Tragedy is that people never read my book and they comment on it without reading it properly.

Please tell us about your educational background

I did my bachelor’s in English Literature and History as main subjects from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and then masters in Political Science from University of the Punjab as an external student. After masters, I went to Kings College, London, for my PhD in War Studies.

First you join Civil Service then left it, why?

Well, I joined the ‘Civil Service’ for personal reason because I needed to have contacts without which one cannot work in this country and Civil Service is considered important in this regard. That’s why most of the people join Civil Service. The reason why I left it after 11 years is that I decided that I should do some academic work. Therefore, I realised Civil Service is not suitable to me and left it.

Why is India more attractive to America than Pakistan? Comment in the context of Obama’s recent visit to India.  

I think the main features of President Obama’s visit to India were economic cooperation and economic deals which two countries signed. Now why Pakistan is not attractive to America as compared to India; here, the question arises are we willing to do what India is doing?

Actually, we are in the habit of begging for foreign aid and quotas from the world. In fact, if a nation wants to get something from their relationship with any other country then they have to offer something in return.

In fact, among the top 10 businessmen-two or three-belong to India. Therefore, a country making progress financially and economically will ultimately attract more positive attention. Even we have not such relationship with China whom we call our credible friend but we should not forget on the other hand that China is the largest trading partner of India.

Extremism is growing rapidly in our country, do you agree? What are the factors responsible for it?

Yes I agree. There are several factors responsible for the growing extremism in our country. It includes poverty, education policy and biased of a national narrative. Actually, we encourage the people to hate Christians, Hindus and other minorities.

Moreover, often we heard that Sufism was more peaceful. Actually, there were movements too, which gone violent e.g. Mehdia Movement of Sudan in Africa. The point is that when nobody hears the people then they get violent and in this context even religion is also used.

How do you see the future prospects of Pak-US strategic dialogue?

Well, by initiating ‘Strategic dialogue, the two countries are actually giving a proper structure to their relationships, saying that we will periodically sit together to discuss our concerns.

Evidently, Americans are going to see things from their perspective and we are going to see from our standpoint and both sides are trying to find convergence in it. Contrary to this, if we look at these things with a particular mindset that what we achieved after three meetings, I thing it would be a flawed assumption.

In fact, we are still unable to understand it. Dialogue is an on-going process that never ends in two or three meetings. So far the two governments agreed to continue it as far as they have a basic objective i.e. ‘War on Terror’ and even beyond it. I think expecting quick results from these dialogues is a wrong approach.

Why is ‘Blasphemy Law’ always considered as a notorious law?

Yes, it is a notorious law because it has been misused by the powerful to victimise the weak. There are a number of ‘Blasphemy cases registered in different courts but till today, none of them has been proved because no concrete evidence was presented before the court. In fact, it is a mechanism in the hands of majority.

Moreover, it is very much contradictory to the Islamic principles. I listen a story during my school life of a woman who used to throw garbage on our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but he always showed tolerance and mercy towards her. Even he went to inquire after her health when she did not show up to do her routine act.

Sadly, we are incapable of applying such tolerance. In fact, we did not learn any lesson from the life of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He was forgiving and tolerant and what we are?

Furthermore, we must know what the purpose of a law is? In fact, laws are made to bring peace and harmony to the society. There is a misperception about Islam; ‘can any body tell me Muslims’ God wants violence in the society, no! He wants to see peace and harmony in the society.’

Lastly, I must say it is a draconian law mainly used by the powerful to their advantage to oppress and control the powerless members of the society.

I think the main feature of President Obama’s visit to India was economic cooperation and economic deals which the two countries negotiated and signed.

What would you say on the reports revealed by the ‘Wikileaks’ and who will be its victim?
Firstly, I think there is nothing new or extraordinary in the ‘Wikileaks. It is all about the American security purposes, War on terror and West’s suspicion about Pakistan.

Secondly, if we say America itself would have done it then it is a foolish assumption. If you look at anyone who is more hurt by ‘Wikileaks’ then it is the United States. The reason because the disclosure of these information would embarrass a lot before their people, officials and partners. In future, people would be less interested in talking to the US diplomats.

What inspired you to write a book on such a unique topic?  

First of all this book is not about military’s corruption, it is a book about military’s economy. Actually, I was trying to understand the design and nature of Pakistan’s elite politics and obviously military is part of our elite. So, this inspired me to analyse the economic power of our military.

But the tragedy is that people never read my book in its true perspective and they comment on it without reading it properly. They comment on the basis of other people’s comments. What I tried to draw was the civil-military relations in Pakistan and we cannot look this relationship in linear terms.

In fact, it was not about civil vs military but elite clan vs people of Pakistan; the authoritarian vs the oppression in Pakistan.

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