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“And he wore a kingly crown, and in his grasp, a scepter shone; on his brow this mark I saw, I am god and king and law…We have waited, weak and lone for thy coming, mighty one! Our purses are empty, our swords are cold, give us glory and blood and gold. Then all cried with one accord, thou art king and god and lord.”
“The Mask of Anarchy” – Shelley
Regime Change: The US’ Favorite Weapon
During her stint here, US Ambassador Anne Patterson once remarked that the depth of anti-Americanism in Pakistan, especially in the middle class had surprised her. She was wrong on two counts – it is not just the middle class but an absolute majority of Pakistanis. Secondly, it is not directed at the American people. It is the result of Washington, the king and lord, dictating policies and propping up rulers in Pakistan. In purely Langley terms, this acrimony is blowback – the fallout of Washington’s interventions.
Just like their military interventions and occupations, removing “unfavorable” governments covertly through a regime change has long been Washington’s tool of choice. Engaging in such activities since 1898, US President Woodrow Wilson once described it as a duty to “teach them to elect good men”.
Moreover, these “good men” are Washington’s means to a trussed-up ruler’s loyalty at the cost of the ordinary citizen. These activities lead to a lack of honor and trust in the relationship with the citizens of these nations. It starkly reminds one of Lord Cromer’s words describing the British Empire’s influence on Egypt. He said, “We do not govern Egypt; we govern the governors of Egypt.” The US demands compliance; if any leader dares to pursue an independent policy, he is made an example through a regime change via coups, assassination, or other covert operations.
US-backed Assassinations & Coups
Official US documents (declassified now) showcase how Nixon tried to prevent Salvador Allende from coming to power by ordering the CIA to “make the economy scream in Chile.” Allende did come to power, but then Washington cleverly orchestrated a coup to initiate a regime change. Allende allegedly committed “suicide” on the day of the coup with an AK-47 that Fidel Castro had gifted to him. Castro himself avoided as many as 638 attempts on his own life, and once quipped, “If surviving (Washington’s) assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would have won the gold medal.”
Afterward, the chilling extent of these assassinations and coups forced a formal US Senate investigation. The report concluded that the CIA had attempted to assassinate the leaders of Cuba and Congo and that it had supported such assassination plots in Chile, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic. Resultantly, an “assassination ban” was placed. US President Gerald Ford had to issue an executive order which stated, “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.”
The assassination ban was reinforced later by US presidents Carter and Reagan but despite the order, the assassinations continued. In November 1984 (during the Reagan government), there was an assassination attempt on Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah because the administration suspected that he had ties to Hezbollah. While he miraculously survived, 80 innocent bystanders perished.
After ordering the assassination of the notable Iranian General, Qasim Suleimani, Donald Trump openly bragged, “I would have taken him (President Assad) out. I had him all setup.” Current President Joseph Biden condemned Vladimir Putin, calling him “a butcher”, and further stating “this man can no longer remain in power.” By these standards all the US presidents were butchers, and they should never have been in positions of power.
The King and the Thorn
During our decades of subservience, our wages of servility have seen false realism, crass demands, and moral insensitivity as Washington’s policies toward Pakistan. In the Pak-US relations, Washington calls for a compliant governing setup kowtowing to diktats and intoning “thou art king and lord and god.” I have been a personal witness to Washington’s total ingress and the absolute acquiescence of our politicians and bureaucrats. It was as unbelievable as it was shameful.
A friend was serving as a political advisor in the US embassy in Islamabad. Just one example had an MNA insisting that this political advisor accompany him for his prime minister nomination process. This, the politician said, would be a clear signal to all that he had the blessings of the king and lord. The embassy official obliged after a kingly nod from the US ambassador. The politician won the contest easily and became the prime minister of Pakistan. One can well imagine the interests that were pursued.
Another sinister example had Washington brokering the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO-1) – the magical ordinance that granted amnesty to politicians, political workers, ambassadors government officials, and bureaucrats who were accused of corruption, money laundering, murder, and terrorism. It has repeated the same with NRO-2, through our very own, giving a clean chit to those accused of crimes and plunder.
This lot has, yet again, taken over the highest seats of power. This forever-in-power elite’s personal coffers have swelled perpetually at the cost of Pakistan sinking to unimaginable depths. It has been a grotesque contrast of elite grandeur and citizen squalor, grotesque wealth, and excruciating poverty with Washington props lording over a beggared nation.
Washington’s absolute sway and the lust for personal riches have been the only constant of our ruling dispensations in an otherwise perpetually plummeting Pakistan. Imran Khan is the only leader who has challenged this travesty. He has honored his given word and never made any compromises detrimental to the cause of Pakistan. He has given us awareness and a sense of pride as a nation—a cardinal sin for the king and its propped ones.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has done what no individual could do for decades. He has defied the king and lord and set a bar for sovereignty, trust, and personal integrity. It is imperative that each one of us supports him so that this barometer is never ever altered by any vassal thrust upon us. Any attempt to subvert it shall prove to be a harbinger of anarchy.
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