Pakistani state deserves no respect discriminating not only between Muslims and non muslims but majors and generals with major regarded as SWEAPERS and GUTTERSNIPES and generals many of them from lowest backgrounds LIKE Baji almas Bobby as GODS—/////
Disappointing”. This is how the Pakistan Foreign Office has termed the damning resolution adopted by the European Union parliament advocating a review/temporary suspension of Pakistan’s GSP+ status and its associated advantages. The resolution does so primarily on account of the blasphemy laws’ “abuse” but also a raft of other issues related to death penalty, attacks on journalists and members of academia etc are mentioned.
The resolution being what it is, the really disappointing part of this bruising foreign and trade policy blow (we export nearly 7 billion dollars worth of goods to EU) is how the government sat on its hands as the making of the resolution was taking place and its draft was circulating all around EU capitals for weeks. European diplomas confirm that they had communicated this serious matter and its devastating consequences to the Imran government’s various officials apart from their friends in the Foreign Office.
The resolution’s preparation took weeks and even novice diplomats could sense that if passed it could re-write the rules of Pakistan-EU trade and political affairs to our dis-advantage. Instead of seriously debating this issue, the government got busy dealing with the fall out of its folly of making fake promises to TLP about throwing out the French ambassador. As the TLP called official bluff and paralyzed the country, whose roads swooned in violence and blood for days, pointless actions such as imposing a ban on the party were taken.
Ironically, even this position was modified when the government agreed to have yet another agreement with TLP (which was proscribed and hence had no legal existence) and moved a resolution debating the French ambassador’s expulsion. It was too clever by half to pretend that the government did not officially back the resolution and that it was a private member’s initiative. As the EU resolution notes: …whereas on 20 April 2021, a ruling party member tabled a resolution in the National Assembly of Pakistan demanding a debate on the expulsion of the French ambassador”.
And then not much later we heard proudful boasts about TLP’s successful mainstreaming. The fig-leaf of the so-called ban was reduced to a joke when TLP’s candidate contested the Karachi by-polls and bagged more votes than the government candidate. Prime Minister Imran Khan meanwhile could do better than to come up with another set of ludicrous propositions---he calls them strategy---including garnering support from the Islamic world and lobbying EU capitals so that “they could understand our point of view”. A post facto flight of warped imagination at best, such proposals were at any rate meaningless since the resolution was already prepared reflecting the spirit and intent of the very European capitals the PM Imran was telling the nation he would engage and lobby. As for the Islamic world support, the less said the better. No one cares about such drivel that insults intelligence, confronts common sense but is hailed as Aristotelian wisdom by asinine courtiers. It works under the cabana of cabinet meetings and in content-controlled planted interviews but not in the realm of international diplomacy that can sift trash from substance.
However, the core of the problem in Pakistan is not an inept and waffling government. The government did not do a thing to soften the blow of the EU parliament resolution because it could not do a thing. The hybrid/one page system that governs Pakistan has hardwired such deep complexities into the country’s social, economic and now foreign and defence affairs that even an Otto von Bismarck-Adam Smith combine won’t be able to straighten the terrible tangles. This system, this draconian dyarchy, is opaque. It is sleazy. It is conspiratorial. It dwells above the law and the constitution without any accountability or guidance by national debate and discourse. Like bats in blind caves, its managers fly in the thick of the night hunting and dodging, and upon sunrise, hang upside down, posing calm pretending everything is normal and quiet.
Now the costs of this system’s sins are beginning to show all around. The wreckage it has made of governance and all that is civil and decent in the country is docking around the Titanic of its power. The EU parliament resolution is a direct result of the weaponization of religious sentiments against the Nawaz Sharif government. It is a petard that the hybrid system planted against its opponents only to find the country hoisted by it. The issue of media freedom and deep structural censorship that I have been constantly writing, vlogging and tweeting about, is no longer a side concern for the international community. When the US secretary of state Antony Blinken takes up the subject in a public seminar, it is obvious that this has become a crucial lense with which Pakistan’s situation is being assessed and rated internationally. Assaults on and manipulation of the judiciary, macabre persecution of political opponents, jailing of perfectly honourable men and women, laceration of the law, decimation of democracy and expansion of authoritarianism are all consequences of the way Pakistan has been governed over the last few years.
You can blame it on EU. You can blame on the US. You can blame it on TLP. You can blame it on the universe. The bottom-line does not change: this country has been sunk low by the very captains who claim to save it. The recent past is catching up with the present and is threatening the future. That’s what is really disappointing. This is what is truly damning.