Dawn Leaks, Panamagate…..and the Army? – An open letter to Gen. Bajwa.

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

There’s an ominous rumbling of dark clouds,  if there is any truth in the noise one is hearing of the Army’s involvement in any form or shape to save Nawaz Sharif.

If there is even the slightest possibility of even a tiny arrangement between the Army leadership and Nawaz Sharif, then the portents are very very dark and perhaps the start of the “Mother of all Crisis’s” in Pakistan.

I say “If” because the chatter is very threatening and yet there may not be any truth in this chatter.

Gen. Bajwa please remember that “public perception” about an issue as volatile as this, is far more damaging than the actual “truth”, however wrong this perception may be.

I say “if” because in this “if” is the ever growing mushroom cloud of a massive rumour of nuclear proportions, taking the country by storm.

And unfortunately it’s not a very charitable rumour for the Army.

Gen. Bajwa, you have so far been a sane and temperate voice. But please remember, that in your desire to remain aloof and above the political cut and thrust, you may, perhaps unknowingly or unwittingly, be playing into the hands of the Grandmaster of Political deal making, Mr. Nawaz Sadiq Amin Sharif.

Please remember that this Army has sacrificed it’s young and old with blood, honour and its thousands of shaheeds as have the other institutions like the police and the FC and others, for a better, safer, cleaner, corruption free Pakistan.

It’s soldiers and officers and senior commanders have paid the ultimate price.

It is not going to allow this sacrifice go waste so that our beloved country continues in the clutches of robber barons and be misgoverned and robbed blind by crooks, posing as our leaders.

Gen. Bajwa, do not allow the honour, reputation and sacrifices of this great institution go waste. This is not a call for Martial Law. Far from it. Because Martial Law is not the answer.

Just a word of caution that the fires of deep unrest and distress may cause some serious convulsions within the institution.

I’m not privy to anything,  but the tea leaves are turning very red.

Panamagate Judgement. Iss humaan may Subb Nungay haen. Kal bhee… aur Aaj bhee.

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.
Like many Pakistanis,  the last few days for me have also been about the Panamagate Judgement and how people like Nawaz and Zardari have continued to survive. 
And how as a society in our helplessness, we look askance at the Army for redressal.
But then the most obvious dawned. 
If Nawaz and Benazir and Zardari could survive a full blue blooded coup by an Army General there’s nothing really that can defeat them.
That the entire system in Pakistan, is overwhelmingly corrupt, extraordinarily powerful and biased in their favor.
A senior officer recently told me that the Army prefers Nawaz over Imran because  he’s very pliant and much easier to handle as compared to Imran. The reason being the muck they’ve got on Nawaz and his family. 
So Nawaz is happy, that as long as the Army doesn’t interefere in his business and corruption and in a worse case scenario doesnt overthrow him again, they can do what they want, Foreign policy etc. A State within a State . 
And because they don’t have anything on Imran, therefore not sure if he is “manageable”. 
Another individual shared, also alluded to by some TV anchors, that the Army’s recommendation,  clinched Zubair’s appointment as Governor, Sind. 
Recently, I saw a video clip of the current Southern Command, Corps commander pontificating on the CPEC. 
While fully agreeing with the good general, him being a fast dwindling breed of the rare intelligent commanders in our Army. I’ve met him and found him to be extremely bright and clear headed. 
He raised very valid concerns about first ensuring our National Interests, over and above the rhetoric of “Pak Cheen Dosthee Shi Fung” and are fully endorsed. 
But the issue here is different. Because the concerns he’s voiced are just that, mere words, and I say that for a couple of reasons. 
One, as military commander of a geography where Gwader is located, what gives him the right to admonish or offer political advice to the political leadership at the Federal or Provincial levels, and the governments of Balochidtan and KPK?
Two, if he is doing so, what is the objective of this advice? 
Does he expect the political leadership to line up and say “yes sir, yes sir three bags full sir” or is their a loaded threat to shape up or ship out? 
If it’s the latter, than one finds it strange that the same institution allows these politicians and others, including many of their own, to loot and plunder, at will. 
So, to my simple mind, either our men in uniform should step up and fix it, if they can, or shut up and do their jobs. 
We have had enough pussy footing and dancing around the bush.  
For three years, good old Gen. Raheel lead us all a merry dance behind the infamous “truck ki buthee” with his gruff voice and threatening poses, and yet at the same time allowed Nawaz and co to loot and plunder at will, without a single operation carried out in Punjab.
And now in grand style on a special plane, flies off to a million dollar salary, leaving us again at the mercy of these looters and plunderers.  
My simple advice to my former comrades in khaki.
Kuch Karo. Ya Chup Raho!
Aur humay upnay haal purr rehnay do
But in all this, the person who has a lot to answer for our current abysmal state is Gen. Musharraf. 
He is someone I’ve personally admired and had a personal relationship with. 
As a family we are personally indebted to him for the honour, dignity and respect he bestowed on our father, late Col. S.G. Mehdi.M.C, both as an Army Chief and as President. 
Our father had been earlier ostracized by the military establishment for his very public and outspoken criticism of our military establishment and its conduct in the ’65 and ’71 wars, especially Ops Gibralter, which he opposed as Group Comander, SSG, and sacked as a consequence, and then later for criticising Gen. Zia’s rule. 
Hence, I write the following, with great personal consternation and dismay. 
But Pakistan is bigger than Gen. Musharraf.
The one word that perhaps captures Gen. Musharraf’s legacy is “If”.
If General Pervez Musharraf hadn’t let Nawaz Sharif, and Benazir and Zardari off the hook when he took over in 1999, our recent history would have been very different.
If he had let Gen. Amjad, the then NAB Chairman, pursue the Hudaibiya case and other cases to their natural logical conclusion, Nawaz’s and Zardari’s goose would have been cooked long ago. 
And we wouldn’t have had only one Imran Khan and two Supreme court judges, trying to shame this spineless nation. A judgement by the 3 majority judges is shameful, the more one reads aND understands its ramifications. 
A judgement now forever remembered and damned in history, as Justice Ejaz, one of three, proudly announced a few weeks earlier, for once again, letting Nawaz escape the gallows.  Shame on you, Sir!
If Gen. Musharraf hadn’t trucked with the same type of scum he removed, like the Chaudhries of Gujrat and others from Nawaz’s party and similar types from the PPP Patriots, all desperate to save their skin and get a ” free get out of jail pass”, these guys would have been history.
But he let them join in. They used him as he used them. They fattened themselves and acquired more power  at his expense and when the time came, dumped him in the same gutter they had emerged from. Finally, merrily and happily, rejoining Nawaz and Zardari, making them even stronger. 
No bigger rot symbolises this wretchedness, than the two odious characters who shamelessly defend Nawaz Shatif today. 
Danyal Aziz, who headed the General’s, National Reconstruction Bureau, and as some say, would sit on the floor near the General’s feet. The other, Talal Chaudhry, who danced in front of Gen. Musharraf’s car welcoming him to public gatherings.
Today, both manifest in shape and form the degradation of our political leadership. 
If Gen. Musharraf had not compromised and reneged on every single thing he had pledged to change we would not have had to see this day today.
Had Gen. Musharraf been genuine about his Pakistan First mantra, he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be used or allied with people like Altaf Hussain and company, simply to consolidate his power.
 Of course, there’s a lot of good that his administration did. But too little and too insignificant to change the direction of Pakistan. 
Today all our institutions of public accountability and regulations are the handmaidens and mistresses of Nawaz and Zardari.  NAB, State Bank, FIA, FBR, SECP, Police, Judiciary at all levels. The state of our primary and secondary education and our health care systems.  
He had 9 straight years. Total autonomy and power. And perhaps the only things of significance. Higher Education reform and a free media of a 100 chattering anchors, shouting and shrieking themselves hoarse every evening. 
And what is perhaps most shocking was his own revelation of taking money as a “gift ” from late King Abdullah. 
And when he finally left, he left us at the mercy of Nawaz and Zardari, kind courtesy the NRO, which allowed them to continue the loot and plunder, from where they left off.
Therefore, Gen. Musharraf today has no right under any authority, moral, ethical and or political to point fingers at the same discrepit system and the same people he partnered with, collaborated with and used, to perpetuate his own rule. 
Many say that General Musharraf did the best he could under the circumstances. I and many others say, he didn’t.  
In my opinion, he had the opportunity of a lifetime, the same that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Zia had. 
And all three squandered it at the alter of personal ego and power!
So why am I bringing up this period from the past now. 
Simply to bring a reality check,  that’ll it’ll take much more than a Supreme Court or any JIT or an Imran Khan or an Army Chief to bring these rascals down! 
And today as we all stand disrobed in this “humaam” I remember the song.
“Don’t cry for me Argentine”!

Mashal’s murder -Pakistan’s slide into hatred and a mob psychology mindset

by Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

Mashal’s terrible and horrific murder in Mardan is another indication of how Pakistanis, since 1980, have been brainwashed by an obscurantist and extremist thought fuelled by petrodollars.

How given the slightest provocation, these young men, supposedly educated, supposedly in University, supposedly more “educated” and more “aware” than those in Madrassas, who we blame so readily, can drop all pretensions of humanity and become a bunch of hyenas, tearing away at a dead carcass.

How educated lawyers and judges and urban society educated professionals, can eulogize Qadri the murderer, to sainthood.

How these purveyors of this evil use the Sacred Name of our Prophet PBUH and Islam to justify such barbarism.

How the use of highly controversial Blasphemy laws as instruments of legal punishment, promote lynch mob justice.

How we saw a TV anchor in 2011, pilloring then the late Governor Salman Taseer, showcasing his position as being “blasphemous” resulting in his murder, now smugly continues her work, hijab and all, shriekingly arrogant, unrepentant and unquestioned.

How we see more and more of this terrible evil manifesting itself everyday in all walks if life, especially in political parties, in our electronic media and in our education.

How anchors like Orya Maqbool Jan are allowed space on primetime electronic media to spew their invective day in and day out.

We see such madness taking place in the world. A Hindu mob lynching a so called beef eating Muslim, or the razing of an entire Christian neighbourhood in Lahore or this terrible act in Mardan and conclude that social and economic deprivation and misgovernance and loot and plunder by the rulers is behind this pent up anger and hatred. Partly true.

This deprivation of basic rights and exploitation certainly makes for fertile ground, seeded and fuelled by whatever ideology is closest to that society and makes most sense to it.

And generally the more violent and extreme and simplistic the message, the larger the number of people who rally around it.

Research indicates that hate filled ideologies and messages rally 10 times more adherents than those advocating peace and love.

In our case, given our highly religious inclination, any emotionally charged thought, enrobed in religious credentials immediately speaks to these people and mindset.

But the more dangerous and frightening phenomenon is the ever increasing number of people from economically affluent, western style educated and urban segments in Pakistan becoming a part of this mindset.

This belies the traditional belief, voiced earlier, that the poor, deprived and exploited are easier prey.

These affluent people are also driven by hatred and anger against symbols of what they perceive as enemies of their ideologies and because of their ability to influence other people, are far more dangerous.

In this particular case, this hatred and anger was driven by a religious ideology as interpreted by a certain religious sub sect, actively promoted and disseminated by Gen. Zia ul Haque. This thought gained much strength in the succeeding years, thanks to petrodollars and a fratricidal proxy war, especially targeting  “liberal” ” secular”,  thought, softer words for “Kafirs” and “Disbelievers” now pervading our lexicon.

And in this hatred and anger, no one is spared. People becoming a law unto themselves and manifesting in the horrors of Mardan and others in the years following the promulgation of the current Blasphemy laws.

At a behavioral level, The Stanford and Princeton University experiments clearly illustrate how group think and behaviour can lead people to commit terrible acts even without the crutches of a deeply held belief system. And given the added fuel of highly emotional belief or ideology, this group rage and behaviour can lead to unbelievable levels of cruelty.

The savage lynching of black slaves by the Klu Klux Klan, a group of white people, largely urban and well educated. The genocide of Hutus and Tutsis, the butchery one sees in India, Burma etc all point to how entire socities can go “rabid dog mad”.

In a society, deeply steeped in Religosity, dominating every aspect of one’s life, and given a distorted and misinterpreted version of religion, even a perception that it’s under threat or under attack, leads to this madness.

And the tragedy is that this not Islam, but barbarism at its worst, fuelled by an ideology of hatred, garbed in religious clothes !

If not checked or controlled, Our dangerous slide into a mob psychology induced society, manifesting violent public hatred and murder will result in widespread anarchy and uncontrollable bloodshed.

Perhaps in such tragic symbolism maybe “Mashal’s” name,  which means a beacon of light, may enlighten our society towards tolerance and humanism.

A blueprint for Gen. Raheel Sharif for the Saudi Military Anti Terror Coalition – IMAFT.

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Despite my serious reservations about IMAFT and Gen. Raheel’s role, if the die is cast, here’s some unsolicited advice for Gen. Raheel.

Gen. Raheel, four fundamental factors will drive coherence in developing a narrative to bring Saudi Arabia and Iran, closer .

1. The biggest enemy both face is Daesh. Not each other.  This is the fundamental issue on which there can be convergence of each country’s national interests.

 Therefore Gen. Raheel can align both countries to ensure that IMAFT must fight DAESH as its #1 enemy.

2. The grave danger is that a post Assad Syria will likely fall into DAESH hands. DAESH will get rid of the so called “Rebels” in short order.

Syria in the hands of Daesh will be catastrophic for both Saudi Arabia and Iran and lead to massive instability especially within Saudi Arabia, and heightened conflict in the Region which will engulf Iran and others.

Hence Saudis must not play into the hands of the Trump administration and or to their desire for Regional domination and push to remove Assad. They can move against Assad  once the DAESH threat is eliminated.

3. Similarly an even greater threat to regional and world peace is a post Al Saud, Saudi Arabia, in the hands of ultra right wing Wahabi extremists of the DAESH ilk, governing Nejd and Hijaz.

This will not only be catastrophic for Saudi Arabia as we know it today, but also for Iran, the entire Region and the World.

Therefore it is not in Iran’s interest to deliberately keep stoking the fires of unrest in and around Saudi Arabia to destabilize the country and in that process attempt to remove the Al Saud ruling

Hence it is imperative that Iran immediately stop interfering in Bahrain, Yemen and the Shia majority eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia to try and destabilize Saudi Arabia and increasing Saudi belligerence towards them.

In fact it is in Iran’s national interest to maintain the Al Saud and avoid actions which stops them from moving towards a more representative and stronger governance structure. Because were the Al Saud ruling family to fall and be replaced by a DAESH like dispensation, their first target would be Iran.

4. It is in the interest of Saudi Arabia to move towards a strong constitutional monarchy, like Kuwait,  Morocco or Jordan, to stave off the extremists within its borders and provide opportunities to those Saudis who are as anti extremism as most Muslims are.

The Saudis need a ruler like their founder, Abdul Aziz, to put the extremist religious establishment and the extremists in the country to permanent sleep. Much like what he did to the Wahabi Ikhwan in 1929 in the Battle of Sabila.

The one person who can do this today is the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Iran must court him and engage him and encourage him.

In summary, Gen. Raheel has a clear agenda ahead of him for IMAFT and his role as a peacemaker and an interlocutor between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

1. Fight Daesh.

2. Stop Saudis from efforts to remove Assad for now.

3. Stop Iran from trying to destabilize Saudi Arabia.

4. Help the Saudis crackdown on the Daesh type extremists with Saudi Arabia.

If Gen. Raheel can start conversations between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the above fundamentals and stop them from fighting each other and make them realise that their biggest enemy is DAESH and extremism, he would have done a great service to both countries and the cause of Muslims.

The Case for Imran Khan!

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

Only in a country and society as schizophrenic as Pakistan can two of its most corrupt politicians, occupy it’s highest political and executive offices.

President Asif Zardari, is a phrase, which still jars and send shivers down most spines (where they exist).

The other phrase “Thrice elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif” is like a heroin fix, making the addicts oblivious to the rabid destruction to their body, mind and spirit.

Both Nawaz and Zardari and their cronies and families, are corrupt, criminal and very dangerous. This despite the fact that kangaroo courts judged, and let them go scot free in the past.  Themselves, mere handmaidens and mistresses.

They are dangerous because they are willing to compromise national interests and sell out to foreign powers.

Nawaz sold out to India to further his business empire and collar the Army and Zardari to the USA to strengthen his power and in return defang our nuclear arsenal and also collar the Army.

Thus both, terribly corrupt, acquire and hold on to power by buying their way into every state institution. Then they appoint their toadies and henchmen to positions of authority and through them subvert and destroy institutional processes and thus acquire total control over them.

They then consolidate their control over the key areas of law enforcement and lower judiciary, then the entire administrative and governance infrastructure and finally all institutions who have access to public funds.

These fat cows, they then loot, pillage and plunder, till they bleed them dry.

They get away with this loot and plunder by hijacking those State institutions who could hold them accountable.

Look at the state of organizations like the NAB, FIA, SECP, State Bank, FBR, Anti Corruption, IB, CID, to name a few.

But their biggest prize has been to subvert the electoral process

From an election commission totally beholden to them to a terribly flawed electoral process where results can be changed at whim after votes are cast, they control much of the outcome.

And there’s nothing an opposition candidate can do, except protest or go to election tribunals, who are already in the pockets of the Zardaris and Sharifs, especially in Punjab and Sind.

One candidate’s case, who I know personally, is still awaiting judgement from an Election Tribunal since 2013. The evidence. 45000 votes cast against this person with no counterfoils!  As if the votes appeared by magic. Slam dunk, one would think? But no. The ET hummed and hawed and while tasked to deliver a judgement in 40 days, hasn’t met in over two years!

In Punjab and Sind, Returning officers and Presiding officers, all government servants, school teachers and lower judiciary judges, are in cahoots. The Punjab and Sind provincial police forces, nothing but a gang of armed thugs in police uniform.

And then there’s Imran Khan.

Those who oppose him, expect angelic conduct from him, yet are willing to wallow in the filth and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris and their cronies. They will highlight his wrongs and justify the criminality of Nawaz and Zardari.

And that’s why I say we are a schizophrenic society.

Imran may have many faults. And he does!

He’s arrogant!  He’s preachy!

He says things that come back to haunt him.

He may still have a roving eye! He may be compromising his pristine clean political values, to some extent, at the alter of political expediency!

He may have made inopportune political moves in engaging with some dicey and questionable political partners and allies.

But all these are over ridden by the fact that Imran is first and foremost and above all, an unabashed patriot, who will not sell out Pakistan. Unlike Sharif and Zardari.

Secondly he’s as incorruptible, financially, as one can get at his level of politics. Again in sharp contrast to N and A.

Thirdly. He is unbelievably persistent and never gives in.

Fourthly. He has managed to effectively run a province with  a party and many people who have never been in power.

Fifthly. He has done everything possible under the sun given the limitations of inexperience and the challenges of managing and keeping in check a wily fox like Pervez Khattak, and some not so clean politicos, in delivering a near miracle in KPK.

And, let’s admit it, even his biggest critic will give him this. That he really genuinely, tried and, despite all odds was able to deliver significant results in   Police; Education, especially girls education; Health Care; Lower judiciary and administrative and governance reforms.

Yes. Admittedly streets are still dirty.  There’s still corruption in government offices and there aren’t any flowing doodh ki nahraen in KPK. But KPK has changed. The hold of entrenched mafia has significantly eroded. And it doesn’t stink with the stench of corruption that invades ones senses in Punjab and Sind!

But, folks, let’s give PTI and Imran their due in delivering against massive odds. Societies don’t change overnight especially those who’ve been looted and royally plundered by all and sundry.

Compare this to the total destruction of education, health care, law enforcement  and all other public sector institutions at the Federal level and in Punjab and Sind in the last 9 years.

It’s hard to find a single institution at the Center or in Punjab or Sind which the PPP or the PMLN can put forward and say. “Here look at this institution. Look how we changed it in our 9 years of loot and plunder!”

But our first term wunderkid, Imran can!

One can fault Imran for his KPK Ehtesaab Bureau mishandling and the intra party elections fiasco in his party and some of the really good leaders who left him and some not so nice joining the PTI.

But given all his challenges, he has come through pretty decently and well. And, but for him, Nawaz and Panama would have been a long forgotten story.

Of course Imran is no Angel or Snow White. But compared to these two devils, Sharif and Zardari, he comes pretty close to being an Angel.

Pakistan and its institutions have been misgoverned, looted, destroyed and plundered by its governments and rulers. Both military and civilian.

The Army, PPP, and the PMLN have basically ruled the country since 1958 and we see what they’ve given us.

Isn’t it time we gave an honest leader like Imran a chance?

Isn’t it time that we let a leader who will make a serious go to strengthen our institutions, hold corrupt people accuntable and finally deliver for the poor, the wretched and the massively exploited.

Pakistanis! Think about it?

And if he fails?

Well we can always go back to the filth and vomit of the Sharifs and the Zardaris!

But clearly looking at the evidence on hand, he will do a much better job than these two criminals.

Just one piece of advice for Imran.

Please be circumspect in what you say from now on and control the other foot and mouth disease types, in PTI.

Don’t let Naeem ul Haque run riot. He looks really good when he’s quiet.

Curb your younger turks who don’t know the definition of “secular” or “liberal” and scream incoherently on talk shows and scare people who would otherwise vote for you. Give your Ali Mohammad’s the Quaid’s 11th August speech.

Don’t be divisive. Engage and embrace everybody. Become a statesman in word and deed and demeanor.   Ali Asghar Khan

Its time we all thought what’s good for our country not what’s good for my baradari, or my political party.


Give Imran a chance! For Pakistan’s sake.

Hopefully we won’t be disappointed!

The Ummah Part 1 – Saudi Iranian relationship and the Islamic Coalition & Raheel

By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.

The prime issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia stem from the existential threat the Al Saud family fears from an Islamist Iranian clergy in power and vice versa. The former stemming from a rise in Saudi Islamists desire to oust the AL Saud, inspired by the manner in which the Shah of Iran was ousted.

This dominant desire by the Al Saud ruling family’s to retain its stranglehold as a family monarchy on the land currently called Saudi Arabia, overrides all other considerations.

Iran realizes that till the Al Saud are in power there cannot be hope of a rapprochement between the two countries. And from the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, Iran has attempted to export it’s revolutionary Islamic thought into the primarily Shia majority Eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia,  and other countries such as Pakistan. And this started a full scale proxy war fuelled by the Russian invasion of Afghanistan with Pakistan and Afghanistan at the epicenter.

The two countries have been on opposite sides of all major military conflicts since 1980. The 9 year Iran Iraq War, from 1980 to 1989, funded by Saudi Arabia when Saddam was in power. Then the Afghanistan civil war from 1993 onwards. And now the battle against Daesh in Iraq and  Syria.

Both have used religion and sect to promote their agendas and both are out to overthrow the other. Iran’s stoking the fires of unrest in Shia majority Bahrain, the Shia majority Eastern provinces in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Saudi Iranian relationships since the Islamic Revolution have roller coasted and have been subject to the individual biases of the reigning Saudi monarch. This was and is much like the medieval monarchs of Europe or the Imperial Caliphs of Umayyed and Abbasid dynasties.

For example, King Abdullah, the previous Saudi Ruler had a softer approach towards Iran and hence the two countries came much closer than they are today.

Salman, the current King, is a die hard, hard core Wahabi with strong bias for the extremist version of Islam. Hence his willingness to truck with Al Qaeda especially in Yemen and Syria. And how as Crown Prince and earlier his name has been linked to the funding of extremist outfits.

But interestingly its also during his time that the Saudis have established the closest ties ever with Israel, to forestall Iranian interference and save their Monarchy.

Thus the Al Saud know that as long as the Islamists are in power in Iran, they will continue to destabilize Saudi Arabia and try and overthrow the Al Saud ruling family. Same for the Iranians, who also realize that there will never be peace with Saudi Arabia as long as the Al Saud are in power. So it’s a really big Catch 22.

Hence we must see the Coalition and Raheel’s appointment in this context.

In my opinion, Raheel’s prime role is to get a dozen or two dozen, recently retired senior Pakistani military officers with hard core battleground experience in counter terrorism to help the AL Saud ruling family, on 4 counts.

1. Address the problem they’ll face very soon from the Saudi terrorists now defeated and driven out of formerly Daesh controlled territories in Iraq and Syria. Remember, 40% of Daesh foreign fighters are Saudis. They will be a serious and very grave threat to the Al Saud rule.

2. Help counter the restive insurgency of the Saudi Shias in the Eastern provinces being stoked and inflamed by Iranians to try and oust the Al Saud from power.

3. Help counter the support and interference by Iranians in Bahrain to its Shia majority, against the minority Sunni King, and thereby causing huge problems to Al Saud, given the Eastern provinces next door.

4. Counter the threat on its southern border from Yemen and the Houthis and destabilizing the Al Saud.

That is why I think the coalition label is just a facade and a farce. The real reason being to create a forum to support the Al Saud ruling dynasty to remain in power.

And, in my opinion, the only way  the Al Saud ruling family, could get access to significant Pakistani Army brainpower was to create this forum, appoint Raheel, given his stature, so he could get others from Pakistan.

As those who know Raheel, and likely Raheel does as well, he has no pretensions of being a brilliant strategic mind. He’s been a simple soldier who with a truck full of luck, the opportune mentorship of Gen. Musharraf as Army Chief, the support of a very strong lobby, since his PMA days, kind courtesy his brother’s legacy, and the prayers of his well wishers, which eventually got him to become Chief.

But he’s a soldier’s soldier, always found with his troops and greatly raised the morale of the Army and improved it’s image. These, along with Zarb e Azb is his greatest legacy. Would be sad to see this legacy diminished and tarnished.

And he was really fortunate to be Chief to strike the final blow in North Waziristan via Zarb e Azb at a time when the backbone of the TTP insurgency had been broken in 6 of the 7 FATA agencies during Gen.Kayani’s watch.

 And he was also fortunate that the vast majority, if not the entire fighting group of foreign fighters, primarily Saudis, Egyptians, Tunisians, Chechens, and many hard core Afghan and Pakistani fighters, had escaped North Waziristan and gone to Syria and Iraq to join DAESH.

However the increasing support to this appointment one sees from the government in recent days, stems from a desire to placate ruffled Saudi feathers, with unconfirmed reports of a Pakistani brigade being deployed on the Southern Yemeni border.

If the latter be true, then we’ve taken a clear position, and Raheel’s appointment is one part of this position.

For those advocating the position that Raheel’s appointment is good for the Muslim Ummah and be key in bringing about a Saudi Iranian rapprochement, either don’t understand Regional Geo Politics or know something the world doesn’t.

Or give Raheel, now completely devoid of all his previous powers of a serving Pakistan Army Chief, and a paid employee of the Saudis, extraordinary magical powers to somehow tell his employer to do what he says. And in that process also convince the Iranians! A feat no one has been able to achieve since 1979.

If he can pull this off, it’ll clearly be the diplomatic coup of the century, and in all seriousness, deserving of a Noble Peace Prize.

How? Haven’t a clue.

Last question.

If Saudi Arabia could muster 40 odd governments to support this so called coalition, why can’t it muster the same and even more countries, under the aegis of the OIC, to create a permanent Nato like alliance?

They can then continue to provide all the support and funding and logistics, as they are doing now, but with one proviso, that the Alliance, under OIC, has a transparent Charter and Terms of Reference.

It is then that General Raheel’s appointment as Commander in Chief of this OIC Military Alliance makes sense in the context of a Muslim Military alliance.

Otherwise, answers to the above will provide clear insights about intentions and objectives of this so called coalition!

My perspective on how I see this whole game!