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Need Political Commandos? – Pakistan Today


Since decades the political scene in Pakistan has been dreadful. Most civilian institutions are under the control of the ‘Mafias’. The positive forces of change seem helpless against the Monsters of the status quo. Out-of-the-box solutions are needed to restore order.

During my recent visit to Scotland, I came to know that it was Winston Churchill’s idea to create a Commando force to stall the advances of the German forces during World War II. Specially trained soldiers were dropped behind the lines of the advancing German army to disrupt their supplies and halt their advance. In Pakistan they are classified as; the Special Services Group (SSG). Their training centre is located at a place called Cherat, which is a small hillock near Pabbi on the main GT Road short of Nowshera. Only a  selected few brave men are inducted into the ranks of he SSG.

Churchill’s Commandos halted the German advances by fighting behind the enemy lines. While Hitler was fighting a traditional war, Churchill was not. Creativity and innovation prevailed over tradition. Hitler’s forces were trapped, cornered, defeated and finally made to surrender. In face to face head-on combat the German’s were unstoppable, the Commandos saved the day.

The Political  battlefield in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan needs Commando Action to clear the landmines put in place by the successive Bounty Hunters. In the past the republic has experienced such events.

With this PML(N)-friendly set-up, free and fair elections in Punjab are not possible. A lot of ‘Commando’ action is needed for a level playing field. Pakistan needs ‘Azadi’ for which a lot of homework and struggle is needed. PTI thinktanks did formulate policies which were overlooked by the new players, so perhaps it is time to revive and revisit that effort which is needed to move forward for meaningful and sustainable change to take place. 

After the failed Kashmir adventure of Ayub Khan in 1965, his foreign minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) decided on Commando Action against the dictator. He launched his progressive movement called Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in November 1967. Students, labour and the progressives responded to his call. In October 1968 when the usurper decided to celebrate his decade of progress ( October 1958 to 1968 ) ZAB launched his anti Ayub campaign. Undeterred by the brutal crackdown of the state apparatus, the street protests brought the Ayub Regime crashing down. In March 1969 he had to step down.

Instead of Ayub handing over power to the Speaker of the National Assembly, General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, the Army Chief, took control of the country with a promise of holding free and fair elections which were held in 1970.

The democratic period that followed was shortlived. By the next elections in 1977 ZAB had surrounded himself with the political mercenaries against whom he had fought against during his days of struggle. When crunch time came, he not only lost his power but also his life. In his own words, ” The elephant never forgets till he has taken his revenge “.

Today Pakistan is threatened by the force of political mercenaries. The political commandos are in disarray. After the 1970s, Pakistan again stands at the crossroads of change and liberation or ‘Azadi’. On 30 October 2011, the ‘commandos’ and the ‘comrades’ of change gathered at the Minar-e-Pakistan to listen to their winning Kaptaan Imran Khan (IK) the proud son of the city.

There was zeal and enthusiasm in the crowd which had come in droves on its own. Change was in the air. IK promised to build ‘Naya Pakistan’. In the 1970s the attack of the ‘political commandos’ under ZAB was not taken seriously but not this time around.

On 25 December 2011, IK roared at the Mazar-e-Quaid but by this time the ‘political mercenaries’ had surrounded him and the ‘commandos’ were relegated to the lower stage to cut them to size. After the rally, Comrade Ahsan Rashid, the Chou-en-Lai of PTI, had arranged a dinner at the Sheraton Hotel. It proved to be the proverbial ‘Last Supper’ for the ideologues who had built the movement with their sweat and blood, in 56 days it was all over for the political commandos on whom IK was relying for change. When the crunch time came the ‘political mercenaries’ abandoned the Prime Minster ( PM ). It was a repeat of the ZAB scenario.

By instinct IK is a fighter. He now leads an ‘Azadi March’ to regain the lost pride and sovereignty of the nation. ZAB did not get a second chance while IK has skillfully managed to lead the charge again.

He has finally decided to regroup his ‘commandos’. On June 10, Hamid Khan, a party stalwart was called to Bani Gala to heal the wounds inflicted by the ‘bounty hunters’. In his own words, “It is better late than never ” but in his interview Hamid Sahib did mention that more housecleaning is needed before complete restoration of the original party momentum, the Old Guard, is still not back.

It was the same Hamid Khan who valiantly fought against the entrenched Saad Rafiq in the 2013 contest in Lahore and finally got him de-seated from the Election Tribunal. In 2018 IK won this constituency which Humayun Akhtar Khan lost in the by-elections.

While IK has survived the current debacle, his team has not. Punjab the largest province of the republic, has been the weakest link. It is not only Usman Buzdar who proved to be an ineffective Chief Minister, the influence of the Sharifs on the administrative set-up was grossly underestimated and mismanaged. The bureaucracy in Punjab needs a major shake-up. The way the Chief Secretary and the IG have blindly obeyed an illegal set-up should be an eyeopener.

With this PML(N)-friendly set-up, free and fair elections in Punjab are not possible. A lot of ‘Commando’ action is needed for a level playing field. Pakistan needs ‘Azadi’ for which a lot of homework and struggle is needed. PTI thinktanks did formulate policies which were overlooked by the new players, so perhaps it is time to revive and revisit that effort which is needed to move forward for meaningful and sustainable change to take place.



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