This week’s events have left many scratching their heads. Dr Tahirul Qadri’s return to Pakistan in the final few months before elections left many wondering, “why now?” Adding to those questions are the size and scope of Qadri’s long march. Who has paid the Rs800m to reserve 40,000 buses? Who paid $4 million on television advertising? Inevitably, rumours pointed to the usual two suspects – the Americans and the establishment. In a piece for The News (Jang Group) this week, Shireen Mazari explains why she believes it is the US and not the establishment that is backing Dr Qadri. Here is how Shireen Mazari addresses rumours of involvement by the establishment:
Some said the “establishment” was behind Dr Qadri, but I am not convinced on that count!
In once sentence, Mazari simply dismisses the entire notion that agencies have any involvement despite their long record of meddling and manipulation in politics. No explanation of why she is convinced of her position, or even what the relevant facts are. What is more curious, however, are Shireen Mazari’s reasons for believing that the West is backing Dr Qadri. According to Mazari, “the US seeks a favourable dispensation in Islamabad up to 2014 so that its withdrawal from Afghanistan can be smooth and the post-withdrawal scenario to its liking”. This is surely true. But what comes next is puzzling:
A long-term friendly caretaker setup would suit them more than an elected government, especially since they are not sure what will happen in the next elections when there is no NRO and no “guarantors”!
Let’s take a moment to think about this in the context of what exactly Dr Qadri is saying. During his speeches, Dr Qadri has declared that only two institutions – military and judiciary – are performing their job with responsibility. Presumably, this is why from the beginning his demands have always included “an independent and honest caretaker set-up after consultations between the military, judiciary and other stakeholders”. If Shireen Mazari is correct, the US is backing Dr Qadri because they do not want a long-term friendly caretaker setup, and ‘friendly’ means it is picked by the military. In other words, the US is conspiring to put a military setup in power in Pakistan? According to Shireen Mazari, though, it’s not just the US but UK also who is backing Dr Qadri to push their agenda of supporting drones and Dr Qadri’s caretaker government will supposedly “will allow them to bring the Pakistani nation on board”. This raises the same question, though. If Shireen Mazari is correct, the UK is backing Dr Qadri because they want a long-term caretaker setup that will bring the entire nation on board with drones. In other words, the UK is conspiring to put a military setup in power in Pakistan to bring the entire nation on board with drones? We have no way of knowing who is backing Dr Qadri. It is an interesting question and one that honest and professional investigative journalists should research for the good of the nation. Transparently silly conspiracy theories and blaming traditional bogeys will do nothing but confuse and deflect attention from the facts.