Reading the international situation and making amends accordingly is an expertise and art of statesmen, policy makers and security experts. Similarly, generals must always remain abreast of the conflict zones in battle and beyond into potential theatres. Post-industrial revolution, warfare is no more a discreet activity handled by military commanders but rather an inclusive policy that encompasses diverse elements of state power. Exploiting these elements and making them realisable is the domain of statesmen and policy makers. In case of societal and ideological conflicts, the stakes are even higher.

The cliché that politics is the art of impossibilities plagues Pakistan. It holds true in another domain with an altogether different ball game; least likely the one in Pakistan. The type of compromises made in politics, Pakistani style, has nothing to do with converting impossibilities into state power. Such compromises and facilitations reflect moral bankruptcy and ethical misdemeanour thereby perpetuating issues. A weak pedestal cannot stamp moral authority. The fact that present government lacks full time foreign and defence ministers in environments that need them most is an extremely poor reflection of statecraft and governance. Similarly, military planners and intelligence experts taking crucial decisions have to factorise the fallouts on society that predominantly comprises mass of emotions and idiosyncratic reactions. Once these are not factorised, everything runs amok and is unpredictable. The cause and effect of militancy in Pakistan is a direct result of this failing spanning three decades.

There is a Japanese poem that goes, “”Though on the sign it is written: ‘Don’t pluck these blossoms; it is useless against the wind, which cannot read.” In Pakistan’s current environment, decision makers at all levels like statesmen (a rarity), policy makers, civil servants (foreign office and economists) and generals are like a wind that cannot read. Ever since the collapse of Soviet Union, they lived and thrived in bubbles of their own. If nothing else works, history has a cruel way of framing the logical conclusions. The synergy that could have become the messiah is now a black hole whose reckoning is not far away.

Within these disjointed bubbles, Pakistan’s War on terror has had battlefield success not complemented by a matching all-encompassing main effort. I shudder at the prospect of this auxiliary policy ending in nothingness. Being a social and societal issue, terrorism needed to be addressed at its roots. The idea needed to be replaced with promising prospects. Alas, no such initiative was ever taken. Engagements with the people were made. Unfortunately, hearts and minds crucial to fighting insurgencies were not a priority. Laws that provide a dissuasive edge were never sharpened. Rather than work towards immediate, short and long term socio-economic miracles, corruption became the cornerstone of governance. This remains the major preoccupation of the government. The military may have partially won the battle but who will win the war? It appears that there is a design in place hell bent on making Zarb-e-Azb irrelevant.

Mullah Mansour of the Afghan Taliban (or whoever) was executed on Pakistani soil in circumstances shrouded in mystery. His travelling patterns and visits to Iran should have alerted the Pakistani establishment. Intelligence agencies should have noticed the wheels within wheels. The entire incident smacks of the wind that cannot read.

Pakistan’s establishment never read the situation after the collapse of Soviet Union. The realities and perceptions of Cold War were irrelevant. For Pakistanis, two realities had to be accepted. First, that India, in a more inclusive, interdependent and globalised world, had become an ally from a Soviet bloc antagonist. Instead of learning how India was making the policy shifts in a changed world and evolving its own game theory, Pakistan remained adamant at replicating the Afghan Jihad in Indian held Kashmir. The policy failed at a very high cost. Though the situation in Afghanistan was different, Pakistan put all its eggs in the Taliban basket. When Pakistan had influence over Afghan Taliban, two initiatives at moderating them got a big International No. In 1996 when Benazir’s government was removed by President Leghari because USA had rejected her plan on Afghanistan. In 2002, when Mullah Umar agreed to hand over OBL to Turkey (NATO) there was a ‘no’ from USA. The Pakistani government still closed its eyes to the writing on the wall. Understanding the above is important to predict the future.

Relations with India had to be rebuilt on a post-Cold War template without sacrificing the key issues. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did follow this course. However, the Kargil adventure back rolled the entire process. Belatedly, President Musharraf tried redeeming the situation with his track 2-3 diplomacy amply explained by Mr. Khurshid Kasuri. By the time President Musharraf left, the international dynamics had changed dramatically. India through a Civilian Nuclear Agreement was now a US ally. Hotel Taj Mahal incident was crafted by multiple actors to ensure that India-Pakistan do not reach a détente. Meanwhile foreign intelligence agencies penetrated and controlled militant groups in Pakistan. These comprised Pakistan’s allies like the Arab Kingdoms and Iran. Separatism in Balochistan led by a few thousands had outside support. There were international murmurs of separating Balochistan. Tentacles spread to Karachi, interior Sindh and South Punjab. In a dramatic high paced twist of events, Pakistan’s friends in the Arab world are now allies of India. Young Afghan students that Pakistan had trained in the 70s were ignored and joined the Iranian camp. The net result is that Pakistan has isolated itself internationally and in Afghanistan with a dangerous card in hand.

Back in 2002, I had feared two worst case scenarios. First, when would USA intervene in Balochistan? This has happened with the execution of Mullah Mansur. Secondly, what if the Afghan Taliban movement became an exclusive Pashtun Resistance? It appears that Afghan Taliban is taking this course. With TTP living in Afghan sanctuaries, this is a alarming. In a most dangerous situation, the fronts could soon be reversed. Afghanistan will become a safe haven for militant operations against Pakistan. The US message through Mullah Mansur is loud and clear. Instability in Pakistan will be sustained till sudden death.

The government is too busy legislating over corruption. The objectives of NRO 2 are unfolding. Meanwhile auxiliary military operations have concluded. The permanency of military gains depends on the government that is nowhere in sight. An environment is being shaped for militants to come back.

My question: Does the constitution of Pakistan say anything about saving the country? Yes it does, but like the wind, Pakistan’s judiciary cannot read.