(An op-ed piece that was published in the NEWS, Pakistan)
On these erudite pages, and elsewhere, there has been much ado about the fact that now the ruling coalition should split in response to the great betrayals perpetrated by Asif Ali Zardari. In classic machismo laden bravado, the honorific narratives have been urging Nawaz Sharif and his party to take the bold step and stick to their “principled” stand. What is interesting about these exhortations is the brazen rendering of political discourse in black or white terms.
Many a former ambassador, the recent cohort to jump into the fray of political activism, has found a great post-retirement vocation. Once the plush tenures are over and all that could be extracted from the holy state cow, now is the time to speak the truth and condemn military dictatorships. Convenient and most opportune! This low-risk strategy is paying its dividends: a great whitewashing of all that they were a party to, and all that they let happen in front of their red-taped offices. The ex-servicemen whose record is even more dismal are even more vociferous in their advocacy for a democratic Pakistan.
Therefore, the confused citizens with a shred of historical sense are simply bewildered. Gen Chishti, the key player in toppling Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government and unleashing of eleven years of mediaeval darkness, talking about resistance to army rule. Surely, the realisation took three decades of lasting damages and fissures within the body politic. Another retired Army chief, Gen Beg, is also at the forefront. His vitriole cannot hide the years when he actively sabotaged the democratic process, admitted before the Supreme Court that he had “advised” a bench not to restore Junejo’s government; and disbursed astronomical sums of money to undermine civilian government raised through another shady character heading a dubious financial institution. Continue reading