The episode of Raymond Davis’s release has exposed the reality of justice, the myth of sovereignty and the character of Pakistan’s ruling classes. As Hegel once remarked, “Necessity expresses itself through accident.” The whole incident highlights the economic, diplomatic and military crisis the largest imperial power in history is experiencing in this epoch of the senile decay of capitalism on a world scale.
After the debacle in Iraq, the impotence of the military might of US imperialism in Afghanistan is reflected in the failure to combat an insurgency that has become its nightmare. The Afghan jihad that the Americans had launched against the left-wing government of Noor Mohammad Tarakai’s People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) in 1978 has come back with a vengeance. The very forces that the imperialists had unleashed are now a scourge for them.
The ISI that was sponsored by the CIA and the Pentagon is now an antagonising force that they have to rely upon. While being fully aware of the fact that the ISI is playing a double game, giving covert support to the Taliban and other fundamentalist outfits, they have no option but to continue to interact and co-operate with it, at least on paper and as a face saving device.
The CIA and the ISI are playing an ignominious act of mutual deception. In its desperation, the CIA is trying to create its own parallel espionage network to counter the ISI’s capability to double cross. Raymond Davis was part of this covert operation.
The fundamental contradictions that provoke this conflict are the financial assets and massive amounts of black money that are being generated by this exorbitantly profitable war of attrition. These are the real vested interests that motivate and serve to develop the strategy of the ISI and important sections of the Pakistan Army.
Ironically, it was the CIA that instigated and propped up the drug trade and other criminal activities to finance the Afghan jihad in the 1980s. After the Americans abandoned the region with the fall of the Soviet Union, this shadowy accumulation of black money continued unabated. Now it has become institutionalised and it is not an accident that more than two-thirds of Pakistan’s economy is in the informal sector. In other words, it is the black economy that keeps the state and society afloat, albeit on a very fragile and contradictory basis.
It is this section of finance capital that determines the strategic, foreign and domestic policies of the state. The war on terror and the aggression on Afghanistan were also devised to defend the vested interests of US imperialism. But this invasion was a sort of irritating intrusion for the players already in this field, who felt their interests threatened and their financial accumulation at risk.
Although there has been a temporary truce, negotiated by the top bosses from both sides in the negotiations that took place in Oman, it is still fragile and could breakdown sooner rather than later. This war of attrition is a conflict without an end as long as the present socio-economic system exists.
This affair also brings out openly the contradictions within the Pakistani state and paints a bleak picture of conflict and bloodshed as an infinite tragedy for the people of the region. The so-called sovereignty of Pakistan has always been a hoax throughout its history. But with the aggravating socio-economic crisis it has flickered and been extinguished.
Without economic sovereignty no real political or national independence can be attained or envisaged. Patriotism, nationalism and self-sufficiency are myths created to confuse and distract the deprived and the oppressed. National interests in the last analysis are the interests of the ruling classes. In every nation there are two nations, the exploiters and the exploited.
A crisis-ridden ruling class promotes the prejudices of nationalism, religion, sectarianism, caste, all divisive elements that come from the past. But the Pakistani ruling class has failed to create a genuine united nation state. They are forced into imperialist subservience by their historical belatedness and their technological, financial and economic backwardness.
The hue and cry of the Islamic parties and other right-wing forces is a hypocritical farce and a deception. They themselves were propped up by the imperialists and in the wake of class struggle and revolutionary upsurge of the working classes they would stand with the imperialists across the barricades. That is their past and it will be the same in the times ahead.
The masses may be in a state of relative lull at the present time but their instinct tells them the real character of these forces of reaction. It is not accidental that the anti-American rhetoric of the mullahs has not been able to gather much support in spite of a seething hatred of imperialism in society.
It is a disgrace that the Left and the PPP leaders have capitulated to western imperialism in the guise of democracy and liberalism. The PPP’s anti-imperialist traditions have not just been abandoned but its leadership has gone to the extent of unforeseen appeasement to imperialism.
The only genuine war that can be won against imperialist hegemony is through the overthrow of capitalism, the existence of which allows imperialist economic exploitation to continue. This in itself ensures political hegemony.
The judicial charade in the Raymond Davis case will go a long way towards exposing the travesty of justice in a class society. In ancient Greece, Solon of Athens answered the legalistic arguments of the reformists when he said: “The law is like a spider’s web; the small are caught and the great tear it up.”
Fredrick Engels pointed out that all rights presuppose inequality and are therefore bourgeoisie rights. How many ordinary people can go scot-free by paying blood money for murder? Expensive justice is no justice. For the vast majority of the masses to seek justice is beyond their means, hence the illusion of an independent judiciary in a deprived and impoverished society is nothing but a deception.
The French writer Anatole France effectively exposed this hypocrisy when he wrote, “The law in its majesty makes no distinction between the rich and the poor both are forbidden to sleep under the bridges of Paris.” The social and ethical fabric is tearing apart. This obscene system has to be abolished through a revolutionary transformation. It is the only way out.
The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at email@example.com