Gen Pasha Deserves Encomium
By Mohammad Jamil
Theoretically, any one who believes in freedoms and civil liberties would not hold brief for military dictators, authoritarian rulers or civilian dictators. But in Pakistan whenever Martial Law was promulgated in the past, a large number of politicians, journalists, intellectuals, members of judiciary and people at large had supported the dictator. However, when the dictator tried to extend his rule for indefinite period and became weak or unpopular due to his own follies, so-called members of the civil society, intellectuals and media started criticising him who had not displayed the valour during years of dictatorial rule.
Today, because of international environment of civil liberties and freedoms including freedom of expression, media in general has been bold, but there are some who have sold out their souls to the aliens and they malign and denigrate their institutions – Parliament, judiciary, military and its intelligence agencies. It is in this backdrop that COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and outgoing ISI DG Lt. General Ahmed Shuja Pasha are the target of these unconscionable elements.
It is an irrefutable fact that General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Lt.General Ahmed Shuja Pasha are the only military leaders in the history of Pakistan who have the spine to say no to America’s unreasonable demands. America wanted that Pakistan should issue large number of visas for CIA agents and contractors’ personnel, and should not restrict their movements even if they roam around the sensitive installations of Pakistan. Palmed off media men in Pakistan, taking a cue from their masters, have been accusing military and the ISI of lending support to their favourite politicians. Some commentariat spew venom even after the news that General Pasha will be retiring on 18th March 2012. They say that the government did not give extension to him because of American pressure. But even if this were the case, General Pasha deserves accolades because when detractors of Pakistan resort to scathing criticism against him, he is through and through a patriot.
However, according to authentic reports, Lt. General Ahmad Shuja Pasha was taken into confidence by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani before the notification of his successor a day earlier. Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Muhammad Zaheer-ul-Islam has been appointed as DG ISI and will replace General Pasha, who left for Istanbul last week on an official assignment. He had reportedly informed the relevant authorities last month that he would not be interested in another extension in his service. In fact, the general didn’t ask for his previous two extensions but it was the decision of the leadership to retain him. General Pasha in his tenure of five years in the office never met political leaders and most of the members of parliament and some leaders saw him for the first time when he appeared before the joint sitting of parliament, and once before that on the occasion of All Parties Conference (APC) called by Prime Minister Gilani. Barring a few incidents like the one on 2nd May, the spy agency under him thwarted conspiracies that could have played havoc.
Regarding his first extension Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani had admitted publicly that government itself offered and requested General Pasha for extension of his tenure. While addressing the Parliament in OBL episode of 2nd May 2011, General Pasha had presented his resignation in the Parliament and said that he was ready to go home as a retired officer if Parliament desired so. It is rather strange that some reporters in a media group are giving different versions about the retirement of General Pasha. One analyst wrote: “General Ahmad Shuja Pasha would have made many mistakes and would have failed on many fronts, but he did wonders in limiting the role of CIA and FBI agents in Pakistan, the contribution that makes him look different from many others. General Pasha has been the most hated Pakistani in Washington and a real pain in the neck for the CIA. For the same reason, his retirement has brought a sigh of relief to the Intelligence circles in the US. He was a rare breed of Generals, who would not be impressed with the influence of Washington and its powerful intelligence chief”. There could not be a better way of paying tributes to the General.
Instead of appreciating the meritorious services rendered by him, some of media men, analysts and panelists are trying to disgrace General Pasha by concocting stories about his desire to get extensions, and blame him for imaginary contacts with the politicians. Such unconscionable elements have been blowing out of proportions the cases like 2nd May incident or attack on the GHQ Rawalpindi, though the sole super power America with dozens of security agencies and all the gadgetry at its disposal could not stop 9/11. India with tremendous resources could not stop 26/11. The problem is that those on the CIA payroll have been trying to bring Pakistan’s military and its intelligence agencies into disrepute to prove that they cannot safeguard the national interests and frontiers. All this is being done because the CIA has in the past worked with the ISI, and knows its capabilities.
It is a matter of record that after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and ISI launched the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA. What the US administration had in mind was to harness the energy of Afghan resistance to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, which would turn Muslim republics within the Soviet Union against the communist regime and eventually destabilize it. When started, the objective was to make it the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, but it turned out to be much more than that. Over the years, the US, the West with the help of the Arab world funded and recruited mujahedin from Islamic countries to fight America’s proxy war. After the end of Cold War, the US left the region where civil war raged for years till Taliban were able to control and restore some order in Afghanistan. After 9/11, Pakistan was coerced into joining the war on terror. America now wants Pakistan do its bidding, and conduct operation in North Waziristan, forget about Kashmir and accept India’s role in Afghanistan, which Pakistan will never accept. Of course, the ISI will safeguard national interest under the able command of Lt. General Zaheer-ul-Islam.