The aim of this post is to highlight and confront the “PPP abandoned Taseer” narrative which is currently being transmitted and propagated in Pakistani and international media from certain quarters who are traditionally known for their hatred for the PPP and Asif Zardari.
Mr Almeida blames everyone but the GHQ for investing in jihadi and sectarian terrorism. According to Almeida, Bilawal Bhutto is a young prince of the PPP whose words on Taseer’s murder and the minorities/ rights carry no weight. He discounts the PPP`s fear of establishment-led plots and suggests that the PPP has no genuine interest in Pakistan.
“And since then [Taseer’s murder], there has been nothing but stony silence from the PPP. (Bilawal Bhutto may make the occasional jiyala`s heart flutter, but the young prince`s words carry no weight, at least for now.) The silence has been so total, so complete, so consistent that you know it is party policy. Say nothing, do nothing, starve the fire of oxygen and live to fight another day.”
“Assuming the PPP has some genuine interest in seeing a Pakistan different from the one the right wants to perpetuate, what comes after the silence, after the latest furore dies down, when there is time and space to think about ways of pushing back? Looking at the present lot, you can`t help but feel the answer is: nothing. They`ve got no ideas, they`ve got no plans, they`ve got no vision. Not about the blasphemy law, not about militancy, not the infrastructure of jihad, not even about the culture of intolerance generally. They`ve got nothing. Which necessarily leaves you wondering: is the PPP`s absolute silence in the face of right-wing fury simply a function of wanting to hang on to power? Power for power`s sake?”
Cyril Almeida recycles Declan Walsh and blames the PPP for leaving Taseer alone and also for the ‘return’ of the army. Did the army ever leave the position of power, Mr Almeida?
Declan Walsh of The Guardian has written that Taseer was left “swinging in a lonely wind” after the Aasia Bibi case became a “political football”. “Zardari was powerless to act,” according to Declan.
Possibly. That Zardari is often powerless to act is obvious enough. But at least you can admire a man who fights for something he believes in, who stands up for his friends when it matters.
Instead, we are left with the rumour of a president who is spending a few weeks by the sea at the suggestion of a soothsayer.
The hate-mongers in the vernacular media are particularly malign influences. Having seen the ugliness up close and the slyness with which it is foisted off on an unsuspecting public, you can’t help but feel a little ill.
And increasingly if there is anything we should fault Asif Zardari for, it should be for surrendering without a fight on that front.
The comeback the army has made, the total control it is exercising over national-security policy, the return to a position of singular prestige in the national imagination, all of that may eventually have come to pass anyway. But because no meaningful resistance was offered, it has happened in double-quick time
According to a commentator on Twitter, if we read Mosharraf Zaidi’s ostentatiously introspective FP piece on Salmaan Taseer, he finally places blame on the US presence in Afghanistan. Here is an excerpt from the article that Vikhr mentioned:
As an advocate of realistic optimism, Taseer’s assassination for me, and many among the small English-speaking urban community in Pakistan, is gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. It is a reminder that the realities of Pakistan in the New Year are stark and intimidating.
The cancer of fanaticism that consumed Taseer’s life is a product of two generations of Pakistani state actions, starting with General Zia-ul Haq’s offering up the country as an assembly line of warriors for the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1990s, and continuing with General Pervez Musharraf’s offering up the same country as a staging ground for a war against those very warriors. The role of the war in Afghanistan and America’s presence in the region is inescapable. It has helped catalyze and deepen the pre-existing groundswell of a radicalized the mainstream Pakistani narrative.
Of course, Mosharraf Zaidi would never acknowledge that shaheed Taseer’s murder is a direct result of the military establishment’s investment into the religious fanaticism industry in Pakistan.
Mosharraf Zaidi writes in The News.
More than 2,000 people are estimated to have been killed in drone attacks. The number of civilian casualties is unknown, but no one denies that they exist. Countless Pakistanis who have been programmed to morally equivocate around issues of perceived blasphemy have asked me, “Where is the conversation about drones and legal recourse and compensation for the people of FATA?” It is a legitimate question.
It is approving roads and buildings that seem to serve little purpose other than to keep contractors at work. It is subsidising businesses like Pakistan Railways and PIA that have been sucking the lifeblood of its finances for decades. This is unreasonable and to continue to do so is insane. Pakistani society and the economy are being rend asunder by a lack of reason. http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=26292&Cat=9
Mosh Zaidi agrees with Imran Khan’s (crappy and apolgistic) logic of linking Taseer’s murder to the US presence in Afghanistan.
On Sunday, Imran Khan made quite a reasonable case in The Guardian for why the US presence in Afghanistan for example, is fuelling the blinding rage of Pakistan’s dignity-warriors. There is little fault in Khan’s argument, except one deeply disturbing fact. The removal of the causes of indignity is based on a completely and deliberately warped and illogical reading of the world we live in.
And while many have rightly pointed out that the religious parties are rarely able to garner more than a few percent of the votes in elections, Mosharraf Zaidi suggests that this should not be taken to mean that their views do not enjoy much deeper support in a society which has been becoming increasingly conservative. Really, Mr Zaidi? Would you like to name the institution responsible for the increasing conservative nature of Pakistani society?
“Though the Pakistani right wing is simply instrumentalising Islam, it is tapping into and channelling a political and social force whose appeal and power is unquestionable. Sure, it is unable to translate this appeal into electoral outcomes – but that is because this appeal is not located in the disbursement of patronage, or in administrative prowess. Pakistanis vote for the PPP, the PMLs, the MQM and ANPs because of the certainty that these groups can disburse resources as patronage,” Zaidi wrote. “In total contrast, it is clear that the religious right wing in Pakistan, while electorally impotent, has tremendous appeal.”
Interestingly, notorious Taliban apologist, Hamid Mir agrees with Declans Walsh, Mosharraf Zaidi and Cyril Almeida, and blames Asif Zardari and the PPP for ‘abandoning Taseer’. Mir says that “the PPP is responsible for Taseer’s death. When Taseer criticised blasphemy laws, Zardari never took a stand”. Further, according to Mir, both Zardari & Taseer failed to stop the lawyers’ movement & finally were forced to restore the judges
“I must say that the ruling Pakistan People’s Party is also responsible for Taseer’s death. When Taseer criticised the blasphemy laws, his own party, including President Zardari, never took a stand for him. Law Minister Babar Awan said that nobody would be allowed to make a change in the blasphemy laws.”
The above narrative “the PPP abandoned Taseer” is common across diverse PPP-phobes in the media. According to Hina, a commentator at an LUBP post:
Even the more liberal newspaper like DAWN in its editorial on 5th jan wrote,”its more depressing that his (salman taseer) own party didnt stand up in his support”. Cyril Almeida in his weekly column repeated the same rhetoric and also quoted Declan Walsh to prove his point. Moreover, Rana Sanaullah, notorious for his link with the banned Islamic outfits (Sipah-e-Sahaba) ,in his latest statement accused the PPP for ditching Taseer. Its increasingly evident now that a ”deliberate attempt” is being made by the establishment to further malign Mr. Zardari and create confusion in the rank and file of PP and demoralise its workers.
I wonder if the above named journalists (and several of their low-ranking followers in Pakistan’s English media) are just the “unwitting fools” or are they well-served “willing tools” whose primary function is to be the propagandists of the military establishment. This decision I leave to my readers.