The Pakistani gunslinger and the Gringo were friends once. Both trained the Tally Band. Years later the frontline gunslinger went to the Af-Pak Corral to support the Gringo, who came to rescue it from the Tally Band. However the gunslinger also supported his Tally Band students to help them lay siege on the Corral. He also told them how the Gringo fights. On the showdown day at the Af-Pak Corral, the gunslinger told the Gringo ‘man I have got your back’. The moment he saw the Gringos back, he shot him. The Gringo died. The Tally Band got Af-Pak Corral. The gunslinger got drunk , did the wild hula hoop, shouted from the top of the roof about his victory and what a great fighter he was. The Af-Pak Corral was his finally! So he thought. When he woke up he had a terrific hangover. The town marshal has a gun on his head. The Tally Band has asked him to buzz off. What is worse, the slinky chinky who supported him all along was nowhere to be seen. He realised his purse had slipped through the hole in his pants. Familiar story? Connect the dots to the reality.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other Republicans recently introduced the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act in the US Senate. The proposed legislation calls for a comprehensive report on who supported the Taliban during America’s 20 years in Afghanistan, helped the group in capturing Kabul in mid-August and supported their offensive on Panjshir Valley. A report is to be submitted on entities providing support to the Taliban not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the act. The first report shall include “an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020,” including the provision of sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operation or strategic direction. The proposed bill also seeks to impose sanctions on the Taliban and others in Afghanistan for terrorism, drug-trafficking, and human rights abuses, as well as on those providing support to the Taliban, including foreign governments. Is the gunslingers fat getting into fire?
Concern regarding the Instability and security of Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal has been voiced. The Joint Chief of Staff and the Cent Com Commander seemed to have warned the US President about it. They have testified that there is a need to fully examine the role of Pakistan sanctuary and probe how the Taliban withstood US military pressure for 20 years. They also believe that Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban is going to become significantly more complicated as a result of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the potential that they could fall into the hands of terrorists and other sensitive issues were to be discussed in a closed session with the senators. In my estimate they should be discussing as to how the gunslinger will make a suitcase bomb, train a suicide artist, place him in USA with a diplomatic passport, blackmail the world and then blow up a target which will make the Twin Tower collapse a picnic. Ha ha.
The hangover got worse when the stock market tanked nearly 3 % and the Pakistani rupee dropped to a new low of Rs 170/ USD. Investors feared that the US Senate bill will extend the sanctions on the Afghan Taliban to Pakistan. Sanctions is a taboo word in the land of the pure. The moment sanctions were whispered, the stock market caved in. The finance minister says that their economic situation is “overheating”. Who lit the fire? The arsonist? The price surge in commodities in global markets? No that’s an excuse. Will it strain Pakistan’s import bill? No. It cant. The purse is empty anyway. Raw materials like plastics and metals, as well as fuels like LNG, petroleum and coal, and edible items like palm oil, sugar and wheat, are surging to touch the skies. Cost of petrol has jumped Rs 4/ litre. The rest can be figured out. In future as events unfold, the downstream impact will unravel. However, for now, the New Zealand team did not unpack their bags and went home. Pakistan will continue to play their home season cricket in UAE. The refugee status of the country has been extended.
The reaction of the spin doctors of the gunslinger are typical. “It is time for those powers that were present in Afghanistan to look to their own failures instead of targeting Pakistan which paid a heavy price […] for being an ally and suffering constant abuse in a war that wasn’t ours“. “References to Pakistan in the bill were completely unwarranted and , inconsistent in spirit with Pak-US cooperation on Afghanistan since the American invasion in 2001. Pakistan had facilitated the Afghan peace process and helped evacuate citizens of the US and other countries from Afghanistan in August”. “The lesson from Afghanistan’s story is that misgovernance and corruption by elites at the expense of the majority’s welfare will cause popular disaffection and allow non-state actors to take over the reins of the state”. All this after sucking out 23 Billion USD from USA for services rendered and ensuring a defeat. Wonder if ever in the history of mankind if a country had to pay so much for a defeat. So far one had heard that cost of victory was high. For the first time one hears that the cost of defeat was so high. No wonder the Americans have a bee in their bonnets.
In the meantime another set of spin doctors are coming up with ideas to retrieve the situation. Some say “It is not in Pakistan’s interests to go too far down the road of advocating for the Tally Band regime in Af-Pak before the international community.” Hey man tell it to the ace gunslinger – the ISI chief who has cocked a snook at Bajawji. However the general view is that the more Pakistan is seen advocating for Afghanistan’s difficulties, the more their destinies will be joined with the Tally Band and seen as such. The gunslinger’s drum-beating about the Taliban victory only enhances nervousness in the Western world. A bevy of Pureland ministers and aides also shot off their mouths on Afghanistan and Tally Band when they should have been zipped shut. The Tally Band Khan’s ill-advised, ill-considered and ill-timed statement on the Taliban ‘breaking the shackles of slavery’ was the ‘gotcha’ moment that the West was looking for. That was the cherry on the pudding at Af-Pak corral.
The spin doctors also feel that Pakistani gunslingers are floundering in the art of storytelling. Victors should not struggle with their narratives, they should revel in them. Something, somewhere is terribly wrong with how this story is unfolding. The secret of this failure, in fact, is hiding in plain sight. The gunslinger and many influential sections of his society cannot resist the powerful urge to romance the Taliban even though the wedding is over and the guests have limped back home. The problem is that the Tally Band are laying out an all-male wedding with very little women’s empowerment. Very few in Pakistan are willing to recognise that they are in the danger of being imprisoned in Gay’sney Land.
Recently, one international writer mentioned that the land of the pure is an arsonist and a fire fighter simultaneously. Why has an such an impression come about? Western leaders believe there is a gap between what Gunslingers say and what they do. They also maintain that Pakistan has not used its leverage it has over the Tally Band sufficiently to make them change their behaviour. They also maintain that Taliban would not have gained the emphatic victory they have without the active support of Pakistan through the years. These three factors could get welded into a steel rod used to take a mighty swing at Pakistan. Ouch.
One spin doctor says “Stop playing the victim. In inter-state relations, no one cares. Yes Pakistani state and society have been ravaged by terrorism, and yes Pakistan has paid a steep price for America’s war in Afghanistan, but this narrative is past its sell-by date. Shelve it. Instead, talk about shared interests from the peace in Afghanistan. What shared interests? Exactly. Figure them out. List them out. Spell them out. Move the discussion away from victory and defeat and steer it towards projects, pipelines and prosperity”.
Interesting. Shared interests with whom? Tally Band? Slinky Chinky? The western Mug? They want to talk of Geoeconomics and construct a post-conflict vision for the region from their perspective. So a paper titled ‘ Geoeconomic vision of a beggar’ is under preparation by their rat of a NSA.
One spinner says “Pakistan needs to cajole, persuade and influence the Taliban to become more acceptable”. Hilarious. Yes man just suck up to the Mullahs. Do this on the quiet. “Mainstream the Taliban as much as possible, then claim credit”. Which Stream? Say again! “Pakistan should be seen as the engine driving the post-conflict transformation in the region”. Which engine? The one without petrol? The advice goes on to say “embrace the reality that Pakistan was right these two decades and the West was wrong. Then build a positive narrative around it” . What is positive in a narrative in telling the other guy that he was wrong. Narrate that to General Mark Milley!
In the meanwhile the Tally Band is showing its true colours. A senior Tally Band leader in an address whose clips were shared on social media responded harshly to the Tally Band Khan’s call for an inclusive government in Kabul. He used rather strong language- unprintable. The gunslinger had to tuck his gun ‘you know where’ and take a walk. In the meantime the voices of rats of the gunslinger – National Security Adviser and Interior Minister are becoming shriller while the cash pipeline is getting drier and the economy is in ICU. However the gunslingers have forgotten that Gringoland was their biggest export market. Don’t forget FATF. It is purely political and controlled by Gringolanders. The problem will get even more acute since the slinky chinkies are facing their economic wobbles. What is galling for the gunslinger is that CPEC was seen as a big boon for the country. Not anymore.” A substantial chunk of financing under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of loans that are at or near commercial rates as opposed to grants, according to a report released on Wednesday by Aid Data”. That is money drained under the Indus into Milbus of the deep state.
The gunslinger’s ‘victim’ narrative does great things for national self-confidence and self-esteem in Pureland since it holds up the country as a weak and powerless. The gunslinger has come to the stage when he can shoot himself to be rid of his misery. While he is taking that decision, the desi Tally Band is busy. There were at least 35 terror attacks that killed 52 civilians in August alone, the highest since February 2017. Happiness in Af Pak!
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