(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 06, 2009
TALK WITH QAZI IMDAD, CP
Better Indo-Pak Ties Needed To Rebuff Extremists
QAZI Imdadullah is a member of
Central Secretariat of
the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) though people often take him to
CPP general secretary as he has been discharging this role for many
because of the continuing illness of Chacha Maula Bux Khashkheli, the
general secretary. Qazi Imdad, as he is generally called, has been to
The talk, which took place in
Urdu, started with the current
situation in South Waziristan where the army is engaged in an operation
Will the government forces succeed in their mission? Qazi Imdad sounded sceptical while replying to this question. The gist of what he said is as below.
It is quite well known that a
sizeable section of the
army and ISI is in league with the extremist organisations whom the
had propped up with the help of
In brief, it seems the
A second player in the game is
the army. Qazi Imdad
said the army in
Moreover, Qazi plainly told that
the armymen over
there are involved in illegal activities also, e g in the smuggling of
He cited an example in this regard. When General Asif Nawaz Janjua was
commander in chief, a major was caught red-handed with a large cache of
narcotics and he, on enquiry, revealed that in that year alone it was
time that he was transporting the drugs from one border of the country
another and abroad. However, when the concerned officials did a
the entire revealed amount of the drugs smuggled by that particular
that particular year alone, it came out that it was almost equal to the
US aid to
During the Ziaul-Haque regime,
Qazi added, there was a
well-entrenched tendency to look the other way whenever the Afghan
and their backers in the
In the course of the talk, Qazi
Imdad also informed us
about the widely held belief in
As for the elected government, Qazi Imdad said it is true that several question marks are being put on the past record of the president, and of the prime minister also. It is also true that it was the president who went back upon the Murri declaration signed by him and Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), though it contained several provisions which, if honestly implemented, could have given a measure of strength to the recently restored democratic system in the country. But, Qazi added, we must not forget that it is not so much the question of a particular individual as of the system itself. Though the democratic system in Pakistan is quite weak and it has yet to strike its roots deep and attain stability, the CPP thinks it is still far more preferable to any kind of military rule. The party, moreover, also thinks that Pakistan can come out of the present morass only through a democratic system and not through any kind of military rule. As we saw, the military rule has been responsible in the first place for bringing the country to the present impasse.
There is no doubt that the present government is walking on a sharp-edged sword and nobody knows what will happen the next moment. In fact, it is facing two kinds of problems. One, it is not being allowed to do certain things which could strengthen democracy in the country. For example, in July 2008, it tried to bring the ISI under the civilian control but the army made it bite dust on the issue. Similarly, we cannot say when the interested quarters will make it backtrack from the operation in South Waziristan. Secondly, Pakistanis are by and large inexperienced insofar as the working of the democratic institutions is concerned, and this is reflected in the present government’s inept handling of the situation as well. For example, it has not thought it necessary to interact with the opposition parties, mass organisations, intellectuals, journalists and other groups in order to try build up broad-based consensus on how to handle the extremist menace. Otherwise some or other way out could possibly be found.
Talking about the Left in Pakistan, Qazi Imdad said it is quite weak in the country and not in a position to influence the course of events to any significant extent. Unfortunately, the Left is badly fragmented also, with no common opinion on a host of issues. Now, he repeated the point, some of the groups are also associating themselves with the game of discrediting the elected government. It is tragic that when they talk of the corrupt politicians, they forget to talk of how much corruption the armymen have been perpetrating in the country.
To the CPP, one thing is very clear --- that the present situation means a period of reprieve for the Left in Pakistan, and the Left needs to utilise it in the best possible way for any meaningful advance. Apart from other things, this requires a certain minimum of agreement between and united action by various Left groups in the country on the life and death questions.
The Left has suffered too much in the country, and nobody knows when it will be deprived of the present period of reprieve. Already in several parts of the country, communists are facing attacks from sardars and vaderas as well as from the militants. The latter have already killed more than two dozen of comrades while the parents of Peshawar based Dr Shafiq, secretary of the CPP’s provincial unit in the NWFP, were kidnapped and his house was rocket-attacked. Today, this comrade has to perforce live outside the country, and the Communist Party of Greece has given him asylum in Athens. In such a situation, it is only by coming together in joint actions that the Left can hope for survival and advance in the country, Qazi Imdad stressed.
In conclusion, the CPP leader had a few words about the government of India’s stance after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008. The Pakistan government’s inept handling of the situation was evident from its refusal to accept that Aamir Qasab is a Pakistani citizen or that the dastardly 11/26 was plotted in Pakistan. But the government of India too should have tried to understand the compulsions of its counterpart in Pakistan where the citizens are facing no less dastardly attacks almost every other day. The GOI’s initial demand that the ISI chief must be sent to India to clear the doubts about his agency’s role in 11/26 was taken as an infringement on Pakistan’s sovereignty. Its almost incessant sabre-rattling has also irked many in Pakistan though they, otherwise, wish better relations between the two countries in mutual interest. Then there is also the stipulation that there cannot be any resumption of the composite dialogue process unless Pakistan dismantles the terror structure. Does it mean that the two countries won’t ever talk for hundreds of years unless the Indian conditionality is met? Does not the GOI realise that its refusal to talk coincides with what the extremists always wanted?
Qazi Imdad sounded quite clear on this score. Indo-Pak ties have indeed registered some tangible betterment since the unconditional composite dialogue process started. One more train service started in addition to Samjhauta Express, two bus services were introduced, mutual trade has somewhat increased and this includes border trade, there was a modicum of headway on the river water and some other issues, people to people contacts have increased, and public opinion in Pakistan was never so favourable for better ties as it is today. But the Indian government’s stance has led to some hardening of attitudes in Pakistan, and the gains of the last six years stand threatened. Qazi’s plea was that in this regard the Left in India can definitely play a powerful role, just as it did in the past, in mobilising public opinion and also making the government of India see to reason.