There is a fantastic principle that is taught in most schools of government and war colleges. It’s a principle that is very easily understood by many of us, but very difficult to identify when we are busy with our normal lives. It’s actually designed to be that way. So subtle, non-threatening and non-aggressive that people will not notice it without someone pointing it out to them.
Sadly, most people, even after it is pointed out to them, will never accept it.
The concepts of divide and govern, divide and rule, divide and conquer all stem from this basic principle – divide. When you are able to divide a population into manageable groups, each with their own objectives and tasks, it makes it impossible for a nation to come together and fight against the authority that rules over them or is invading them. It makes it impossible to find national solutions to national problems because everyone is talking about what their specific group want, not what the nation needs.
As Pakistanis, we have seen this practice effectively used against us, as citizens, for decades.
We have politicians that talk about the Sindh and Punjab cards, the theft of rights from the Baloch and the Pashtuns, and the overpowering involvement of the armed forces in all aspects of governance and Pakistani life. All the while looting the national exchequer and denying Pakistanis rights guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. All the while creating groups of sheeple who mimic and parrot every word their leader says as if it was written in a golden book on politics somewhere, unable to defend a single word when questioned. Like good servants of the realm, they stand by their king even when they morally and ethically know he is wrong. They are good serfs in the fiefdom that are Pakistan’s political parties.
We have so-called religious leaders that talk about the teachings of Islam as if they are the annointed ones that understand the Holy Qu’ran, while sending poor children into someone else’s jihad to die for them. First, they break us into our respective religious beliefs, then they break us further into the schools of thought that we follow, all the while knowing that each time they break us, they make us easier to control.
Alongside these soothsayers, there are the terrorists and extremists that they have trained, funded and supported spewing their hatred towards the nation and its citizens calling us all kafirs and napak, while slaughtering women and children with perverse interpretations of the holy scriptures as a defense. Not one religious leader will stand up and defy them, calling them the animals that they are. Rather, many will join in the chorus publicly and proudly call them martyrs or misguided brothers, while cursing our armed forces for fighting against them.
We have media houses, talk show anchors and pundits that slur the history of this great nation because it serves their interests to project Pakistan as weak, a failed state, or a beggar nation. Throughout the day, our idiot boxes are colored by the “Foxified” breaking news and theme music to notify us that the Prime Minister has gotten out of bed, a lowly political non-entity is speaking to the media and someone, somewhere as protested the government’s inaction on something. Every evening, our homes are filled with the noise from the idiot box vociferously debating the fringe problems, never talking about the real issues. They discuss political rivalries, ethnicity and “human rights” with the same politicians that are responsible for creating the issues they are discussing. Their objective is not to lead us to the oasis in the desert but to strand us farther away from the solutions that will save our nation.
Am I wrong?
When is the last time you saw an expert on poverty, economics, politics or anything else on one of these talk shows? No, those people are not invited to bring value to the debate because they would identify the real problems and offer real solutions. That’s not what the evening talk shows are for. Not at all. They provide entertainment for some and distractions for others from the problems of the nation, all the while gathering eyeballs and advertising revenue for their channel owners.
Do you ever stop and wonder why Pakistan needs 16 24-hour news channels? The US has 4 for a population of 320 million. The UK has 4 for a population of 63 million. We have 16 for a population of 185 million. Are you kidding me?
Recently, we have seen the rise of civil society and a liberal intelligentsia who are operating from a completely different playbook altogether. Their goal is to infiltrate the youth, convince them that Pakistan’s problems are all firmly rooted at GHQ and Aapara Market, where the deep state decides what is acceptable discussion, who shall live and who shall die with the flip of a coin. They don’t worry about the mainstream media because they have gone to where their demographic resides – social media and the Internet, where they can call everything an opinion, not fact. And when someone dares to challenge them with the same strategy, they scream bloody murder calling them military or establishment “stooges.”
Divide us into smaller, controllable groups making it impossible for the nation to come together and fight against the authority the rules over them.
What I have always found interesting is the target of their campaigns. They are not interested in those who can engage with them and disprove their slipshod theories on the governance of a nation-state. They are not interested in the intelligent debate because they have no intelligence to debate with. They are interested in what I call low-hanging fruit.
Low-hanging fruit, for those unfamiliar with the term, are the people that you can easily convince without really trying. They are those who are susceptible to pseudo-ideas rather than critical thinking and intelligence; governed by emotion over logic; willing to follow anyone who is an alternative to the status quo, even if their ideas are more destructive to the fabric of the nation; and offer blind devotion to whoever is able to convince them best. What they fail to realize is that with every group vying for the same fruit; the fruit can be converted many times over, more confused each time.
This is the battleground for every one of the groups identified above, the critical mass of that they want to control… I mean manage.
This is all part of the balkanization of Pakistan – Internal conflicts, weak government, potential of civil war and attempts to discredit the national army so that a door is opened for foreign interests to enter to “save the country.”
We saw them during the long march for the Chief Justice, only to have them curse the Chief Justice once he was restored to the Supreme Court. We saw them every time defending Saudi Arabia is mentioned, only to have them curse the role of the Arabs in our society. We see them when someone is killed, only to have them suddenly go quiet when it is proven that the theory they are propagating is false. We saw them at the dharnas in Islamabad, only to have them unable to explain anything that their leaders spoke about. We see them after any election, only to have them citing their past history of failure once their true colors emerge.
But the damage is already done. They have divided us. Confused the low hanging fruit with rhetoric and kept them from selecting the best option for the nation, rather than the best option for the time being. They have picked the low-hanging fruit, like they cherry pick issues to highlight – never talking about what matters, never offering solutions to real problems, never uniting us as a nation.
We have seen numerous examples of this divide and conquer principle throughout the history of the nation, never connecting the pieces of the puzzle to understand what was really being done to the Pakistani people. They don’t want us to connect the piece because they would be exposed for what they are – agents against Pakistan. Notice, I am not saying foreign powers, foreign hand or any of the other conspiracy theories that have been planted like seeds in the minds of Pakistanis. No, these are our own Pakistanis working against Pakistan for their own interests, and their own agendas. Are foreign countries funding them? I’m sure some are. No one has ever questioned the media houses of Pakistan about the $50 million annually given to them by the US State department to project a pro-America position. No one has ever questioned the funding of the madrassas or NGOs.
No, wait… we have questioned it and summarily been told to go to hell.
Many of us remember Quaid-e-Azam saying that “no power on earth can undo Pakistan” from our Pakistan Studies courses, but do you think that he ever thought about the possibility of Pakistanis working to destroy Pakistan?
I would suggest that he did, based on his response in Quetta in June of 1948, where he said:
“While, however, one must love one’s town and work for its welfare – indeed because of it – one must love better one’s country and work more devotedly for it. Local attachments have their value but what is the value and strength of a “part” except within the “whole”. Yet this is a truth people so easily seem to forget and begin to prize local, sectional or provincial interests above and regardless of the national interests. It naturally pains me to find the curse of provincialism holding sway over any section of Pakistan. Pakistan must be rid of this evil.”
And most importantly, on that same day, he told us:
“We are now all Pakistanis – not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on – and as Pakistanis, we must feel, behave and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else. I ask you always to pause and consider before taking any step whether it is conditioned by your personal or local likes and dislikes or is determined by consideration of the good of the State.”
Be proud to be Pakistanis and nothing else.
This article originally appeared on Khalid Muhammad’s Agency Rules website.