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Emperors and dictators

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By Farooq Sulehria

Hindustan belongs to me and Pakistan belongs to me
Both of these, however, are under American hegemony
American aid gave us wheat, as also their deceit
Do not ask me how long we've suffered their conceit
And yet the bayonets are all around this flowering valley
Hindustan belongs to me and Pakistan belongs to me --Habib Jalib

Regardless of how one views the recent visit of George W Bush to Pakistan --- a success or a failure --- one thing is praiseworthy. He kept the American presidents' tradition of paying visits to Pakistan only when a khaki man is at the helm. Last time, it was William J Clinton, back in 2000 (March 25 to be exact), meeting General Musharraf in Islamabad. Since the 'war on terror' had not begun, William Clinton therefore was reluctant in providing a photo-session opportunity to the Empire's satrap in Islamabad.

The first US president to visit Pakistan was Dwight Eisenhower landing in Karachi in 1959. He stayed for two days (December 7-9) and during this informal visit, he met General Ayub Khan. Like General Pervez Musharraf, 'Field Marshal' Ayub Khan was a lucky man. He received two US presidents. Second time it was L B Johnson landing in Karachi on December 23, 1967.

Ayub Khan's immediate successor, General Yahya Khan played host to Richard Nixon when President Nixon visited Pakistan (August 1-2, 1969) on a state visit.

Despite all the valuable services, General Ziaul Haq, however, was denied the pleasure to host any Emperor.
True, the 'Father of the Nation' Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself set the pro-US line even before Pakistan was born. In May 1947, he was telling US diplomat Raymond Hare that Pakistan would be oriented towards the Muslim countries of the Middle East. Since they were weak, 'Muslim countries would stand together against possible Russian aggression and would look to the US assistance'.

By declaring that 'communism [does] not flourish in the soil of Islam', Jinnah dispatched his representative Mir Laik Ali to obtain $2billion from Washington. Jinnah must have been disappointed by the near total turndown since only $10 million was approved. Dollars were showered upon Pakistan only when a khaki man had been put in place. The first khaki ruler the US imposed on Pakistan was a political genius by the way. He told the democracy-hungry nation: 'Democracy cannot work in a hot climate. To have democracy we must have a cold climate as in Britain.'

What Pakistan got during the ten years (June 1950-December 1959) as US aid ($ 1119 million) was granted for its second Five Year Plan (1960-65) when a military dictator was in power. Pakistan received $1818.7 million for the second Five Year Plan. The generous US aid was a reward for a country that, as Ayub Khan describes in his biography, had become the 'most allied ally in Asia'. The 'most allied ally in Asia' was a bulwark against communism. It also had put its military at the service of the Empire to safeguard her oil interests in Middle East.

Ayub Khanwas consigned to the dustbin of history meant for Empires satraps by a mass democracy movement. The GHQ learnt nothing from the anti-Ayub movement. General Yahya Khan told his GHQ colleagues: 'The army will have to take over'. It took over and refused to respect the democratic verdict from East Pakistan. Instead, East Pakistan was taught a lesson for not voting for the approved parties: Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami. The bloodshed unleashed by Yahya was making even the US embassy staff in Dacca nervous. The US embassy staff sent a collective 'dissent channel' telegram. But President Nixon's advice was 'Don't squeeze Yahya at this time'.

Yahya was squeezed anyway. Not by the Nixon administration but by the Pakistani masses. Finally, democracy. Since 'democracy cannot work in a hot climate', the Empire made an example out of Bhutto to prove 'we must have a cold climate as in Britain' and must never think of a nuclear programme. Yet another dictator was imposed and was generously showered upon by US aid. Pakistan became the third largest recipient of US aid after Israel and Egypt.

And the nuclear programme? Afghanistan had gone through the 'Saur Revolution', therefore the US secretary of state Alexander Haig told Foreign Minister Agha Shahi: 'we will not make your nuclear programme the centrepiece of our relations'. A six-year waiver was granted in 1981. In October 1986, President Reagan certified again that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device even if the US media were warning that Pakistan was 'two screwdriver turn' from possessing a fully assembled weapon.
As soon as democracy was restored viceroy Robert Oklay was warning: 'If you take any action on the nuclear programme and you go past that line ....[Bush] will blow the whistle and invoke Pressler'. The Pressler amendment was indeed invoked. The year 1990 passed without any certification and Pakistan was denied $564 million meant for 1991. It took another military coup in Pakistan and another war in Afghanistan to get rid of amendments, waivers and certifications.

On September 24, 2001, the Bush administration lifted all sanctions against Pakistan under the Glen, Pressler and Symington Amendments. Colin Powell was telling NBC television that the US had no concern over Pakistan's nuclear programme and the Musharraf government was stable. A new package worth $3.2 billion was offered for the 'non-NATO ally' to combat al-Qaeda terrorists. The generals at GHQ are all smiles since. The Emperor is happy. As long as the Emperor is happy and the rulers are ready to take U-turns, mango seasons will keep passing uninterrupted. Another U-turn on Iran and we maybe lucky enough to receive yet another emperor. Meantime, the masses will remain in chains. Democracy will remain an elusive dawn. Habib

Jalib mourns:
If the dacoit had not had
The village guard as his ally
Our feet would not be in chains
Our victory would not defeat imply
Mourn with turbans round your necks
Crawling on your bellies, comply

 
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