After the Flood – Diary

A picture is worth a thousand words; an Indian missile falling in a Pakistani garden generates 240 million anguish.

On March 9, a BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired from a secret satellite base near Sirsa (Haryana) heading south towards the Mahajan firing ranges. En route, he veered west and landed at Mian Channu, 124 kilometers inside Pakistan. The missile traveled at 3,000 km/h (Mach 3) at an altitude of 12,200 meters, high enough to endanger any commercial aircraft.

It took two and a half days for the Indian government to give Pakistan a slow, brief and unconvincing explanation: “It is learned that the missile landed in an area of ​​Pakistan. While the incident is deeply regrettable, it is also a matter of relief that there was no loss of life due to the accident,” his understatement said. The misbehavior of the missile was caused by a “technical malfunction”.

Some strategists suggest this was a bold attempt by the Indian Army to test our defense readiness, to gauge our response time; others, a message from Prime Minister Modi, flushed after his electoral triumph in a saffronized UP, that Hindutva was gaining traction.

Who is understudying the major players in Islamabad?

Was this a reminder of his previous warning when, addressing his national cadet corps two years ago, he boasted that “all the Indian armed forces need to defeat Pakistan is seven to 10 days”. (It only took BrahMos seconds to cover 124 km.) Is a stray missile Prime Minister Modi’s diplomacy by other means?

Both governments played down the seriousness of the incident, treating the BrahMos missile as a winding buffalo that strayed across the international border.

Such provocations, even “accidental”, are disturbing. They activated those who examine the innards of flying objects in search of meanings. After Afghanistan and Ukraine, we realize how disorderly the new world order is. Consider what might happen “after the flood,” and to whom.

Has anyone considered the consequences, should President Putin be run over by a T-14 tank in Red Square? Who would come out of the shadows to command the Kremlin? What would happen to Ukraine if a faulty microphone accidentally electrocuted President Zelensky?

If US President Biden were to have a heart attack aboard Air Force One, would white America accept a giggling Kamala Harris as the first African-Asian-American in the Oval Office? (Remember Vice President Dan Quayle? It is said that his security department had orders to “shoot” him if anything happened to President George W. Bush.)

Closer to home, who are the stunt doubles for Islamabad’s main players?

Like Dr Johnson’s doomed prisoner, nothing has so wonderfully focused Prime Minister Imran Khan’s mind as the fact that he may be deported in a fortnight. Suddenly, he seems energized. He attacks his opponents with fiery invective he learned at Aitchison College. He dismisses them as “bootshiners” in the West. He assures his beloved audience that Pakistan “will break records in terms of development over the next and a half years.” (No jam yesterday, no jam today, but jam tomorrow.)

He reminds everyone that he entered politics 25 years ago for the country’s youth, “not to know the prices of potatoes and tomatoes”. If he survives to fight another general election, he will find out the hard way that the cost of potatoes and tomatoes matters to an electorate. He cannot cook political rhetoric.

Rumors are circulating about extending the service of current COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The Prime Minister said he had so far not thought about the extension. While it is legally the prime minister’s prerogative to choose the next COAS, in the past the chiefs have acted extra-constitutionally to protect their parallel prerogatives.

Is Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari our Rahul Gandhi – always the groom, never the groom? BBZ must improve his fluency in Urdu before he can aspire to lead a nation that thinks in the vernacular.

Which of the little Sharifs will take over from PML-N? Hamza Shehbaz-Sharif or Maryam Nawaz-Safdar? They must resolve their rivalry between cousins, their childish struggle over a heritage they have not yet inherited.

Will Prime Minister Imran Khan survive the imminent threat of censorship?

British Prime Minister Johnson did. He was saved by the Ukrainian crisis. Johnson, smelling the rot of NATO, provides in its place a Joint Expeditionary Force, composed of militant doves: Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway. He wants them to discuss “long-term energy security” and plan how Ukraine can be “rebuilt” after the war – a 21st-century revival of the MacArthur plan for Japan and the Marshall plan for Germany and Western Europe after World War II. .

Is modern politics too serious a business to be left to immature politicians and unstable mavericks? Are disobedient missiles the new gunboat diplomacy?

The writer is an author.

Posted in Dawn, March 17, 2022

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