Col Bakhtiar Hakeem (R)
It is the tale of last four months or so. The story starts with the bang, a huge bang for Pakistan. This bang shook Pakistan to its hilt. The thunder bolt of the evening of 27th Dec 2007 rolled on to three days of loot, arson, killing and terror. It was more than probable that plans to burn and loot, in the wake of attack on Miss Benazir (BB), were in place in advance. Only to have a measure the scale of destruction, 450 branches of the banks were attacked! Who did it? Who was behind it, still not known? The events to follow have screened that holocaust. Dear Pakistanis do not forget those days. Dig out the reasons, the culprit and make all-out efforts to punish them.
Asif Ali Zardari (AZ) emerged as a rediscovered and a new found hero. Previously for the masses he was nothing but a villain. His press conference from Garhi Khuda Bakhsh was the next landmark. Pakistan‘khappay, was the slogan; great, simply superb. The emergence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was more of a mystery, a facade, and a dubious move or at best something spurious by the real politics. Was he a cover plan? After all, why at first place, one needs to be a Zardari or a Bhutto to lead the Party. Human beings do not lead by pedigree but by what they actually deliver. And to be a Zardari and a Bhutto right at the demise of mom! It was time to rise not to stoop.Dear readers, the visit of Nawaz Sharif to the hospital, where BB was declared dead followed by his decision to boycott elections in conformity with PPP and not only that his decision to visit Garhi Khuda Bakhsh graveyard, while the mourning were still on; were a series of positive steps. Whole nation viewed this with their mouths half-opened and with great sense of hope. Then came the news to halt the series of these positive developments. Election commission, very obviously under the instructions of presidency decided to delay the elections by six weeks. New date was 18th Feb 2008. PML Q which had been called and named Qatal League, by PPP was presumably to be the biggest beneficiary of this delay engineering. President and Ch Shujjat appeared to be in sort of paralysis due to the after-math of December 27th killing. Election campaign of PML-Q was devastated in the days immediately following 27th Dec.
USA-Gen Musharraf-BB nexus was worst hit due to the elimination of BB from this trio. How would US or more specifically, Bush Administration now manipulate within Pakistan for their interests. There was no simple and quick solution. Musharraf alone; would he be enough, even as President, if there is a sovereign parliament in place? Very obviously, a truly representative Parliament, and an independent Parliament, and above all, if it is headed by a popular and a strong leader (PM), will not be in favour of schemes guarding US interests. No more on this topic as of now.
Election 2008 held on 18th Feb; drew a watershed line between the one-man, authoritative rule and the rule of a parliamentary democracy, run by the representatives of the people. So this was the third fortunate development. First was re-emergence of A Z as a mature, accommodating national leader and second in the form of PML-(N)-PPP convergence. The ramifications of the elections can be summarized into following points:-
Rejection of Musharraf’s policies, military rule and hate towards his person.
Defeat of PML-Q as a symbol of rejection of Musharraf’s supporters allies and friends. May Shiekh Rashid learn something positive? Reinforcement for the valiant struggle of Ch. Iftikhar, the deposed CJ of Pakistan. A mandate for two leading parties to re-establish democracy and reinstates deposed judiciary. The appointment of Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani was another good fortune, for Pakistan. He has been quiet on internal matters, keeping himself and Army off the civil affairs. Not a single man in uniform was seen on polling stations on the day of polls. He considered it more honorable to go to PM house and give briefing to new Chief Executive of Pakistan and coalition partners. New COAS has withdrawn over hundred officers from civil departments. Some of the postings and cancellation of extensions indicated negations of Musharraf’s way of working. GHQ has recently reminded its officers on deputation to civilian departments not to use GHQ insignia and broad arrow on their cars and not to use uniform. The SOP was in place since of year 2003, but hardly known, since it was not being practised. Of late there has been effort of truce with local Taliban. Some of our troops have been withdrawn from Swat Valley. Thus actual engagement of Pak troops within borders has reduced considerably. Well, he has yet to improve his stance in the following areas:-
Pakistani forces are not the allies of the biggest terrorist in the history of mankind i.e. USA. Response of Pakistan Army against the attacks by foreign troops, in air and on land. Who else has to fight for the sovereignty of Pakistan?
There continues some sort of support for Musharraf, howsoever sheepish.
March 2008 was a landmark and a momentous day in the political growth in the political maturity and in the struggle for rule of law. A Z and N S signed the Murree declaration and promulgated the restoration of deposed judges and restoration of independence of judiciary within thirty days. The saga of good fortune ends here. The cycle took the course of other half hereafter.
Thus a journey which started in the evening of 27th December and moved from success to success happily till 30th April came to an end. It was also the end of reverse counting. The chronological scale ended, the timeline was crossed but the coalition had failed to restore the judges. Presidency was up and awake smelling, feeling and trying to pinch a hole. Could US backed Musharraf break the coalition? The calculations and the engineering to do wheel-dealing, to derive some kind of wedge between AZ and NS was the commitment of days and nights. Masses in Pakistan were chagrined and bewildered. The once upbeat mood is all vanished. Some questions are too pinching and too worrying for the people to stay hopeful. Here is a summary of these unanswered apprehensions: –
Had BB gone into some kind of compromise with Musharraf, before her return which is binding now for AZ?
Has AZ been bought by Musharraf with the US as guarantor? Would AZ try to make PPP government in Punjab also? Would PML-Q and MQM be next coalition partners with PPP in the government? If above happens will, it be the demise of ZA Bhutto’s PPP? How strong would be the lawyers struggle, led by Aitazaz Ahsan? Will lawyers succeed in the restoration of sixty deposed judges with Iftikhar Ch as CJ? Would the dearness hike and crises of fuel and Atta be resolved, or ruin the political stability; yet to set in? Would dearness crises complement the lawyers struggle to create insurmountable problems for PPP government? How threatening would be the victory of NS and Shabaz Sharif in the bye-elections for the coalition? Questions are many, some simple some complex. Leading issue or the core issue was and still remains to be the restoration of judges. I suggest, it could have been debated and resolved by the parliament had it been moved as a Bill. May be the double shame of 30th April and then 12th May was avoidable. Maybe it was not. It could be debated if it was only for the wisdom of MNAs. There was something more to it. There were other players and factors. Am I right to suppose? Pakistan how fortunate you were all these months! Pakistan how unfortunate are you still! You can neither restore judges nor defend Damdola nor revenge the attack on Damdola.
Source: Pakistan Observer, 28/5/2008