Pakistan’s military establishment is emerging as the most feared organization, in every sense of the word. The Generals Kayani and Pasha-led military is not al-Qaeda or Taliban in the U.N.’s official documents yet but the military’s actions bracket them with the world’s top terrorist organizations. Its armed men wander in the streets with a license to kill, the mid-level military leadership has the authority to shut up voices that criticize it and the top generals are there to define the good and bad guys for Pakistani society as defenders of the state.
Per that definition, Osama bin Laden, the slain leader of the global terrorists, lived in a ‘protected compound’ in a garrison city of Pakistan at a stone’s throw from an elite military academy. If not taken out by the CIA on May 2, the man would have been garlanded as ‘Commander of Muslims’ after the withdrawal of U.S. and Nato troops from Afghanistan. Mullah Omar, the one-eyed religious crook, is the aspirant for that position provided ISI’s protection gives him life beyond the planned Nato troops’ withdrawal.
Expose this relationship of Pakistan’s military with its self-defined good guys and you risk opening the doors of a hell upon you. The men in control of the country’s security apparatus eliminated journalist Saleem Shehzad after breaking his ribs and damaging fatally his lever. They killed him with kicks of boots on every inch of his body, made of flesh, bones and blood. Nobody knows how long was the ordeal the hapless Shehzad went through but those who have survived the military’s grilling have spoken of its brutal nature.
It involves incessant shouting in the ears of the victim—‘you mother fucker; fuck your mother’; taking off clothes of the victim; hanging the victim from ceiling upside down; cigarette burns on sensitive body organs; shaving off head, beard and mustaches; beating the victim in ribs, head and face; kicking in the stomach; breaking hands and legs; and forcing the victim to drink pee of the men in uniform.
No human can survive after this brutal treatment and so was Saleem Shehzad. His killing was condemned worldwide but none has seen the way he was tortured to death. Late Shehzad went through a long brutal ordeal during his days of custody. His ribs and lever were found broken. That is possible only after excessive kicking and beating. His body carried signs of burns, wounds, fists, boots, proving the terror and frustration of the security apparatus of Pakistan. Baloch nationalists too have the same story while collecting their comrades’ bodies on streets in the mornings.
A practical visual demo of this frustration was given on June 8, when men in uniform were beating and finally killing an unarmed citizen in Karachi. The shocking footage showed to the world how brutal are the armed forces of Pakistan vis-à-vis its own citizens, dissidents, and critics.
Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, on the other hand, would not kill their victim with first breaking the ribs and lever or electrocute the victim nor do they shout in the victim’s ears ‘you mother fucker’. They would rather go for a summary execution and would shout ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ before the sword cuts the victim’s throat or the bullet pierces the victim’s head.
Through its actions and policies, the generals and their foot soldiers are distancing themselves from their own countrymen and the civilized world. They are seen as friends of the bad guys on the national and international levels. No smoke-screen of the 21st century can cover up their tolerance of militancy nor can statements of denials exonerate military from what it does on the ground. The 10-year old tactics are no more workable and sticking to it has the risk of Pakistani generals ending up in the dock at the Hague. Serbian generals too believed they were in control when they resorted to elimination of their opponents.