January 10, 2009democracyForeign AffairsjihadismilitaryMumbai attacksPakistanpoliticsterrorism

Comical Gilani

The farce is with him

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, who became Pakistan’s prime minister before he knew what was going on, and remains prime minister without knowing what is going on (and, is likely to still not know what is going down even after not remaining the prime minister) has upstaged the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson—historically, and arguably, ex officio the funniest man in Pakistan. Yes, yes, we know, this allegation too is baseless.

Mr Gilani, a decent person that he might be, still cannot triumph over human psychology. He’s got to prove—well, it’s not clear to exactly who—that he is, after all, constitutionally the chief executive. Never mind that between his civilian boss, his military subordinate’ and his American ally there are few areas where there is room to prove anything. But he did sack his principal secretary, and then his national security advisor, who were both appointed by Mr Gilani’s civilian boss, Mr Zardari. For all we know, he might have even re-arranged the furniture in his office.

All these, of course, might gladden partisan hearts, who might rejoice in the arrival of another Junejo”. But the neatest trick to spread the gladdening and rejoicing really wide is to blow hot on India and on Israel. Or, for the best effect, both. Mr Gilani did that yesterday, and how.

No, he didn’t compare India’s actions with Israel’s, an old, if evergreen analogy. Mr Gilani said something that should make you sit up and take notice (before falling off your chair). The world has double standards, caring more for the victims of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, than for the Palestinian people of Gaza. (No, he didn’t mention Congo or Darfur at all; places that might be on a different, fictional planet as far as the anti-Israel protestors are concerned).

As international opinion turns against Pakistan’s brazen denial of facts concerning the Mumbai attacks, the military establishment is trying to distance itself from the civilians. General Durrani’s post-dismissal comments, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s comments to Der Spiegel signal that it is the civilian leadership that is behaving unreasonably. With Mr Gilani as prime minister, the reasonable-sounding generals are almost believable.

On the topic of double standards though, the good Mr Gilani surely needs to contemplate why Pakistani people get out on the streets to protest against Israel, but express only silent sympathy, or just silence, for the victims of Mumbai?



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