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Pakistan’s Future and Its Deep State
Author/Source: Muzaffar Awan  (mkawanmd@yahoo.com) Posted by: admin
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By Muzaffar Khan Awan, M. D.  Grand Rapids Michigan, USA

 “Deep State”(derin devlet in Turkish) is an imported term by the world from Turkey—it is neither a scientific concept nor a philosophical postulate but a word, which resembles the mafia-like deterioration of state structures.

When we start to learn some basics about Pakistani politics (its internal and regional instability, its relations with the Muslim world and the Western world) over the decades, one of these few concepts we come across is the “deep state. ” It has very much been part of our culture and political life since Pakistan’s inception.

 In some of my previous writings, I have also referred to this ”deep state “ (a state within a public Pakistani state—a military establishment and Inter-Services Intelligence that do not really appear to have any intention of handing over power to the civilian government and in recent years have been playing a double game with the United States in AF-Pak scenario) concept that unfortunately has been inclusive of illegal traditions that were borrowed directly from Kemalist Turkophils in Pakistan’s military ruling minds in the likes of Ayub Khan, Yahiya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and most recently Musharraf. Musharraf the 4th and the last ex-military dictator is already a spent force of a decade long autocracy preceding the presently corrupt and failed civilian autocracy over the last 5 years. He is presently attempting to make a political comeback in nude through upcoming Pakistani elections in May 2013. He is supported by a bunch of his admirers who have convinced him of his new clothes.

Recently, I read an interview of Peter Dale Scott conducted by Voltaire Network. Scott has written a book, “The Road to 9/11.” What actually struck me the most was the title of his interview: “The ‘Deep State’ behind U. S. democracy. ”[1]Voltaire Network, asked Scott about what exactly did he mean by this term? Scott’s answer was indeed thought provoking.

What to speak of Turkish or Pakistani deep states, It was very interesting that Dale Scott applied the same concept of “deep state” to even American political life in order to get a deeper understanding of the idea. Dale explains, “deep state” referring to “a parallel secret government, organized by the intelligence and security apparatus, financed by drugs and engaging in illicit violence, to protect the status and interests of the military against threats from intellectuals, religious groups and occasionally the constitutional government. In this book, I adapt the term somewhat to refer to the wider interface in America between the public, the constitutionally established state and the deep forces behind it of wealth, power and violence outside the government. You might call it the back door of the public state, giving access to dark forces outside the law. ”

Dale did not explain why America has a “deep state”. Most probably such an explanation could be found in the works of Noam Chomsky, who has the firm belief that America began as an imperialist state which came into existence through the mass killings of Native Americans and the constant invasion of other countries like Mexico, Canada and others.

Further examination of how U. S. foreign policies over the decades have led to partial or total cover-ups of past and recent domestic criminal acts, including, perhaps, the catastrophe of 9/11. Peter Dale Scott, whose previous writings have investigated CIA involvement in Southeast Asia, the drug wars, and the Kennedy assassination? He probed how the policies of U. S. presidents since Nixon have augmented the tangled bases for the 2001 terrorist attack. Scott also showed how America's expansion into the world since the II World War has led to momentous secret decision making at the highest levels. He demonstrated how these decisions by small inner cliques are responsive to the agendas of private wealth at the expense of the public, of the democratic state, and of civil society. He shows how, in implementing these agendas, U. S. intelligence agencies have become involved with terrorist groups they once backed and helped create, including al- Qaeda. Pakistan‘s “deep state” is a monster that was created in late 1950’s with the help of U. S. and has existed for decades under active U. S. sponsorship and interests in the region. Pakistani intelligence agencies have had ongoing involvement with many of the same groups they too backed and helped create in close alliance with the U. S. but are now unable to control them even inside Pakistan. These groups are now reeking havoc, terrorism, internal chaos and killings in Pakistan threatening to jeopardize upcoming elections.

The Turkish “deep state “had been a threat to public state in Turkey since 1923 and until a decade ago. I remain optimistic and supportive of last decade’s developments in Turkey, particularly in terms of the emergence of a more democratic and transparent political system where military tutelage is finally coming to an end. I certainly see Turkey coming to terms with the phenomenon of the “deep state” -- a shadowy network of conspirators that had committed crimes, destabilized the country and paved the road for repeated military interventions for close to a century. The “deep state” involved, in some shape or form, members of the military’s highest ranks with perception of exclusive ownership of the state, ruling mind-set and establishment. There has been a crucial civil-military dimension to ongoing and recent debates in Turkey. I am very optimistic about the last decade’s developments in Turkey and see the emergence of Public supremacy over the military through a transforming civil society over the past several decades.

The American “deep state” to this day seems to pose an ongoing direct or indirect threat to many nations around the globe. In Pakistan, over the decades, every manipulation with hindrance of politics one can see the fingerprints of the Pakistani “deep state”. In this context to better understand the situation in South Asia and Afghanistan, we need to have a closer and historical look at Pakistan and its ongoing links to American “deep state”. Only then sincere efforts can be made to overcome Pakistan’s internal, regional and even global crises.

Pakistan, I believe presently has a worse “deep State” most probably even deeper than what Turkey has had. We in Pakistan have unfortunately been dealing with the result of this martial culture that began soon after its partition from India. Without making fundamental changes to Pakistani military’s elitist and ruling mindset, we will not be able to lift the military elephant from the room that has been blocking the civic progress, social development, genuine democracy and internal stability in Pakistan over the past 60 years. Asserting that the greatest gift Pakistani military can give to the people of Pakistan at this critical juncture would be to allow the people to rule themselves, making a permanent pledge not ever involving in politics and help gear Pakistani civil society in the right direction henceforth. Pakistan was indeed founded on the principles of democracy but the fact has been that the same principles were trampled under the feet every day from the very beginning. No nation in the world has ever been able to achieve true civilization under a military tutelage.

My biggest concern is thus the Pakistani “ deep state’’ and how Pakistan‘s toddler and shaky democracy even under (Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf if it wins upcoming elections) PTI party will come to terms with the phenomenon of the “deep state” in Pakistan with its links to the U. S. ?

It took close to 80years for Turkey to overcome the “deep state” and it has been only during the last decade that AKP has been able to depoliticize the ‘deep State’. Turkey has had multiple military coups, as did Pakistan but whenever Turkish military coup overthrew the civilian government, it allowed immediate elections for a new civilian government rather than military government even if military had always remote control over the civilian governments (and sham democracy) until a decade ago.

In Pakistan, whenever a military coup came, military actually ruled and out of 65 years of Pakistan’s existence military directly ruled for over 30 years and to this date Military has the remote control of politics being the strongest and the richest institution in Pakistan. Military has been the strongest political party in Pakistan and remains so even today even if civilian Mafia politically has been supervising Pakistan through sham democracy with remote control still in the hands of the military. Pakistan could remain a sham democracy for a long time unless a new and true political leadership comes to serve Pakistan without corruption or military tutelage. 

How has Turkey been slowly but surely coming to terms with its “deep state” and how has Turkey brought about genuine democracy over the last decade? This has a long history in Turkey that spans over the period of about 80 years and the tremendous contributions made by two of the greatest and enlightened Muslim scholars, Beddi-uz-zaman Said Nursi (1877-1960) and Fethullah Gulen(born 1938--) now living in the States for about 10 years. Nursi’s Nur movement and Gulen’s (Hizmet) social movement started by them respectively have changed Turkey forever over the last four decades particularly in the realms of Turkish Public sphere with multiple civic institutions, creating public awareness, instituting superior education (cradle to grave), bringing up a new and golden generation (young dedicated volunteers now spanning global social arena not only serving the masses in Turkey but also all of humanity around the world). These volunteers are estimated now to be over 10 millions and they have initiated a new renaissance not only in Turkey but also in the Muslim and rest of the world and changing the laic radical secularism to softer secularization compatible with universal values and pluralism.

Nursi earlier and Gulen presently did not serve religion utilizing politics as they both understood that the faith-based scholarship must reject top-down political approaches and focus on the individual and societal transformation with a vision of developing both the human and social/spiritual capital in the public sphere (and that is what they exactly did without themselves involving in politics).

When Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his comrades(inspired by Nursi and Gulen Thought/practice and the ideas of not mixing pure and heavenly religion with earthly and human politics) in the Turkish A. K. Party came to power in 2002,there were widespread concerns. Being ardent and faith-based, many believed, they were intent on foisting a religious regime on secular Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for his part, himself had feared the resistance of derin devlet, the Turkish “deep state. ” It had been a presumed network of military officers with ruling mindset and their civilian allies who, for decades, suppressed and sometimes murdered dissidents, Communists, reporters, Islamists, Christian missionaries, and members of minority groups—anyone thought to pose a threat to the radical secular (laic) order, established in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Many thought that Erdogan worried about the deep state guardians claiming sole ownership of Turkish Republic since its birth would never allow him to govern fairly and justly in the interest of the masses in Turkey. But, to the pleasant surprise of many, he has pulled Turkey ever closer to actual democracy, opening up the economy and becoming a crucial and honest broker between the West and Palestine, Iran, and Syria. In the eyes of many American and European leaders, Erdoğan has fashioned Turkey into an indispensable and genuine democracy in a Muslim country, offering a potential example for Pakistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia and many other nations. Erdoğan has even dared to surprise his countrymen by reassessing painful chapters in Turkish history.

Politicians of newer generation in Pakistan in the likes of Imran Khan and his PTI (Tehreek-e-Insaf) must have a companion social–public transformative bottom-up and grass-roots social movement (guided by enlightened Muslim scholars in the likes of Said Nursi, Gulen and Pakistani scholar and intellectual Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri) to really achieve successful outcomes in the coming decades and initiating the process during upcoming elections in Pakistan. Beyond Imran Khan as a politician with his PTI and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri as a social activist, public intellectual, scholar with integrity and moral guidance; there are virtually no national politicians of substance and public reliability. The sad thing is that we can’t create a new civilian leadership overnight in the country, with 342 seats in the National Assembly, and 100 in the Senate, and the same in the provincial parliaments, we can’t find one person, besides Imran Khan and Dr. Qadri, who can be a prime minister or a president trustworthy and acceptable to the Public at this juncture. It is a shame for this country.


It is generally easier for business leaders to (transition from needs and greed to conscious and distributive capitalism) learn and grow making a real difference in business----exercising self correcting mechanisms, higher purpose and equal consideration for all human beings for common good of masses. However, autocratic politicians comparing with conscious business leaders have worse ego motivation not unlike military dictators (who have held the masses back). The political leaders must understand as to who elects them, who do they work for and they must learn to lead themselves to improve constantly and maintain their moral integrity in keeping with fairness and justice in their actions. All new generation political leadership everywhere in the world in the 21st century will have to undergo special training courses for them to qualify as new generation members of the new leadership paradigm from ‘I’’ to “ We “ and with moral integrity and higher level of consciousness than average. I hope all “deep state” structures will be dissolved one day in the world including Pakistan.

A worse scenario for U. S. policy makers contemplating departure from Afghanistan in 2014—when over the decades they wrongly and heavily invested in Pakistan’s “deep State”. They had feared political Islamic revolution in Pakistan the chances of which have always been very slim when Islam and politics do not actually mix.

A tide of anti-American sentiment that has been accumulating over the years in Pakistan can be reversed only through U. S. future investment in Pakistan’s public State through U. S. administration’s major changes in its own policy and righting its own wrong-doings around the globe. The restoration of a constructive / genuine  democratic process in Pakistan has to be the one that is self-owned, guarantees internal stability, and has a friendly attitude towards its neighbors, the United States and all others. A viable multiparty pluralistic political system without nepotism, true political leadership could defuse the power of the radical extremists and impose some checks on a military that goes on controlling every aspect of policy and life in Pakistan. And it would leave the United States less dependent upon the whims of generals answerable only to the clique at general headquarters.  Restoration of political freedoms is absolutely essential. Let people of Pakistan be educated in their rights and be organized, let them hold political rallies; let there be trade unions, student unions, even if these unions politicians wouldn’t like.  When we have mobilized and transformed the civil society, we can have a true Pakistan, in the near future God-willing, where people will matter the most as the sovereignty truly belongs to them under the one and only Creator. If I were to suggest to president Obama, I would make my request for his support for the Pakistani army and even political leadership contingent upon their being integral part of the Public and a singular state. The state has to have total supremacy over the politicians and the military.


References:[1]Peter Dale Scott’s Interview for Voltaire Network: Berkeley (États-Unis) 6 April 2011




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