against their mentors and bit the hands which fed them.

The ongoing cultish fever which has gripped the nation has become too hot to handle and its cooling down will require herculean efforts at the national level.

PTI’s Narrative Building

PTI’s social media network had played up several appealing themes of victimhood from 10 Apr 2022 onwards to ascend the descending popularity of IK.

After achieving its objective, the media trolls then played the theme of early elections and created an impression that PTI would sweep the elections as was the case with the Awami League in Dec 1970.

PTI copied Mujib’s tactics to browbeat and badmouth other political parties, the law enforcement agencies and the Army. Doctored stories of 1970/71 were widely circulated and Mujib and BD glorified. Even India was eulogized.

The Govt and the Army were cautioned to respect the mandate of the winning party or else another 1971 like debacle would occur. The landslide victory of PTI was taken for granted well before the elections.

Incarceration of IK and other PTI leaders, crackdown against the culprits of 9 May and loss of the election symbol of bat were exploited to gain sympathies of the people and to paint the army leadership, the judiciary, ECP and LEAs in black.

Theme of Rigging Pre-planned

Like the 9 May arson was preplanned, the media war on the polling day and afterwards were also pre-planned. A perception was created that well over 60% people would cast their votes on 8 Feb in which 44% would be the pro-PTI youth bulge.

Within two hours of the start of the polls on the D Day, the PTI trollers began to give bloated figures that PTI candidates were winning with a huge margin. These conclusions were drawn after noting the counting of few polling booths. And when things began to change on the following day, the predetermined snipes of rigging and irregularities were launched. The theme of rigging was internationalised.

After the results, the PTI started to quote imaginary figures of their victories by saying that 180 NA seats and not 90 seats were won by PTI candidates, and two thirds majority secured in KP and Punjab, and simple majority in Sindh and Baluchistan.

PTI’s Plan of Confrontation

PTI didn’t boycott the elections results, have taken oaths, joined the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, and formed its govt in KP, but it has refused to accept results stating that its mandate was stolen.

It has decided to stay inside the assemblies to create rumpus and impede legislative works and for that, it has adopted a highly belligerent posture.

It plans to create lawlessness outside the assemblies through strikes, long marches and sit-ins, and seek outside help.

It has flooded the ECP and the courts with complaints and petitions. A letter has already been written to the IMF to condition its payment of loan after correcting the wrongs done in the elections.

In other words, it plans to paralyse the state machinery as was done by Mujib after the 07 Dec 1970 election results, and particularly from 1-25 March 1971.

Dangerous Intentions of PTI

With a two-thirds majority in KP, and Gandapur with a criminal record at the helm of affairs who showed his intentions in his first speech in the KP Assembly after he was sworn in as Chief Minister, nominating rabid Mehmood Achakzai as PTI’s candidate for the president, refusing to cooperate with PML N and PPP, but affiliating with radicals like JI, JUI F, SIC, MWM, PkMap, and PTI’s linkage with TTP which is in collusion with TTA, it is abundantly clear that the intentions of PTI are dangerous. It can go to any extent to gain power.

Other sub-nationalist parties that were routed in the elections and the fifth columnists and anti-army brigade would gladly hitch the wagon of troublemakers. Due to PTI’s hatred against the senior army officers, a large segment has started to disrespect the Army.

India Eager to Launch Cold Start Doctrine

India is excitedly and gleefully watching the unfolding events in Pakistan for which it has been working hard since 1973 to weaken Pakistan from within through subversion, hybrid war and proxy war. Its Chankyan tactics helped in spoiling civil-military relations. Mujib had inculcated hatred in the hearts and minds of Bengalis against the Pak Army. PTI has emulated him by doing the same thing which India couldn’t do. It has made things easier for India since Pak Army is the first and last line of defence of the country.

India succeeded in strategically encircling and isolating Pakistan. It played a role in spoiling Pakistan’s relations with the USA, EU, Afghanistan, Iran and the Arab Gulf States. Consequently, today Pakistan faces unsafe eastern, western and southern borders. The US and Europe are heavily tilted towards India, and would stand with India in case of an Indo-Pak war.

India has assembled a force of 1.1 million in IOK and its strike forces have begun to hone their weapons. The Cold Start Doctrine completed in 2008, is being re-read for its implementation.

With its strategic partnership with the USA, the West and Israel, India is politically, economically, diplomatically and militarily in a sound position to take the risk of a direct clash with nuclear Pakistan. It is already hungrily eyeing at AJK and GB. It was instrumental in making former FATA, KP and Baluchistan restive.

With KP, Baluchistan engulfed in the flames of terrorism, further fuelled by PTI’s militancy, especially in KP, the overall situation is ripe for India to exploit and further cut to size its arch rival Pakistan, which it considers to be the only stumbling path in the way of achievement of it’s global ambitions.

Responses of Pak Army Rulers

Gen Yahya had failed to bottle up the genie of Mujib and to keep India at bay. He couldn’t do so since he had let down his boss Ayub Khan by refusing to clamp martial law till he stepped down. He was too naive in politics and spent more time in licentious activities. Bhutto stabbed him and the Bengalis betrayed Pakistan. Pakistan didn’t have a nuclear deterrent.

Gen Zia succeeded in getting rid of Bhutto and bottling the Jayala culture, and in keeping the fire breathing India at arms length through his cricket diplomacy and his threatening posture. He succeeded because he was God fearing and religious, and had a nuclear bomb in the basement.

Gen Musharraf also succeeded in toning down the aggressive designs of India ruled by the BJP by signing a peace treaty and brandishing the threat of minimum nuclear deterrence and first use of a nuclear weapon. Credit for making Pakistan the 7th recognised nuclear state go to Nawaz Sharif.

Gen Ashfaq Kiani in particular, followed by Gen Raheel Sharif and Gen Qamar Bajwa were instrumental in breaking the backbone of terrorism. Again the credit for defeating urban and rural terrorism and bottling the genie of Altaf go to NS.

The baton is now in the hands of Gen Asim Munir. He is faced with triple threats of political and economic instability, IK’s hazardous cult which has wide followings, and threatening posture of India. Let us wait and see how he plays his cards and deals with the multiple ominous threats, and helps the weak coalition govt to steer the ship out of the brewed up storm to the shores of safety and stability.

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, defence & geopolitical analyst, international columnist, author of five books, ex Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Patron-in-Chief CDS Think Tank.

Brig. General Asif H. Raja

I don't understand Pakistan's fear of India, especially when you share so much similarity (Punjab, Sindh, Kashmir). India in 2024 became the world's biggest country by population. A country like Pakistan cannot strategically compete with it over the long term. Smart people would have realized that long ago and reached out to make a deal.
I came back to this forum after a long time but i am sad to see that some people still have not changed after all that happen
"The baton is now in the hands of Gen Asim Munir. He is faced with triple threats of political and economic instability, IK’s hazardous cult which has wide followings, and threatening posture of India. Let us wait and see how he plays his cards and deals with the multiple ominous threats, and helps the weak coalition govt to steer the ship out of the brewed up storm to the shores of safety and stability."

Only one of the above is the job of the army chief in normal countries. Pakistan is no position to compete with India. Unlike Indians, Pakistani leaders go into exile in UK/USA/Khaleej and Pakistanis think nothing of this, in other words, Pakistanis accept this as something normal, and not disgraceful to a nation's standing and reputation. As a Hindustani, hypothetically speaking if I had a political opponent I would never accept that they go to political exile in foreign countries. This is to maintain national pride and honor.
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