08 May, 2021

The Funambulist State

Questions of balance will let Pak generals brazen out Abbottabad

Illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
The Funambulist State

Hopes that Pakistan might abandon its policy of supporting jehadis with its right hand even as it slaps them with the left died shortly after the killing of Osama bin Laden by the US navy’s seals in Abbottabad. The world’s most prized fugitive was discovered ensconced in a mansion close to the famed Kakul Military Academy. But in spite of what columnist Ayaz Amir called the “mother of all embarrassments”, introspection and remorse were noticeably absent at the corps commanders’ conference three days later. Bluster dominated: the US would get a befitting response should it again violate Pakistan’s territorial integrity through “unilateral military action”.

The civilian government quaked as all this unfolded. It dared not suggest that the military was responsible for the putative intelligence failure. Tongue-tied for 36 hours, it awaited pointers from the army and then dutifully followed them. But the army was not satisfied; it wanted a proactive defence from the government. Gen Ashfaq Parvez...

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