Is Pakistan’s ‘Monkey Show’ coming apart?

For too long now, the government of Pakistan –” at its highest levels –” has looked like a monkey show staged by the United States of America.

The USA picks the mercenaries from Pakistan’s wealthy and corrupt elites who are eager to play the part of the ‘monkey.’ Once in office, they act upon cues that are called by the US plenipotentiary in Islamabad or elsewhere. The monkey master says, Give our military transit rights through your air space and territory; the monkey obliges. He says, Join our war against Afghanistan; the monkey obliges. He says, Give us military bases to operate drones: the monkey obliges. He says, We will bomb your people, you take the blame; the monkey obliges. He says, Allow us to embed US marines among your troops operating against their own people: the monkey obliges. The monkey never disappoints.

All that the monkey master has to do to keep this show going is toss a few peanuts to the show monkeys for every act well-performed.

Of course, in order to try to fool the Pakistanis, the monkey master complains periodically that the monkey is not “doing enough.” Predictably, the monkey replies that the master is not “giving enough” –” peanuts, that is.

How long is this monkey show going to go on?

How long will Pakistanis stand for this humiliation?

There are some signs that this monkey show is coming apart. The top monkeys in the show are beginning to fear for their lives: they cannot anymore trust the Pakistani military men and police officers they have picked to give them security. As a result, they are now looking into hiring foreign mercenaries to improve their personal security.

Perhaps, again, the monkeys are acting on a cue from their master.

“While the security of President Zardari has always been cause of serious concern for the authorities,” reports Pakistan’s The Express Tribune, “a larger proposal is also under consideration by the government to hire the services of foreign security guards for a number of VVIPs including the prime minister, provincial governors, chief ministers, and a few federal ministers…”

At present, an army unit, the infamous 111 Brigade, is deployed at the Presidency for the security of the president, while police guards are deployed around the four boundary walls of the Aiwan-e-Sadr. However, President Zardari has engaged many private guards from Sindh for his personal security –” reflecting a distrust of government-provided security arrangements. There is now a proposal to install US security guards in the inner-most security cordon, the source said.

Read the rest of the report in The Express Tribune  here.


M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. His latest book is Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2009).