Why Pakistan’s Ship Is Sinking
Image Credit: Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Why Pakistan’s Ship Is Sinking


For the Pakistani military and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, it has been a spring of discontent.

In March, Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha became the focus of criticism from hardliners inside and outside the military for their decision to release CIA contractor Raymond Davis after he killed two Pakistanis in Lahore.

Things got even worse at the beginning of May, when a US Navy Seals raid showed that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, deep within the Pakistani heartland. Both inside Pakistan and overseas, the Pakistani military was seen as either complicit – through the hiding of bin Laden, or in the raid that killed him – or incompetent, for failing to realize he was there in the first place. Calls grew for the two to step down.

In the middle of last month, the trial of Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, began in Chicago. In the court of international public opinion, the ISI was effectively Rana’s co-defendant.

A week later, it was the military that was back in the spotlight, when terrorists waged a sophisticated assault on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi, destroying two US-supplied naval reconnaissance planes.

Finally, at the end of May, Syed Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani reporter who wrote on the jihadist infiltration of the Pakistani Navy, was killed. Some have alleged it was the ISI’s work.

This series of developments has marked a dramatic reversal of fortune for an army chief who had previously earned praise since taking office in 2007 for managing the army’s strategic withdrawal from politics, managing to strengthen ties with both the United States and anti-American Pakistani nationalists, and restoring public respect for an institution that had seen its name sullied by his predecessor, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. 

Last October, Kayani led the Pakistani delegation at strategic dialogue talks in Washington, where he met with US President Barack Obama. Indeed, his star had risen so high that even some Indian commentators were promoting the idea of opening up a direct channel with the Pakistani military. 

How things have changed.

December 29, 2011 at 08:26

Dear captain:

Pakistan and Pakistani will not blame any one from now on of their shortcomings. They will only blame them self for under performance.

Pakistan will become Asian tiger. If you ask why? and how? The answer is Imran khan, qadeer khan gave Pakistan nukes(military security)Imran khan will give Pakistan money (economic security).

Pakistan is changing Captain! By Captain Imran khan ;)

Khalid Bajwa
October 13, 2011 at 15:36

Pakistan should be honest and sincere to US, if it really wants to see and end to this war on terror. if such an ally is not sincere to the other a proper solution may not be accomplished

June 20, 2011 at 01:04

Why USA is trying to seeking help if he knows our military is incapable to do any thing????If Pakistani politicians are bad then why you people thinks then whole Pakistan is cancer for the world.
Can anybody tells me who destroys two cities of Japan for its nuclear tests???
Why Israel can have nuclear weapons and Iran can,t have even for peaceful purposes?
If any body have answer please reply me at arsalansaqib1009@gmail.com

June 18, 2011 at 17:46

A brilliant take on the actual potential of Pakistan as a nation.But why it has not realized it? You can blame RAW,RAMA,MOSSAD AND NOW CIA.But the truth is different. Your army has been a mercenary force for Saudies and Americans by killing 10,000 Palestinian Muslims ( in aid of King Hussein of Jordan under Brig Zia, the Muslim General).That General Musharaff invaded Kargil is now under western instructions is clear from the 50 pound notes he pays as tip whenever he visits any restaurant in London or Dubai.The Raymond Davies release and continuing Drone strikes from Shamsi point to the covert part of the relationship. As anti/American fervour increases in Pakistan, the Army doesnot want to take RESPONSIBILITY for pro American deeds of Army and very cleverly putting Zardari as the mascot!That today Americans under Obama want re election and so the Pakistani Army has got the “good Taliban” a piece of power in Afghanistan and also withdrawal of American forces so that Good taliban will rule.But your nation just cannot understand that “Muslim Umma” is the real cause of your problem and will continue to be in future unless you learn from East pakistan(now Bangladesh) or Indonesia which have discarded this.

Dr.Masood Tariq
June 17, 2011 at 22:45

Pakistan is the World’s Sixth Most-Populous and Second Muslim-Majority Country and also has the Second-Largest Shi’a Population in the World. About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim. Pakistan has the Seventh Largest Standing Armed Force and is the only Muslim-Majority Nation to possess Nuclear Weapons. It is designated as a Major Non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. It is a Founding Member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and a Member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Next Eleven Economies and the G20 Developing Nations.
However, as a matter of fact, currently the Pakistan is hanging like a Pendulum between U.S.A and China along with many Regional and Supporting Players due to Geo-Political Position in War of Domination, because of, Communication and Energy Corridors, Geographical presence at Door Step of China at North, Central Asian States through Afghanistan at North West and Arabian Sea at South. Therefore, neither the U.S.A is able to isolate the Pakistan like Iraq and not be able to capture like Afghanistan. As, this type of adventure will provoke the interests of other Players of Game, particularly China and Russia, thus, it may initiate the 3rd World War. However due to the Game of Domination between International Players, During this Decade, either the Pakistan will be The Asian Tiger with Strong Institutions and Political Parties (Most probably) or a Failure State with Strong Personalities and War Lords. (Remote chance)
As, the Russia was already attempting to reach The Hot Water but now China is also willing for it by 2030 and from 2020 China will start the Advancement towards The Hot Water and Arabian Sea, till 2020 China will Work to choose and secure the Corridors. However, owing to Chinese Role in Pakistan since 60’s, People of Pakistan trust the China as a Faithful Friend. Consequently; People of Pakistan are not ready to support any action against Chinese Interest, as they did Against Russia for Decades.
Furthermore, People of Pakistan are also fading up by the Arrogant, Autocratic, Dictatorial, Dogmatic and Tyrannical Rulers as well as Crooked, Corrupt, Dishonest, Dummy, Puppet and Pseudo Politicians, along with their Masters, Patrons and Facilitators (Mostly the PAK-US establishment). Therefore, it is a Hard Time for PAK-US Establishment and Pakistani Politicians to revise their Policy, to make it according to the Will and Wish of Pakistani People.
Pakistan is facing a Hard Time of Life due to Communication Corridor for Russia and China. Therefore, if China is ready to reach The Hot Water in near future then Pakistan will be a Battle Ground instead of Communication Corridor, primarily the region of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will happen to be the main target. If not then, it is not suitable for U.S.A to break or even reduce the Strategic Relationship with Pakistan. Because without Geographical support of Pakistan, U.S.A will lose the Control over Afghanistan and Russia will again advance towards The Hot Water. Yet any Plan of U.S.A to convert Pakistan into a Battle Ground will Force or Facilitate the Pakistan to change the camp. Otherwise, Pakistan will prefer to maintain the Strategic Relationship with U.S.A.
However, due to Geo-Political importance of Pakistan in War of Regional Domination and Psychosomatic Aptitude of Pakistani People, at any time and every type of Political Proxy Facilitation to counter the attempts of Destabilization and Insurgency in Pakistan, at National and International stage, by the U.S Opposing Players; Especially China or Russia, will burst the Situation. Because, due to Domination and Control of Opportunists, Hypocrites and Power as well as Money Hunger Persons in Governance and Politics, Public is already under threat of Administrative Victimization and Judicial Injustice along with Economical Disaster and Social Polarization.
Therefore, Institutionally Collapsed and Economically Distorted Pakistan, along with, Socially Polarized, Administratively Victimized and Politically Deprived People of Pakistan due to Terrorism, Fascism and Nepotism, as a result of Inefficiency, Misconduct and Corruptive Practices of Dogmatic and Tyrannical Rulers as well as Puppet and Pseudo Politicians in Conjunction with their Masters, Patrons and Facilitators, may Turn Out to be a Major Political and Moral Hazard for U.S.A at National and International Level. Defiantly, it will be Consequential to the War of Regional Domination, along with Control over Afghanistan.
Although, for Game of Domination between International Players, the suitable option is, the Will and Wish of “People of Pakistan” represented by the Political Leadership. Furthermore, the Sovereignty, Integrity and National Interests of Pakistan are An Internal Subject, related to the Qualities of Nation and Leadership. But, due to Un-organized and Non-systemized Political Parties, since from Liaquat Ali Khan era to Present Government, Dictatorial and Puppet Rulers were Sweet Choice for U.S.A, to secure the interests in Pakistan and to keep Russia away from The Hot Water.
However, now People of Pakistan are fading up. They are furious and frustrated about the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Leaders due to negligence of Public Affairs, Interests and Problems. Therefore in future, Atmosphere and Circumstances will not support the Dictatorial Rulers and Puppet Politicians, absolutely. Because, in future era Game of Domination between U.S.A, Russia and China will Enhance in North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. Therefore, Pakistani Politics at Public ground will start to dominate the National and International Issues too. Due to Geo-Political importance of Pakistan; it will facilitate the “People of Pakistan” and “Major National Political Players” To make Pakistan an Asian Tiger through well-built State Institutions along with Properly Organized and Systemized Political Parties.
Nevertheless, None-democratic and Un-constitutional Actions by the Establishment or None-Political and Un-ethical Activities by the National and Provincial Level Politicians along with Un-organized and None-systemized Political Parties, will Abrupt the Situation and Lead the Country towards a Failure and Malfunctioning State by way of Strong Personalities and War Lords. Because, in past era due to Social Polarization, Administrative Victimization and Economical Disintegration, Lower and Middle Class Peaceful, Law-abiding and Honest People of Pakistan have suffered a lot. But now they are going to be Immune and Reactive. It is Visible from their Attitude of Ignorance and Not-willingly participating in Political and Governance Activities.
Whereas, the Dictatorial Rulers, Elite Class Feudal Lords, Opportunist and Hypocrite Politicians along with their companions were the Advantageous Lot by means of Dividing and Disappointing the Nation through Cultivating and Harvesting the Regional, Ethnic, Sectarian and Locality Oriented Emotions and Interests. But now they are going to be Fragile and Filthy. It is Noticeable from their Lack of Attention in Public Politics and Governance Activities, due to Public Embarrassment and Feeling of Ashamed by their Political and Governance Character.

June 17, 2011 at 07:31

A question for the Pakistani bloggers. Here is an article from this monrings sydeny Morning Herald on Bangladesh and its ambitions.

Does this kind of thinking have an tracstion in Pakistan?


From the point of view of foreign investors, there is generally little diffiuclty in convincing them to invest in Bangladesh, they generally see Bangladesh as repeating the Indian growth model on a smaller scale and that the story Bangladesh itself promotes – but getting them to invest in Pakistan is less esay.

I also note that Indonesia also now stakes a claim to lead the Muslim world – and has been asked by both Egypt and Tunisia to assist them in their transition to a democratic system.

Dr Priyanka
June 16, 2011 at 18:33

Sorry Marcos!
Indians have a mind of their own. Our PM made it absolutely clear that we would not attack Pakistan.And we donot take orders from any country. Remember most of us were brought up in poverty[ not abject though]so now that the Indian economy is booming it means nothing to us. We are still simpletons at heart. If someone attacks us directly then you know what the result of that would be. There is enough evidence of that from the past. And then none of the super powers would be able to stop us!

Soul Speek
June 15, 2011 at 16:34

Wonderful ! I have been seeing lots of Pakistanis celebrating every good thing of China as theirs. A radical Islamic country trying to be the lap dog of a Godless communist country..

Make no mistake, Chinese bear you only because of their policy of containment of India. God forbid, if some day India and China sort out their issues, where will you go.

IM hussein
June 15, 2011 at 14:24

Islam is what has destroyed Pakistan

June 15, 2011 at 14:23

The “ship” (as you so eloquently put it Mr Rafik) may appear to be adrift but is far from sinking. Some might say it is unsinkable per se. Only US or US instigated Indian action can sink this boat, they say.
But apart from your melodrama & apocalypticism, I think Obama did common man in Pakistan a big favor by the Abbottabad operation. It showed that nuclearised military is NOT the source of security for Pakistan but empowered, knowledgeable educated Pakistanis themselves are Pakistan’s biggest asset. The other big favor Secy Clinton is attempting to do is to insist that the political elite (Zardari clan, Sharifs, others) begin to pay taxes and document agricultural and other forms of kleptocratic wealth. Documentation of economy and good tax code coupled with transparent rule of law and merit will unleash tremendous youthful energy in Paks. These Pakistanis must discover ways to intercalate themselves in trade between Persian Gulf, Iran, Central Asia, China, India & Russia. They are clearly situated for this.

June 15, 2011 at 12:46

Why did this happen?
Firstly how come a country with such talented and intelligent people be rules by such oppressive brutes? One day its noted journalist Saleem and the next day a poor 18 yr old kid killed by the same dead cold forces as if they are occupational army.
Secondly how a country with such deep love for God be ruled by such evil feudal families, 118 of them, who pay no taxes nor subscribe to civic manners or common law but control all facets of life till SC says so? Whether its Saudi or US how come this grain basket to the world has turned into a beggar country.
Thirdly isn’t this as identity crisis between two generations? where is hope…in the youth. You will see the Arab spring will have its effect on Pakistani youth…they are the ones who will change this structure..to its rightful place as a modern,democratic, secular global player. It will happen but before that we will have a civilian strife.

June 15, 2011 at 09:51

What about the morning of December 17, 1971, when you received the news of the highly competent Pakistani military’s glorious… err… tactical retreat in Dhaka. I’m sure you harbored no doubts, cast no aspersions, and stood shoulder to shoulder with highly competent Pakistani military then as well, for they had just gotten done defending the borders of the illustrious nation of Pakistan (with their high degree of highly competent competence).

I think some day, someone will make a movie about the history of the Pakistani military. It’ll probably fall under the comedy genre.

June 15, 2011 at 09:42

Huh? It appears that Pakistan is the obedient slave. I don’t recall the Indian military obeying American orders or India consenting to the bombing of its own people. But these are routine for Pakistan.

In any case, one has to wonder about the mental state of a country that places any faith in a military that’s managed to get the country cut into two pieces and nowadays can’t even control the terrorists it breeds. Macho talk doesn’t hide any of this.

I also wonder why China is bizarrely brought up out of nowhere? I guess you’re growing insecure about the capabilities of that “military”, if it can be called that.

Zartab H
June 15, 2011 at 07:51

Unsurprisingly, the first reply is to blame the Indians and the Americans. I’m only surprised you didn’t blame the Israelis.

June 15, 2011 at 07:49

Pakistan is the most dangerous country on earth and contributes little or nothing to better it. Nuclear weapons in the hands of its military is truly nightmarish. Pakistan’s leaders could care less about the well being of its people; if they could eat nuclear bombs they would be well fed.

June 15, 2011 at 07:25

Horrible propaganda piece. Tariq is right, the people of Pakistan stand by the military and their muslims brothers, they don’t need USA’s most obediant slave India, or the King of Colonialism Barack Obama to tell them what to do. ISLAM ZINDABAD, and PAKISTAN ZINDABAD, our military is too tough and China and Pakistan togather are invincible!

Tariq Shah
June 15, 2011 at 06:18

A rubbish article, just parrots the Indian and American one sided perspective, let no one doubt it, Pakistans military is and always will be the most respected, most trusted organization in Pakistan. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our military bretheren, we harbour no doubts, cast no aspersions, have no worry, we have nothing but the highest regard for our brave soldiers who are defending our borders all along our most mortal enemy Indias borders as well as the other enemy that hides in the shadow and strikes in the back along the Afghan border.

June 15, 2011 at 05:54

I don’t think it’s possible. The nature of the Pakistani state seems to be one of factions fighting over resources and power* rather than one where any one leader can administer properly or where the elites are worried enough about the future to unite for the common good.

*Yes, you could call that a democracy but usually a successful democracy doesn’t involve violence to deter dissent and democracies hopefully have apolitical civil servants.

Aman Sharma
June 15, 2011 at 02:17

Excellent piece; reflective and honest!

The most pertinent questions raised are – “What is the real potential of this nation of 170 million given its human capital, natural resources, and geostrategic location? How can it achieve this potential?”

I recall the initial noises made by Zardari and Shah Mehmood Quereshi when they assumed power. I also vividly recall some of Zardari’s interviews to the international media prior to 26/11. On all these occasions, the Zardari/Quereshi duo highlighted :

a. Need for good relations with India, so that key resources can be allocated to development rather than defense
b. Using Pakistan’s geographical position for becoming a trade route for international community, thereby earning revenue
c. Developing good trade ties with a large and consumerist neighbour – India
d. Sending the military to where it belongs – the barracks

In view of this hindsight, I am surprised to note what the author says about the political leadership – “Pakistan’s ruling classes must grow beyond their parochial political and national security concerns”

Clearly, the new ruling party had the right vision in place. However, from day one, the PPP, despite being in majority and legitimately elected, was ridiculed by all and sundry before being made totally irrelevant and ineffective. The vision of the new government was effectively sabotaged by the Army/ISI.

The remedy for Pakistan therefore lies in reigning in the ISI/Army. There is no dearth of vision among Pakistani politicians as I see it. Unless this is achieved, Pakistan will continue to be in the quagmire it finds itself in today.

Aman Sharma
Twitter id : @amancool5

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