By: Lt. Gen. (r) Tariq Khan

‘The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.’ Plato

I have not contributed any article/writing/musings for a while. I have not done so because having witnessed the incredulous judicial judgments, the manipulation of the FIA, the influence on whatever local police there is, the neutering of the Election Commission, the gagging of the media, and the total castration of NAB, Pakistani citizens as a whole and any views/opinions they may have, are irrelevant, inconsequential and immaterial. So how can I be taken seriously in such an environment where no one cares and nothing matters, after all, who am I to challenge this contradiction of destiny and travesty of fate? The most popular political party sits on the side walk and one of the most disliked coalitions of discarded/rejected/dubious minor groups sit in parliament, lording over the people of this country because of a lacuna, that was first created, and then exploited by them. Having confused an auction with an election we have in government a cabinet of which 70 % stand accused of multiple criminal issues related to financial and property crimes/misuse of authority. They have manipulated a pliable judicial system to reverse all past judgements that were against them, passed legislation in a one sided parliament allowing them legal space and flexibility to survive. There is no moral, ethical, ideological, legal, administrative recourse in this skewed system. We now have people in power, preaching to the rest of us lowly mortals with rhetoric of the righteous yet they display a black heart – hypocrisy at its best. It would even be funny and quite hilarious, had the consequence of their incompetence, indifference and lack of capacity not be as damning for the people as it is. A coterie of criminals who have captured a country, now speak of morality as if they are an authority on the subject while are Constitution says that the Universe belongs to Allah and people elected represent him on earth!!!! Are these the people who represent Allah and did we choose them then?

Last night I saw a press conference of these people parading before the people and giving their contradictory and hypocritical analysis on the so called Cypher. I was amazed with the temerity of the speakers and could not believe the line they were taking. Their opinion was based upon the ‘leaks’ that revealed a conversation of the PTI about the Cypher. First it was leaked by this government and not the PTI. Publically displaying an audio leak of the PM Secretariat is actually a violation of the Official Secret Act. Second, there was nothing in the leaks which incriminated PTI and instead, proves what they have been saying all along. To me it appears that the press conference was about covering up the audio leaks about what the PMLn had revealed and that had been made public by a hacker or whoever. The contents of this leak are far more revealing and much more incriminating but then who cares and why should anyone of them worry? It ought to be remembered in the words of George Orwell, ‘despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home, what they fear is physical force.’

Nevertheless, the reason why I have spoken out now is because at one stage I had been asked to investigate the cypher leaks. I did not do so though I really wanted to. I have already explained the reasons why in numerous interviews and articles. Despite my explanations, there were die-hard groups who insisted that I was found wanting and should have taken on the task despite my reservations. I would now like to draw their attention at the crass, ham-handed and almost criminal manner in which every administrative organ has been manipulated, influenced and compromised. Returning to my argument, I would have never been allowed to do this investigation in a fair and free manner and with the then sitting government on its way out, no one would have cooperated in providing the evidence needed to conclude such an investigation. So all the Nay Sayers – what do you say now? Those accused of the conspiracy have had the cabinet pass a resolution to investigate the Cypher Case against the PTI instead. This is what I was trying to convey all along. The heavily biased and prejudiced enquiry that may or may not be held, will find PTI guilty of something that I fail to identity at the moment, but something nevertheless.  

So while everyone and his aunt has suddenly become an expert on article 6 and the Official Secret Act, we are subjected to a continuous diatribe how the PTI is guilty of politicizing the Cypher Case whereas my complaint was always about PTI not arresting those involved in the conspiracy at the very moment when the conspiracy was discovered. Now that an investigation has been ordered – who is doing it will be a clear indicator as to where this case is going. It is apparent to me that this investigation’s primary purpose is to absolve the culprits from any accusation and its additional objectives are to somehow manufacture something to incriminate PTI.

So here we are, as Europe rages in the Russo-Ukraine War, the global economy is on the edge of collapse by recession, Afghanistan accuses us of duplicity, India shores up its military capacity in Kashmir, Pakistan struggles with the devastation of the floods and TTP threatens to capture spaces – we have this aberration to content with, a country where there is a democracy of criminals, for criminals, by criminals while we the people, display the unprecedented silence of the lambs. Keep in mind, that ‘despots prefer the friendship of the dog, who, unjustly mistreated and debased, still loves and serves the man who wronged him’ Charles Fourier.

‘It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.’ Mark Twain.

This article is written by Lt General (r) Tariq Khan, the man who fought the war against militancy in most critical time of Pakistan’s history. He led active military operations as Brigadier, IGFC and as Lt General of Pakistan Army.As Commander Central Command and Corps Commander Lt General (retd) Tariq Khan was part of important decision making relating to Pakistan’s security.