By Fram Dinshaw.
In my last post I mentioned that Pakistan after Bhutto’s death was a land tormented by jinns, evil spirits who emerge after sundown to wreak all kinds of havoc on unsuspecting people. Two such jinns hell bent on destroying Pakistan as we know it are the Taliban and al-Qaeda, who on the surface at least seem the most likely suspects in Bhutto’s murder.But what about the Pakistani Government’s role? As they represent the Evil Eye to many Pakistanis, their part in all this can’t be ignored. While Musharraf himself could hardly have ordered Bhutto’s death, there are certain officers in Pakistan’s army and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) who have always sympathized with the Taliban, as it was originally Pakistan who provided logistical, military, and diplomatic support to the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan from the 1990s to the September 11 attacks against America.
When President Musharraf did an about turn, ditching his erstwhile Taliban allies in favour of the US War on Terror, many of his junior officers were extremely resentful against what they saw as an act of betrayal against them in favour of America and George Bush – enemies of Islam in their world view.
The Islamist officers reacted by going behind the back of Musharraf and his new American friends, covertly slipping money and supplies to Taliban groups, both in Afghanistan under Western occupation, and to militant groups in Pakistan’s North West Frontier – an unruly place at the best of times.
These extremist groups were deeply hostile towards pro-Western moderates like Musharraf and Bhutto, and quite possibly individuals in the ISI or Pakistani Army quietly allowed a suicide assassin to slip through the security cordon of Bhutto’s convoy in Rawalpindi – a major Army garrison town – and kill Bhutto.
Indeed, night is descending, and with darkness comes the jinns. We in the West had better figure out a way to keep the Evil Eye’s gaze from us.