The lying season by Masood Hasan Posted by admin on May 29th, 2011
The new mantra in Pakistan is, ‘By all that I hold holy, i.e., my properties, my bank accounts, my assets and all my worldly goods, I swear to tell lies, only lies and nothing but lies, so help me God.’ Lying is now the official language of the country’s leadership, civil or military. For the people of Pakistan lying is easy to accept. Leaders have always lied. It’s the sheer quantity of it that’s floored them and the brazen, shameless manner it’s been thrown in their faces. The last person who spoke the truth cannot be located for love or money. Some say he could be in Abbottabad.
One hears that the dreaded pollen virus that lays Islamabad flat every year has more or less given it a miss. What has been unleashed instead is a virulent virus that’s travelled faster than a Blackhawk, Tarbela to Abbottabad. This virus has downed the army, the air force and the navy in the twinkling of an eye. The civil leadership about which nothing is civil has been lying for so long that even if it was provided the truth and bribed to speak it, the result would be more lying. The SOP is to lie and deny all the bad news. In some cases twist it and make it complimentary. (Rehman Malik congratulating nation on beating off the TTP in Karachi).
However what’s worrying is that after years of practice no two officials can manufacture a good lie. All that they do is keep mumbling and bumbling and issue contradictory stories. These are instantly denied within hours, the media is blamed and fresh lies are cooked up which too are denied. By this time, the average Joe Bloke is holding his head, if he still has one left after all the battering it has received from no power, no law, no order and only inflation. He cannot think and he cannot tell which is what or as is often the case here, what is which. The rulers, past and present – those whom God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to preside over our puny lives, cannot understand that it is not the shameless lying the Pakistanis find offensive. It is the accompanying implication that is. Simply that you are brain dead morons and so stupid that we can spin any thing and you will buy it. Although Pakistanis have lost all self respect, this last insult is a bit too much to stomach but then who is asking them any way? If this is a rule of the people’s functional democracy, I was abducted thrice by Martians.
Only the armed forces and its attendant side kicks could BS their way over the highly embarrassing and still extremely controversial Bin Laden caper. To say they were caught with their pants down would be highly unfair. Our defenders were in their pajamas or boxer shorts, the action having started rather late in the night.
Once things started to unravel, the lying factory went on an emergency non stop shift. Anyone who was anyone started issuing statements, one after another, often vying for print and air space. Did any two people agree on one lie? Sorry no. The joke was that the chief would say one thing and his entire establishment, quite another. To add more comedy and buffoonery to the proceedings, Lionel Richie (or ‘Hello’ Mr Rehman Malik, of the shiny polyester suits, matching florid neckties, pseudo silk handkerchiefs and an Afro that would gain him instant citizenship in any African tribe) joined in the tribal stew party giving the heady broth a good stir. That was all that we needed unless you wish to mention the FO (no it is not what you think the initials mean), which was on its own kick and loving their carefully worded painstaking handouts which had the same credibility as Jabba the Hut’s Diet Plan for Weight Watchers.
In the ensuing mess the opinion on the street was that either we were incompetent or guilty as hell, everyone hoped it would be the former. We weren’t the only ones who had lost their marbles. The US churned out such a cock-and-bull story with zero credibility that it self detonated within 48 hours. And this from a country that gave us Mission Impossible! The ‘plot’ sold to the public complete with the dump-in-the-sea sequence had the world in stitches. Even the carefully framed, now-famous picture of Obama and his tense cabinet watching the Osama operation, went down the other way. The controversies remain because of excessive lying. Our radars for example. Were they on? Were they off? Bit of both? Annual Maintenance? In rest mode? Come on guys; give us a break for once! Even the Three Stooges could have done better.
Hardly had the Blackhawks been hosed down, Bagram or Tarbela – take your pick than the PNS Mehran embarrassment began. Another classic botch up, another full-scale lying epidemic. The gory details we all know. The least the chief could do was quit for the honour of the navy but he instead donned fatigues (which battle are you fighting Admiral?), hissed over to PNS Mehran in his sparkling, dazzling pristine white BMW with its four gleaming stars. Hallelujah! The base in the meantime is blown to smithereens, including the pricey two Orions. That loss a cool US$ 72m (replacements have already been asked for). Instead of coming clean, the navy goes into denial mode. In an embarrassing long time that it takes our Seals, SSG Commandos and all the others to neutralise the attackers, we have lost some innocent men who were merely reacting to the explosions and didn’t have a clue what was going on. So much for naval Intel. I am sure that the place has already been hosed down – the navy likes to keep everything sparkling white, the debris of the attack hauled out of sight but all that does not absolve the naval high command of gross failure or the deaths in vain of that young lieutenant and other men, not to mention the two dozen or so injured.
There are no resignations in sight. The base commander is unceremoniously transferred, but wait. It was a routine matter. Was in the pipeline for months. Tie me to an anchor and sink me guys. In fact we know too well there won’t be any resignations. God forbid if there were, think of the terrible consequences. No, no, we cannot have them. But you want some lies manufactured? Sure can do. The chief looks the nation in the eye and with a straight face categorically states that there was no security lapse. It’s the funniest thing since comedian Rangeela slipped on a banana peel. Wreaths are sent to the families of the dead and Mr Malik, who has the same sensitivity as a bull in a china shop, actually announces a medal for the slain young naval officer. What a crass touch!
And so it goes on. The farce that is Pakistan. We are shamed before the world, the laughing stock, the butt of all jokes. In all this, as if afflicted by a stroke, the president is so silent that the sphinx sounds like a chatterbox. Strange are the ways of the Republic!
The Lying Season by Massod Hasan
LOVE of Money: Pak lies beat Indian Scamsters- 2G, Adarsh and CWG