By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
My father before me, was called anti state when he wrote against our military disasters in 1965 and 1971, and against Zia's military rule.
He was declared persona non grata by Zia and subsequent Chief's till Gen. Musharraf accorded him the honour he deserved.
A person who was a Pakistani well before most. Writing to the Quaid in 1944 and then donating his Military Cross award to the Muslim League. His life story is also on this blog, for those interested to know more about him.
Here's the link. Col. S.G Mehdi.M.C. The Passing Away of a Great Warrior
Like him, I have also mostly (yes I've sometimes, not often, compromised to fight another day) written and voiced and acted on what I believe is right. Such is the legacy from my father!
My school buddies from Lawrence College, my Army course mates and platoon mates from 53rd PMA Long course, and my unit officers from 15 Punjab, as will those in 4 Ak Bde, where I served as GSO 3, before leaving the Army, will endorse this suicidal attribute.
As will all those fortunate or unfortunate ones who have traveled my journey to date. Family, friends, colleagues etc.
And my right could be wrong from another person's perspective. Absolutely. But it is a perspective which I choose to hold based on what I know and understand and analyse. And of course, as everybody, I have my natural biases of biology, values, gender, ethnicity, beliefs, experiences etc.
But I do not have an agenda other than voicing what I believe is right and calling out the wrong.
I have written as strongly for the Ahmediyya Muslims (yes they are Muslims in my eyes, as long as they say they are. No act of Parliament can make a Muslim, non Muslim, irrespective of my or your personal beliefs).
I will and have written as passionately and angrily when a Christian village is razed to the ground or Hindus are being persecuted. Or Sunnis are being persecuted in Iraq or Shias or Aga Khanis. Anybody.
I will and have defended the Pakistan Army, which I have served honourably, but will also call out its indiscretions and those of its leaders. I've hailed Raheel when he did a good job and raked him over hot coals when he took this stupid decision, in my opinion, to head the Phantom Coalition in Saudi Arabia.
Likewise Gen.Bajwa. Praised him and lambasted him. And praised Gen. Kayani for his great job on the war on terror, despite the overwhelming sentiments against him. As well, praised and criticised Gen. Musharraf, someone who I personally know, like and respect.
Because, I think it's the right thing to do.
I've praised Imran and hauled him. Despite my bias and support for him, hoping he makes it to PM.
Because that's how I see things.
And here are my biases.
I cannot stand Nawaz Sharif and Zardari and all that they stand for. And will fight till my last breath to see them convicted and jailed and put away for good.
I support Imran, for the sake of Pakistan, because with all his faults and mistakes and errors, I still believe he is our best shot. If he can only listen more to good advice and sift flatterers from genuine well wishers!
I genuinely believe that the Al Saud ruling family of Saudi Arabia is the prime cause of the thought, funding and support of the Global terror that has been unleashed. Not all people of Nejd and Hijaz, because there are many in Arabia who hate this evil family!
I believe that Iran is no angel and has done its bunch of dirty tricks in its regional battle against Saudi Arabia. It has provoked Shias in the region and inflamed the fires of conflict, by so doing!
I believe that religion and faith do not have any place in public discourse and is a private matter between an Individual and His Creator. And that is the only way we will get rid of the terrible scourge of sectarianism.
In my personal faith.
I am a Sunni, if it means following the Prophetic Sunnah.
I am a Shia if it means supporting Imam Ali in his fight against evil and what he stood for!
I am a Muslim, if it mean submitting to the Will of Allah.
And above all I am a human being, who believes in the right of every individual to believe anything they want, live as they want, as along as they do not physically harm another.
Only Allah knows who is right and wrong!
But I will and have never. And I repeat, never, curbed what I write or say because it's "not in line" or because I get a phone call from people. And I get them pretty often now to "go easy on the Chief.... or ........"
Or because of an insidious Social Media campaign to smear me and my reputation, cast aspersions on my loyalty, and bring my children into it. And those who've chosen to do that are the ones who have been my biggest targets for the mess today. The ultra rightist extremist lobby in Pakistan. Very strong, both in and out of uniform.
I've been allegedly arrested in Quetta in January 2017, for giving money to Shia officers and released at the request of the Canadian Embassy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Implied in this extremely dangerous slander was that "Shia Officers" of the Pakistan Army are now suspect. I have heard some really bad things, but this really shocked me. And I can now see the "source" of such slander.
A group, people or nation which aims to divide and weaken the Pakistan Army, and Pakistan on sectarian grounds. And only four countries or their proxies in Pakistan mean to do this. India, Israel, USA and Saudi Arabia. The last joining this group, to safeguard their throne and their enmity towards Iran.
And just for the record. I haven't been back to Pakistan, since April 2015, after my father, Col. S.G. Mehdi, passed away in March, 2015.
I have not and will not use any forum or platforms, as some cunningly do, to deliberately throw a piece of burning coal and watch the mayhem!
Or insidiously target one country or another, not because they believe in the rightness of their perspectives, but to deliberately "stoke" and "provoke" discussions, at the behest of hidden hands.
To them. My hidden hand is My God.
Kindly do not fall victim to the devious tactics of these Quislings, pretending to be patriotic intellectuals and trying to cast people like me into an extremist or sectarian slot, to shut us up, because we ask the difficult and the painful questions.
And what is even more tragic, is that this campaign was started by a retired Col on a Pak Army whatsapp forum. It contains some very specific but incorrect information about my younger son's unsuccessful attempt to join the Pakistan Army. Information privy to very few. Including people at the highest levels of our current military leadership!
As my dear late father would often say!
"Don't play to the gallery of public opinion but to the gallery of your conscience and what you believe is right. And enjoy those rare moments when both are aligned. Otherwise walk your lonely path of "Yukk e Az Azaan-e-Mehdi"
Remember, if voices like mine are silenced, no one will fight for you when "they" come for you.
And come they will.