by Dr Mubashir Hasan

Pakistan is at war with itself.

248618_1568096341391_1804933087_1005651_4216811_nOur ruling elite, comprising political leaders, civil and military officers and their allies are on one side.  The other side comprises an assorted gun wielding groups (call them mujahedeen, if you like) is waging a costly and bloody war that has lasted more than a decade.

Scores of thousands of fighters in or out of uniform have been killed and a much larger number injured, wounded or maimed.  Despite having suffered huge losses in prestige and dignity and men and material, there are no signs of a let up.  The unholy conflict goes on.

The number of internally-displaced persons has been colossal.  As a result fear and anxiety prevail and misery abounds all over the country.

What are the aims of the two sides engaged in this costly, demoralising and debilitating war?   Apparently they are not fighting to establish their sovereign authority over the country to the exclusion of the other side.  Had it been so, the total elimination of the power of the other contender, total victory or defeat, takht  ya takhta would have been their aim.  Until recently the two sides seemed willing to arrive at a compromise on a negotiating table to do all together in running the state in a way they have been doing in the past.

Making Pakistan a strong and prosperous state in the modern sense, in which the citizen lives and dies for the Nation State, was not the aim of the mujahedeen.  It is also not the aim of the ruling elites.  The aim of the latter is patently clear from their performance during the last six decades – namely, the social and economic exploitation of the majority by a minority of the population through the use of physical oppressive power, legally and illegally.

Nor are the two sides dedicated to observe the rights and freedoms enunciated in the Charter of the United Nations.

While the ruling elites are waging the war to retain whatever severely eroded sovereign authority is left with the state apparatus, the aim of the mujahedeen is comparatively modest. 

In the stranglehold of the elites over state power, the leadership of the mujahedeen has been a contender for their share since the inception of Pakistan.  Almost all the constitutions of Pakistan carry the imprint of their modest gains.  It is only recently that they have taken to use guns, suicide bombers and internal explosive devices and have a number of successes to their credit. 

In the old days the leadership of the mujahedeen laid no claim to the exercise of the executive or legislative authority.  Their aim was the seizure of the power of the judiciary.  In the final analysis, once all the offices in the judicial system are occupied by judges who are well versed in the Shariat, Pakistan, in their view will be entitled to call itself an Islamic state. 

The leadership of the ulemas of Pakistan keen to become an integral part of the ruling elite in the same way as the leaders of the legislature and the executive are.

And why not?  Have not the Muslim kings ruled over India for hundreds of years through the help of a thoroughly loyal Muslim clergy, which was disbursed a share in the loot and plunder of the toiling masses by the king.  If then, why not now, they seem to claim!

The present elite of Pakistan, under the banner of one political party or another, ruling under the shadow of one military strong man or the other have amassed huge wealth for their class comprises a tiny minority of the population.  In doing so, they have made their name on the planet as one of the most corrupt and oppressive among the ruling elites of the world.  The desire of the ruling elite to continue to be what they have been doing is understandable as also the desire of the gun wielding leadership of the mujahedeen to be a part of the present exploitative set up.

The vital interests of 180 million people of Pakistan appear nowhere in the equation of the current war.  The protection of life and property, provision of wholesome nutrition, education, medical care, and elimination of gross inequalities and the protection of human rights are not the goals worth fighting for in this war.

As far as the people of Pakistan are concerned it is an insincere war.

Revised Lahore, 7 May, 2014