Asad Durrani Views on Imran Khan

Asad Durrani is an ex-ISI chief (who famously said that the children killed in APS were collateral damage in our (necessary) double game in Afghanistan). This is his commentary on the Imran Khan phenomenon. I am posting it here to give people a window into the mind of  the less jihadi and somewhat higher IQ Paknationalist generals..

 

Of Monsters And Genies

By Lt. Gen (r) Asad Durrani

The Pakistan Army – we may like or lament – does have a unique status in the Country’s polity. As an institution, it has known its limitations in politics, but every now and then, we get a junta that crosses the redline in the naïve belief that the state was created by the Almighty to serve as a lab, and the khaki leadership had divine sanction to experiment to its heart’s content. One catalyst that all these scientists found useful was a civilian façade to cover their flanks and to do the heavy lifting. In vernacular this exercise is called political engineering – and it has bombed always and every time. Nevertheless, true to his DNA, the man on the horseback would rather follow a warrior King, Bruce of Scotland, famously inspired by a spider to try and try again; rather than Einstein, the best of the innovators, who warned against repeating the same recipe and expecting a different outcome.

In the summers of 2018, I was in-and-out of GHQ for a number of unsavoury reasons. But like all the earlier calamities, this one too turned out to be entirely to my benefit. Suspecting that the incumbent brass, like some of its predecessors, was looking for a frontman in Mufti, I pleaded with an important aide of the Engineer-in-Chief to step back since it had never worked in the past. His response left me speechless: “sir we’re going to clean up the country”. I will get hold of him one of these days to convey my compliments—yes it has been swept clean but not exactly the way the men at the helm had in mind. Imran Khan did not turn out to be the broom they hoped he would be.

There is a long list of personal observations and empirical data to show that the man was a megalomaniac – more importantly someone who was seeking a camouflaged parachute to land on the throne. Many a military leader had refused to bite the bait, but four years ago the conman broke through. Whatever happened thereafter is recent history, but an odd development must have taken even his detractors by surprise: IK has won over a good number of fans; educated but impervious to all logic and reason. Most of its members used to vilify him when he was in power, but after his ouster, remorsefully ruminate about the bad old days.

Imran’s credentials for the country’s premiership were built upon two arguments. He brought the 1992 cricket world cup to Pakistan, but one conveniently forgot that he had a great team, whom Imran ignored to thank in his victory speech. And yes, he did raise funds for the cancer hospital in Lahore, for which he was generously helped by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, an iconic artist of international fame, who performed pro bono on a global circuit. After he passed away, Imran bragged that it was he who had introduced the Great Maestro to the world.

As if falling short on some important leadership criteria – taking blame in case of failure and sharing credit in success– was not bad enough, IK invented a disingenuous rule: to be a leader one should be able go back on one’s commitment; and he remained unflinchingly loyal to this devious principle. Worse still, he was spectacularly consistent on non-delivery in all fields of public good. Combating corruption was his leitmotif. Under his watch, Pakistan fell further on the scale. On some fanciful issues too, his record was perfect. No one asked him for an NRO (relief for any misdeeds), but he kept reiterating that he would not give any. He didn’t catch a single thief, but persisted with his resolve not to let anyone escape.

It was thus no surprise when he said “absolutely not” when asked if Pakistan might provide any military bases to the US to resume bombing Afghanistan – even though no one ever demanded them. Answering hypothetical questions was never a good idea but it was still more convenient than addressing the more substantial ones. True to his character, he pampered himself by claiming that he was such a great threat to the American designs that the sole-superpower was hell bent to see his back. Changing regimes is a favourite pastime of the Blob, but it never reveals its nefarious designs through diplomatic channels – which are essentially to posture and not to transmit a policy.

But where IK actually outdid himself was when he expressed his displeasure with the Army for going into the neutral gear, and postulating that only the animals would sit on the fence. Wrong, all the subhuman species are in fact more passionately committed than the mankind. The real cause for his disappointment with the uniformed clan was that after launching him into the corridors of power, it did not jump when he whistled. And then he completely exposed his perfidy by blaming the courts for keeping a round the clock vigil when his party was blatantly violating the constitution.

Indeed, the assemblies should not be dissolved when they’re in business. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan was asked why he was not responding to Benazir Bhutto’s request to call the National Assembly to session! Since he had already decided to sack the government and send the assemblies packing, he was not going to do so when the country’s highest forum was conducting affairs of the state. Dissolving it when a no-confidence motion had been tabled would have been an act of profanity. And therefore, one understood why the PTI wanted the courts to remain in limbo.

But none of the above would make any dent in his loyal following that believes they have found a Messiah and is prepared to follow him to the bottom of the abyss. Look how in unison they’re clamoring for fresh elections – an option they considered absurd only a few months back.

Hardly anyone can predict the outcome of elections in Pakistan. Based on the best available assessment Yahya Khan agreed to hold them in 1970. He had been assured that a hung parliament, which would let the military strongman continue ruling the roost, was the most likely outcome. The result was that he was left with no country to rule. In the elections of 1988, the agencies forecast went wrong in all respects except for the end count. In the present environment if the results would depend upon the size of the crowd on the street or the number not on Twitter but did turn out to vote, I have no idea. But the demand for early elections does serve one purpose – it deprives the successor government the time to stem the rot.
I
n the meantime, there is an urgent need to address a more serious problem.

Military’s installed regimes are often described as a hybrid between the uniform and the civvies. The first recorded case, even though in fictional form, of a cross breed was the Frankenstein’s Monster. It devoured its creator*. Understandably, IK like many of his predecessors is now raring to consume his Godfather. The problem this time around is however a tad more serious. Because of the spell of insanity, he has cast, IK was more like a genie that has come out of the bottle. Anyone knows how to put him back!

*The famous Urdu poet, Pandit Brij Narayan Chakbast had warned us against tinkering with the laws of nature:

zindagī kyā hai anāsir meñ zuhūr-e-tartīb maut kyā hai inhīñ ajzā kā pareshāñ honā (Life is about order in the elements – when they go haywire, we die)

Guest Post: Ali Minai Looks at the Last Days of Imran Khan

Guest Post from Professor Ali Minai.
Now that the “bad drama in Slamabad” is over (temporarily, I’m sure), some reflections.
The opposition’s decision to move no-confidence at this time made no political sense. After all, why rescue an opponent drowning in a vortex of circumstances and incompetence? Imran Khan could have been left to flail around on his own until elections in 2023. The reason that the opposition went for him now must have been something they feared would happen between now and next year that would entrench PTI in power. Imagination suggests options, but it hardly matters now.
During the whole no-confidence saga, the opposition unwittingly gave Imran Khan at least three opportunities for winning the larger game. The best one came early when he first lost his majority in the Parliament. He could have resigned gracefully as PM – showing commitment to democratic values – taken on the role of leader of the opposition, and held the feet of his opponents to the fire until the elections next year. After all, the opposition has no magic bullet for solving the problems of the country in a year, and is likely to fall into squabbling soon. That opportunity was missed because Imran’s ego overcame his reason – a familiar pattern.
The next, somewhat less attractive, opportunity came when the vote on the no-confidence resolution was called. Imran could have resigned then or let the vote pass, left with democratic credentials intact, and begun a popular campaign for the next elections in the streets. Instead, his well-known self-belief bordering on self-delusion led him to try a blatantly unconstitutional gimmick that united the opposition and backfired in court.
The third opportunity occurred after the Supreme Court’s verdict on April 7. By then, a lot of the benefit had already been squandered, but resigning with some dignity was still possible. The narrative of American interference had also begun to take root. But in his arrogance – apparently at the behest of a few very close advisers and against the advice of most others – Imran Khan decided to take a much worse tack, drawing out the vote, creating all sorts of uncertainty, and considering extremely radical last-minute moves. Eventually, faced with signals from the courts and the ever-present “Establishment”, he had to go out like a petulant infant deprived of his favorite toy.
Diehard supporters, of course, are in the grip of shock and anger, lashing out at every available institution in the language taught to them by their champion. But terminal failure is really hard in Pakistan’s politics. Imran Khan can now join the long list of zombies who haunt Pakistan’s political landscape, waiting for events or a patron to bring them back to life for a season or two. But all bets are off for now if he has indeed alienated powerful forces in the country as some news sources have reported. In that case, the Captain’s ship is going down. We’ll know when the rats start swimming away.
Meanwhile, a new play is about to start in Pakistan’s political theater. Some of the dramatis personae are known but ghosts and demiurges still lurk in the shadows. It is also not clear whether the play will be a comedy, a tragedy, or just history repeating itself as farce. The writer is known to be versatile, with a vicious pen and a dark sense of humor. The curtain rises….

China: A Book and a TV serial..

I just finished Edward Rutherford’s “China, the novel” and enjoyed it. Capsule review:

China: The Novel by [Edward Rutherfurd]

This author writes sweeping sagas about particular places (London, New York) and clearly researches a lot before he writes. This one covers China from the first opium war to the end of the Qing dynasty. As usual, he has created characters (a British opium trader, a missionary, a Chinese mandarin, a Chinese rebel, a eunuch in the Manchu court, etc) that cover all important events (opium wars, Taiping rebellion, court intrigues, empress Cixi, etc). The book is a fun read and the history is well researched. While you can read many books about the history of the era, this one fills in the social mores, family dynamics etc in ways that a history text cannot. Well worth a read.

And happened to finish the overly long serial “Ruyi, Royal Love in the Palace” on Amazon Prime at the same time. This is a (very fictional) account of Ruyi, the Ula Nara empress in the reign of the Qianlong emperor. The details are ALL fictional, but the serial is lavishly produced and seems to capture the atmosphere of the harem (or what i imagine to be the atmosphere of the harem) very well. The novelist seems to have had some moral purpose in view, so the evil nature of the whole arrangement is perhaps a bit overdone (but it is also possible that in actual practice it was even more evil than this), and the serial is TOO long, going on for 87 episodes where 20 would have been more than enough. And some of the plot devices are also unrealistic (everyone is plotting, plots get discovered all the time, but the emperor never seems to take precautions against them; on the other hand, he too may be constrained the nature of the institution). But slowly but surely it does capture the terrible nature of this institution. Worth skimming through if you don’t have the time for a long soap opera.

Imran Khan Phenomenon; My Prediction in 2011

I wrote this article back in 2011 for 3quarksdaily.com, someone in Outlook picked it up this year. I think I was not far wrong..

The 12th Man Rises

Pakistan’s greatest cricketing hero and second most successful philanthropist entered politics 15 years ago, promising a progressive, Islamic, modern, corruption-free Pakistan. His position as the most successful captain in Pakistan’s cricket history, the founder of Pakistan’s finest cancer hospital (providing free modern cancer care to thousands) provided him instant cachet, but for a long time he was unable to convert this personal popularity into votes in actual elections. With a political platform heavy on slogans (particularly against corruption) but short on specifics and without any obvious connection to already existing grass-roots politics, he remained little more than a fixture on the talk-show circuit for a very long time. Brief flirtation with Pervez Musharraf also set him back, as did a tendency to spout fables about Jirgas and hobnob with jihadi ideologues like Hamid Gul. But his biggest problem was his failure to create a team that could carry his party forward. The Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was a one man show, with Imran Khan its only impressive asset. Even in parties dominated by one strong leader, there are other leaders in the wings and at least a semi-coherent ideology that delivers a section of the vote-bank on ideological grounds alone. Imran had no visible team and no clear ideology beyond a promise to “eradicate corruption”.

He did seem to genuinely believe in the formulaic slogans and historical framework of the 6th grade“ideology of Pakistan” he learned in Aitcheson college. He seems to have some vague notion of “the two nation theory” (basically, “we are not Indians”) and an even vaguer “respect” for Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, twin icons of Pakistan’s history. But like his middle class fans, it is a superficial and shallow belief system, with little to show beyond a few empty slogans like “Pakistan first”, “Islamic welfare state” and “we are all Pakistanis now, so we are no longer Punjabis, Sindhis, Pakhtoons or Balochis”. Behind the automatic repetition of such slogans there does lurk an odour of “one folk, one party, one leader” fascism (as it does behind all crude nationalisms) but this is not to imply that Imran Khan is consciously thinking of leading a fascist takeover of Pakistan. His commitment to some notion of democracy seems genuine enough, though his priority (and this is not unusual among middle class nationalists) is nationalism, not democracy; in a crisis, he can easily convince himself that we may have to kill democracy to save the country. In any case, lacking organization and experience and without a good grasp of actual grass-roots politics, he was easily brushed aside by older established political parties.

Things changed in 2008. International pressure and a worsening domestic political position forced Pervez Musharraf to accept elections and eventually to bring “failed politicians” back in power. Imran Khan boycotted those elections, but came back on TV chat shows to dog the new (and admittedly, corrupt and incompetent) civilian set-up at every step. Meanwhile, GHQ managed to win back some of its tarnished reputation by staying away from public view, letting Zardari take all the blame for every disaster (even ones GHQ itself had birthed). The Zardari regime also managed to select an exceptionally bad team, from a clueless prime minister to one of the worst collections of cabinet ministers in Pakistan’s history. His opposite number in the PMLN did a marginally better job in the provincial government in Punjab, but not by much. Continuous infighting, breaking and remaking of coalitions, massive corruption at every level, and a terrorism problem that has kept the nation unsafe for international investment, all these drained the existing political parties of credibility and created an opening for an outsider.

Meanwhile, the deep state continued its “good jihadi, bad jihadi” policy at home and its double game with the US abroad. With the Osama Bin Laden assassination, matters seem to have come to a head with the US. The Americans want GHQ to arrange for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan and appear willing to pay Pakistan for help in achieving this, but they are not yet ready to hand the place back to the Taliban and the Haqqanis and their Jihadi friends. GHQ meanwhile is playing hardball and smells victory (also smells disasters to come after victory, but victory has its own momentum) and maybe feeling tempted to get rid of the present civilian setup , preferring a civilian regime that is more closely aligned with their own strategic vision. The Facebook generation and the deep state may thus both be ready to opt for Imran Khan. And Imran Khan, it seems, is ready to opt for them. He has sharpened his anti-American message (a message that appeals to both the jihadi and the left-liberal wings of the middle classes) and toned down criticism of the army. He is saying all the right things about drone attacks, peace with our Taliban brothers and an American defeat in Afghanistan. He has been well coached by Shireen Mazari and Hamid Gul and his party is using trained cadres from the Islami Jamiat e Tulaba as well as enthusiastic youngsters from the Facebook generation. The moment has produced the man.

Having produced the man, the next step was to launch him on to the political stage in suitable manner. That step was achieved in Lahore on the 30th of October. Whether the deep state helped out with the gathering or not, the crowd was impressive and enthusiastic. For most of the young people there, it was the first taste of a genuine mass event where everyone is pushing towards one goal with one voice. That this “goal” was being defined in the Paknationalist terms they have all been fed in school and in everyday propaganda was the icing on the cake. Grown men were seen to cry helplessly as carefully choreographed patriotic music blared and the crowd rose as one to sing the national anthem. Fed on a steady diet of news about corrupt, treacherous and unpatriotic politicians, the crowd was happy to anoint Imran Khan as the saviour who will eradicate corruption and save the nation. A generation that never saw the much bigger gatherings of Benazir Bhutto and her father seems to have been swept off their feet by the event. And why not? In addition to pushing the Paknationalist buttons, the rally had something for everyone. A prayer break (with the great leader praying alone on stage during the event) was followed by Shahzad Roy and guitar music. Bearded boys with Al-Jihad headbands mingled good naturedly with middle class families and liberal students from LUMS and NUST. For one shining evening, it must have seemed like hope has been reborn.

But it is still difficult to see how all this will translate into electoral victory unless the deep state plans to manipulate elections in a big way. Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy and established parties, even when discredited, have a grass-roots organizational advantage. In addition, Imran Khan’s personal popularity is wide, but not deep. Very different groups are currently united under his wing, but when push comes to shove, ideological and political choices will have to be made. Right now, Imran Khan has liberal followers who coexist in the party with hardcore Islamists who made their bones in the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba. But as he gets closer to real power, choices will have to be made. Since his own understanding of politics and the future of Pakistan is fundamentally aligned with the Paknationalists of the Shireen Mazari and Ahmed Qureshi variety, I predict his choices will turn to out to match those of GHQ to an extent that may surprise a lot of his liberal fans. This is a prediction, and I realize it is an unpopular one in the liberal blogosphere. Pakistani liberals are also hungry for a saviour and right now they prefer to latch on to whatever little bones Imran is throwing in their direction (guitar music right after Magrib prayers, women in visible positions, a modern look and feel) but I fear that Imran Khan is not just repeating his 6th grade Islamiyat and Pakistan studies slogans because repeating simplified propaganda is part and parcel of modern mass politics. He is repeating them because he genuinely believes all those fables about rightly guided caliphs, Jirga justice, Islamic social welfare, the vision of Allama Iqbal, the “leadership of the Quaid-e-Azam” and so on. But since these stories are not too closely aligned with reality, historic or contemporary, a sincere believer is likely to become a pawn in the hands of those with a clearer vision of what they want and a more realistic view of politics and power. The Leninist term “useful idiot” comes to mind, but in this case it is not Pakistan’s 37 Leninists but its much more determined deep state is likely to take advantage of Khan sahib’s naiveté.

Of course, this may not be a done deal yet. Imran clearly has an idealistic bent and even GHQ may not find his crusading zeal easy to contain. And while everyone from Humayun Gohar to Ayaz Amir may be excited by this rally, reality has a way of setting in in Pakistan. The Paknationalist agenda is not new. Army men sitting in mess halls have been carping about unpatriotic politicians, bloody provincialists and separatists, uneducated Pakistani masses and massive foreign conspiracies for decades. But they have failed to wave a magic wand to fix these problems, not because they held back, but because no magic wand actually exists. Wanting to clean up Pakistan and run it like a tight ship (the current model is supposedly China, though a few inconvenient details come to mind: a 3000 year old civilization, a century of revolutions and wars, a genuine mass-based party and titanic achievements and failures, modern capitalism embraced like never before, and so much more) is all well and good, but you cannot create anything you want out of thin air; you have to work with what exists and the properties of what exists are not necessarily what the Paknationalists think they are. History and society may have features that make some choices possible and others nearly impossible. Paknationalism of the GHQ type does not have a sufficient overlap with history, political realities or the various cultures of Pakistan to allow the creation of the homogenous- Islamic-modern-military- mullah-netizen hybrid that is being desired. But it is possible that this vision has enough overlap with the common dreams of Pakistan’s middle class youth to let them have a go at it. One just hopes it evolves towards sanity and a softer nationalism instead of doubling down and going for broke by grasping “this sorry scheme of things entire; would we not shatter it to bits and then, remold it nearer to heart’s desire…”

Browncast: Is Imran Khan on the Way Out?

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode Omar talks with Ambassador Kamran Shafi and Dr Mohammed Taqi, two very well known and astute observers of the Pakistani political scene. We talk about the current political crisis and why and how the military may have abandoned Imran Khan, exposing him to a no-confidence motion in the National assembly.

(spotify link did not work in Pakistan)

Russian Invasion of Ukraine, part 1

 

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode Amey, Conrad and I (Omar Ali) talk to Karol Karpinski about the  crisis, and particularly about the Eastern European perspective on it. This is sort of the counterpoint to our earlier recording with Major Amin (where he presented the hard Russian Nationalist viewpoint on the crisis). As usual, add your comments.. We hope to record another episode dedicated specifically to the question of sanctions; what is being done, how effective are they, and so on.

Browncast: Major Amin on the Ukraine Crisis

Major Amin – Brown Pundits

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode we talk to our regular guest, Major Amin. Major Amin is a military historian with long experience of working in Afghanistan and Russia. As a fan of military history he is also a huge fan of the Russian Army, the entity that executed such historic operations as Uranus and Bagration. This bias shows in the podcast today and many listeners will find things they vigorously disagree with, but his views probably reflect a lot of Putin’s (or Russian nationalist’s) own thinking in this affair. In any case, as always he is brutally frank and frequently provocative. Enjoy, and add your comments..

Reason for Russia-Ukraine War: Why did Russia attack Ukraine? Timeline of events that led to Russia Ukraine Invasion

Auto generated Transcript: (unedited, full of errors, but those in a hurry may get the drift) Continue reading Browncast: Major Amin on the Ukraine Crisis

Browncast: Salman Rashid, Travel and History Writer

Image

Another Browncast is up. You can listen on LibsynAppleSpotify, and Stitcher (and a variety of other platforms). Probably the easiest way to keep up the podcast since we don’t have a regular schedule is to subscribe to one of the links above!

In this episode Omar and Maneesh Taneja chat with Pakistani travel writer and history buff Salman Rashid. Salman has a very popular youtube channel  and tweets as odysseuslahori  . We chat about partition, pakistan, history and whatever else comes up.

Lata Mangeshkar 1929-2022. End of an era

Lata Mangeshkar (1929-2022): The Nightingale Is Silent - YouTube

Lata ji, probably the most recognized and most admired (and certainly the most prolific) female singer of the 20th century has passed away. She reigned as the queen of Indian playback singing for over 50 years. There are videos on the internet of people from Azerbaijan to Zambia singing singing her songs, but it was in the Indian subcontinent that she was Queen and goddess rolled into one; there won’t be another like her.

Chinmayi Sripaada on Twitter: "Wowww. Looks like Goddess Saraswati. 🙏 https://t.co/xTYVS0FTEj" / Twitter

Tributes are pouring in from all over the world. This one from Pakistani political scientist Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed captures some of what an older generation of Pakistanis felt about her:

With her, an age and an era may also be passing. In spite of partition and all the TNT nonsense it promoted, it takes generations and decades to erase all aspects of common culture. Old Bollywood songs are a repository of Indic wisdom and culture (all layers, upto and including cabarets and nightclubs imported from Europe) that may be superior to any holy book (and are treated as such by their fans, who can sing them or listen to them in every conceivable situation and find solace, romance, passion, pathos and, sometimes, good advice). In our family the elders would break out into Lata songs at the slightest opportunity; for my father (and many others of his generation) the ability to play endless bollywood songs on youtube was the saving grace of their golden years. Many a lonely old person was young again listening to those songs and humming along.

In the last few years I noticed some people (mostly younger people) calling her “sanghi” for her Hindutva sympathies. And on the opposite side, Shah Rukh Khan blowing blessings on her was enough for some Hindutvvadis to get upset and claim that he had spit on her at her funeral. Such attitudes may indeed become standard some day. I hope not, but who knows. Partitions and separations have consequences. Maybe it cannot be helped. But to us, she will always be the nightingale of India and a major link to a culture that may or may not survive too long. Then again, perhaps one should not be pessimistic. There are hidden depths in our cultures, we may surprise yet..

Continue reading Lata Mangeshkar 1929-2022. End of an era

General Bajwa Talks to University Students

General Bajwa recently visited Lahore and talked to an audience of students and teachers for several hours (news report here )A friend who attended this talk sent me this report:

A four hour talk with General Qamar Javed Bajwa

Today I had a class at 2:30 pm which I had to miss, but the reason was worth it.

Some faculty and students from LUMS, LSE, LGU, GC and FC were invited to the Corps HQ in Lahore and the talk was supposedly by the Corps Commander. However, when the talk started at 10 am, we were surprised to see General Bajwa enter and then sit at a large desk on the raised stage, all alone. As per etiquette, I am not reproducing the stunning talk but only my general impressions.

General Bajwa was supposed to talk for 30 minutes followed by Q and A for 30 minutes: Anybody could ask anything. The corps commander, the GOCs, ISPR were there but mostly it was students and faculty.

The talk started at 10 am and finished at 2 pm! And I can say I have never listened to a more candid talk on Pakistan’s history, politics, and even personal issues by the senior most army officer. Not even heard of such a talk.

General Bajwa is, no doubt, a gifted speaker. To sustain interest for so long and to answer all kinds of questions (some of the questions were as candid and upfront as you can imagine, infact beyond imagination) is amazing. Secondly, he has an unrivaled sense of humor: He cracked top of the line jokes all the time, interspersed his talk with verses, and responded with wit but also with logic. Thirdly, he knows things. Has learnt a lot and shared his candid lessons which again surprised the audience. He went through our history since 1947, interpreted it in his own way which I found very insightful, balanced and honest. Democracy was the only solution, religion should not be forced on people, education was the need of the hour, discrimination is bad, all institutions can make mistakes and the important thing now is to move forward.

I was sitting right at the front, behind the generals, and I must say I appreciated General Bajwa’s thoughts a lot and one of the most amazing, even breath-taking analyses of Pakistan’s situation ever. Four hours passed us by and at the end he had to stop because of the Juma prayers – he shook hands with us faculty: I introduced myself. Then there was some tea (hot gulab jamans, sandwiches). I got to my car (my faithful 1995 Margalla parked right next to the GOC’s sparkling SUV) and phoned cancellation of the class (my phone was in the car as phones were not allowed)

 

 

Brown Pundits