Venting – civil society’s letter-writing campaign

The following is based on a reply to an email notification about the letter-writing campaign (1)  launched by civil society:

I don’t agree with asking the Army to do us “bloody civilians” any “favours”, or asking them to “save the nation” like they’ve done so consistently since 1948.

What we should be demanding, really, is that they should stop regarding the Taliban as strategic assets, that military accounts should be made public (or at least audited under the supervision of a standing committee composed of Senators and senior MNA’s – and no one else) and that the “jihadi” infrastructure should be dismantled forthwith. Shutting down the camps in Muridke, in (or around) Bahawalpur, in Karachi would prove that they are serious. (And of course, we would also have to press for the shutting down of the four declared and the rest of the undeclared American bases on our soil.)

Asking the biggest parasitic organisation of our national life to resolve the problem it has created itself is naive at best, deliberately myopic at worst.

I’m afraid that this action, the evident sincerity of intention notwithstanding, is in the tradition of empowering the Army by legitimising its self-image as the “saviours of the nation” by asking them to put down “traitors” of various hues. The most obvious example, for which I just can’t forgive ZAB, is his use of the demoralised Army to suppress the Baloch insurgency in 1973. I’m not saying that the 70’s Baloch insurgency can be compared with the Taliban issue – but I AM saying that the “intellectual”, “liberal” elite is once again asking its alter-ego, the colonial Potohari army, to clean up the mess caused by its mis-management and by its sheer refusal to engage directly with the people. And I say this even though I do not believe that the Taliban leaders or their handlers have any real use for the people either.

According to one view (a friend who is a lecturer at FCC), the US and therefore the Taliban are hunkered down for a long war – and so we need to prepare for a time-frame of 20 – 30 years as well. The lack of counter-narrative for which you blame the government cannot come from the corrupt, parasitical power elite that has us locked down – it can only come from us, from private citizens risking “acts of love”. Unfortunately, most of “us” have already made serious exit plans and all that remains to be seen is how long “we” dare to hang in here.

P.S. And let’s not even get into the sheer arrogance of pious self-glorification involved in owning the “civil society” label in our socio-economic context.


1. The invitation to the event reads as follows:

The citizens of Lahore are convening outside the GPO on Tuesday 28th April at 3pm to post letters to the President, PM, CJ and COAS to take military action against Taliban.

(Note: Please make sure the letter you print fits on one page including your details – font size 8 does the trick – save paper.)


Plan of Action :-
Everyone flocks to the GPO,preferably 1000+ in numbers to bombard the ‘elected caretakers’ of our country by posting the same letter (replicated below).

TV stations film us all posting the letter, with footage being specifically aired at prime time hours.

Please copy,paste the letter into Microsoft Word (Mac users – you know best which software to use), print the letter, slide it into an envelope and bring yourself along with the envelope to the GPO. Postings will begin 3pm onwards till 5pm (which is when the GPO closes). Bring change for postage costs.

Goes without saying, invite others to this event.

SAY NO TO TALIBANISATION. Bring all your friends and family. The time to save your country is now. We stand for freedom of choice, liberty, equality, democracy and a progressive united Pakistan.

See you on Tuesday at the Lahore GPO!!


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