Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More on events in Pakistan

In response to my post on the people's movement in Pakistan and the comments made by some readers, Dr Nayyar Hashmey, of Wonders of Pakistan wrote:

"I sent this rejoinder to all my friends on 14th of this month when the clip titled "Sheeshay ke GharoN maiN" was being aired on the Geo News Channel here in Pakistan.

I am also sending my comments which I put up on my blog in response to my dear Sidhu Saaheb, who too is a blogger friend from India.

I hope this will clarify a lot of reservations expressed by our friends in India."

This text was written and sent on 14th March, two days ahead of the proposed Long March to Islamabad.

I do not agree with the friends who say that country’s major news channel is adding fuel to the fire. (I have seen that clip “Sheeshay kay Gharon maiN” and found nothing wrong in that).

First of all, let me make it clear I am neither a supporter of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif nor an opponent of Mr. A. Zardari. I am a common Pakistani. I do feel, however, whoever does good for this country, is acceptable and respectable; no matter to which party, group, section or community he belongs. Yet, while assessing the role of Mr. Zardari vis-à-vis the lawyers, the civil society, and the political parties, who have joined together for a long march - there are those who label everybody raising their voice to restore the ex C.J. as biased against Zardari. They support Mr. Zardari and label others as biased, whereas most of them seem to be tainted with a heavy bias in favor of Mr. Zardari & his policies.

What is wrong if a news channel or for that matter anyone else hints on those long speeches & sermons made by politicians in the past about democracy, about independence of judiciary, independence of media, and economic issues (so brutally restricted to the cheap slogan of roti, kapRa aur makan i.e. bread, clothing and shelter).

To have an overview on this slogan, we will have to dig a bit of history. The founder of the PPP, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto (ZAB) coined this slogan when the whole world was clamouring for socialism. It was in this peculiar climate (in the sixties) that ZAB’s slogans like "Democracy is our politics, Islam our creed and socialism our economy" became the hallmarks of the PPP and mesmerized the people, the workers, the peasants, the lower middle class, the intellectuals as well as leftists of that age. As a result, he sweeped the elections in the then West Pakistan, presently Pakistan.

On whether he achieved this objective: to my mind he utterly failed to deliver what he had promised. His greatest achievement, however, of historical import was to create awareness among the downtrodden of the society that they too are human beings and, therefore, deserve every thing which the rich have in this country.

Now taking a cue from late ZAB, Mr. Zardari again copied the roti, kapRa aur makan stance. Unfortunately he never elaborated how he would ensure this roti, kapRa and makan for everybody.

To do this, some homework is required by the party’s own working groups on different policy issues like finance, economy, foreign affairs and so on. These issues are tackled by technocrats who believe in the manifesto or the guiding philosophy of a particular party. Where Mr. AAZ stands in this regard we all know very well.

Now when the same man says he has restored the deposed judges, I think, he, being a cinema runner-cum feudal-cum politician doesn’t seem to have any credentials in that regard. He only reaped the advantage of Mohtarma’s (i.e. Benazir's) sudden killing by unknown assailant / s, and who despite being all-powerful in the country is unable to do any thing with regard to the murder of his own slain wife. And then he doles out half a billion Rupees to UNO’s investigators, when people are taking their lives to be free from wretched life.

Now the second point that these friends raise is that some judges have become controversial. But dear friends, the same judges who took the oath (and who had originally sided with the former CJ but later could not sustain the economic and administrative pressure by Mr. Zardari’s cohorts) were inducted into their respective posts because they agreed to toe the line of his government. What justice can we expect from such judges?

Agreed, the ex-CJ is also the person who took the oath under the PCO and who earlier granted indemnity to the ex-Dictator Parvez Musharraf, but as you know, the end justifies the means. Had he not taken oath then, how could he then later decide to go against the infamous doctrine “of necessity”.

Secondly, in one’s life, one needs to take decisions according to the situation prevailing at a particular moment of one’s life / history.

Times change and so do the strategies. This is what the ex C.J. too did.

As for Zardari adopting the policies of Parvez Musharraf, or trying to copy ZAB’s style of the sixties - that cannot succeed now, as he is neither ZAB nor do we live in the sixties. And the ex-Dictator Musharraf has also gone with his “danda mar” (i.e. wield the stick) policies of yesteryears.

Through his amateurish and immature politics, AAZ has brought the country to an abyss just like the ex-dictator Musharraf, and similarly he will meet his fate which is already written on the walls.

History gave him a big chance. He could have mended the past mistakes, corruption and high-handedness. His dubious deals, his 10 percent past, his buying Surrey Palace and offshore bank deposits ... all amassed during Mohtarma’s previous stints in power (the poor lady earned all the disrepute, just because of her husband’s extraordinary lust for money). The nation gave him a chance but he has failed and failed miserably.

As I said earlier, it is now written on the wall that he is going, I only pray that his successors do not repeat the same mistakes which he committed. Because our history shows that our politicians are the best people in their thoughts and approach when they are in opposition but once they come into power, its another story. As they say in Persian, ‘one, who enters a salt mine, turns salt himself’.

Let us pray and endeavor that this does not happen now.

I do agree, things will not change overnight. We are plunged in so many issues, so many problems, on so many fronts and each one demands vision, statesmanship, guidance and sincerity of purpose at the top level, which can bring results in tangible terms, otherwise taqreer ke badshah tau iss mulk main pehle hi bharay paRay haeN (i.e. retribution already hangs heavy upon this nation).

I hope my friends won’t mind my lengthy rejoinder in this regard. It is being sent in all sincerity and love for my country, which all of us know is our last refuge. God forbid, if we lose this, in any form - geographically, economically, politically - it will be worse than a nuclear holocaust.

With all the good wishes.

Nayyar Hashmey


Although I had my reservations about Mr. Zardari’s capabilities to deliver, yet when he addressed the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi via a satellite link from his official residence in Islamabad last November, suggesting good relations with our big neighbor India, I felt at that moment that perhaps he does have the vision, the mindset that may bring this country out of its perpetual aggrandizement against India (which our army generals-cum-CLMA’s-cum Chief Executives-cum-Presidents adopt, as such a stance suits them best), but alas! Instead of demonstrating some bit of statesmanship, he has involved himself into petty issues like refusing to reinstate the ex-CJ (to whom he too owes a lot, since it was the ex-CJ who had the courage to challenge the brutal dictatorship of Gen. (Retd.) Parvez Musharraf. You can see some material in this regard on my blog.


Sidhusaaheb said...

The victory belongs to the people of Pakistan and not to any particular politician or political party or even Iftikar Mohammad Chaudhary the individual.

The fact remains that Musharraf deposed Chaudhary from the position of Chief Justice because he had begun to take his role too seriously and to function too independently for Musharraf's liking. The prospect of Chaudhary disqualifying Musharraf from being the lawful president of Pakistan probably proved too daunting for him.

Nayyar Hashmey said...

Well Sidhusaaheb,

let's be a bit generous. Had C.J. Iftikhar Chaudhary not refused to his removal from office by the ex dictator, I think all the forces especially the lawyers and the civil society would not have been so unanimous in opposing the dictatorship of Gen. Pervaz Musharraf who dreaded the people around him under a pseudo stance of "If you don’t allow me do this or that, US will send us into the stone age".

And mind this, he was never asked this from the people nor did he care a damn for them, it were only the then Corpse Commanders in the GHQ of Pakistan who were actually the source of his strength and his being in power.