By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Against the hopes that February 18 elections would usher in great leaps of change and greater stability for Pakistan , the country is still passing through trials and tribulations. If any specialist argues that domestic turmoil and external threats would boost national economy, people’s welfare and stability of any country, they would still have enough opportunity to revise that opinion now. If that were the case, then, all African nations would have become developed nations by now.
Pakistan has been under distress for quite some time now shifting from one problem to another. West and many in the East argued that a democratic poll would turn around the scene in Pakistan . And poll did take place and new coalition governments were put in place both in Islamabad and provinces, but the people still feel defeated. And the continued turmoil has not improved the conditions of the country yet.
US forces have entered Pakistan and killed Muslims but Americans are still blaming Pakistan for not doing ‘enough” for USA . In order to cover-up its genocide in Afghanistan and Pakistan, USA has very cleverly blamed Islamabad for the attack in Afghanistan on the embassy of India quite keen to woo the Neocons by joining the US-led forces in tracking both Afghans and Pakistanis. Even as pushing ahead nuclearism with India , the United States has said it will be shifting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan . For any thing bad happening in India it has become a sheer habit of Indian media and strategists to blame Pakistan and Bangladesh . And India media as their patriotic mission make people in general and Muslims in particular to abuse Pakistan and Bangladesh for their ill-fate in India .
However, it looks Pakistan still remains out of gear. One does not know what would have happened if the strong “soldier” President Musharraf had quit silently when the lawyers and their supporters of Pakistan ’s political theater coerced him to do.
Amid regular clashes between Pakistani troops and pro-Taliban fighters or “militants” in the tribal regions bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan using rockets and automatic weapons, killing hundreds of Muslims on either side, anti-Musharraf political leaders in the country have at long last got ready with a plan, after three days of talks, to finally impeach the president Pervez Musharraf on August 11, setting a real confrontational stage leading to enormous chaos. Ruling coalition parties in Pakistan say they have agreed “in principle” to start impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf. Party leaders Asif Ali Zardari of PPP and Nawaz Sharif of PMLN made the announcement after three days of talks. The two leaders also promised to restore judges sacked under Musharraf’s emergency rule once impeachment was successful. How to proceed on that issue had caused deep divisions between the two coalition parties since the elections.
An impeachment would take Pakistani politics into new territory, since no Pakistani leader has faced it before. The leaders say they will also move to have Musharraf face votes of confidence in the national and four provincial assemblies. There are, however, no other confirmed details about how an impeachment process might proceed. The question of whether or not to impeach Musharraf has threatened to divide the governing coalition. Impeachment would need a two-thirds majority in the upper and lower houses of the national assembly but getting those numbers might be difficult.
However, President Musharraf remains unimpressed by the announcement and has even offered his counsel to the leaders saying the Parliament can impeach him and they should go ahead with their plan. The president has previously said he would prefer to resign than face impeachment.
Musharraf’s message is loud and clear to Zardari, the widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who derided Musharraf’s economic policies, saying that he has worked to undermine the transition to democracy. He warned Musharraf not to dissolve parliament, saying: “If he does it, it will be his last verdict against the people.” Sharif said: ” Pakistan cannot afford to see democracy derailed; this is not the same Pakistan as was the case in the 1980s and 1990s. People will not accept it now.” Zardari said: “We have good news for democracy. The coalition believes it is imperative to move for impeachment against General Musharraf.”
Musharraf took power in a bloodless coup in 1999. He gave up control of the army last year and his allies were defeated in February’s elections but he retains the power to dissolve parliament. Musharraf was elected president for a five-year term last October in a controversial parliamentary vote. Musharraf was discussing a course of action and had the options of dissolving parliament or imposing emergency rule again. The president is still thought to have heavy influence over the military and its reaction will remain crucial. Pakistan has been ruled by military leaders for more than half of its existence since Partition in 1947.
The PPP and PMLN coalition won the polls in February conducted Musharraf’s government and formed governments both at the centre and in provinces while allied that supported the president were defeated in elections. The victorious parties have been demanding the resignation of Musharraf, but he has so far resisted pressure to quit. The lawyers’ demonstrations exerted maximum possible pressure o the former General, but he stuck to his guns firmly.
Last year, he gave up control of the army, the country’s most powerful institution, but he retains the power to dissolve parliament. How the military reacts to any efforts to oust him would be crucial in determining his fate. Musharraf has cancelled his trip to China , where he was due to attend the opening of the Olympic Games and he will be replaced by Prime Minister Yousef Gilani.
PPP senior vice chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim has said PPP is still maintaining contact with President Musharraf on back door channel. Pakistani nations is not satisfied over performance of PPP led government PPP is meant for the poor people and it will serve no purpose if the party holds closed-door meetings when the poor section of society is in miserable condition, he underlined. Nothing has been done in 100 days and only inflation has been fuelled, he regretted. Law and order situation is worst and kidnapping for ransom is at its peak, he alleged. Impeachment of president Musharraf was a constitutional issue, he said adding Asif Zardari had not decided to become president therefore, “I” could say nothing about supporting him or otherwise.
Attempts made by Musharraf to usher in an era of “democracy’ have enboldened the oppostion to challenge his own authority. racy The strategy of PPP and PMLN will not be enough to dislodge President Musharraf but might weaken him ahead of any impeachment showdown. What is at stake is Pakistan ’s security as well as people’s welfare and this lingering crisis can further weaken the Pakistan as an Islamic nation.
There is no denying the fact that Pakistan is longing for a strong leadership, rather some charismatic leaders, to take Pakistan forward. The process of devaluing President Musharraf has not pushed forward any strong personality for Pakistanis to pin hopes on. The most significant issue is the leadership vacuum that pervades all segments of society. A manifestation of this void is the antics of the current coalition government, which over the past six months has struggled to define its purpose and chalk out a concrete program to confront these challenge. It is difficult to pin point just one section of Pakistan for the present stalemate. So, the politicians are not the only culprits. Military top brass, bureaucratic big-wigs, industrialists and civic leaders are just as guilty.
The position of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani does not promote any such strong personality for the purposes. Gilani has remained a care-taker premier, supporting the ruling coalition, also without rubbing shoulder with Musharraf openly. Nawz Sharif and Zardari, who are concerned mainly concerned about lawyers and judges and not seen about working for people welfare, have not come up to the expectations of the people who voted them to power.
World get the impression that Pakistani leaders are interested only in endless infighting. The end to the leadership crisis is dependent upon how quickly the people of Pakistan wake up from their slumber and make their leaders see reason and come out with measure to stop blood shed in Pakistan and political bickering.
Of late, there have been two sets of rumors reported in Pakistan media. One, Musharraf, unsatisfied with its performance, has been considering dismissing the PPP-led government in Islamabad . Two, rumor mills have begun spreading a fresh installment about replacement of present Gilani government by another to be led by Sharif. It is said Pakistani intelligence is working to build up a story to incriminate or at the very least, implicate Zardari in the court of public opinion.
The ouster of Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from power and the engineered return of Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif is a child of the establishment, promoted and sponsored by Gen. Zia himself. Many in Pakistan ’s military and intelligence apparatus remain sympathetic to their former proxies as is Nawaz Sharif.
Sharif is well liked by Pakistan ’s right and religious people. His return would likely mark the end to the Pakistan Army’s push in the country’s northwest. But military would resist his return to power. On Monday 23 June, 2008, a three-member bench of the Lahore High Court disqualified PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif from contesting the by-election while provisionally allowing his younger brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif to continue working as the Punjab chief minister. This has further complicated Sharif’s onward political march to reach the level of the top most leader.
Unmindful of his weak position at home, Pakistan ’s Prime Minister Gilani visited the White House last month for talks focusing on the effort to fight the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Gilani has reportedly told President Bush to leave the “terrorism” problem inside the country to Pakistan itself and USA should not unnecessarily meddle with domestic affairs. “We must have more cooperation with each other and it’s our job because we are fighting the war for ourselves,” he called on the United States not to act “unilaterally” against Islamic “militants” in Pakistan . Gilani, whose new government has been facing intense US pressure to crack down on Pakistan-based “militants”, but both refuse to consider addressing their genuine problems.
Gilani said the United States needs to be more patient and should not take unilateral actions in Pakistan . The Bush administration has decided to shift its resources from counter-terrorism programs to upgrading the country’s F-16 fighter jets. In so-doing, the administration has had to reject criticism that Pakistan wants the planes to be upgraded as part of its military rivalry with neighboring India . The US claims the F-16s will enhance the ability to strike insurgents accurately. US should not violate Pakistani sovereignty. Bush said he had received a “strong commitment” from Gilani that Pakistan would try “as best as possible” to prevent Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants from crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan , where they attack US and NATO troops. Bush called Pakistan a “strong ally” and said the United States “supports the sovereignty of Pakistan .” “It’s tense in that we’re working together” to fight terrorism.
US-led terror War in Islamic world has entered its seventh year and results are far from satisfactory, except that Muslims are systematically killed and their economies are crippled as per Neocons plans. USA has exploited Pakistan the maximum extent possible not by using Indian nuclearism flirting and musings, it wants to fix this Islamic nation to the ransom. By cleverly using Bin Laden as the “mastermind” behind the attacks and Taliban as their cohorts, America embarked upon the adventure to wipe out the root causes of terrorism. Now it seems USA entirely controls both Afghanistan and Pakistan and is keen to bring in India fully with its arms arsenal both in Afghanistan and Pakistan . This aimless war has no trend and target seems to be Islam and Muslims. After bring the economies of Afghanistan and Iraq , USA now thinks it has legitimacy to run Pakistani economy as well.
What the US forces are doing in the South Waziristan region? USA has fully used threat of terror as an excuse to destabilize Pakistan . USA has harmed Pakistan in worse ways than those of India which his ill-focused on its Muslim neighbors and is keen to destabilize them. US-led terror wars have only strengthened Indian hands to make its dream come true somehow. Bush and Gilani “acknowledged that terrorism and violent extremism pose a common threat to Pakistan , the United States , and the international community. Bush had also allocated increased aid to Pakistan . “The president offered 115 million dollars over two years in food aid and 42.5 million of that will be available over the next six to nine months.
American interests are global and US believes in policy of pre-emption and collateral damage by obliterating its enemy. As long as Americans remain in the region pacifying these rogue elements, cessation of violence and putting a lid on extremist spill over into settled areas will remain illusive. Regional leaders help USA spread its poisonous tentacles all over the region and beyond.
America used Pakistan in 1989 and the myopic military regime complied with US dictates for their vested interests and today once again America is making us scapegoat thanks to spineless compliance of Musharraf regime to US demands. Pakistan ’s current unending troubles started the day Pakistan unconditionally decided to join hands with US as a frontline state against war on terror. This sorry state of affair is no different from last phase of cold war when we were left high and dry to deal with 3 million Afghan refugees.
Pakistan has witnessed years of turmoil and polarization which has reached a tumultuous climax today. Pakistan needs to re-examine the post 9/11 foreign policy. More they capitulate to US pressures more will be the militant violence and extremism. Though, there are no easy answers to menace of “terrorism and extremism” but it definitely is not an unsolvable puzzle. The root cause of Pakistan ’s leadership predicament can be attributed to a single factor—namely the economic and political system inherited from the colonizers— and later modified by the US . In their eagerness to serve western powers—western solutions were relentlessly borrowed and applied to all walks of Pakistani life. The cut and paste mentality hasn’t worked well.
The only salvation for Pakistan is for a new dynamic, truly Islamic leadership to take the reigns of power, dismantle the nation’s corrupt systems, mismanagement and institutions and reverse Pakistan ’s decline. It must possess an acute sensation of the problems of Pakistan and an ideological vision that reflects the beliefs and values of the people. It must raze all vestiges of western domination, monopoly and superiority symptoms. The West has already described this political trend as the movement to re-establish the Caliphate and hence it opposes and wants to keep “terrorism” alive to thwart any serious attempt at humane truthful rule to genuinely help the people to advance their legitimate aspirations.
Talking alone is no solution. Leaders every where know the art of addressing the public. But solutions are need of the hour in Islamabad . Pakistanis have to decide whether Muslims again want to be used as strategic tool in the hands of a superpower which is pursuing imperial and hegemonic designs in the region at the cost of Islamabad’s national integration and stability. Pakistan should adopt solutions that are not disconnected from the problems of Pakistan and opposed to the beliefs and cultural values coveted by the people.