Friday, 14 March 2014

Mayhem in March: Guest Post by Khalid Muhammad

The story behind Agency Rules: Never an Easy Day at the Office

When you are so hungry for peace that you are blind to atrocities, you are no longer sovereign or free.”

What’s it like to live in a country where you live in fear every time you leave the house? To live in an urban city under siege from criminals and gangs that operate under the unbridled support of political parties and terrorists alike, with police taking their share to the look the other way? Where bomb blasts and terrorist attacks become part of the nature of the country and people become desensitized to the blood and carnage with each passing day? What’s it like to have 90 million people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome believing that negotiating and agreeing to terrorist demands, the country may become safer, while the other 90 million are screaming for military action?

This is today’s Pakistan and the place that I call home. What I have just described to you is not all of what Pakistan is today. It is a nation that is fighting for its existence in the community of nations, but it is also a nation full of hard-working, educated, honest people that want to see peace returned to their country. And there lies the rub…

Over the years, Pakistan has been infiltrated by traitors to the nation, more interested in bolstering their offshore bank accounts and assets, than they are in building a better country. The repercussions are felt like shockwaves throughout the country every day - an economy in tatters, education non-existent for those without wealth and employment opportunities unavailable for those without approach. It’s the same Pakistan that the religious extremists use to recruit more followers into their holy wars.

Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office, rather than picking up from today, stumbles
backwards to the 1990s, right after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the beginnings of the extremist/terrorist camps within the tribal areas. Fresh from a successful war with a superpower, the Mujahideen fighters that had traveled from Pakistan returned home. A segment of these fighters with more militant leanings looked to change the country that had neglected them and their religious beliefs in favor of a liberal agenda that allowed women to attend schools, men to dress in Western clothing and Islam to be sequestered to Friday prayers and religious holidays.

The book will take you through the 90s and the networks that were created within the country’s madrassahs (religious schools) that today funnel fighters into the al-Qaeda and the fight against the NATO forces in Afghanistan. It will give you a picture of Pakistan through one man’s eyes as he fights for his own identity and place in society. He is the embodiment of the Pakistani that the world doesn’t see in the headlines or the evening news. As the honorable soldier, the precision sniper, the intelligence operative and the conflicted man, Kamal Khan takes you through one of the greatest adventures before the War on Terror started to a Pakistan that is at war with itself.

Shrouded in political expediency, hampered by internal power struggles, international espionage and doublespeak that makes Washington’s spin doctors proud, Kamal’s mission is a nightmare of rampant militant fundamentalism that threatens to choke and take Pakistan hostage. For him, the fight is not just for freedom, but the survival of a nation.