Beggars Can’t Choose but They Can be Chosen

Hafeez Khan

Donald Lu is the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian and Central Asian Affairs since 2021. As a veteran diplomat, he has extensive exposure in this region. He served as a Political Officer in Peshawar from 1992 to 1994 and was Deputy Chief of the US Mission in India from 2010 to 2013. He also served as US Ambassador between 2015 to 2021 in Albania and Kyrgyzstan. He is a thoroughbred when it comes to deal-making with power brokers in this region. It was no surprise when he laid the law to Pakistan’s Ambassador in the USA in the presence of note-takers from both sides. The minutes of this meeting clearly expressed US Administration’s displeasure with the independence shown by PM IK. For decades, Pakistani leadership has remained subservient; accommodating the dictates of their traditional masters. Pakistan’s national interests always took a back seat. PM IK was a new phenomenon that stuck out like a sore thumb during the Afghan evacuation. His recently enunciated National Security Policy focused on economic security in the best interest of the country. He has diligently pursued the opportunities offered through CPEC by cementing ties with China. His recent meeting with President Putin ruffled feathers in powerful quarters. Irrespective of the fact that his agenda was seeking energy sources for an energy-starved nation. His diligent work to unify the Muslim World and the need to overcome Islamophobia were equally annoying. It did not sit well with the powers that be. Their failures in distant wars at great expense and their traumatic experiences have led to a change in strategy. The new doctrine is to focus on regime changes from within. It is proving to be effective. President Erdogan was one of the first ones to incur their wrath. After a failed coup attempt was overcome through a popular uprising, the focus shifted toward creating internal dissention. A total of 35 countries abstained from voting against Russia, including China and India. China is untouchable. India is the local viceroy of the West therefore a blind eye has been turned towards it. It continues to buy oil from Russia despite sanctions and paying for it in its currency. However, the smaller countries needed to be taught a lesson. Sri Lanka was first in the line of fire. Following the new doctrine of regime change from within; suddenly political alliances imploded. That would lead to a change of Government. Similar events are unfolding in Nepal having incurred fury due to their abstention. The study of events unfolding in Pakistan is unique. It will be studied for generations. In any relationship whenever there is a breakup, there is bitterness and a strong urge to take revenge. Since the early ’50s after joining SEATO and supporting CENTO, Pakistan was treated like a mistress. It was to be fed and housed and expected to follow instructions and entertain when required. It bred a generation of elites that benefited from this cosy relationship and looked at Washington as their “Qibla”. In the seventies, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to buck the system. He was made an example by a subservient military dictator Zia Ul Haq. His end was just as violent. In evolving international scenarios, avenues have been developed that are far more cost-effective. Boots on the ground cost billions; they were replaced by drones. Drones also cost a lot. Each Predator drone, widely used in Afghanistan, cost around 40 million dollars. The more sophisticated machines like Heron and Global Hawk cost between $140 to $220 million. Why not use a strategy that costs less than the price of a single drone in Pakistan! This unfortunate state is full of “for sale” elite in all walks of life, especially in politics. The political “wannabes” have a weakness for driving around in Land Cruisers, living in palatial homes and having very expensive lifestyles. They switch loyalties without a qualm to join any ruling party as long as they benefit. Self-respect is not an issue at all. Since August 2021 when PM IK said “absolutely not” to providing bases he has been in the eye of the storm of the US Establishment. Subsequent developments mentioned above motivated them to seek alliances to trigger a regime change. They did not have to look far. Nawaz Sharif, the bitter convicted former PM residing in UK and Zardari in Sind have billions of dollars stashed away in Western jurisdictions in cash and property. They are very vulnerable hence obedient! PM IK was seeking to bring them to justice for driving Pakistan to the brink of bankruptcy. The target of regime change suddenly looked very achievable. They had to identify 25 to 30 for sale parliamentarians and buy them over. A nudge by a visit from a diplomat further facilitated their decision. Wolves have a strong sense of smell to join the winning pack. Despite disclosure by PM IK of an international conspiracy, the judiciary chose to ignore it. The judgment has been pronounced. This Sunday will be the drop scene of this carefully crafted Machiavellian scheme. PM IK will be voted out. It is an outrage. PM IK may have boxed above his weight in this round. Fortunately, the masses have understood this nasty game and are rejecting this disgraceful result. We have to be prepared for a struggle between the will of the people standing behind PM IK versus a rule by the corrupt for the corrupt. The writer is the director of CERF, a non-profit, charitable organisation in Canada.

(Courtesy Daily Times, Pakistan)