Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Humpty Dumpty Doctrine & The Keystone Cops

There's an odour of destruction in the air. It's an insipid kind of smell, quietly working its way into the Pakitsani subconconscious like a hit of acid working its way to the cerebral cortex.  You feel it whenever you talk to a person, or if you ever observe someone closely while they're watching the news - this acute but still subdermal anxiety, twitching just under the surface.

Pakistanis know they're under attack but by whom remains a mystery to them.  Is it the Taliban?  But the Taliban don't blow up 
mosques during Friday prayers.  Al Qaeda?  What is al Qaeda? Who is Osama bin Laden? Is he even alive?  Is it maybe their own government, or the ISI, that much-maligned and nefarious Pakistani spy agency?  Perhaps it's the U.S.?  And almost definitely India, but of course, who could doubt that?  The rumours are many, the conspiracy theories abundant and complex.  But there is one thing all Pakistanis can agree on: Someone is out to destroy their nation.

In an upcoming article in Maclean's, I speak to an ISI agent about India's role in Pakistan's turmoil and the theories that abound concerning the fate of the Indo-Pak Cold War.  One Canadian analyst argues that there is a larger plan, guided by the CIA, to dismantle Pakistan. India is reportedly aiding and abetting Baloch separtists in Pakistan's southwest.  The Humpty Dumpty Doctrine is in full effect, with dire consequences for the region.  Is Pakistan on the road to collapse?

On a slightly lighter note, an article in today's Daily Times struck me as darkly funny: Pakistani police trainees at the Manawan training facility in Lahore, the place where militants staged a daring raid recently killing 8 recruits, made a dash for it the other night after hearing sounds that sounded like gunfire. Someone apparently started shouting they were under attack again.  One hundred and sixty-seven budding young officers high-tailed it outta there in a panic and spent the night somewhere in the city, slinking back to the training centre the next morning.  Police officials say there will be a full enquiry - those spreading hysteria would be punished.  But here's the funny part: the same officials added that those who were "actually scared" would be spared.  I wonder how investigators will go about differentiating between the provocoteurs and the simply faint of heart?  Skid-mark test maybe?  No, that would just lead to 167 pairs of soiled underwear.

Here's the sad part: the reality is that too many young men join the Pakistani police ranks, not to 'Serve and Protect,' but to 'Sit and Collect' (as in bribes).  They're certainly not paid enough to risk their skins.  Is it any wonder that the police in Swat, when the Taliban came to town, just put down their weapons and walked away?


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