August 1, 2011

Generals have no future without democracy in Pakistan

By Habib R. Sulemani

LOOKING at the current political situation, if somebody says that democracy has failed in Pakistan, I can't subscribe to this kind of a conflicting view. Unfortunately, democracy has never ever given a chance in this country from the very first day: August 14, 1947. That’s why Pakistan's journey starts from the Quaid and ends at al-Qaeda!

The military is calling the shots no matter who is in power in the country: an elected puppet civilian or a despot general. Most of the time in the history of Pakistan, generals have directly ruled after imposing martial law, and the remaining time, they installed puppet civilian governments, and kept playing from behind the scene.

Today, politicians are like herds of sheep and the Parliament is nothing more than a stupa! Members of the parliament are being terrorized by the secret agencies and they’re being used according to the wishes of the ignorant and visionless bandmaster-like generals.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has made puppets of the worst kind in our so-called democratic country. Senators, Members of the National and provincial assemblies can change loyalties overnight; they can become leaders of new parties or factions within hours. Their leadership skills have never ever matured, but their dumbness has always been a merit for the visionless power-player generals from the General Headquarters (GHQ).

Even then, I want to give hope to those Pakistanis who are being told by the powerful establishment, through the unscrupulous part of our mainstream media that the country is at war or is in danger. Actually they want to say that the generals' over 60 years of tyrant rule is in danger as the common people, for the first time in history, are demanding accountability of the military.

I’ve said it a million times that it's sheer propaganda of the cunning military establishment that Islam and Pakistan both are in danger. Yes, the country can be in danger if the military establishment didn’t change its tyrant behavior in this changed era.

Now everyone has realized that religion is the biggest weapon in Pakistan; it's more powerful than our nuclear bombs. You can see a glimpse of this harsh reality in my poem God is a weapon—they worship death. So the engineered Talibanization of our society is being used for personal gains at the cost of the poor people. The helpless people are shocked to death, seeing the crimes against humanity at state level by their own security forces in the name of national interest. What kind of a criminal national interest is it?

As the stooges of the military establishment are announcing every day that the nation is at a so-called war. In this way they try to panic the people who are demanding legal action against military officers especially generals who have failed to protect the country even themselves.

After this kind of propaganda -- conspiracy theories and rumors of every kind -- many people are really worried about the future of their families, jobs and businesses—this chaotic situation can bring further violence in our terror-hit society. And this is what the masterminds of global terrorism want in Pakistan. Create conflict and cash it. This is the traditional policy of our ruling class.

If you observe carefully the social behavior of the ruling class, you will see that both the military establishment and political elite are using religious and racial extremism to get benefits—as they want to remain in power at any cost.

Our elected representatives are busy in the power-struggle while American officials, taking lists of development projects, seems the only caring authorities in Pakistan! Yes they want to develop our country and bring an end to global terrorism. Shame on our politicians and generals—they’ve forgotten the welfare of the country and their people (especially after taking oaths of office). They want the welfare of their families only. Chutzpah!

After a controversial one-year extension in the service of ISI chief Let-Gen. Shuja Pasha, the three-year forced extension in the service of Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has sent a very negative message across the ranks, country and world. Generals should not act like this because in this Cyber Age things will never remain hushed up like the past!

In such a situation, when the Army Chief can do anything he wants, if someone says that politicians have failed Pakistan, then I will not favor a coup d'├ętat or an indirect takeover by the Islamists or their patron in-chief generals. The cunning Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has forced fatwa (edict) out of almost everyone, from the son of the National Poet Dr. Iqbal to social-worker Edhi, in favor of the military—but the 180 million people know the reality—any person in their senses can’t talk against democracy in the second decade of the 21st century.

Sometimes back, the military established had totally disarmed the elected civilian government in a similar way by using the ISI, MI and ISPR. The ISI one by one dislodged the political allies of the ruling PPP, and after the planned assassination of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, it was clear that the civilian government had lost the power-game as the establishment used its last card: religion! So it was evident that Army Chief Gen. Kayani was ready to take the position of incumbent President Asif Zardari—but all of a sudden things dramatically changed by the killing of Osama bin Laden during an American raid inside Pakistan.

As the dust sets, gradually the generals are again trying their luck to the President House. Being one of the hapless and helpless people of Pakistan, I want to give the military establishment a sincere suggestion: respect the Constitution and give democracy a chance for real—no more cosmetic measures and rhetoric. In this way you can survive! Generals have no future without democracy in Pakistan.

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