Cracks in the Union
Anjum Niaz
Friday, November 23, 2012
From Print Edition

Memo from USA

Today all 50 states in America want secession from the Union. History appears to be playing a deformed joke on some Washington think tanks and congressmen who for long wanted Pakistan to break up. Redrawn maps of a truncated country suggesting that Pakistan is ungovernable have freely floated around.

Well, America’s own chickens are coming home to roost with some countrymen wanting an out from the ‘One Nation under God.’ All because the secessionists are convinced that President Barack Obama will drive America down a cliff into the valley of wipeout.

The raison d’etre to breakaway from the Union is the usual Republican Party mantra one heard all through this year. Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News caps the frustration of his fellow whites without any frills: “They (blacks and Hispanics) want equality for gays in the marriage arena. They want unfettered abortion with no parental notification for minors. They want a one-world foreign policy that gives other nations equal status to America.”

Don’t even dare think you are equal to America because we are the greatest nation on earth. This is the chesty message from O’Reilly and his white supremacists for the rest of the world and for their own blacks and Latinos at home.

Earlier this year, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, demanded Balochistan be allowed to secede. He put forth a resolution that the Baloch should “have the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country.”

Who is this wacko? Well, he’s a certified Pakistan-basher who leads the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. We are all aware of his past attempts at cutting American aid to Pakistan. More serious is his babbling on Baloch secession and dismemberment of Pakistan. “He is a hero for the Baloch nation,” declared one Akram Baloch, heading the Baloch diaspora and a US national living in Philadelphia.

“This is a very big achievement,” piped another, the exiled Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud. He lives in Wales. Daud is the mastermind behind Rohrabacher’s resolution. “We have brought whatever is happening in Balochistan to the world stage. This is just the start,” Daud threatened.

Worry not! Dana Rohrabacher is currently seized with secession plans for his own state of California now that his bête noir Obama has won the election. His kooky conspiracy theories against his own president continue to surface. The crazy congressman accuses Obama of giving a pass to the ‘Islamic extremists.’ Two months ago, he wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a referendum on the secession of Iran’s eastern and western Azerbaijan provinces.

Before the serial-secessionist-sponsor seeks Sindh, Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s secession, Pakistan’s ideal tit for tat should be: Mr Rohrabacher practice what you preach to the world; go fight for California’s secession from America. Mind your own business and leave Pakistan and Iran alone.

Any US state that can rack up 25,000 petitions for secession is eligible for an official response from the Obama White House. The latest score shows 39 of the 50 states feverishly launching petition drives to reach this magic number. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas have already accrued this figure. Petitions from other states are piling up fast and quick on the White House’s website “We the People.”

In my state of New Jersey alone, 9,000 and counting voices lend support to the 675,000 swell circulating the White House cyberspace.

America is a nation of over 300 million people. The number of its citizens wanting to breakup is a mere drop in the ocean. David Frum, author of e-book, Why Romney lost says that today America has many ‘oddballs’ wanting to secede. This was not so before. Every four years when the presidential election came up, a “crank” would surface; make some noise and then disappear. “But today, the oddballs are many and their voices get louder and louder.”

Well, the Americans can afford to laugh at their 675,000 ‘oddballs’ demanding secession, but in Pakistan, the ‘S’ word equals blasphemy. The ‘S’ word equals treason. And blasphemy and treason equals death. Whenever the sceptre of ‘secession’ is raised, rulers of the land spook out. They scream blue murder.

Each time ‘Jinnahpur’ or ‘Pashtunistan’ is mentioned, the whole nation goes into a cataclysmic fit. It was the winter of 2008. Obama was the president-elect when a map was circulated in Washington by some American neoconservative circles showing a part of Pakistan as “greater Afghanistan.”

Voices at the GHQ reinforced a long-held belief that the United States really wanted the break-up of Pakistan, the only Muslim country with nuclear arms. “One of the biggest fears of the Pakistani military planners is the collaboration between India and Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan,” a senior (military?) Pakistani official told the New York Times on condition of anonymity. “Some people feel the United States is colluding in this.”

As recent as two months, another alarming write-up with a new map of divided Pakistan in the New York Times showed up. Titled ‘The New World’ authors Frank Jacobs and Parag Khanna (an Indian, who else?) imagined a “greater Pashtunistan” after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. “With no cohesive figure in sight to lead Afghanistan after President Hamid Karzai, and with Pakistan mired in dysfunctional sectarianism and state weakness,” a new nation could coagulate across the Durand Line, currently dividing the two countries,” they said.

It’s Balochistan that Pakistan needs to save from international and domestic predators. The usual talking points get trotted out about the poorest province in Pakistan being the richest in mineral resources.

Among the jaded and hackneyed conspiracy theories, one is America’s bid to grab the gold and everything else that Balochistan can offer, including the port of Gwadar, positioned at the gate of Hormuz strait from where 40 percent of the world oil passes. It has a potential of connecting landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics (gas and oil rich) with the world.

The writer is a freelance journalist. Email: [email protected]