While the military may be content as a consequence of its chokehold over the narcotics trade and the finances of Pakistan, the people of that country are the sufferers

by MD Nalapat

As long as Pakistan is controlled by GHQ Rawalpindi, “stability” in that country refers to good times for the military, a situation that incentivises them towards intensification of the asymmetric warfare that they conduct in Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Not to mention “lone wolf” terrorists of Pakistani origin who have sought to blow up lives across both shores of the Atlantic, given that the West is regarded as the mortal foe of the Wahhabi International. GHQ must restrain itself from assuming overlordship of the state, a situation that has become second nature to its senior officers, given the material benefits such control brings with it. Otherwise, Pakistan cannot be “stable” in the manner that so many well-intentioned individuals across the world seek. To make unilateral concessions that have the effect of merely empowering the military in Pakistan is to continue on the road of GHQ-fomented Wahhabi terror and its principal financier within that country, trade in narcotics. Although Afghanistan is the principal producer of poppy and its derivatives, the Pakistan military is seeking directly and through its proxies within the Taliban to control the flow of opioids into and out of that country, so as to get several times more financial benefit from the narcotics trade than the growers of poppy get in that Taliban-ruled country. Profit from narcotics finances not only hideaway homes in Florida or Scotland but a substantial part of the cost of the covert operations being carried out by GHQ Rawalpindi against multiple targets at home and abroad. This is why there has been no let-up in either the accumulation of funds abroad by those connected to the Pakistan military nor in asymmetric operations, including of a kinetic nature, although influence operations are increasingly getting a higher priority than was earlier the case. Any institution that operates in an environment devoid of checks external to it has a propensity to seek to extend the boundaries that define its activities in an effort to cause greater headaches to its lengthy list of targets. Now that the flow of benefits from Washington to Rawalpindi has lessened, GHQ has turned to Beijing. Their problem is that the PRC represents the quintessential moneylender (or, in less loaded terms, banker). Milton Friedman warned that there was “no free lunch”, and in the same way, there is no free pass given to those individuals and countries who partake of PRC largesse. The moneys given have to be repaid with compound interest, either in the form of currency or in the shape of assets, as country after country is finding out during the hangover after the binge caused by massive loans to fund Belt & Road projects. These are intended for future use and benefit by the PRC, including in most cases the PLA, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s favoured arm of the Communist Party. The rise in scale of PLA deployments in an expanding scatter of locations appears to be motivated by the need to protect assets handed over to the PRC by debtor governments, including from a possible reneging of leases as a consequence of regime change. Of course, should an operationally viable alliance form to oppose efforts to replace US unipolarity with a Sinic version, such countries would have a recourse to turn to, should they seek to recover their assets and territory from control by the PRC.

While the military may be content as a consequence of its chokehold over the narcotics trade and the finances of Pakistan, the people of that country are the sufferers. A cordial relationship with India is indispensable for the economic (and thereby, in substantial part, societal) progress of every country in what is defined as South Asia, a construct that includes Pakistan, despite the efforts of Two Nation ideologues to pass off its history and civilisation as having been transplanted from a Central Asia, Turkey and Iran rather than from the Indus valley. Partition inflicted a grievous wound on the people of the entire subcontinent, mostly on those who live within what since 1947 is known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. GHQ Rawalpindi is aware that India does not seek any territory in Pakistan, but only the third of Kashmir that was occupied by Pakistan during 1947-48. Hence the effort at convincing the people of Pakistan that there is imminent danger of losing even the meagre rights and freedoms ordinary citizens have in Pakistan but for a military far bigger than is warranted by threat levels. Across Pakistan, disillusionment is increasing with the military and the country that it has become subordinated to, China. Worse, the Sino-Wahhabi lobby in the US has had its toxicity exposed by the reaction of US voters to President Biden’s inexplicable surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban. The current President of the US followed during 2020 in the path of his long-time friend Bill Clinton, who did the same in 1996, thereby beginning the chain of consequences of which 9/11 was the most consequential result. After the Afghanistan pull out fiasco, Biden has become wary of the advice peddled by the Sino-Wahhabi lobby, among which is included the recommendation to slash the Trump-imposed tariffs on PRC products, and to once again open the tap of financial and military assistance to Pakistan. A fresh US tilt towards Rawalpindi has not happened. Even the GCC, once a never-failing source of funds to feed the demand of the military and its associated elites for funds, has cooled towards Pakistan, now that Imran has joined Erdogan in efforts to retrieve the ground lost by the Wahhabi International since Saudi Arabia under the Crown Prince turned against its teachings. China may not be a long term alternative to the US, for the reason that the CCP leadership has the same policy that pre-Mughal elites in India had, of hoarding knowledge within a narrow circle. It was only when Prince Dara Shikoh (1615-59) translated some of Sanskrit epics into Persian that many inhabitants of India (who had been deprived of knowledge of Sanskrit but spoke Persian) understood the depth and magnificence of their civilization. Hoarding rather than disseminating knowledge, as took place in the past in India (including during the colonial period) and now in the PRC will cause collapse. Unable to accept and reverse the destructive effects of their hold on power, Pakistan’s military is presiding over a state that is heading towards collapse.