Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Army Rule not to be Ruled out

Upright Opinion
October 13, 2009
Army Rule not to be Ruled out
By Saeed Qureshi
The top brass of the Pakistan army is getting apprehensive of the policies of the ongoing PPP coalition government. The crucial decisions taken and directed from the presidency on matters of national import, without involvement of the parliament or on occasions the coalition partners and even the prime minister gives a farcical and sham image to the PPP led democratic governance. President Zardari is either purposely sidetracking the established democratic norms or is oblivious of the fundamental imperatives of parliamentary form of government. He has opted to remain physically cut off from the people as well as from his own PPP cadres within the party and in the government. He seems to have an irresistible penchant for foreign junkets that makes him look like an ambassador at large than the head of the state of Pakistan.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is a dictum that is so relevant to the sitting government with a flamboyant president, wearing two feathers in his hat of power: chairman of the PPP and the head of the state with unprecedented powers. The windfall presidency that was bestowed upon him by a benign nature and also by the fast emerging combine of favorable developments makes Zardari as one of the highly enviable yet luckiest man on the planet earth.
But old habits die hard. He is a staunch believer in the philosophy that democracy is not an honorable system of government. He perceives parliamentarianism as a mob rule. That perception comes closer to fascism. It is presumably under this impression that he has arrogated to himself the exclusive distinction of being a past master in double speak, back-tracking from his solemn commitments and jugglery of unceasing tricks. Humans can be miserably devious and meanly dodging but a president of Pakistan who was catapulted from the status of a most maligned person to the highest office in the country is second to none in deception and chicanery.
The army is undergoing a spell of brain storming after the passage of the controversial Kerry Lugar Bill that tacitly berates the Pakistan army and fetters it in several vexatious conditions. In the Kerry-Lugar Bill, the Pakistan army looks like a guinea pig, while the sitting government goes scot free with a clean certificate. So the apprehensions are that there might have been deliberate attempts at some stage by some political or bureaucratic elements or even the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC, to add such stipulations that would keep the army under the thumb of the Pakistan government and America. The clause restraining the army not to interfere in judicial domain is patently, to forestall army’s replay of the pressure or persuasion exerted last year, on government to reinstate the sacked judges So if the political government once again deposes judges who supposedly might reactivate NRO landmine, the government should have the powers to sack them and replace them with her favorites.
The latest attack on army headquarters by a group of dare devil gun totting infiltrators must have jolted the military bureaucracy to ponder as to how such an improbable event could happen. The army must be scurrying to put its act together by scanning and sprucing up its organization. But it was not an ordinary incident that should not warrant any serious attention. In this process the army might like to renew its assertion vis-a-vis a dysfunctional political outfit to avert such ignominious pitfalls and appalling flaws for the future.
The impression might be gaining currency in the army’s hierarchy that while it was fighting an epic war against the militants in various hot spots of Pakistan, the political government was on the move to clip its wings via Kerry Lugar Bill. The Army feels that it deserves a pat on the back and due appreciation by the government trying to liberate Pakistan from the ruthless conservatism of the Taliban that was more inhuman that being Islamic. Ostensibly Pakistan’s army’s war in the tribal regions and northern valleys was more a dire need of America than Pakistan. So Pakistan army should be given a free hand and a strong impetus to carry on its anti- insurgency mission than projecting it as interventionist in the domestic affairs.
The widespread public unrest and woes due to appalling civic and social problems and poor governance cannot be ignored by the army that had surged as a savior in the turbulent times for Pakistan. The PPP government’s foot dragging even on registering an FIR of Benazir’s murder, the unfulfilled pledges for prevalence of parliamentary democracy, the wanton statements issued by the president cutting across the national interests, the squander of public funds, and a casual and regal way of governing the country might create a justification for the army, howsoever, untenable to renter power corridors. If the cleavage of mistrust keeps widening due to government’s back stabbing of the army as is done in Kerry Lugar Bill, it would again be the army having the last laugh. That would be a benighted day for Pakistan if fifth martial law comes to Pakistan due to politicians’ black deeds. But who can stop the inevitable?
For USA, it hardly matters if the country is run by a discredited political cabal or by the army. They want to see the job accomplished. They want desired results in the troubled areas infested by Al-Qaida and Taliban. Burma has been under a military rule for ages and no one minds that seriously. If again, military takes over power in Pakistan; America wouldn’t blink the eyes if the task of chasing Al-Qaida and Taliban to their ultimate annihilation continues unhindered. If it happens, then this time, the martial law won’t be as a benign as was that of Pervez Mushrraf. It would spell doom for the politicians and for sleazy rulers in shape of the nemesis that any army is perfectly capable of delivering. Countless heads would roll.

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