Pakistan’s fictional reality
By Ejaz Haider
For long, certain sections in the left-lib crowd thought I was an ISI agent; others felt I was the army’s poster boy. Still others thought, given my deterrence-optimism, that I was working for the Strategic Plans Division (SPD). On the other side of the divide, the Aabpara boys’ cyber trolls and ghost-warriors have the Star of David put on my forehead, having picked up the very picture that appears on this page with my article.
All of this is old hat, though. But recently, I have been accused of being a ‘MUSAD’ agent, which is a new development. I have no idea what MUSAD is, but friend Feisal Naqvi quipped that it is a lesser-known Israeli agency assigned to fight terrorist cows. Another friend joked that if I am a MUSAD agent, MUSAD should commit susad! Kim Philby must be feeling like a high school boy given my presumed curriculum vitae!
It’s terribly simple actually. When I write on military matters, I am put up to it by the army/ISI; when I write on nuclear issues, the line comes from the SPD. But then I complicate things by telling the SPD that developing a short-range battlefield missile is stupid for reasons X,Y and Z. At that point, the SPD gets upset.
Then I decide to tell the army that it is doing A,B,C, which it should not. I also feel it important to tell the ISI why it is reviled. I am immediately embraced by the left-libs, some of them writing comments about the refreshing change from my pro-army views. At that point, for the other side, I become a Zionist, a CIA agent, a mouthpiece of my American masters, an R&AW agent. But then I muddy the ‘clear’ waters again by telling the state of Pakistan why it should take the issue of the violation of its sovereignty to the United Nations; or, worse, why we should not go into North Waziristan on the US timetable. The libs leave comments saying “Ah! So he has now been briefed by the army/ISI”. Some sympathise with me by saying I needed to play safe because no one wants to get killed etcetera.
If this were a fictional country and this was happening on the screen, I would have quite enjoyed this mad party. But it is not. Pakistan is a real state and it is passing through very dangerous times. Nor have I written the paragraphs above out of egotism. Instead, the problem goes far beyond my picayune existence to the terrible fault lines in this state. And, as I have noted elsewhere and often, these fault lines are the biggest threat to this country.
We are all entrenched in our perceptions and biases. We choose data according to the ideological grooves in which we are stuck. There is nary a thought that people can be more complex than the black-and-white worlds we have created for ourselves and from which positions we extrapolate and tar others. Take the army. It thinks, for the most part, that all libs are unpatriotic. The libs in turn think that everything that goes wrong in this country, including why it has rained or not rained, is owed to the army’s perfidy. Both sides are equally and terribly wrong.
There is another way of looking at things, of analysing issues on the basis of what is happening, not on the basis of ideological biases. It is a path I have sought to adopt, my twin concerns being my integrity and this country’s interest; nothing else matters. But that itself seems unacceptable to both the glory-boys of the ISI and the liberal hordes. Both can put their ideological views in their pipes and smoke them, thank you.
Jorge Luis Borges wrote a short story captioned “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”. It is an agonisingly difficult read, typically Borgesian. The narrator chances upon Uqbar through an encyclopaedia entry. Further inquiries take him to the idea of Tlön, a fictional world created within Uqbar, a world where the leader of a heretical sect declares that “mirrors and copulation are abominable, since they both multiply the numbers of men”.
The attempt to reconstruct the imaginary Tlön throws up a Daedalian maze. It is a world without nouns comprising “impersonal verbs qualified by monosyllabic suffixes or prefixes which have the force of adverbs”. There is no history and there can be no logic, whether inductive or deductive because the non-existence of nouns means no one can state any proposition. The Tlönic world is therefore without the advantage of any common sense reality.
Tlön was fictional; Pakistan is real and yet ridiculously fictional. Welcome to our fictional reality.
Fuente : The Express Tribune - Pakistan
27 de junio de 2011