Friday, January 30, 2015

The Third PMLN Government is in Disarray

January 30, 2015
By Saeed Qureshi
 With a plethora of visibly intractable problems staring in its countenance, the PMLN government seems to be sinking in a stultifying quagmire. The fundamental snag is not the intention of the PMLN leaders but the paucity of the vision and acute lack of befitting strategies to address the grave issues that have engulfed Pakistan from the day this country was born. The poet has stunningly portrayed that bizarre situation in the following couplet;
“If the first brick laid by the builder is uneven, the wall would remain sloppy no matter it rises to the ultimate layer of the heaven”

The resignation of Punjab governor Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar and his outspoken statement outlining why he resigned is ominous for both federal and Punjab government of PMLN. It is a bolt from blue that would further erode the credibility of PMLN, particularly Nawaz Sharif as a redeemer prime minister and his brother Shahbaz Sharif as a visionary chief minister of Punjab province.

While expressing his resolve to live and die in Pakistan, the prominent business tycoon from England seems to be totally disillusioned with governance despite being very close to the Sharif family. He talked of the helplessness of a governor against the overbearing clout of the land mafia, oppression, injustice and crimes against children and women without any visible remedies on the part of the government to resolve those evils.

This resignation of a high profile PMLN cohort is perhaps a vivid indication that all is not well with the internal cohesion of the PMLN. There could be further walk outs undermining the monolithic facade of this party that took over the government for the unprecedented third time.
Yet there was another stunning statement by Sardar Zulfikar Ali Khoso a former governor of Punjab who lambasted the Sharif brothers to be ruling like clan leaders with zero tolerance even for an in-party constructive criticism.

The nearly two years (in June 2015) of PMLN in office has not been landmark nor studded with any breakthroughs for the people of Pakistan. Making of highways alone here and there is not going to bring about a momentous transformation that Pakistan is in dire need of. One could hazard a conjecture that PMLN cannot complete its full term of office that would come to a close in May 2018.
The two prolonged dharnas ( sit in) by Imran Khan and Allama Tahirul Qadri in Islamabad and the Lahore brazen shooting of citizens by the Punjab police outside Dr Qadri’s house has diminished the original luster of the new governments in Punjab and at center.

President Obama‘s phenomenal visit to India and the reinforcement of all encompassing partnership had turned Pakistan into a political dwarf in the sub-continent concerning Afghanistan. The United States mentions India and Afghanistan as partners with regard to the future of that war torn country but omits Pakistan that brought victory to United States and the west against an historic and equally strong foe Russia.

As such domestically and externally Pakistan looks like a gambler or stakeholder losing on all fronts. If that is the output and performance of the incumbent administration then it should be ready for a premature send off as has happened to it on two previous occasions. If the same debased political culture of thuggery, exploitation and brazen mismanagement and glaring nepotism is spawned and remains in place without any tangible changes in the society then the people would be justified for change of the leadership.

 The pioneering political leadership after 1947 could not make a constitution for long. The conduct of the political parities was as if Pakistan was a banana republic. As such the governments formed were blown away one after another like hay till martial law was clamped first by Iskander Mirza in 1958 and then perpetuated the same year by his nemesis and successor Field Marshall Ayub Khan. Compared to that, India at the very outset formulated a constitution. Martial Law was never imposed in India by the military Junta.

The truncation of Pakistan in 1971 was another deadly blow to Pakistan and what happened afterwards is known to all of us. Military ruled Pakistan for pretty 33 years. The period from 1947 to the martial law of 1958 can be described as an era of political anarchy and that was the prime time for firming up the new state of Pakistan on democratic and constitutional foundations.

The Afghan war fought in 80s against Soviet Union by Islamic fighters at the behest of United States and European bloc created a Frankenstein of religious crusaders. After capturing power in Afghanistan, these religious outfits later started casting their prying eyes on Pakistan with a malicious design to also make it an Islamic caliphate. For that insidious goal they have been wrecking it with diabolic crimes, brutal insurgencies and unremitting terrorism.

The offensive in North Waziristan against the Taliban, the terrorists in Karachi and the establishment of military courts has been initiated from the army and not by the PMLN government. Rather the government was reluctant in favor of such actions.  The fiendish religious militancy a la Taliban and horrific separatist movement in Baluchistan by renegade Baluchis cannot be bridled so soon.

Domestically life in Pakistan has become critically unsafe because of trigger happy criminals stalking everywhere. The economy is in bad shape. The morale of the people is at the lowest ebb. The civic services are in a mess. The life of the inhabitants is deplorably degrading. Horse driven carts, rickshaws, open drains with stinking water, congested housing, inadequate and abysmal health and education services, the wholesale adulteration, widespread pollution of smoke and noise. 

There are ubiquitous robberies, rampant street  crimes, kidnapping and rape, no water no electricity, no safe, comfortable or reliable transportation and heaps of rotting trash all over the country with nauseating stink. Moral corruption and sex business heightening as in countries like Thailand for easy money among the poor sections of the society.  

In comparison, the elite particularly the elected representatives wallow in wealth, travel in well protected plush cars and lord over the army of servants, live in palatial mansions and have millions and billions of local and foreign currencies stashed in banks both local and foreign. These elite classes, the aristocrats and feudal lords own mills and fabulous contracts of huge services, supply and construction. They are immune from the law. There is a wide gulf between rich and poor, high and low in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We adore and worship dead saints and amass money by playing up their divine powers.

If Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is earnest and perceives the gravity of the situation and the shortcomings in his party’s governance, he should move fast for the structural and revolutionary reforms without further delay and wastage of time. If he still remains indolent and unmoved then a military takeover is around the corner that may take over the power in partnership with a technocrats’ government and that set up is going to be a long haul. General Raheel Shareef have already established his praiseworthy credentials and there are calls from MQM and various sections of the society for army to step in for reining in the mushrooming crimes, endemic anarchy, slow decision making and deeply entrenched vested interests.

If prime minister wants to refurbish his dwindling image and erase the impression of poor performance he should post haste, enact the following reforms. I am laying down the crash program for reforms for the government to pursue with utmost seriousness and speed to save the day when it would be thrown out of the power citadel and this time no friendly broker may come to their rescue. Here is the reforms package:

·    1. Full time ministers should be appointed in the ministries kept by the prime minister himself. Ad-hoc advisory appointments must be discontinued forthwith.
·    2.The batches of federal and provincial ministers should be sent along with their senior officials, to United States or to the European countries to watch and learn the art of governance and mechanism of running the institutions efficiently and diligently. Such institutions can be judiciary, police civic and municipal departments, education, health Taxation, transportation, railways road network and so on.
·    3. Without further loss of time at least sixteen provinces should be created, splintering the existing four elephantine provinces keeping in view their ethnic compositions and the size. For instance Punjab can be broken into more provinces than others. Same yardstick can be applied to other provinces. Siraiki and Hazara provinces can be created on the basis of ethnic contiguity.
·    4. Army and intelligence network should be mobilized to launch a countrywide blitz against criminals of all hues and flush them out either physically or award of heavy sentences through speedy military courts. Lawlessness in any form has to be brutally eliminated.
·    5. All the religious announcements or amendments made under pressure from religious outfits in the constitution by ZA Bhutto or later by Ziaul-Haq should be rescinded and rolled back to ensure religious freedom as enshrined in the constitutions of the civilized countries around the world.
·   6. Feudalism, a despicable legacy of the British colonialism and a morbid institution of enslaving the peasants must be abolished without further delay. The land thus acquired should be distributed among the tillers and bonded farm labor.
·    7. A civic revolution aimed at easing and making the lives of citizens decent must be launched by adopting the plans and the modus-operandi from civically developed countries like United States The establishment of universally prevalent local bodies’ model of “city and county” governments is the dire need to civically beautify Pakistan. A batch of technocrats or civic experts should be sent aboard to study the mechanism of the local government there and the way they manage their cities and rural areas providing civic and   municipal amenities like public transportation, picking up of trash, providing round the clock water and similar utilizes.
·   8.Slums in the cities have to be expunged. It means the municipal institutions should precondition the construction of new houses with a road in front of each house. Each house has to be separate and without any joint boundary wall. For joint living, condominiums and apartment complexes can be built and run by the reputed corporations with provision of facilities.  The commercial areas should be separately built from the residential neighborhoods. The example of such model of housing is in Islamabad. The old cities can be slowly converted modern on the pattern of Islamabad. That would facilitate smooth traffic and environmental neatness.  
·   11. A high powered independent commission with judicial powers should be constituted to scan the ill-gotten wealth and source of earnings of the high ups in every domain of life. Those not paying taxes or concealing their wealth without accountability must be given speedy condign punishments.
·     12. Another commission should look into the grave issue as to why the mega projects like generation of electricity and making of dams, quarrying coal mines make no headway and finally are abandoned or left in lurch. Those who have hindered these national projects for personal interests or at the behest of the foreign parties must be exposed and jailed. This commission should also devise the strategy to ensure in-built accountability and transparency in private and public institutions. Rules in public dealing departments must be simplified and graft punishable without delay.
·     13. Religion and state needs to be separated for a modern, stable and prosperous Pakistan.
Religious cartels, spiritual fiefdoms and sectarian outfits must be kept under strict watch to ensure religious harmony.  Those violating the laid down rules should be banned and their top notches should be penalized.



            


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Memorizing the Holy Quran

January 24, 2015
By Saeed Qureshi

Countless Muslim parents and the families send their sons and daughters to the mosques and religious madrasas (seminaries) for memorizing the full text of the holy Quran. The students living in residential religious seminaries memorize Quran to become, Hafiz, Imams or religious teachers. 

A Hafiz or Imam recites the thirty suras of Quran during the month of fasting or Ramadan. Most of the religious scholars who give sermons or lectures in mosques or religious congregations also memorize the entire Quran for quotations and references during the conversations or speeches.

But besides the professional Qari or the Hafiz we have seen that the young boys and girls from the tender age of five and upward spent years in memorizing the whole Quran. They do so because their parents want them to be Qari out of sheer blessings (swab) or for filling their chests with light of the divine book revealed on the last prophet of God Hazrat Muhammad (SAWS). 

Besides memorizing the thirty Suras (parts) of Quran at homes or by going to religious seminaries or Imams in the mosque, these young boys and girls also attend the traditional educational institutions for worldly education.  Those young boys and girls who solely learn the Quran for becoming Hafiz or Qaris do not get traditional education.

It takes several years for a boy or a girl to memorize the complete holy book. But their job does not finish here. They have to keep updating and refreshing the contents of the Quran throughout their lives, otherwise they can forget some links here and there. 

Thus most of the students are tied to the memorizing and refreshing of the Quranic text merely for keeping it in their memory and not for any practical use as done by the professional Qaris or Hafiz whose main job is to lead prayers and impart Quranic or religious teachings in mosques or religious schools.

Let us see how the memorizing the Quran started. The revealing of Quran upon the last prophet of God, Hazrat Muhammad (SAWS) continued for 23 years (609-632 AD).  The revelations were memorized by the companions of the prophet because in those primitive times the best way to preserve the revealed divine messages was to commit these to memory. 

Since Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) himself was unlettered (could not read or write) he dictated the divine revelations to his companions called scribes who would commit those to their memories. Besides memorizing the revealed ayahs, these were written on various articles such as parchments, palm-leaf stalks, thin stones and camel skins or bones.
   
As stated above, in those times of early Islam, the only viable way to preserve the Quran and its contents were by memorizing in order to recite the Ayahs in the prayers observed five times a day particularly completing the recitation of the whole Quran in the month of Ramadan or fasting. It was absolutely indispensable to commit the revealed messages of God to memory.

The First caliph Abu Bakr felt the inevitability of assembling all the scattered revelations in the form of a book after a number of prophet’s companions who knew the Quran by heart were killed in a battle with the false prophet Masilma.

Under his orders Zayd ibn Thabit the chief scribe and the secretary of the prophet and a committee headed by him collected the verses from all available sources memorized or written and produced a hand-written manuscript of the complete book named Abu Bakr manuscript.

This manuscript first remained with Abu Bakr himself and then was passed on to one of prophet’s wives Hafsa bint Umar (daughter of the second caliph Umar)   and it remained in her custody for 20 years. The third caliph Hazrat Usman took this manuscript from Hazrat Hafsa and got a standard manuscript prepared by a committee headed again by Zayd. 

The.The copies of that standard manuscript was circuited in the Islamic empire and has also been in use ever since by the Muslims all over the world. During those 20 years only the Hafiz or the Qaris knowing the Quran were reciting the Quran in prayers.

The learning by heart is not a religious obligation (Fard). It is a matter of choice either for swab or for becoming a Hafiz or teacher to teach Quran in return to others.  It is like offering NAFL or additional sunnats during the prayers.

The text of the Quran cannot remain intact in the mind and one tends to forget it if not revised. So one is entangled for the whole life to update and refresh the contents of several thousand words. The swab (blessing of the Quran can be achieved by reciting or reading it from book every day. A boy or a girl who receives traditional education at day time has to also go to a religious teacher or madrasas or mosque for reading and memorizing the Quran.

To learn the correct reading of the Quran is indispensable for every Muslim. However, for school going children they should either exclusively memorize the holy book or attain the traditional educations in schools and colleges. Doing both tasks at the same time may be too onerous for them and they remain overburdened mentally and physically. 

Even for young boys whom their parents want to become Hafiz may also learn Quran by heart only for this cause.  But to keep both traditional education and memorizing Quran for several years and then keep refreshing may undermine their normal education which is essential in the modern times. 

The normal education may end at one point of time but Quranic text needs daily rehearsals or revisions which is an unending lifetime undertaking. In practical terms it may earn one swab but for worldly gains as service or business it may not be helpful.

However, there is a better and absolutely secure and flawless option to address this issue.  In the present times of rapidly galloping technology, all kinds of gadgets are available that preserve any volume of information and the data which can be repeated, revised, added and to be listened any number of times with absolute precision. So a tape recorder can be switched on to listen from the best of the Hafiz the text of the holy book.

It would be advisable if while reading( Tilwat) of  the Quran should be necessary for Muslims, its memorization may be confined to the professional Qaris or Hafiz who lead the prayers in the mosques or teach recitation to others or are involved in a research or academic work related to religion.

Understandably the important responsibility for professional Qaris and Haffaz is to lead the prayers generally and in the month of Ramadan particularly. But for a boy or girl merely to keep in the memory lane the whole text of hundreds of pages without any practical utilization except for a singular honor of being known as a young Hafiz-e-Quran, should be reconsidered.
    
As pointed out earlier, while it should be necessary to learn the reading and reciting of of the Quran for every Muslim, it should not be obligatory for the young children to learn it by heart, unless they adopt the job of a Hafiz or Qari.  As stated earlier the involvement both in normal education and memorizing the Quran side by side, can affect their ability to learn either of these with undivided attention and with full vigor.

Those boys and girls may solely undertake memorizing if they solely opt for a career of preacher of Islam or teaching Quran or leading the prayers as an Imam. But those who go for worldly education like science, art, literature, history and engineering etc. they may simply read it daily as all Muslims do for imbibing its blessings and Swab.




  

 



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Rapid Rise and Fall of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Note: This article is being posted on the eve of 86th birth anniversary of the founder of the PPP Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, observed on January 5, 2015

January 12, 2015
By Saeed Qureshi

The paramount question intriguing the discerning students of history has been that why an iconic, revolutionary and charismatic leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto met with a tragic end. He took the political citadel of Pakistan by storm and assailed the minds and hearts of people within a short span of time. He soared to the political horizon of Pakistan like a meteorite yet plummeted with the same speed and intensity.

The charm and magic of Bhutto’s personality and his rhetorical style and revolutionary mandate bewitched the people of Pakistan who looked up to him as a redeemer and the  architect of a new Pakistan that he vowed to “built from ashes”  and by “picking the pieces” of a colossally mauled left-over Pakistan after the 1971 war with India.

It would not be in vain to adjudge him a leader who touched the zenith of people’s love and approbation after the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Had he not committed egregious blunders due to his personal weaknesses he could have been equated with Kamal Ataturk of Turkey and Jamal Abdul Nasir of Egypt and similar iconic leaders? Yet despite a dazzling and unprecedented popularity, within five years, he was desperately fighting for his political as well as personal survival.

He was endowed with the frame of a firebrand revolutionary that performed exceedingly fast and furious to uproot a debased system of governance and initiated instead one premised on parliamentary democracy.  He was the proponent of the Muslim unity and he deserves the credit for convening the OIC 1974 conference in Pakistan.

He liberalized the society and straight jacket of cumbersome rules and bureaucratic tangles were broken. People were greatly relieved and motivated about a monumental change in the offing. He has the glorious distinction of being the father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons program.

A flurry of reforms including land reforms forbade a new era of hope and progress.  The journey towards a new promising destiny began with a nation rejuvenated after country’s truncation. Although the release of Pakistan’s prisoners of war and retaking captured territory by India were considered as Bhutto’s spectacular achievements through Simla Accord, yet I am of the opinion that India could not keep such a huge captured army for long, nor could she hold on to the occupied territory indefinitely.

Bhutto’s overwhelming weakness was that he was loyal to no one: not even to his lofty ideals. He possessed a voracious obsession for power. What I want to point out that Bhutto would go to any extent for retaining power. He ruled like a dictator in the garb of a civilian head of government. During his dwindling fortunes after 1977 elections, he sacrificed his cosmopolitan and secular principles by lobbying with ultra conservative forces and courting discredited feudal classes in order to stick to power.

His letter written in April 1958 to the then president of Pakistan general Iskander Mirza extolling him as more exalted that the founder of Pakistan was a sordid display of rank flattery. His exploitation of Tashkent Pact (10 January 1966) was a smart tactical move that swept away a powerful military dictator with a bruised and demonized image.

 Bhutto was genetically averse to anyone’s popularity. His companions, who stood with him through thick and thin and faced extreme persecution and oppression during Ayub Khan’s time, were disgraced and sacked one after another on such flimsy grounds as someone getting popular in public view or opposing some of his policies. Alas! his weaknesses overshadowed his watershed achievements and that resulted in his tragic end.

Presently, in order to highlight Bhutto suspicious nature and his morbid proclivity to tame and frighten his ministers and party leaders, I have to refer to some of the observations made by Baloch leader Sher Baz Mazari in his book, “The Journey to Disillusionment”

“If any of his subordinates showed even a modicum of independence, he would be swiftly punished...“Even Bhutto’s close associates and cabinet ministers now lived in dread and fear of the unpredictability of their master’s temper”…”Bhutto would not brook any criticism…”Bhutto’s obsession with maintaining a aura of invincibility was so strong that he would spare no one, not even those who had done him valuable and devoted service over the years”.

About Bhutto’s devious machinations that were part of his politicking style, Mr. Mazari wrote, “I had known Bhutto for some 23 years. To him lying, double-dealing and deceit were normal means of attaining and keeping power.”

His FSF was a Gestapo type dreaded outfit, created to terrorize and tyrannize both his colleagues and political rivals. In his book, Mr Mazari provides an account of many erstwhile colleagues of PPP who suffered enormously at the hands of Bhutto’s FSF that brooked no mercy for anyone if ordered by Bhutto to be fixed physically and brutalized.

But let us thrash out the events then took place prior to the Bhutto’s ascension to power, first as the president and then as prime minister of Pakistan. The foremost question is that who was primarily responsible for the historic blunder of igniting a civil war in formerly East Pakistan? A political leader of the genius of Bhutto could never support use of military in East Pakistan knowing well it would entrap Pakistan army.

Yet by a clever ruse not only did he refuse to sit with a majority party but convinced debauch Yahya Khan to take the fatal army action in East Pakistan. Pakistan army was not only defeated but earned a lasting ignominy of surrender. There was a tacit or studied collusion between the then president Yahya Khan and Mr. Bhutto for an army operation in East Pakistan for the reason no one can justify.

If the democratic process was to be honored then why was it necessary for Mr. Bhutto to warn the elected parliament members that their legs would be broken if they go to East Pakistan in the aftermath of the elections. That was a blatant denial of a majority party’s right to form the government.

Were the army top brass and Mr. Bhutto not cognizant that sending of army to subdue a whole province was immoral, unconscionable, illegal and suicidal? Were they not aware of a stark reality that in-between was an inveterate hostile country and the supply line of army personnel, weapons, food and medicines could not be carried on either by air or by sea.

Bhutto’s tenure could be portrayed as a kind of a fa├žade of democracy that cloaked his authoritarianism and was the most dominant reason for his downfall. As already stated that  all his aides and colleagues who remained with him through thick and thin and were ideological bulwark of his revolution, were forced to leave through gross intimidation, witch-hunting, physical tortures, humiliation and through every brutal means carried out through the FSF and personally by Mr. Bhutto by foul mouthing and abusing.

So when the army intervened on July 5, 1977, the PPP was depleted of the committed and loyal cadres to stand by him. He fought a lonely legal war in front of the prosecutors who were his sworn enemies for other reasons.

Bhutto’s penchant for power was so chronic and deep-rooted that contrary to his lofty ideals of making Pakistan a democratic, modern, secular, liberal country with civil society, shamelessly abandoned these cherished goals and dashed these on the rock of expediency. During the earth shaking countryside agitation spear-headed by Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) he frantically tried to win the support of the religious right to stay in power.

One Such party was Jamaat Islami that opposed the creation of Pakistan and wanted the new state to be an Islamic emirate. He compromised his treasured credentials of an enlightened leader by downgrading himself to the level of a religious fanatic or zealot.

What a volte-face that he sold his lofty status of the architect of a new modern Pakistan and auctioned his revolutionary mandate for the sake of power. Now such perfunctory measures as making Friday as a holiday, declaring Ahmadis as non Muslims, banning liquor and horse races would not make Pakistan an Islamic state.

Yet in order to deflate the hurricane of commotion for his ouster, he bargained his secular credentials, his conscience and political integrity. From that moment Pakistan has been irredeemably sinking into the abyss of religious fanaticism, lethal sectarianism and unremitting bigotry. But even that historic betrayal couldn’t keep him in the power saddle.

The outcome was irretrievably disastrous for his future. The religious lot got their piece of pie and then hastened to move for his downfall. The anti-Bhutto outburst was mounted by all sections of society: the betrayed and disillusioned people, friend and foes, bureaucracy, army, rival politicians, traders, students. Bhutto looked a desolate and forlorn person “fluttering his luminous wings in vain”. The whole scene seemed to be the replay of what Bhutto did against Ayub Khan.

In his twilight days of power, Mr. Bhutto prolonged the process of holding talks for a rapprochement with the opposition. When he finally agreed on the contentious issues between him and PNA (alliance of nine political parties), it was too late and much water had flown down the political rivers.
It clearly means that he lacked a kind of political acumen and discerning ability to see the direction of the wind. Thus Ziaul Haq took the reins of the government and ruled with an iron hand till he met his tragic fate also.

Now there is very little logic in maligning or hating Ziaul Haq who seized power from Mr. Bhutto. Ziaul Haq was not a politician. He was outright a dictator. He was a rigid, bigoted religious practicing Muslim.  He was an army chief and the country was drifting towards a total chaos and breakdown. Ziaul Haq, in addition to the army and a host of politicians and perhaps external abettors, enjoyed full support of the Islamic parties, Imams of mosques, religious seminaries and madrasas.

Now I would not apportion much of blame to Ziaul Haq because he was not an ideal moralist although he was a practicing Muslim. He did not amass wealth, nor made mansions but decidedly lived simple and austere life. This is for his person character. But in politics and in power all is fair: all the more when the religious sections of all hue and cries were behind him and the power fell in his lap like the ripened fruit.

Let us give credit to Ziaul Haq for a proxy war in Afghanistan, though at the behest of America and the west that forced Soviet Union to leave Afghanistan with an historic disgrace. As a result of Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan, the Muslim caucuses that the czars of Russia had forcibly annexed became independent.

During the Afghanistan war, in a brief conversation with journalists including this scribe, Ziaul Haq obliquely made a revealing statement to the effect that a miracle was about to happen in Afghanistan. By that he meant the Soviet defeat and liberation of Afghanistan for the communist stranglehold. That proved to be true.

 I am not an admirer of Ziaul haq but I believe that he was more prudent, crafty and skillful than Mr. Bhutto.  He never claimed that he was a political wizard or that he favored democracy and fundamental rights. He crushed the freedom of expression, curbed independence of media, and maimed the organs of civil society including judiciary and parliament.

But he did these things because he near thought these were wrong or in simple words it was not his mandate. The dictators around the world have been doing obnoxious things and oppress their people to stay in power corridors.

Zia was not a lone dictator who suppressed the social freedom and further Islamized the society by more stringent Islamic injunctions. But he was seldom apologetic about what he was doing. He was the votary and spokesperson of a rigid, orthodox Islamic regime that he served well even employing extreme tyranny. Bhutto was people’s chosen representative yet he used the same coercive methods and intrigues that bring them at par.

Ziaul Haq and later General Musharraf assumed power by default and because of the peculiar conditions that surfaced by the wrong doings and inept policies of their predecessors. Bhutto’s grave mistakes of curbing Baluchistan insurgency by use of brute military force, his amendments in the constitution for accumulation of more powers, 

His maltreatment of the opposition leaders, the massive rigging of 1977 elections, behaving as a merciless and intolerant lord to his peers and devoted colleagues, betrayal of his revolutionary mandate and finally using excessive force before and after 1977 elections to curb the agitations whipped up by PNA and other groups, were all catalysts for his downfall.

But tacitly dismembering Pakistan by raising the slogan, “you on that side and we on this side” was proverbially the final nail in the coffin. It clearly meant you rule there (former East Pakistan) and we rule here (West Pakistan) as two independent states.