An insight by : Andleeb Abbas
If everything you have done is being termed as wrong by the world powers then you are definitely doing something right. The united voice of America and India in declaring Imran Khan and the 2018 elections as the worst thing to happen to the country, the region, and the world, is itself a testimony of the danger these countries feel of the possibility of not being able pull the strings over Pakistan. US hyper reaction over these elections is only outclassed by the Indian hysteria. In unison both countries are crying foul play, a danger to the regional peace, and a threat to democracy of Pakistan. European media is more muted but also echoing the same chant.
There are many factors that have made the American policy makers habitual with the premise that whenever they want they can demand, threat, coerce support from Pakistan. They have almost four decades of dictators and democrats of the country towing their line. From General Zia ul Haq to General Musharraf they have worked to ensure complete obedience to their policies even at the cost of the country’s sovereignty and security. America, the champion of democracy, has worked with dictators happily to wage wars on Afghanistan through Pakistan. America has worked happily with democrat leaders who have paid yearly homage to White House and have taken the “Do More” stance as their mantra of foreign policy. With almost 40 years of the command and control style practiced by the White House, the possibility of a government that may not bend their back over the US priorities is daunting and haunting.
The hysteria in the Indian and American media is itself contradictory and self-defeating. An example of this stance is the editorial written by Washington Post declaring Imran Khan as a Taliban sympathizer and an army creation as they quote “he is also the favorite of the Pakistani military, whose overweening power the mainstream parties have been trying to curb”. This is a statement that either reflects ignorance, or bias or irresponsibility. Imran Khan has neither been a product of politics nor the military. The mainstream parties about whom this editorial has made a claim of being otherwise have a history of being sponsored by dictators. Mr Nawaz Sharif the head of Pakistan Muslim League was the prodigy of General Zia ul Haq and was brought and blessed by the dictator in politics. Mr Nawaz Sharif’s allegiance to the General was legendary. The first time he became Finance Minister and the Prime Minister his collusion with the army is on record. An affidavit by General Asad Durrani the Ex ISI head is on record that Nawaz Sharif was paid millions in the 1992 election to defeat Benazir Bhutto. Similarly, the founder of the PPP, Pakistan People’s party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the foreign minister of General Ayub Khan for six years before he broke off and made his own party.
These two mainstream parties are also beneficiaries of General Pervez Musharraf. The NRO given by the dictator to these parties to call off all cases on them and allow them to return to Pakistan in return of accepting the General as the President is itself evidence of how they have benefitted from their collusion in electoral politics with the army. History shows that when these parties were let off their corrupt cases by the army they were on the best of terms with them and as soon as their corruption cases were brought to light they would start crying foul.
As long as the army and the courts are willing to mull the “mainstream parties’ corruption” democracy is on track and the minute this corruption lid is off, democracy is in danger and the army is “over weening its power”. Unfortunately, neither Prime Minister Imran Khan nor his party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf has this love hate relationship with army to make the international narrative factual and credible. Even more flimsy is the Taliban sympathizer tag as America is now doing exactly what Imran Khan has been proposing for a long time i.e that military operations are not a sustainable solution and that without dialogue terrorism will keep on resurfacing. US is now
insisting on dialogue with the taliban in Afghanistan but somehow US is not being termed as a Taliban sympathizer.
The Super powers and the powers to be become powerful due to information infiltration power. The information power houses are the think tanks that exist in these countries who through media penetration internationally and in specific target countries promote a certain angle of politics they want the public to read and believe. The New York Times in an article on “How Think Tanks Generate Endless War”of August 17, 2016 stated that U.S. “think tanks” rile up the American public against an ever-shifting roster of foreign “enemies” to justify wars which line the pockets of military contractors who kick back some profits to the “think tanks,” as explained by retired JAG Major Todd E. Pierce. This article stated that The New York Times took notice of the role that so-called “think tanks” play in corrupting U.S. government policy.
The think tanks operate very methodically and strategically. The highest form of brain seeping starts at State level institutions like Rand Corporation. Later these thoughts are strategically placed and echoed in “allies” like EU and other countries. These are Intelligence agencies that are creating “artificial intelligence”. Remember the Iraq war story spin of “weapons of mass destruction” defame. After killing almost ten million people in this war, this narrative turned out to be just a figment of Tony Blair and George Bush’s imagination. Information warfare uses disinformation and propaganda to condition a population to hate a foreign nation or population or an individual with the intent to foment an opinion, a reaction or even a war. They use psychological “suggestiveness” to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the U.S. and other populations that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.
At the secondary level this information war cascades at the local level. The primary level information attracts brand attention to the “wanna be” writers. A well written “secret” document leaks out and is echoed in top academia and think tank corridors. The measure of success from such a disinformation and propaganda effort can be seen when the narrative is adopted by secondary communicators who are perhaps the most important target audience. That is because they are “key communicators” who are either employed directly in the think tanks or indirectly by media houses in local media with top circulation and reputation to give this narrative the credibility and resonance. They in turn start propagating the false narrative even more broadly and to its own audiences, becoming local spin endorsers.
The fact that both Osama bin Ladin or Saddam Hussain were blue eyed productions of US narrative manufacturing factories and later turned into the biggest threat to the world against whom they waged decades of warfare is an example of how individuals and countries are made and destroyed at the convenience of these powerful think tanks with links in target countries. As long as the leaders of the countries who are strategically important are compromised and corrupt the power of the super power becomes stronger. Thus Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq have all histories of being used by them for their own purposes in return for aid that goes in the pockets of the corrupt leaders. China and Iran are defiant thus the narrative against them being the threats to democracy and peace are familiar think tank brain infiltrators that create pressure for justifying punitive actions against them.
In this scenario enter Imran Khan. He is not the typical politician with a lust for wealth unlimited; he is not a politician who is starry eyed with being bestowed the blessings of being ordained by the White House; He is not a politician who is going to tow the line of US policies and narrative just because it happens to be popular and convenient; In short the he is not going to be a narrative follower and implementer. So how do you tame this wild horse? You rein him in by building up his profile as a terrorism sponsor. Secondary countries and institutions will readily buy it. India jumps on it and UK and allies echo it. To make him look even more dangerous locally, paint him as an army
stooge who is a danger to democracy. Every day there is an article internationally on this narrative by the top think tank operatives followed by the top local newspapers repeating this message in editorials and op eds. This theme is certified then with interviews given in foreign media by the likes of Hussain Haqqani etc to complete this cry wolf strategy on Imran Khan branded as the latest “weapon of democracy and peace destruction”.
In a world full of intrigue and misinformation, corruption and exploitation, Imran Khan is unreal. He is fighting the political mafias, the media mafias and global narrative mafias; His objective is to make his country strong, independent and developed enough to stand up and be counted in the comity of nations. This doesnot suit our vested interest network beneficiaries; this doesot suit many in our neighborhood and many who want to control countries in our neigbourhood-therefore the ranting and paranoia over his victory in the current elections in Pakistan. Imran Khan being branded as terrorist sympathizer is nothing new as the great Nelson Mandela was on CIA terrorist list till 2008.
It will be difficult to find another leader in the world who before coming into power built 2 world class cancer hospitals with free treatment for the poor and a University in a village that gives international degrees free of cost to the needy-both projects that were declared impossible and unsustainable by most experts. The world is not ready for the likes of Imran khan who has nothing in common with majority of politicians in Pakistan and around the world. But then it is those who are different who make the difference; it is those who are not led but lead that create new pathways; it is those who put the welfare of their nation before their own who inspire and transform. There are not many around the world who choose this untraveled path but ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you one such person, the Prime Minister of Pakistan-Imran khan.
The writer is a columnist, consultant, coach, an analyst, and a member of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf and can be reached at andleeb.abbas1@gmail,com. She tweets at @AndleebAbbas