Pakistan: A hybrid coup

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Peshawar. PTI Media Cell 13 April 2022

 

 

by Brig Samson Simon Sharaf, (R)    17 April 2022

 

There is an irony. In our part of the world, in 711 AD, tears of a woman moved an army into Sindh. 13 centuries later, neutrality moved women to tears!

With everything going hybrid in current times, it is unimaginable that the ‘Powers that Be’ pulled off in Pakistan a hybrid coup against the populist government of Prime Minister Imran Khan? Though it is a momentary success, the far-reaching implications entail serious consequences for the country. The ultimate objective could be dismantling the state itself.

The alarming fact about this external sponsored regime change by a country; universally notorious for such operations through politically, financially and morally corrupt carpetbaggers was allowed to happen by ‘manifested neutrality call apolitical’ with the noble objective of strengthening democracy in the country.

The breakneck speed of the Judiciary, one sided interpretations and refusal to open the Pandora’s Box indicates more complicity than fair play. As for PDM, they all moved in well-coordinated unison at a single point of impact; Imran Khan.

Notwithstanding good intentions, the road to hell is always the same; a dictum we learned in the armed force during tactical and strategic planning. To obviate failures, particularly when they impinge the mission, there are always alternatives and variants put into place imaginatively.

Notwithstanding that Conspiracy and Intervention fall in the same band of spectrum, the deafening silence till now raises far more questions than the answers it gave. The kettle will keep boiling still such time this Conspiracy, Interference or whatever perceived does reach the logical conclusion.

Is the game over, or it has yet to unfold towards the logical end? I do not have an answer. But what can be written with clarity is that Pakistan is in an uncontrolled somersault down the abyss and lowest of pit.

As the public uproar on 11 April indicated, people across all political divides thronged in Pakistan’s cities, towns and villages to protest against US sponsored regime change. Though there was a blackout on Pakistani TV Channels, the events were telecast live by foreign TV channels and cell phone applications from mega cities to villages. It is estimated that over 10 million protesters began gathering after Iftar and continued to swell till dawn on 12 April. Conspicuously, the ousted Prime Minister did not make an appearance.

Commentators expected much bigger crowds when Imran Khan begins his countrywide tour from 13 April onwards. In Peshawar, the crowds that gathered eclipsed both 11 and 27 April. With cell phone torches lit, even drone cameras could not cover the length and breadth in one single shot.

This is the public outrage over treatment of a National Icon who has made Pakistan proud over the past four decades. Let there be no doubt that he controls the hearts and minds and no counter narrative building can oust this perception.

This was a power show by a political party that had for two decades galvanised the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA towards a national cohesion despite emergence of secessionists, foreign sponsored terrorists and WOT; and one that has representation countrywide, rules two provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.  It was also a party that had picked body bags in Karachi when MQM hitmen menaced the city and lost some of its leadership to assassins.

If the momentum and impetus of these gatherings persist and increase, it will turn out to become the ‘Option of Last Resort’. I pray it does not escalate into ‘people versus them’. With each passing day, while Imran Khan would not have full control over the masses, vested interests and hostile intelligence agencies could infiltrate to ignite the ball of fire. The people for a besieged Imran Khan are a synergy and the responsibility to calm the situation lie with the apolitical and certainly not the plotters of the Hybrid Coup. In the National Power Matrix, this is the ‘Fleeting Opportunity of National Character and Morale’.

The cautious approach on a Razor’s Edge was overtaken by the speed of events 3 April onwards. The courts were opened on a Sunday on a Suo Moto and yet the Presidential reference sent to the courts was evaded. What happened next was perhaps an over use of the Law of Necessity that took over all Executive Powers of the Prime Minister. The Review Petition of the government against its ruling was never entertained.

For 48 hours before the prime minister left his office, the establishment was getting orders passed and implemented; sometimes against the government officials. There was a media blackout, a sudden surge of propaganda and arrests of grass roots activists. Workers of a party long admired for their patriotism suddenly became subversive elements. The quickness and mopping up of the pace of events proves that it was a well-planned swift operation.

Perhaps, even the last-minute interlocutors were following orders but not aware what had hit the fan and the roof’ or did they pretend so? There is no evasion before an onslaught of masses and adjective-ism will not work.

Some actors of this hybrid coup are clearly identified. The actions taken by the Bureaucracy, police, FIA, Immigration Department and the honourable judges were all coordinated.

PDM that planned negotiated and the only beneficiary is complicit. Postings, transfers and sackings had already started. Exit Control is a very serious affair and could not have been exercised against members of the government despite prime minister restricted in exercise of powers due to vote of no confidence. Who had planned these loopholes and on whose orders these were put into quick execution. Perhaps we will never know.

The judiciary by ignoring its Advisory Jurisdiction, invoking Suo Moto and Contempt Jurisdiction used the No Confidence Motion to justify impingement upon the executive functions and powers of the Speaker and Prime Minister. The intervention raised the perceptions of a weakened Prime Minister. There was a domino effect on fence sitters who walked over to the adversary.  Neither the court realised nor did the government lawyers point out the effect of these proceedings into the political domain. The Court never opened the Pandora Box.

The worst spill over of this political conflict created by the opposition, external powers that benefit from Imran Khan’s ouster and the single dimensional judiciary is on the military establishment. Everyone blames their neutrality that does not fit with public perceptions built over decades. The word Selected used by PDM itself was a contempt towards armed forces. The reality of Memo-gate and Dawn Leaks cannot be eclipsed. So, while PDM has to take flak for its role, public ire is being craftily channelized towards the military.

Inasmuch they despise Imran Khan and take him ‘Head On’, discrediting military is a crucial objective of Destabilisation Trajectory.

As events stand and back to my opening paragraph, the ultimate objective could be dismantling the state itself. According to US research organisations and statements of their functionaries, chaos in Pakistan would provide the instability necessary to defang Pakistan.

Armed forces cannot be apolitical rather provide crucial stability to the country where looters, cheaters and corrupt rulers seize the helm.

Meanwhile the class struggle between the ‘Have Not’ and ‘Haves’ takes a new dimension. They have endured the weather, trying conditions and long journeys in cramped vehicles for a dream.

The past of 1970 is being repeated. The deep malaise of ruling elites is endemic and needs a strong medicine. Status quo political parties in denial of civil liberties are intransigent.

The events in Marriot Hotel Islamabad and Lahore are indicators of events to follow. Consequently, peaceful protests could become violent and spread all over the country. Within this political turbulence, sceptics do not rule out an intervention; an invisible force to hijack Pakistan for good.

Unlike Julius Caesar, folded within the ‘Conspiracy and Intervention’, a murder is planned and not executed. There are not one but many Noble Brutus, ‘who just in an honest thought and common good to all, made one of them.” It is time for these Brutus’ to realise and put their act together.

 

This article was published in https://sharafs.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/a-hybrid-coup/