Pakistan is a country in the perpetual grip of its Army who run the country since inception. It is interesting to see how the political leaders have been treated by the establishment in Pakistan. The founder and the Governor-General was provided a junk ambulance and perhaps he breathed his last in that broken down vehicle on a deserted road in Karachi in 1948.
Change of Guard & Assassinations
Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister by the Governor-General in 1947, was assassinated on October 17, 1951, exactly six months after he appointed Ayub Khan as Commander-in-Chief. Seven Prime Ministers served between 1951 and 1958, while Ayub Khan continued to be the Commander in Chief of the Army who was the first native Pakistani C-in-C, also the first chief to become President of the country. Iskander Mirza abrogated the Constitution in 1958 and then Gen Ayub Khan took over. After the coup from General Ayub Khan, Prime Minister’s post was abolished for a period of 13 years and two months up till 1971. Under the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, the post was recreated and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the first democratically elected Prime Minister. Bhutto was overthrown in 1977 and later hanged in 1979 by General Zia who ruled for 11 dark years under martial law. He appointed Junejo as Prime Minister and later dismissed him in 1988. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif each held the positions for two non-consecutive terms between 1988 and 1999. Then Musharraf’s coup saw another nine years of military direct rule and Nawaz Sharif in exile. Benazir was assassinated in 2007 while campaigning.
Now the three times elected PM has returned after four years in self-exile, after the junta’s failed attempt to create Imran Khan who is now fighting for his political survival in the jail in Rawalpindi. Nawaz Sharif is likely to be accommodated by the establishment to be the PM of Pakistan, fourth time.
The question is whether there’s a change in the institution of the Pakistan Army that would make the future of Pakistan or Nawaz Sharif any different from the past? I would say, no.
Pakistan is a feudal society and has a long way to develop democratic roots. Military’s economic clout is too overbearing. Undoubtedly, elections will be held but other essential ingredients of democracy like an independent PM, control on foreign policy, independent media, strong Parliament, freedom of speech, secularism, acceptance of the role of an opposition, internal party democracy, strong regulatory institutions, meritocracy are still far in the distant future and there can’t be any real democracy without these. The 76 years history of Pakistan shows that the military never allowed any towering political leader to grow out the lingering shadows of their power. First 25 years were totally under the dictatorship of two Khans; Ayub & Yahya. The military handed over the reigns of Government to Bhutto after the shameless surrender of 90,000 Pakistan Army to India.
if Nawaz Sharif becomes Prime Minister again, The question is what he can do for the people? The critical challenge is economy and growth
Even after this debacle, shameless ISI was tapping the phones of then President Bhutto as early as in 1971. As soon as was practically possible, the Army again conquered their country and the first towering political leader to emerge from the ashes of Pakistan was deposed in 1977 and assassinated in 1979 through a farce judicial trial after disgracing him for two years in prison cells to break his spirit before taking his life.
Rawalpindi is the HQ of the Army and they incarcerate and assassinate the Prime Ministers in this city. The first PM was assassinated here in 1951, then the first elected PM Bhutto was next to be assassinated by the coterie of criminal judges & evil generals in 1979. Three time PM, Benazir Bhutto met the same fate as her father and again, another crook General Musharraf was in power. A sniper’s shot piercing her skull ended her dream of democracy in 2007. Nawaz Sharif and now Imran Khan serve his time here. Military has raped the Constitution and country’s economic resources with impunity. The 220 million lives, their future and prosperity & safety of the whole region is hostage due their greed and misplaced definition of patriotism. Mullahs and Judiciary have always been the partners in military’s crimes.
When NS came to power in 2013, he wanted the PM to be the boss! The military has always had many stooges up their sleeve in every era. That time it was another Khan; a ‘reformed’ spineless puppet, who was ready to play to the tunes of the masters. The humiliation Nawaz Sharif had in 1999 brought about the metamorphosis. He realised that the junta can’t be trusted and he would not take any dictation. In 2013 he came with the clear mindset of civil supremacy. Within six months, Niazi and Qadri hounds were unleashed upon the Government. The Niazi ‘dharna’ was staged for 126 days in the capital city. It only ended with the 150 school children being massacred by Taliban on December 16; on the same ominous date, 43 years ago, another infamous Niazi in Pakistan’s history, the General surrendered before General Arora in Bangladesh in 1971.
Pakistan is a sick society. Army is the malignant tumour in the body-politics of Pakistan. It’s life threatening. Pakistan can’t survive and sustain continued hostilities with India. Mian Nawaz Sharif’s unpardonable crime is his incessant realisation of the need to have a friendly relationship with India. After nuclear tests of May 28 1998, Pakistan and India signed on February 21, 1999, a treaty ratified by the Parliaments of both the countries. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif signed for their counties. In May 1999, Musharraf derailed the whole process by his Kargil misadventure. Then he deposed Nawaz Sharif by a coup. All the peace progress was stalled for ten years. Vajpayee visited Pakistan in 2004, but that was to attend the SAARC summit. The visit of Manmohan Singh was on the cards but due to Mumbai attacks in 2008 could not materialise. Nawaz Sharif came back to power in 2013 and attended Modiji’s inauguration ceremony. Modi Ji surprised everyone by a visit to Lahore on December 25, 2015, on Nawaz Sharif’s birthday. To jeopardise any normalisation, the Pakistan spy agencies created the Kulbhushan Jadhav spying hype, after abducting him from Iran in March 2016 and within a year sentenced him to death through a court martial. The implementation was only stayed through the ICJ ruling.
Misleading Public About Bharat
Pakistan is now firmly in the grip of its military takeover which is now forever. The July 25, 2018 elections were just a sign post on the path towards the complete and unending military take over. It is a far slower and subtler affair than the old-school coups of 1958, 1977 and 1999.
This coup was hatched on May 11, 2013, the day, Nawaz Sharif Government was voted to power. In 2013 he came with the clear mindset of civil supremacy. Within six months, Niazi and Qadri hounds were unleashed upon the Government. The Niazi ‘dharna’ was staged for 126 days in the capital city. It only ended with the 150 school children being massacred by Taliban on December 16; on the anniversary of Pakistan Army’s surrender in Dacca. Their dilemma for them was that they were convinced that Nawaz was not ready for a deal. So, IK became their safe bet in spite of reservations about his personal suitability. Nawaz Sharif was in Government since 2013, but not in power. Military used guerrilla tactics preventing him from achieving his main targets which included to put Musharraf on trial for high treason and making peace with India. A PM with a landslide in 2013, got so weakened in 4 years that a PM directive was dismissed by an ISPR Tweet. As always, a select few judges of the upper house of judiciary were used as stooges with the shameful Chief Justice as the leader of the pack. The PM was dismissed by five judges for not declaring a small income from one of his son’s companies which he was entitled to but did not collect.
He was not only removed from office in July 2017 but banned for life from politics and heading his political party. Media gave him scant coverage. Why to scale the walls and silence TV stations when phone calls to cable companies would drop the dissenting channels. Media houses were directed which Journalists to publish and whom to silence.
Imran secretly married a spiritual faith healer called Bushra Maneka in January 2018, apparently convinced that she holds some talisman for the supernatural to work miracles. I would not be too surprised if it is found tomorrow that this holy matrimony and dream saga was a PSYOP of the agencies to lure the traditional peer-worshipping Brailvi religious vote; a part of ongoing coup. A religious hype was enacted around this rather unconventional matrimony. People’ brain were fed that the prophet ordained in a dream this holy matrimony so that Imran can become PM of Pakistan to fulfil the Allah’s plans for Pakistan. Those who understand the sanctity accorded to the prophet’s dream may understand the significance of this operation.
The newspaper ‘Dawn’ ran Sharif’s interview in which the former PM implicated the army-linked militants masterminding Mumbai attacks. It vanished from major cities where it has its readership. It was banned in cantonments and its advertisement were stopped. Social media was not spared either. Online activists who disagree with the army’s view of the world were kidnapped, tortured and accused falsely of blasphemy. Websites were blocked. Even the army’s spokesman announced at a press conference that the military was monitoring social media for “anti-state, anti-Pakistan and anti-army” material. He displayed a diagram of Twitter accounts, which included prominent journalists, that were suspected of being manipulated by “enemy designs” (for which, read India). That was happening all during the last one year of the PML N Government in 2017. Officials close to Sharif brothers were arrested and facing the music. More than 60 ‘electable candidates’ were thrust into the favoured party.
The Coup was implemented through sham elections in 2018 which installed Imran Khan to Premiership. Total active duty personnel in the whole of Pakistan army are 550,000. Out of that 371,388 were deployed for election duty at 85,058 polling stations and 244,687 polling booths. Yes, this is 67% of the total active army. That is almost 4.3 armed men per polling station or 1.5 armed person over every single polling booth. There were 819,119 polling staff so for every 2.2 polling staff there was 1 armed & trained armed person. Stop here. It was not all. There were another 800,000 police and paramilitary personnel, effectively under the army’s control. This adds to another 9 persons per polling station. If Three (3) crore people voted and it makes over 1 armed gunmen per 22 voters.
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, India actually became an election issue in 2018 elections. Sharif was portrayed as a traitor being a friend of Modi Government. People’s minds were tuned to one word, corruption. Sharif’s were targeted. Hate was generated. It would be wrong to think that all this has been done to deny Sharif’s victory. The army engineered the elections for a coalition government led by Khan in 2018 and if elections are held in 2024, they can catapult Nawaz Sharif to power. It is no big business of the army which in 76 years have never won a war and never lost an election.
The real question is not if Nawaz Sharif can become a four time PM. The question is what he can do. The critical challenge is economy and growth. The problems are inadequate revenue, perpetual fiscal deficit, public debt, fiscal deficit, trade deficit, and circular debt, etc. Pakistan has been doubling its debt every five years over the last 25-year period. The only thing which is growing in Pakistan is Population, inflation, debt and illiteracy.
Any Pakistani politician who wants to make peace with India is a mortal enemy of the Pakistani Army. That is the reason for hatred of Nawaz Sharif and this time on his first public gathering in Lahore, he again announced that a prosperous Pakistan is not possible without friendly relations with its neighbours (means India). My prediction looking at the past is that the Army would not allow anyone to make the right choice.