“Hello.. Its Me Again: Says Mush”

By D. Asghar

Approximately 11 years ago a flight from Colombo to Karachi brought a person, who decided to repeat the history of so called, “bloodless coups” in Pakistan. A person who trampled the law of the land under his boots and promised to start a “clean slate” by eliminating “corruption” and by putting “Pakistan first.”

11 years later, the same person has decided to repeat the same message. The only difference is, the venue is UK, 11 years have elapsed and people have seen, lived and experienced his “enlightened moderation.” Not to mention, even if he wants to, he cannot just land in Karachi as the circumstances are quite different. It is like “old wine in the same old bottle.” Amazingly, the gentlemen who had the least regard for democracy at one point, wants Pakistanis to believe that he will start a new chapter in Pakistan’s ill fated democracy.

It is no surprise that I am referring to none other than the General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf, former. President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Musharraf launched his much talked about, “All Pakistan Mush League” in London a few days back. According to http://www.thenews.com.pk, dated October 02, 2010,

“He said his party manifesto will be governed by three documents – the Holy Qura’an, Quaid’s 11 August 1947 Constituent Assembly address and 12 April 1949 Objective Resolution by Liaquat Ali Khan.”

Its comical to hear from him about what is plaguing the nation as he is responsible for 9 years of its malignancy. Although be blamed Dick Armitage for putting him directly “in the line of fire.” The reality is to the contrary. It is no secret that, under his watch, he sent many sons of the soil in the line of fire at Kargil. He demonstrated poor leadership skills, which turned that expedition into a major international fiasco. This was his worst executive decision, even prior to assuming the self created and self imagined role of the “Chief Executive” (read Chief Martial Law Administrator).

The next blunder of the Chief Executive was to sell a case of a frivolous hijack to the nation. Actually it was a hijack of an elected government by a former Commando. Amazingly, it defied any reasonable intellect. Needless to say, he set a unique example for the youth of the nation, that “might is always right” and not to refrain from violating any law of any land to save your position.

There were many promises made to eradicate corruption, to lay the foundation of good governance and have fearless accountability. 9 years and a few months under his belt, the great messiah left Pakistan with barely getting anything accomplished. The fact is that he left a country in shambles with rampant corruption and serious security and law and order situation.

The list of his failures as a leader is way too long. He demonstrated lack of proper tact and judgment when he handled the militants at the Red Mosque in Islamabad. For the first time, in the history of the country the capital became a war zone. Pakistan saw its political leaders killed in broad day light under his watch. His cronies and yes men ran their fiefdoms as their personal domains and brought the facade of development. The foundation of so called consumer economy was laid in a society where there is an utter disregard for appropriate checks and balances.

It is rather farcical to hear from him about the supremacy of the law, who violated the laws himself, that too multiple times. Who held a Chief Justice hostage and sent the bench packing by declaring a phony emergency. Who tortured the resolute legal community and crushed the media to save his own skin.

Now the same messiah, wants to make a comeback. He envisions a rather bizarre “constitutional role of the Military”, in the Government as well. His stooges have assured him a “hands down victory”, as according to his cronies, he is the most “trustworthy leader.” The answer to that question is in the hands of the millions of Pakistanis. Do they really trust a born again former dictator?



Filed under Pakistan

51 responses to ““Hello.. Its Me Again: Says Mush”

  1. hayyer

    Anyone can create a political party and set forth its ideology no matter how cockeyed. It is up to to the voters ultimately.
    Better Musharraf leading a party and making a fool of himself like Imran Khan than the army taking over once again.

  2. moniems

    With Mush’s hand pickled Kiyani as the army chief, I shall not be surprised if he comes to power yet again, votes or no votes. Pakistan is too profitable a business to bother about the voters!

  3. To address the facts of the matter, it does not appear that Musharraf’s ‘coup’ was plotted or planned in the traditional manner but was ‘precipitated’ by the malign judgment of Nawaz Sharif who put the safety of a plane full of children and civilians at risk because of his own failure of nerve.

    Did Musharraf loot the country’s resources and extort money from businessmen in the time-honored fashion of the Bhutto-Nawaz-Zardari governments? Did he simply bend to the will of his American ‘masters’ at every turn? Hardly. Compare what he had to say to and about
    the American mistakes and blunders to anything said by e.g., Benazir or Nawaz.

    Musharraf has made mistakes; he is, after all,
    more of an Army man than a political creature.
    How much does that count against him, given
    the present state of the Pakistani economy, the
    inflation, the mishandling of the flood relief, the three decades of ‘forgivable’ bank loans for the
    wealthy and well connected?

    The present Supreme Court Justice is not exactly
    an angel himself one must remember. And who can forget Nawaz Sharif turning loose his mob of political hangers-on against the Lahore High Court?

    How serious can anyone be who compares Imran Khan’s proposed surrender of the country to the will of the Taliban to a Musharraf government which would seriously deal with them? Does Mr. Azghar actually believe that any of the other prominent candidates for national leadership have anything whatever to offer?

  4. libertarian

    Terribly biased article. The Pakistani economy did grow more than it has in the prior decade and more than it has after. He did reduce poverty by over 10 points. He did free the media. And the man he sent packing was intent on setting himself up as Amir-ul-Momineen.

    Before you hold him those fantastical “constitutional standards” please remember that the Pakistani Constitution is so abused, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. So get off that moral high horse, stop playing the PPP lackey, and examine this guy from a pragmatic standpoint. He made a few million dollars while he ruled (in 9 years with absolute power) – par for any Pakistani General. Not the billions schemed away by Nawaz and Asif.

  5. His references to Objective resolution along with Jinnah’s speech in the same tone shows he is a bigot….

  6. D Asghar

    Dear Jay and Libertarian Bhai Jaans.

    With all due respect, if you think that Mush decided to unleash his coup all in the skies hovering over Karachi,as a last resort, then I have nothing further to add.

    I would urge you to look into the archives of many reputable newspapers, The News, Jang or Dawn. Pir Pagara and some other leaders were predicting another martial law at the heights of the Kargil misadventure. Do you think that Kargil was not the turning point in Mush-Nawaz rift. That’s where the story began. Even NS’s Late father Mian Sharif is on record,saying that he (Mian Jee) did not trust Mush.

    BTW, I have stated earlier, I have no love, respect, or admiration for AAZ and his PPP. My only point has and always will be that who ever it is, must come through ballots and not bullets.(Or fear thereof)

    Lastly, if you look at the history of Pakistan, the 1973 Constitution was formed by an elected leader, subsequent to that abused by the military rulers mostly.

    I appreciate your feedback. You are correct, I do hold a bias against people who want to come in violating every law known to mankind, and then do
    Some usual cosmetics along with their cronies (by the way, who are the discarded politicians) and give the impression that they are going to “fix” the system. I am sorry been there and heard that story 20 years in my lifetime (both Zia and Mush combined). Its all lip service.

  7. Mustafa Shaban

    Opinions aside, it dusnt matter. Musharraf is history, cannot come back Pakistan. He has too many enemies. I dont think he will come bak to Pakistan. The current circumstances wont let him come back.

  8. nazir allahwalla

    pakistan is a failed state. so anyone ruling pakistan is a failed person. there is no future, there is no hope.
    we live from one day to another. those who got money leave thwe country, the others stay. we are deeply in debt, even the air we breath in pakistan is a debt.
    let us join india and save our sorry azzes.

  9. D_a_n

    @ D. Asghar…

    ‘The next blunder of the Chief Executive was to sell a case of a frivolous hijack to the nation.’

    unfortunately the Hijack was all too real. Don’t tell me you still think that there was no hijack.

    as for what you said earlier:
    ‘With all due respect, if you think that Mush decided to unleash his coup all in the skies hovering over Karachi,as a last resort, then I have nothing further to add.’

    Like them or not, there are always contingency plans. It is actually quite simple. It is another matter as to why there would be a need or a willingness to have such a plan in place.

  10. YLH

    “shows he is a bigot….”

    or a crook.

  11. Indian

    An article of sanity amidst the loud cacophony of army lovers!

    Proxy in Indian context is an art by which the student impersonates the absent buddy’s voice when the professor calls the name to check attendance.

    Mr. Kiyani needs a proxy as he is not sure what will happen when Professor America sees him absent from his duties in the border but indulging in running the country. So he needs a proxy till the time he thinks he is ready to counter the big guys. This buddy, although being the former master, has now become so bored he is even willing to serve his former student without any ego.

    I always thought England was a great place to rest and do armchair politics. After all luminaries like Altaf Hussain have being doing it years together now. Maybe Mr. Mush got so bored and at the right moment his former protégée needed him, he is now more than willing to give a helping hand.
    Tyrants and autocrats dislike being disowned. When dethroned they either die or sulk in a rich environment provided by some former friends. Meanwhile they always keep plotting to return back to take the throne, as if the former peasants would love to see it.

    Mr. Musharaff doesn’t need to plot. Fortunately he still has his old buddies who might welcome him back provided, he does their bidding. So he is ready to take his flight back. He even has started talking about Nawaz Sharif’s incapability or rather the non-intellect he processes and one can expect his verbiage about Zardari in a few days from now.
    It looks like the Pakistani Army has now more or less finalized the agenda. The only stumbling block is USA. Mr. Kiyani on a personal front is not sure how it will turn up. As a first step, the loyal proxies have been called and Mr Musharaff has responded positively. The next few weeks we will see who the others are.

    Secondly, to make USA agree, the ground situation in both Pakistan and in the front needs to be made more insecure. While the former is getting taken care by the rogue branches in ISI, the latter is getting organized as we speak. NATO forces in Afghanistan in the coming days are going to face difficulty in obtaining intelligence, access to non-lethal support provisions and many more.

    When asked, Pakistani Army is going to point at the civilian politicians and will say that’s the best they can do. This will go on till the Americans go to the edge and will ask the Army chief what it wants in return to full support. The answer obviously is going to be a requirement of an immediate reorganization of administration under a mythical all party group headed by a capable figure. The point is, as the Pakistani Army will say, such a person will also be a bridge between the civilian and the military setups. This capable figure Mr. Kiyani is going to suggest is obviously none other than Mr. Mush. Although Mr Imran Khan fits the bill, the Army doesn’t trust him as his roots are not in the army.

    Such incremental power capturing (although still the power per se is with the Army) is what seems to be the agenda it will be a surprise if this does not happen.

    The army clearly knows that Nawaz Sharif is the one remaining bulwark against this plan and by this time will be working over-time to get the old cases against him back to the table. They also know that Nawaz can raise such a noise not only with America but also before the Saud’s, who will be more difficult to ignore than the Americans. Hence this needs to be done fast and precisely and Nawaz better be careful in the next few months.

    As for Zardari, he knows that he is in a sinking ship on which the Army is still drilling more holes. Unfortunately for him, the floods have created such a havoc he seems to be struggling to come to terms. He better not sell his huge mansion in France or the apartments in London. They might be needed.

    So – my dear Pakistani friends please get ready to welcome Mr. Musharaf who in a few short months is going to lead your country once again; of course, as a proxy for Mr. Kiyani.

    (I might be overstating the case. But given the history of Pakistan and the current happenings in your country, this might turn out true)

  12. Rashid Saleem

    Any change that is brought as per the will of the people of this country is going to be acceptable. But any change that is an imposition of one person’s will on the nation will not be acknowledged.

  13. D Asghar

    @Dan Bhai…In a hijack people are held against their will and there is a threat to their life with a condition presented by the hijacker.

    Now if the plane was not getting a permission to land in Karachi, the plane could have potentially landed some place else. Perhaps in or outside Pakistan. There was no condition presented by the NS side, other than not allowed to land at point A), B) or C) but it could have potentially landed at point D).

    I am not defending NS’ s folly of promoting his supposedly Kashmiri brother, Zia Uddin Butt as COAS in Mush’s absence. According to the newspapers, the stuff that goes on the uniform was hastily purchased from Raja Bazar in Pindi from a “Fake store” (read army surplus) to make it before Mush’s expected arrival. Again Sir, no allegiance to NS either, I agree with Mush’s recent statement that NS is “brainless.” At least with this act NS did prove Mush is right, at least for once.

    For what its worth, (I know that most of our brainless NS’ s critics will say it was pay back), NS was acquitted in the infamous, “hijacking” case by the apex court. So yes I do think that the element of “hijack” was not there.

  14. D_a_n

    @ D. Ashgar

    No offence but it seems that you have constructed a neat little definition of hijack so that it gels with a certain way you would like to perceive events and out of a total and utter dislike for Mush.

    I am not a Mush fan nor defender but things must be stated for what they are.

    Please read the accounts of the pilots themselves. One of them is a known person. The alternate airfield to land in that case was Nawabshah. That too was denied. Please read up on this. The pilots accounts are there in black and white.

    The flight had finite fuel on board. You claim that they were free to land at point D (where ever that maybe) is a bit of non sense. They were basically left no landing option open to them. This sounds crazy but this is exactly what happened.
    It was not only Mush but an additional 180 something (if I remember correctly) souls whose lives were willfully endangered.
    So there WAS a hijack. I’m afraid only irrationally anti Mush folks continue to push this around.

    As for NS being acquitted by the apex court is concerned we all know there was little chance of an alternative outcome. If you say there was then there is a bridge in Pindi I’d like to sell you.

    PS: Gen Ziauddin needed ranks not the uniform.
    Don’t know why you needed to add the words ‘fake’ here as it is well known that these stores sell uniform articles mostly everywhere there are large Garrisons. Was that just a manifestation of a visceral dislike for the khaki? I guess you are entitled to that but it did kind of stick out.

  15. Nasir

    Guys – i think we are being rather harsh on Mushy. Yes he made mistakes but he also done a lot of good. Mushy was the only one (correct me if I am wrong) who tried to remove the religious column from Pak passports. He steered Pakistan through some of its best economic growth since creation – and I truly feel he is was probably one of the few politicians that did not loot the country.

  16. DAsghar

    @Dan Bhai,

    My memory is a bit murky on all the exact details as we are going back 11 years (I will definitely revisit the archives). At the initial stages of this drama, the Pilot was instructed to land perhaps at Nawabshah or given the option to land outside of Pakistan (perhaps Dubai). To make the argument that since they were not allowed to land at Karachi at that particular point, hence it is a hijack is weak, to the say the least. Subsequent to that, I remember the flight kept on circling around and of course ended up using the fuel (this is when supposedly Gen Mush was making supposedly making contacts with his Commanders on the ground).

    Had it landed at another location, there was no threat to the passengers. My point was that the basis of hijack was fairly weak and did not account for a hijack where passengers are held hostage against their will and threatened to be killed if certain demands are not met. We all have been on flights, where flights are unable to land at their scheduled destinations, due to weather or other technical issues. We end up circling around, of course we are held against our will and our precious time is being wasted, does that amount to some sort of hijack. I know it sounds farfetched and that’s why to call it a hijack is what I am questioning. I am not the only person who feels that the term hijack was a bit of a stretch.

    My point is that NS was and is no angel either. But just because you are about to be dismissed, you don’t show your might and turn things around in your favor. Commonly termed as “Ghunda Raaj.” I remember seeing him on screen with a TV talk show host, telling him that “how dare did he try to dismiss me, after all I was no chaprasi.” Agreed he was no chaprasi, but COAS is still answerable to PM. But if you really want to see the comeback of fate, then by the same account he used to the same “hijacking tactic” on the CJ and tried to threaten and pressurize him. What happened next is all common knowledge….In Urdu we call “Jaisi Karni Waisi Bharni.”

  17. Talha

    Musharraf was the only person who in a long time gave Pakistan a few positive years and I commend him for that.

    I remember in his prime years, Pakistan was a progressive and relatively peaceful place. That is what made me appreciate his tenure and if he can come back to power again because of his abilities, I would be welcoming.

    I just cannot stand the Bhutto/Zardari and Sharif threat that Pakistan has suffered for too much from.

    Simply, Musharraf is a cut above all else.

  18. Feroz Khan

    @ dashgar

    The hijack of the aircraft was real. It was not a routine hijack in the sense that the aircraft was denied permission to land, but the act of hijacking comes from the threat to divert the aircraft. In any case, this act put the lives of the crew and the passengers at risk.

    On the plane, at the time of hijack, present werer members of Lahore American School’s sports team returning from Sri Lanka, where they had gone to attend a regional sports tournment. In 2002, when I joined Lahore American School, they were in my world history class. They all told me their stories; what transpired on the aircraft; the fact that Musharraf was was mingling with the passengers and was telling them there was a problem, but not what was really wrong.

    The decision to force land at Karachi was made under the consideration of the fuel situation. The aircraft had consumed too much fuel, circling over Karachi trying to land, that when instructions were given to proceed to Nawabshah as an alternative landing site, there was not enough fuel. The closest airfield, where an emergency landing could have been made was in India and that option was simply unacceptable.

    During all this time, Musharraf was in contact with the V Corps headquarters in Karachi and it was actually elements from the V Corps, which took control of the Karachi airport; removed the Civil Aviation Authority personnel from the control tower and directed the aircraft to land.

    While this was going on, the V Corps was in contact with the army corps headquartered in Rawalpindi, where Pakistan Army’s 111 Brigade is deployed. Brigade 111’s primary task is to occupy strategic places in the capital and ensure that the take over happens smoothly. The brigade was activated and its leading elements were already moving towards their objectives, while the plane was still in the air. The military reaction to the situation, once it became clear what was going on, was swift; well coordinated and efficient.

    Nawaz Sharif’s choice to replace General Musharraf would have never been accepted by the Pakistani army. The reason being, and what most civilians do not understand or will understand, is that army is a highly institutional organization and its decisions are consensus agreements reached in a conclave of the corps commanders meetings.

    The Chief of the Army Staff is actually the spokesperson for the corps commanders and does not, and cannot, act alone. All decisions in the corps commanders’ meetings are made after a “frank and forthright” discussion.

    This is a diplomatic phrase, which politely means that after the meeting is over, the cleaners wipe the blood off the floor! In other words, every issue is discussed thread bare and senior officers have to answer questions from their junior subordinates. This means that corps commanders have to think their way to the final decision, but they themselves can be questioned by their junior commanders. The internal debate in the army, and amongsts its officer corps is more democratic than any decision reached by the civilian leadership of Pakistan, which is closed to all but a few priveliged enough to be given access to the right drawing rooms.

    Also, the Chief of Army Staff is elected during the meetings of the corps commanders. Usually, the army follows the principle of seniority, but this can be overlooked. The corps commanders decide on a “very, very, very short list” of candidates to be the next Chief of Army Staff. These names then are “suggested” by the Chief of Army Staff to the Prime Minister, who then forwards his “recommendations” to the president, who then “nominates” the person.

    In any case, the names given to the prime minister and the president are of those serving officers, who the corps commanders feel best represents institutional interests of the army and the “one they want” to be next chief.

    Also, the Pakistani army being tradition bound insititution, it favors the selection of its next chief from either infantry, artillery or the armored corps. General Butt, Nawaz Sharif’s choice, was from the engineering corps and thus, would not have been even considered for the post. The right candidate; one chosen for the post of the army chief, has to go through a certain path – command of one of Pakistan’s two strike corps (a corps in the Pakistan army is composed of two divisions totalling around 20,000 men and is ususally commanded by the Lt. General (3 stars); experience as the Director General of Military Operations; and staff and teaching experiences.

    Here, parenthetically, it should be pointed out that the most important and powerful position within the Pakistani army is that of the Director General of Military Operations, who in times of war will actually control the strategic and tactical deployment of the army and will be, in deed the “fighting general” in times of war.

    Director General of Military Operations is a position held by the rank of a major-general (2 stars). Musharraf was the Director of Military Operations during the Kargil crisis as was General Kayani, who the Director General of Military Operations during the one year military stand-off between India and Pakistan in 2002, following the attack on the Indian parliament.

    The civilian media, the vast majority of the people and the civilian politicans wrongly assume that the change in army leadership is as lax and choatic as it in the civilian sphere. Civilian politicans, and Nawaz Sharif in this case, being accustomed to removing irksome police officers such as SHOs et al, who did not do their biddings; thought that the army chief could be similarily removed like a SHO and a new one appointed. They erred greatly, because they went against the grain of the military’s own insitutional heirarchy and it rebelled.

    The Pakistani Army likes to intervene in civilian politics, but it will draw the line at the civilian interference in army affairs!

    The above statements need to be understood as the final red line, which the army will never allow the civilians to trespass.

    Musharraf’s coup was the an example of this; as was the army’s response to the sending of the ISI chief to India after the Bombay terrorist attack (my mother’s family is orginally from Bombay and in our house, we never use the name Mumbai – Bombay will always remain Bombay no matter what!); the corps commanders’ strong statement made public during the debate on the Kerry-Lugar bill and its stipulations.

    The Pakistani politics “read” of the army is totally wrong, because used as it is to the cult of the personality; it thinks of individualism as the supreme leader and cannot think in terms of institutionalism.

    This is why, the United States has traditionally favored to engage with the Pakistani army, because the institutionalized political decision making in the United States finds an easy rapport with the insitutionalism of the Pakistan army and they know “whom to talk”. Whereas, talking to a civilian leaders is only talking to one person and that person, generally, represents his own interests and not that of his party; whereas, when the Americans engage in dialoque with the Chief of Army Staff, they know they are talking with the institution that matters in Pakistan and that Chief of Army Staff is speaking on the behalf of his institution and not on his own behalf.

    A caveat, which the mainstream Pakistani political discourse has routinely, and unfortunately, ignored.

    Asghar sahib, never underestimate the institutional coherence of the Pakistani army and its ability, willingness and resolve to act in the protection of its insitutional interests, but understand its “mind” if you wish to understand the Pakistani military and role in Pakistani politics and history.


    (My most sincere and abject apologies for this very long post)

  19. D Asghar

    Feroz Bhai,

    I am truly honored by your detailed post. It means that you care about my scribbles and do read them.

    I sincerely appreciate your insightful analyses and your eloquence in describing a situation. Actually your post, I wish could have been a bit more longer. Me and many others would like your take on the rest of points that I raised in my write up.

    I hope that you can touch on those as well. Once you do, I intend to do my final interact, in light of your expert commentary on the rest of the article. Many many thanks, and it is always a pleasure to read your take wherever we roam on the web. Waiting for more…..

  20. no-communal

    @Feroz Khan

    “Musharraf was the Director of Military Operations during the Kargil crisis”

    Wasn’t he the chief of army staff during Kargil?

  21. Ghani

    Mr. Feroz Khan’s post above does not reflect the reality. There is no process of selecting the COAS by the Corpse commanders. Outgoing COAS may recommend a few names but he is under no obligation and there is no precedent that he would take his corpse commanders opinion in the process. Over the years number of corpse commanders have gone up but during the Ayub and even Yahya Khan days there was no concept of Corpse commanders in the Pak Army. The current system was introduced during the ZAB era and before that COAS was actually called Commander in chief.

    Mr. Khan citing a few student is actually not accurate, most passengers had no clue what was going in the cockpit and in the first class cabin where Gen. Mush was.
    Corpse commander Karachi had taken control of Karachi airport and he was in the Airport control room. He did not allow the plane to land until the coup in Pindi was complete. The plane was circling Karachi not on NS’s orders but on the CC of Karachi’s orders.
    NS personally instructed DIG Karachi Akber Hussain(who is a personal friend of mine) to arrest Mush on landing. Akber refused telling the PM the Army has already taken control of the Airport.
    Akber was arrested by the army and was released after a week or so when it was confirmed that he had refused NS’s orders.
    Mr. Khan is speculating on things that a few kids from his school had no knowledge about.

    Constitutionally the PM had every right to appoint any general senior or junior. He is not bound by any recommendation of Corpse commanders. NS had the constitutional authority to appoint Zia Butt.
    The fact is that when NS removed Gen. Karamat on speaking against the constitution, some general vowed that they would not let that happen again and a contingency plan( Mush talked about that on many occasions and he also mentioned that in his book. ) was developed to counter the civilian government moves.
    NS case in the terrorism court was heard by the current SC justice Rehmat Jaffery, a sindhi, and he released NS on most of the charges. NS recommended him to Justice Iftikhar and Rehmat is now a SC Judge.

    There is no need to make up stories when you have no idea about the facts of the matter.

    Mush was COAS when Kargil happened but he made plans to attack Kargil when he was the Director of Military Operations.

  22. hayyer

    Feroze Khan’s post reflects all that is wrong with the Pakistani condition.
    The army is an institution of the state and subject to its control as exercised by the elected government. Changing the army chief, even in the dramatic circumstances of Musharraf’s flight is not undermining the army. If the American generals are so comfortable with the Pakistani system they should try it in their own country.
    Generals cannot decide how far the government can go. If the people through their elected representatives want to change the operation and control system of their army they have the right to do so.
    NS may have been maladroit, but were his actions illegal? Perhaps he just went about it the wrong way.

  23. hammad

    Sorry D Asghar this is utter tosh. I am no Musharraf fan but his time in charge was much better than what we have now and is definitely the lesser evil when it comes to the Nawaz brothers. But in all honesty – it does not make a different who is in charge – until there is a total political collapse in this country and things can be rebuilt from scratch – nothing will ever change.
    You write that under his watch political leaders were killed in broad daylight – well what about those thousands of civilians that are being killed now – night and day – or those desperate victims of the floods still await any sort of aid from the current ‘democratic’ government. What about the much maligned Ahmadis – who not have suffered a record number of religiously motivated murders this year – but have also a seen rise in public and civil opposition to them or the state of Pakistans Christians. The Musharraf years were not great but they were surely better than this.

  24. bciv

    “Corpse commanders”. indeed. a cadaver for the benefit of future students of military studies.

  25. What was wrong in my post?
    you guys are really predictably unbelieveable. 🙂

  26. @Dr. Jawad Khan

    Perhaps – I am merely hazarding a guess – your post of 2:28 pm may have been deleted because you are unbelievably predictable.

  27. 🙂 are you kiddin?
    Just look at the language used by one of your esteemed contibutor i.e the one and only YLH and compare it with any Islamist.
    Hey! i am not hazarding a guess you guys are really unbelieveable….

  28. Perspective

    From Feroz Khan’s post, one would believe that ISI is under institutional control, and the idea of “rogue ISI agents” is bogus, a convenient alibi whenever the ISI is implicated.

  29. bciv


    you are conflating two issues which are not necessarily inter-linked, in order to be able to make a bogus argument.

    you completely missed feroze khan’s point that the army is a rogue institution. his description of the athenian democracy of the general staff was not meant as an argument or claim for the army’s legitimacy as the supreme institution of the state.

    a ‘rogue’ media, judiciary, parliament, prime minister or president the army will not allow. but that does not mean that it has or cares about control down to the tiniest level where rogue ISI or any other kind of agents or actors were not possible. that is not how the institution works. it is not what it is about.

  30. Feroz Khan


    Musharraf was the Director General of Military Operations when Kargil was planned and he was the Chief of Army Staff during Kargil.

    @Ghani (October 5, 2010 at 11:04 am)

    Sir, whom you refer to as those “few students” are are being groomed to run Pakistan today and will be the people, whose decisions PTH will be debating in the future.

    You said, “Constitutionally the PM had every right to appoint any general senior or junior. He is not bound by any recommendation of Corpse commanders. NS had the constitutional authority to appoint Zia Butt”

    This is the textbook version of how things should happen in Pakistan, but my post was based on the reality of what actually happens in Pakistan.

    Incidently, Nawaz Sharif’s constitutional authority did not prevent him from being exiled. It did not prevent his removal from power. It did not prevent him from being jailed.

    Furthermore, as you stated “The fact is that when NS removed Gen. Karamat on speaking against the constitution, some general vowed that they would not let that happen again and a contingency plan (Mush talked about that on many occasions and he also mentioned that in his book. ) was developed to counter the civilian government moves”.

    General Karamat was removed not because he spoke against the constitution, but because in his speech at the Naval War College in Lahore, he spoke out against Nawaz Sharif and his policies.

    As to Musharraf developing plans to counter civilian influence, please carefully read again what I wrote:

    “The Pakistani Army likes to intervene in civilian politics, but it will draw the line at the civilian interference in army affairs!

    The above statements need to be understood as the final red line, which the army will never allow the civilians to trespass.”

    Does this not mean the same thing, which you quoted “….some some general vowed that they would not let that happen again and a contingency plan( Mush talked about that on many occasions and he also mentioned that in his book. ) was developed to counter the civilian government moves”.

    No one general made this plan. It is an institutional response by the military to the civilian control of the armed forces.

    The army in Pakistan works as an institution, which is why it is called the most organized institution in the country.

    How many chiefs of army staff have come and gone since 1947? Has the army’s policies really changed towards politics in Pakistan? Did it ever change under each new chief of staff or did it remain constant?

    Pakistani army does not operate on the principle of individualism, because if it did; it would be like the civilian governments, who are run by individuals, who make policy for their own benefits only to see next government – another individual come to power and void it and make new policies. The end result is that nothing is achieved.

    In comparsion, please just review what the army has achieved in Pakistan since 1958. Could one general have done that? The fact that successive generals followed a similar approach strongly suggests an institutional approach rather than an individual to the issues.

    With all due respect, what you have stated is an opinion and not an analysis. Your friend, the police officer who was jailed, telling you the “facts” is hardly the most objective source of information. The reason why conspiracy theories are so easily created in Pakistan is because we rely on personal opinions for our news and knowledge of facts and do not know what is the reality.

    My post reflects an analysis of the situation and not a personal opinion as yours does. It is your post, which does not reflect the reality of the facts because it based on a very narrow understanding of facts and those facts, in their own right, are questionble.


  31. Adnan

    “Hello it’s me again” – Biased & Monotonous. Is judiciary being followed right now? Does Babar Awan listens to anyone and the things he says, we should be a shamed for calling this nation a Democratic estate. Until unless you get rid of PPP & PML(N,Q for your comfort add A as well) you can not make things right. You want to be fair then remove educated and self aware people out of these parties who have less than three children (Otherwise they will play ministry ministry in the whole country). You are telling us that we can not find 100 sensible people in 170 Million population. At least 200 go to Oxford every year. I respect your opinion but I disagree with your methodology because you failed to alter my perspective about Democratic Government. Further your addendum’s are not enough to make this article reasonable.

  32. Feroz Khan

    Perspective (October 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm)

    ISI operates within the institutional framework of the military and was created in 1948 by the then British commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army to improve intelligence sharing between the three branches of the service.

    Since the vast majority of ISI’s task is to gather both tactical and strategic intelligence and share it with the other branches of the service as well share their intelligence, its real utility is to the Director General of Military Operations responsible for planning and conducting all military operations from rescue operations in times of natural diasters to the operations in the FATA against the Taliban.

    It is the Director General of Military Operations, who generates the operational orders for ISI and not the chief of the army staff.

    The Director General of ISI administers the organization and gives it direction and interacts with the other services and reports to the chief of the army staff, but does not necessarily generates the operational orders for ISI.

    Is ISI under institutional control? Yes, it is. Are there “rogue” elements within ISI? Yes, there will be always some because given the nature of getting military intelligence, its operations are secret and not every operation may be known as there is difference of what actually happens on the tactical level (on the ground) in comparsion to what is known on the strategic level (command and control).

    Therefore, given the scope for which ISI was created and where its intelligence and work benefits the most – military operations – and how it gathers that information, the definations of the “rogue elements” are more about accountibility of ISI and what and how it does its work.

    Rogue elements do not necessarily mean James Bond type of foolishness, but it does mean whether there is an institutional accountibility of what ISI does within the military’s own heirarchy of command and control itself.

    The answer is: not always.

    The rogue nature of ISI, like any another military intelligence gathering service, will be based on whether right hand always knows what the left hand is doing and the answer will be, in intelligence terms, the left hand is not authorized to know that right is doing! 🙂

    It is the lack of accountibility and control over intelligence operations, which by their nature have to be murky, that issues of rogue elements will arise, because no intelligence organization wants any oversight body to know what it is doing and this is true of every intelligence organization.

    In terms of ISI, this issue becames more focused because ISI does not seem to have a clearly established and transparent mode of accountibility. The lable of “rogue” attached to ISI only means to ask the question, “does anyone know that the ISI is doing?” 🙂

    Hope this explains your question/comment.


  33. bciv

    “Pakistani army does not operate on the principle of individualism, because if it did; it would be like the civilian governments, who are run by individuals, who make policy for their own benefits only to see next government – another individual come to power and void it and make new policies. The end result is that nothing is achieved.”

    the civilian politicians can and do rely on the army to come and rescue them from having to plan for the long-term and from having to make due efforts in that regard.

    the army, otoh, by choosing to put itself above the law and constitution, cannot enjoy any similar luxury. it must fend for itself as it has denied all legal authority by others over it and all responsibility and possibility of being legally accountable for what it considers to be in its own short or long term interest and how it chooses to go about it and how far.

  34. AZW


    We agree that in reality, the institution that is called Army is fiercely defensive when it comes to its territory. For this purpose, this institution does not heed to the directives of the President of Pakistan, who by constitution is the supreme commander of the Armed Forces.

    So the Army decides to put itself above the law of the land in the name of stability. In the name of the not-to-be-trusted civilian leaders, this institution keeps undermining the democratic structure over and over again. This concept of the distrust towards the bloody civilians is so ingrained that none of the democratic governments have been allowed to run their own foreign and defence policies for the past three decades.

    And I may be naive here, but Nawaz Sharif was by law allowed to replace Musharraf with any new COAS. Blame Sharif for terrible handling of the affair, but appointing Ziauddin Ahmad was a choice that constitution clearly afforded him.

    According to this institution, the bloody civilians are not to be trusted. Hence the same army has been busy running a political cell in its premier intelligence wing, where it keeps various journalists on its payrolls and has kept the civilian governments hostage when these civilians try to carve an independent route for themselves.

    Surely, this institution goes against the constitution every time it indulges in these activities. Hence to end the charade, Musharraf now proposes that this hitherto-illegal role be constitutionalized.

    And by imposing this artificial stability under the military boots as Nawaz Sharifs, Bhuttos and Zardaris go out of hand, the army has what to show? This institution has got Pakistan a wild roller coaster ride through the Afghan jihad, Strategic Depth, proxy militias that have wreaked havoc across the globe as well in Pakistan. The same army is busy crushing disenfranchised Balochis over the past few decades, just like the operations that were conduced against the disenfranchised Bengalis some forty years ago.

    I don’t think civilian inconsistency can be termed a problem, because the consistent slide in our state of affairs due to the myopic geopolitical policies spearheaded by the army has been rather terrible. Pursuing a failed strategy, away from the public, without being accountable to the public has resulted in a myopic vision that only changes when the failings become too big to ignore. Ayesha Siddiqa’s Military Inc. is a sad read when we realize how the army has nurtured itself as a corporate behemoth in Pakistan as it sustains itself as the only organized institution in the country.

    Sure this is all reality, a bitter reality, and this is how things are done in Pakistan. But surely if our history is any guide, whatever the institution has been trying to do is not working at all. Why assume it will work in the future?

  35. I also believe he post to be biased. It speaks of the language of some of our politicians who as someone puts in as brainless and without any vision. Ask any politician today to speak extempore on the economy or national strategy of Pakistan and you would witness a sheepish response. I think Mush had many mistakes, of which Kargil, meddling with the CJ and NRO were the gravest. But other than that I find nothing much wrong. Some have quoted Lal Masjid operation as a fiasco by Mush. I think if the operation is viewed objectively, it allowed every possible opportunity for the clerics to come out safely and be accountable for the law and order situation they created. The operation was only undertaken when they refused except being let out to go to the place of their choosing unconditionally, which no government would have accepted. Mosques are places of worship and peace, and not to fire bullets from.

    The political acumen and the grasp on military affairs and strategy of Mr NS can be gauged from his appointment of an engineer officer who had never commanded an active corps of the army. How could such a person be entrusted with the reins of one of the finest armies of the world? Probably the move was designed to cripple the Pakistan Army and reduce it to that of an army of rats. It is the same NS who had asked two other chiefs to pack up, while the death of the third is still a mystery. How come there is a “visionary politician” who never had cordial relations with any of the army chiefs during his times or even the CJ? Who knows if NS comes in power, he turns against the very CJ for whose reinstatement he mobilized the black coats.

    I can go on and on about the mess we are in by the politicians of our time, whose credibility has hurt Pakistan during this hour of grief and devastation left by recent floods for the world community to coming forward and helping us whole heartedly.
    No one is angel around, not even the World Cup 92 winner Imran Khan. Everyone has problems. But we have to weigh between brainless and ineffective against those who have brains, vision and strength to lead this country.

    I only wish we add maturity in our analyses and do not provide a biased input. This is what is hurting us. We need to rise above everything, weigh all possible pros and cons without any prejudices. We have a leadership problem here, and I am afraid we don’t have any options available from our present lot to steer the country out of the mess we are in.

  36. Bin Ismail

    @D. Asghar

    “…..He said his party manifesto will be governed by three documents – the Holy Qura’an, Quaid’s 11 August 1947 Constituent Assembly address and 12 April 1949 Objective Resolution by Liaquat Ali Khan…..”

    Of these three documents, mentioning the first and the third will do little more than enticing the politically oriented clergy.

  37. Feroz Khan

    @AZW (October 6, 2010 at 5:42 am)

    We need to take a dispassionate review of our failures and in this the military as well as the civilians are responsible and blame worthy. One of the things, amongst many others, which we lack is the abilty of a national introspection and one of the few things, which we are good at is the ability to scapegoat others for our own faults.

    There is a tendency to place the blame for everything on the military and in the process, absolve the civilians as being puppets and therefore, not entirely responsible for their actions.

    This is pure scatology.

    The military should be held accountable for its role in politics, but so should the civilian politicans who pursued their own policies of egoism.

    It was a civilian elected leader named Z . A. Bhutto who created a political role for the Inter-Service Intelligence to basically keep an eye on his political opponents. This same person allowed the military to step back into the limelight, when he used the military to settle a political problem in Balochistan. This same person ruined the Pakistani bureaucracy, when he made it political and this same person, appeased the religious right just to stay in power.

    The military did not nationalize the economy of Pakistan in the 1970s.

    We as a nation will never progress as long as we are incapable of accepting the truth. All those guilty must be held accountable regardless of whether they wear an uniform or civilian clothes. However, we cannot do this, because we have our own personal axes to grind based on our sacrosant reasons, which we hold as invioable justifications of our victimhood.

    We are not the victims of military rule in Pakistan; we are its appeasers. We have appeased it and we have welcomed it and we have longed for it in times of turmoil. We have abdicated our civic responsibilities by having convinced ourselves that we are the victims and we have no influence over the events, which shape our lives.

    The next time, when we play the victim again and blame the military for being the sole cause of all our misery, it would be an appropiate moment to reflect that why, we as as a nation, celebrate and distribute sweets and dance in the streets, when the military comes to power when it we blame it for everything that is wrong in Pakistan?

    Maybe, we need to translate a few lines from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar into Urdu, where Cassius says to Brutus – the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

    Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum and as much we, as a nation, may wish to shed crocodile tears and wish this were not true; it will not change the reality. The reality is that the military was allowed to taste political power by the civilians themselves and since 1958, all our politicans have been the creatures of the military and still see the miltary as their political patron.

    Since 1958, there has existed an unholy trinty of interests between the military, and the bureaucrats and the politicans and they have all developed an incentive to eternally align the political system for their own benefit and in the process, the state has become disconnected with the people. This troika of interests is not interested in the people of Pakistan as much as it is interested in its own existence as the arbiters of political power in Pakistan.

    The state of Pakistan has no interest in the welfare of its citizens and never will unless the citizens themselves take interest in their own country and start to respect it. The state has become dysfunctional, rogue (as in sense, it is out of control), has no hopes of arresting its decline other than the fact of accepting the envitable and letting the present incarnation of Pakistan die a quiet death and then, start all over again because saving the present malfunctioning state of Pakistan is an endeavor marked by diminishing returns only rich in frustrations.

    Blaming this or that will not solve our problems and if we are really willing to solve our problems, we will have to honestly ask some hard questions and we better be ready to accept some bitter answers.


  38. fuzair

    A couple of minor points.

    The ISI was set up by Maj. Gen. Cawthorne when he was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army. Incidentally, Cawthorne was actually an Australian and served as Australia’s HC to Pakistan from 1954-59. Despite being an Australian, he served in preWWII India and saw considerable action on the Frontier.

    Until Bhutto used it for political spying and Zia turned it into the Afghan War coordinating agency, the ISI was a khuda-line posting–a career ender almost.

    The Corp Commanders and the Principal Staff Officers will speak their minds and may often oppose the ‘Chief’ if they are near contemporaries. However, once someone has been Chief for a while (e.g., Zia for 12 years or Musharraf for 9), all of the Corp Commanders and PSOs are handpicked/promoted by him from Colonel/Brigadier onwards and they will not oppose him in meetings–far too junior.

  39. fuzair

    PS: Cawthorne was murdered in 1974 but this probably had nothing to do with his Pakistan service but maybe had to do with the fact that he was the head of the Australian SIS and may have had a hand in the Indonesian coup that overthrew Sukarno. Or it was just a robbery that went bad.

  40. fuzair

    Also a few more points:

    There were corp commanders (ok, one only) during the 1965 War so it was actually set up by Ayub/Musa–although it did diddly during the war.

    The DGMO is not the planner in the sense Feroz said. He/his-staff does little more than act as the clearing house for the various corps who have their own operations planning staff (under their respective Brigadier, General Staff, aka Corp Chief of Staff). Occasionally the DGMO’s office will plan an operations like Kargil but, IIRC, it was actually planned by the Force Commander FCNA and X Corps more than the DGMO. In any case, the first Kargil plan was put up to Gen. Zia in the 1980s after we had had our heads handed to us by the Indians over Siachen and Zia–essentially upon Yaqub Khan’s advice–vetoed it.

  41. Bin Ismail

    @Feroz Khan (October 6, 2010 at 8:13 pm)

    “…..@AZW (October 6, 2010 at 5:42 am)…The state has…no hopes of arresting its decline other than the fact of accepting the envitable and letting the present incarnation of Pakistan die a quiet death…..”

    Pardon me please for my intrusion.

    The present incarnation of Pakistan was born out of the marriage of Politics and Religion. However benign or even blessed, the intentions of the authors and movers of the Objectives Resolution may have been, the Resolution itself proved only to be the first step in the direction of the present sad incarnation of Pakistan.

    As a guiding document, the Objectives Resolution only misguided the nation away from the eternally and universally noble principle of “Equality”. A precedent for creating inequality between citizens of one country, on the basis of religion, was firmly set. Next, another inequality, on the basis of provincialism, was allowed to prevail between the Western and Eastern wings of the country – culminating in Bangla Desh.

    If the present curse of Inequality is allowed to continue, it will most likely render void all that is left of this nation. Pakistan needs a new incarnation – a revival of its original incarnation – a revival of Equality among all citizens of Pakistan – a revival of Jinnah’s Secular Pakistan.


  42. Feroz Khan


    Thanks for the corrections and updates!


  43. AZW

    Feroz (Oct 6, 2010 at 8.13 PM).

    Thanks for your reply. In turn, my reply has become rather too long hence I will break it out into four parts for the ease of reading.

    1) You mentioned that “State of Pakistan has no interest in the welfare of its citizens and never will unless the citizens themselves take interest in their own country and start to respect it”.

    Just because the state of Pakistan is inefficient, does not fully protect its citizens and lurch from one unstable state to another does not mean that the state does not care about itself. It is the population; you, me, our brothers, colleagues, friends who form the technocrats, bureaucrats and even politicians of the state. To assume that once individuals coalesce into a body called “state” and stop caring about “the citizens” needs some more discussion.

    The problem that a third world country like Pakistan, India or Bangladesh runs against is the failure to assign collective responsibility of individuals, when it comes to the welfare of society. Politicians are imperfect, they seldom have long term vision of the country in their minds, and they care more about the medium term ideals of holding on to their seats and get elected over and over again. Technocrats are supposed to run the government cogs, not the brains. Military is supposed to defend the borders, not govern the nation.

    As the state remains lax in providing its citizens, the state is termed a failure. However by conveniently blaming the state to stop caring for the citizens, the citizens conveniently ignore that on even a small infinitesimal level they do form part of the very state they are criticizing. The citizens do share the blame, because they are the state. But since that share is neither defined, nor well understood, the bogey of state takes all the blame.

    This is where in my opinion another fallacious argument comes into play: “A state should provide for its citizens”. But how? A state does not come into being out of nowhere. A state is nothing but a process; a process where people get to elect their representatives. And like the people, the representatives are not perfect. However in their zeal to find a clean, working, efficient, and honest government, citizens assume that the state would magically transform itself into something utopian overnight.

    This is not to say that a well governed state is not our desire. But to get there, we need to make tough choices in a supremely imperfect world.

  44. AZW


    2) Which brings me to the second point, which was taken from your other quote: “We are not the victims of military rule in Pakistan; we are its appeasers. We have appeased it and we have welcomed it and we have longed for it in times of turmoil. We have abdicated our civic responsibilities by having convinced ourselves that we are the victims and we have no influence over the events, which shape our lives.”

    I submit that “We” are not a monolithic entity. “We” are Pakistani people, whose shades of opinion vary with the shades of our skin colour, our ethnicities and our diversities. Many among us long for military rule. Many among us distribute sweets when the army takes over the country. Many among us jump on bring-the-messiah-since-politicians-are-always-corrupt bandwagon. Some of the politicians have visited GHQs more than once to pay homage to the ultimate power brokers in Pakistani politics.

    And many among us do not do these things. This group appropriately condemns political leaders who have indulged in political gimmicks, corruption and short term shenanigans. This group condemns the excesses of the politicians when they deserve it. Bhutto is condemned on this forum and by pro-democracy groups for his wanton excesses. His role in sending army to Balochistan, and his appeasement of the religious right remains a blot, and history books have assigned the appropriate blame to him.

    But Bhutto must be viewed as a leader prone to mistakes, but still a democratic leader. I would readily admit that had Bhutto not been carried away with his powers, he may have been around for a long period of time. But his actions must be understood (not justified) in terms of real-politicking that he indulged in. He was still one of the most progressive leaders of his decade. Despite Bhutto’s shameful appeasement of Islamic parties, his rivals in the 1977 elections gathered under the banner “Promulgation of the Way of the Prophet”. His immediate successor unleashed even more political victimization, without being accountable to any electorate, shamefully manipulated elections and began forcing the country towards a path that the country did not want, and then still hasn’t recovered from it.

    Take it one and a half ruler back before Bhutto. Here in the golden era of Ayub Khan, ethnic tensions came to fore between East and West Pakistan, as well as within West Pakistan. Mr. Khan’s machinations and experiments (controlled democracy, one unit scheme) led to the breakup of the country within a few years of his abdication.

    Was Bhutto a good leader? No. But democracy is not about having good leaders right away. Bhutto rigged the elections, but when the army took over, even the opposition parties were in agreement that Bhutto had agreed to hold new elections. But once we condemned democracy by condemning the only truly popular (yet imperfect leader), we invited even more vicious demons inside the house. When the nation quietly acquiesced to the replacement of a blighted civilian ruler, they found themselves governed by an even crueler ruler. This time, however the ruler went on to rule for 11 years, never giving electorate a chance to participate in the political process.

    Did Bhutto make a lot of mistakes? Yes. Do I wish he had been more judicious with his powers? Yes. Would Pakistan would have been a relatively better place if elections were allowed to be held in 1977 and most likely Bhutto would have been back in power? An unequivocal yes.

  45. AZW


    3) I do not criticize the Army because politicians are blameless. Far from it; they are imperfect human beings who have shown rather woeful handle on power.

    But I live in an imperfect world. And I do not have the luxury of finding the best choices available off the shelf. As a Pakistani, I don’t have the luxury of being born in a nation where the democratic tradition has been in place, and continuously evolved for many decades. In an imperfect world, I have to work with the best among the worst options. I understand democracy is loud. I understand democracy may seem unstable as dissensions are not suppressed. Its failings are hung in public and its short comings are mob lynched in the open. But I also understand that my other choices are really equivalent to playing a Russian roulette. There are plenty of tin-pot dictators dotting the African, Middle Eastern, South East Asia and South American countries who have come in the shape of instant messiahs, only to ensconce themselves at the throne, causing their countries political institutions to stagnate, and leaving the yearning-for-instant-fixes population old and wistful on what their countries could have been.

    In this imperfect world, I still believe Zardari is my best choice for a stronger Pakistan down the road. I understand he has a corrupt and questionable past, I understand that he indulges in nepotism at a high level. I also understand that Zardari’s decisions to dismiss Punjab Government in 2009 and staying abroad as the country was drowning in floods speak of a person who is prone to make massive judgement mistakes. The governance by the present government leaves a lot to desire. And I detest the fact that he is the Chairperson of a political party while being the President of Pakistan.

    But he still is the person who is the popularly elected leader of Pakistan. He is still answerable to the public in two years time. He is still a leader who allows himself to be ridiculed on print and electronic media 24/7. His party seems to challenge the religious militants more openly, and various provincial accords signed during the present tenure are baby steps towards ameliorating the ethnic tensions that have festered in the country as we try to impose a religiously inspired Pakistani nationalist identity on disparate groups of people who live in the nation.

    Even more importantly, I expect imperfect governance. Not because I want it, but because governance is correlated to the health of the administrative institutions of the nation. And institutions are more likely to suffer when individuals rule without a popular mandate. To lengthen their rules, these messiahs weaken the judicial and administrative institutions. My best hope for better governance down the road lies with the present democratic government with imperfect governance record.

  46. AZW


    4) I choose democracy because in my humble opinion, even if this imperfect government is allowed to continue, this route still offers the best route for better governance down the road. I do not play victim by blaming army on all the ills. However I condemn this institution in the strongest terms because this institution has undermined the civilian rule by citing the exact same mistakes that the army itself made when it was in power; even on a grander scale than their democratic counterparts. This institution has actively been seeking to undermine the democratic institutions, even when democratic rulers never called for intervention. And now the institution cannot trust the civilians to run the country, even though its own record has been anything but disastrous in this regard.

    In this imperfect world, I understand that Pakistan could survive a shaky democracy, but Pakistan would likely not survive another firm-footed messiah. I take heart from India; a destitute, imperfectly governed nation that persevered with democracy even in face of extremely incompetent leaders. I take heart with small evolutionary steps that Pakistan has been taking in its democratic process; the Punjab and Sind heartland is now represented by less feudal lords, a lot less if we compare the results of 1988 with 2008 elections.

    The urban centers are beginning to choose more people from the regular citizenry. Sure these are small developments, but they are developments nevertheless.

    Democracy can only evolve, not be imposed. In between all of this evolution, governance today leaves a lot to desire. I still do not choose an iron hand to have a picture-perfect governance. If the social and economic landscapes of countries (that are governed by iron hands) are any indication, good governance will remain a utopian dream if I opt for alternatives.

    Evolution is neither linear, nor pretty. I am willing to take that chance, because this is what the odds favour. I therefore opt for imperfect politicians. I will never shy away from condemning them for their excesses. But I will not condemn them to be thrown out. They are the best hope we have. Each time we throw them out, we will usher in not just the other ones who are ill-suited for the job to begin with, but we break the evolutionary process that can usher in better leadership down the road.


  47. bciv

    @Feroze Khan

    “The military did not nationalize the economy of Pakistan in the 1970s.”

    your list is on the mark till you come to the charge i have quoted above. nationalisation was legitimate policy, by a duly elected govt, regardless of whether you consider it sound policy or not, or whether it did good or harm.

    AZW has explained how apportioning the deservedly greater blame to the military is not to absolve the pols (arbitrarily created and destroyed by GHQ, as it happens) of their share. the disproportionate blame is dictated by any simple factual measure you may choose to use.

    when he started his public life, ZAB was a little sycophantic opportunist who was faced, within a year, with the choice of either continuing being a part of an in-uniform dictatorship (after an out-of-uniform one) or quit and pursue a different career. the transformation into becoming a little fascist came easily to the feudal that both berkeley and christchurch had failed to educate out of him.

    in june 1966, he decided to give disloyalty and political opportunism a try by opposing ayub for bhutto’s own policies and schemes and what they had wrought. no matter how despicable his role in ’71, he was not the one holding exclusive and absolute executive power (it was the military, instead). (to cut a long story short)… yet, he ended up dangling at the end of a piece of rope, murdered (by…). the worst a general has had to endure in terms of ‘accountability’, in contrast, was a short period of confinement to his own house (deprived of golfing privileges). how can the pols and generals be treated as anything approaching equivalence when it comes to sharing the blame for the mess we are in?

    to add to AZW’s point about evolution, democracy is organic. it gives ownership, no matter how little. even if democracy comes to nought as far as saving the country is concerned, well a natural death that the nation can own is far better than being murdered by a dictator (no matter how ‘well-meaning’ or ‘welcomed’).

  48. bciv

    re. distributing sweets

    on the surface, celebrating an opponent’s defeat is not that different to celebrating your own victory. but actually it is yet another sign of how these political workers and society at large are deprived of the opportunity to learn lessons in pragmatism and patience, over time, that only the education of living in a democracy can provide.

    it takes at least one generation to develop some minimally competent democratic leaders at the grass-roots. dictatorship comes and runs roughshod over these infant nurseries. many amongst both those celebrating sweets and those keeping their heads low and staying at home, are looking for ways to get into the new regime due to what the army sees its role to be in politics and how it affects its imagined need for sham legitimacy (mostly for int’l optics). this need means that politics is never as dead in pakistan as it is say in egypt or syria. but, on the flip side, boundaries between military and civilian are blurred by the military which takes on the role that might be unique to pakistan of all military ruled states where the military creates, manipulates and sabotages political parties, groups and personalities, constantly. bhutto did make it more difficult for the military to resist being pulled in by creating the pol cell within ISI. but did zia need the relatively newly formed cell? or ayub?

  49. bciv

    @bin ismail

    ” Next, another inequality, on the basis of provincialism, was allowed to prevail between the Western and Eastern wings of the country – culminating in Bangla Desh.”

    the interesting fact is that the One Unit was supposed to be a rejection of provincialism, even as it was clearly a way of re-enforcing the east-west divide. what is more fascinating was that the inequality was against the majority province by the minority!

  50. Bin Ismail

    @bciv (October 8, 2010 at 7:24 pm)

    “…..the interesting fact is that the One Unit was supposed to be a rejection of provincialism, even as it was clearly a way of re-enforcing the east-west divide. what is more fascinating was that the inequality was against the majority province by the minority!…..”

    Very true. Four provinces were merged into one, so that an artificial parity could be achieved between East and West Pakistan. Once achieved, the western half of the country was treated as the more equal. Result: the half that was more than half and less equal, was lost. The point I was trying to make was that it was with the adoption of the Objectives Resolution that the seed of inequality was sown in Pakistan’s politics – first between citizens on the basis of their religious identity and then between provinces. Inequality always gives birth to inequity and inequity creates the divide.