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Freedom or licence.

What kind of a freedom of expression is it that has possessed our chattering classes so dazzlingly that it knows of no bounds or limits and they are giving such a blatant display of it increasingly so recklessly and self-conceitedly? Surely, freedom of expression is an open polity's inviolable essential part. And so it must subsist in all its glory here on our land, too. But in no event can this freedom be a licence, as indeed has it degenerated into in this country so disdainfully and contemptuously. There are certain sacrosanct limits it has to be exercised within acceptably, as indeed it is in widely regarded civilised polities. Those universally accepted norms and standards have to be adhered to in all conditions.

But all those niceties have just been thrown out of the window by our chattering classes. They in fact take a particular pride in an uninhibited expression, holding it up boastfully as a manifest of their independence of mind. In this pursuit, indulging in an unrestrained self-flagellation is their first pretentious device, for which they have picked on our military and its intelligence agencies especially for an unbridled vituperative onslaught, castigating them wholesale for everything wrong or ill in the country. They hold them to be a fair game for their expression of this unbounded freedom. And since these security establishments rarely respond to this free-hand vilification and pillory, feeling safe in their minds of not being contradicted or challenged the chattering classes peddle whatever they want to demonise the military and its intelligence agencies.

So much so, with a straight face they accuse them of adventurisms, in which these establishments may or may not be involved. In a constant refrain, these chattering classes across the spectrum have been proclaiming that it was the army and the ISI that had trained and unleashed the jihadi fighters in the Soviet Union-occupied Afghanistan. Of course, they never ever tell which exactly army training centre was it where these jihadis were trained and who recruited them and how and how. Without producing this essential evidence to corroborate their charge and make it convincing, they have been going to town yelling that the two establishments had begotten the monsters that have now turned on us and become such a sore millstone around our necks.

But the matters are not so straight. Surely, our rulers of the time must take all the blame for providing the piggyback to the American adventurists and warlords to take on the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan with lethal proxies to avenge their own humiliating debacle in Vietnam. But it is the American helping hand and the Arab monies, mostly Saudi, that was predominantly and crucially in play in this adventurism, not the Pakistani security establishment that had just a secondary role. It was the US intelligence agency CIA that was the principal arms supplier and recruiter of the jihadis for fighting America's proxy war. Even Osama bin Laden was their find. And it was this American agency that recruited zealots from all over the world and disgorged them here to infiltrate into Afghanistan to fight on the side of the Afghan mujahideen.

By every account, the ISI only trained the Afghan fighters, no other aliens, not even Pakistanis. And it was just a conduit of distribution of the CIA-supplied weapons amongst the Afghan mujahideen. And the chain of madrassas for producing fanatics in battalions was laid out with the Arab money by the holy fathers even now gracing the hospitable terrains of our northeastern parts grandiosely. Not even the ISI had had a hand in this enterprise. And the army per se was not involved. Indeed, the stories then making the round of the grapevine had it that on many an account the army was in dispute with the ISI in this venture.

Anyway, whatever be it, the chattering classes so cheekily implicate the two security establishments in an adventurism that was principally and decisively spearheaded and handled by the American adventurists and their Saudi allies. Of course, one wishes in hindsight that the ISI should have stood clear of this much too, such a baneful has been this US-led adventurism that has boomeranged on us so destructively and bloodily. But the ISI had not applied for this role. It was assigned to it by a praetorian ruler, Gen. Ziaul Haq. Not to forget. He was then not just the chief of the army, but also the president of the country. It is hence plainly an injustice to castigate the ISI for its act in America's adventurism.

Surely, the chattering classes can't be unaware of this incontrovertible reality. Yet they either wholly ignore or downplay it in order to have free hand to assail the army and the ISI outright. In this craze, they do not spare even the indigenous popular freedom movement being waged by the wretched enslaved Kashmiris in the Indian-occupied Kashmir. With a broad brush implicating the army and the ISI in their indigenous movement, again without citing a credible corroborative evidence, these wily chattering classes are callously undermining the Kashmiris' freedom struggle that has cost them unspeakably enormously in lives, limbs, honours, dignities, civil and political freedoms, and in material losses involving properties, gardens and orchards. But the chattering classes have had their fill in castigating the military and its intelligence agencies because the two establishments always keep mum in the face of this onslaught and say not what they should to put the record straight. It is for this that in the recent episode a particular section had had the gumption to put the ISI and its chief on the mat so cavalierly and churlishly.
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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Date:Apr 23, 2014
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