Libya’s 40 years of autocratic rule and Pakistan

Bilal Qureshi

While flipping channels, I noticed the difference between the coverage on Pakistani channels and BBC and CNN. The local channels are reporting about the 40th anniversary of Libya’s so-called revolution. And of course, BBC and CNN were reporting about the elections in different parts of the world.

I couldn’t help, but notice that Pakistan’s channels are glorifying Libya’s undemocratic, uncivilized and out of touch government that denies its people the right to vote, the right to chose or elect their government, the right to assemble and voice their opposition to any or all government policies. In addition, Pakistani channels are also presenting Libya’s ruler, who has been in power for 40 years, as a heroic figure.

This made me sick.

BBC and CNN are independent entities, but because they are based in democratic societies, therefore, they have not presented Libya as a heavenly country celebrating 40 years of authoritarian one man rule. By the way, after Qaddafi, his son is all set to take over, thus making Libya a family enterprise, just like Egypt, Jordan, Syria Saudi Arabia, and so on.

Now, here is what bothers me. The current government in Islamabad prides itself on being a democratic government. Prime Minister Gillani and President Zardari remind us day and night that they fought for democracy, human rights, women’s right, justice, etc, but they also celebrate a dictator’s undemocratic rein of terror. Wow.

Prime Minister Gillani has gone one step further and he is in Libya as a guest of the Libyan government to ‘officially participate in celebrations’ and to represent Pakistan. Represent Pakistan? But why, why would democratic forces align themselves with dictators? Why would people, who went to jail for democracy, sit and listen to a dictator being praised as a super human being?

It is not just sad, for me, it is pathetic.

If you read the list of who is who in Libya for these celebrations, you won’t find anyone from America, England, France, Germany, Italy, or any other democratic society praising a dictator. Then, why can’t we, a democratic country align ourselves with other democracies?

For me, and for a vast majority of this world, a dictator is a murderer, a fascist human being who is not worth listening or talking to. Anyone who violates basic laws of humanity, like Libya’s current ruler has done for 4 decades; he must be tried and punished for his crimes, not praised.

I have great respect for President Zardari and Prime Minister Gillani for being democratic warriors. And this is precisely why I think they should have stayed away from Libya. Staying away from these celebrations would have made every peace loving, progressive and common sense Pakistani proud of Pakistan’s stand. Instead, our government has embarrassed us by warmly embracing a dictator.



Filed under Pakistan

16 responses to “Libya’s 40 years of autocratic rule and Pakistan

  1. Junaid

    Bilal Sahab,

    Beggars are not choosers.

    Pakistan has been begging Libya for quite a long time and Libya has been dishing out cash to Pakistan for a long time now.

    So…. dont spit in the same bowl in which you eat.

  2. Salahuddin Ahmad

    Democracy as defined by west is most unsuitable for muslim lands, this has been proven over and over again, the important thing is to look at the serious flaws of current democratic setups, Plato in his remarkable book republica has listed 12 forms of governance and at the bottom of the list is Dictatorship, the second least acceptable is democracy, now thats food for thought for seroious people, the best form of governance is listed as rule of the Elite, the Intellectual Elite, not the two bit stolen money people who think they are elite, however, such elite is hidden from the world today and it is ruled by the lowest of low, it conforms to a authentic tradition of prophet Mohammad SWAS who said ” there will come a time when the most dishonest and low down will be in highest positions and the best will be in the lowest positions” thats the trouble with democracy you are so impressed with, perhaps pakistan is a brilliant example of this. think my friend before you open your confused mouth.

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    PPP’s tilt towards Libya has to do with the friendship between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Colonel.

    I find you quite out of touch with PM Gilani and President Zardari’s politics.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    Btw what do you think Nehru-Nasser friendship?

  5. Naeem Ahmed Bajwa

    Btw what do you think about dynasties in democratic countries, Nehru/Gandhi, Bhutto/Zardari, Bandranike, Mujib.

    Prince Bilawal or Prince Hamza….

  6. Pingback: The state of Pakistan, a discussion on Pakistani ideology - Page 22 - Defence Forum Of India | DFI |

  7. Bilal Qureshi


    I am not out of touch with PM or the President.

    As for as our dealings with Libya, I must add that my point is simple: we have to stop admiring dictators, even if they are our friends. And, in the interest of eliminating dynasties, and promoting free speech, human right, equality, justice etc, we should look towards democratic societies to find role models. Otherwise, we will continue to have people name their children Osama, Arafat, Saddam, Qaddafi etc.

    And, for my cause of promoting peace and progress in Pakistan even if I am labeled out of touch, or PPP loyalist, I can live with that. At least, we are talking to each other, instead of declaring fatwas against each other. This for me is a good and healthy sign. Keep the dialogue going, we might get to our destination one day!


    Bilal Qureshi

    Washington, DC

  8. Mustafa Shaban

    It is not necessary for dictatorships to be bad….Fidel Castro is prime example, they can be good as long as the leader is good, which i admit can only come about when checks and balances are in place and the judiciary is in power. Well I disagree with Bilal as he says the Arab Kingdoms and Libya are family dynasties while Pakistan is not at all. Zardari has placed his son as chairman of party without the apprival of its members and takes him to secret meetings, hence treating Pakistan and PPP as private property, most major political parties in Pakistan are family dynasties. True democracy will only come when the judiciary is empowered and when the people willl participate in the political process. Also I do not consider Zardari as a champion for democracy as he and the PPP do not govern according to the views of the majority population. He also restricts Gilani from excercizing his power. He is very authoritan.

  9. Though we have some very complex tendancies and our attitudes towards Democracy is not of democratic nations….We have very low poll ratio in elections,as many people dont believe in the power of their Vote and In country like Pakistan
    our opinion is so much divided and influnced by various factors, but let democracy going on…we will developed with time
    Asif Zardari was nominated as Chairman, and he appointed Benazir Shaheed’s son as chairman, CEC approved it and peoples of Pakistan in a number of more than 10 million voters have supported the decision in ’08 elections….let them govern par their vision…If peoples have objections, they will punish them through their vote…..
    Democracy in Pakistan is endangered from anchorocracy…
    biased opinions,speculations,conspiracy theories etc….

  10. It looks funny…our honourable PM and Minister are watching the prade in Libya

  11. Mustafa Shaban

    PPP rigged the elecctions. zardari only had 14% of the votes, only a revolution will do. The system must be reformed or trashed. Democracy only comes with free and fair elections.

  12. Gabban

    Yasser bhai,

    … ‘ Btw what do you think Nehru-Nasser friendship ? ‘

    Why the inclination to generate views / impressions and devote about out of time (and place) personality-circumstance / relationship eh ?

    First Jinnah saheb / Partition is picked and run to the ground … a discussion without results (never has been or will be and it is well known !), without having to change perceptions (indeed vitiates the atmosphere each time)… seems essentially an effort to render / expose the person of Jinnah saheb to renewed vile time and again …

    He was a leader … he acted on his judgement for goodness and to secure a better future for the people who opted to become Pakistanis …

    His vision is not followed now, therefore he is not relevant any more … why insist and discuss his actions / vision when there are not cared for ? … leave him alone … he should not be disrespected by generating avoidable controversy of why and what for he did decades ago and give opportunity to abuse / bad mouth him.

    No one now is worthy enough to retrospect what Jinnah saheb did and why (though his Pakistan does seem at times of being an unfinished project started by him … alas ! he should have bequeathed a worthy leadership for time after him).

    As the leaders of Pakistan have and are failing him … they / we should have no business with him until ofcourse we rise to the occasion of Pakistan or to a wider sense of the sub-continent.

    Now, Nehru ji-Nasser saheb … two greats of their countries and time … they thought differently … nutured and practiced an idea (of non-alignment) … yes sir, they had conviction and rallied other leaders to their line of thinking … and succeeded in their lifetimes … however, it is not relevant anymore … their thoughts, that organisation are redundant … the thought of non-alignment does not matter any more in their own nations … Pakistan did not accept their scheme … why call us to talk on their subject ? ! … specially when one of the two is not well thought of for the incidence of Partition.

    You (meaning writers) wield the power of pen … why not contribute your mite to articles / debates / discussions / ideas / awakening that will be food for thought, actions and formulation for progressive development, for future of our lives and children in Pakistan by way of education (school, college and professional), infrastructure & agriculture (distinct from ones useful to purpose of Chinese, Americans, Saudis etc) communication, trade, manufacturing, healthcare … than dwelling the past and others not us …

    For example … why not call upon the ISI, army of Pakistan, present Government to explain $12 billions (and still coming) that the nation has been paid by the USA for the deceitful and dithering effort to fight terrorism ?

    It may be emphasised … Pakistan does not require India or the encirclement to be done with … it is likely to perish on its own (May God forbid) for singular reason of not having the ISI and army of Pakistan firmly subordinate to and audited by civilian government … simply because they pursue and spend resources per their own thought about agenda, enimies and self-aggrandizement without popular mandate / sanction and in the name of protecting the sovereignty of Pakistan …

    Indeed, together they may be asked to explain themselves with evidence for the denouement of the people of Pakistan.

  13. Mustafa Shaban


    1. History is a lesson for mankind. This is mentioned in the Quran and many thinkers know this. Unfortunate are they who do not learn from history.

    2. Who in the world said that past historical figures are irrelevant?? Prophet Muhammed (SAWW), Jinnah, Nehru irrelevant?? Absolutely not, they are important.

    3. Many people belive in Jinnah’s ideology and when revolution comes to Pakistan , (which btw is very soon), we will need to revive the idelogy of Jinnah and his vision.

    4. Allama Iqbal and many other have stressed the following:

    – The past is important, needs to be understood , without which we cannot move forward

    – The present is also important and must be thought out otherwise we cant move forward

    -The future is also very important and must be taken into consideration.

    5. Pakistan is a very strong nation with good people. It will not perish on its own infact after coming out form the crises it will be stronger than ever. Unlike you I have full fiath in my people and my country. They will rise to the occasion. Naimatullah Shah Waliullah predicted the rise of Pakistan and its great ascent to power. Optimism is what is needed not pessimsm.

    6. The conspiricies against Pakistan is true and there is no denying forieng involvement especially what has been happening in last few dayz. Blind is he who cannot see this.

    7. The ISI and Army, despite thier wrongdoing and shortcomings are the protecters of our nation and aree doing agreat job! The finances and expenditure of the nation is not controlled by them but by our curropt politicans and elite.

  14. Gabban

    Mustafa bhai,

    Thank you for your attention and time. Your response is well taken.

    May Waliullah saheb’s prediction come good.

  15. Mustafa Shaban

    Your welcome

  16. Puzzled

    I find that it is not the question of democracy, dictatorship or Khilaafat. Its the matter of statesmanship.

    I am all for democracy if it leads to national progress in every aspect. But the problem is that the snippets of it that we have seen so far have been less than impressive.

    I have said it elsewhere, could anyone please answer this question: How much dictators or their families have taken away from this country? Lets put a $ figure on it! And how much have demoractically elected leaders have taken? Lets put a $ figure on that as well.

    I really want someone to give some guesstimates here. How much have Musharraf, Zia-ul-Haq, Yahya, and Ayub along their families taken away from pakistan (roughley 35 years out of 62 years of power). On the other hand, how much have Bhuttos, Sharifs, and other transit leaders in between, taken from us (27 years).

    Now, lets also look at the development of our country. Which one of the 2 has helped develop the country more than the other (This one is going to be very grey, what started when etc etc).

    I also advocate that the procedures are not more important than goals (moral goals should warrant moral procedures).

    Please someone help me do this Income Statement of Pakistan Ltd for the period of Aug 14, 1947 to Sept 17, 2009.