For Musharraf To Go!
By Usman Khalid
27 March, 2007
Government is eager to portray the hiatus over the reference against
the Chief Justice as a purely ‘judicial matter’. It isn’t!
Until this regime resigns or is removed, crisis will prolong and fester.
General Musharraf was legitimised in power for the first three years
by a court ruling, and for the next five years by a deal with the MMA
on which he reneged. With that kind of legitimacy, he feels he is entitled
to give the country a new polity. He calls it ‘enlightened moderation’.
He is reluctant to explain what it is but its effects are clearly discernible.
On the rare occasion that he does say a few words in explanation, he
says it means that the Muslims should give up ‘jihad’ and
the Americans should help resolve the problems of Palestine, Kashmir,
Chechnya etc. He does not mention Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia where
jihad against American occupation is going on in real earnest. But then
his role is not to solve the problems of Muslims but to solve America’s
‘Enlightened moderation’ is not just for Pakistan, it is
the basis of a new relationship between America and rulers of Muslim
states. It has a regional and a Pakistani internal dimension. Regionally,
it implies submission to India’s hegemony - advancing India’s
interests (through SAARC & SAFTA) and to create conditions that
the people submit to Indian hegemony. Internally, the agenda of ‘enlightened
moderation’ is to decry Jihad, abandon the Kashmiris and their
struggle for liberation, and to revile those who resist occupation as
extremists. He openly promotes heretical cults. This regime has extended
patronage to those openly ridicule the ‘Two Nation Theory’
and work for the agenda of foreign powers to break up of Pakistan along
ethnic lines. To broaden the constituency opposed to the Two-Nation
Theory, they have wooed and obtained the support of secular political
parties which also support this pro-India agenda.
With all the props for the
triumph of ‘enlightened moderation’ regionally in place,
the government is trying to sell it to the Middle East, even South East
Asia. But in those regions, there is very little enlightenment; they
call its proponents traitors and collaborators.
Democracy stands discredited
in Pakistan because of the arrogance and misconduct of Benazir and Nawaz
Sharif in power. Even in the USA and the UK, where democracy has deep
roots, free elections have returned to power leaders who lied to and
cheated to wage illegal wars that devastated Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia
and now threatening to invade Iran in utter disregard of international
law and the will of their constituents. The secular parties –
PPP and ANP – are led by persons even more enlightened (more pro-India)
and more moderate (more anti-Islam) than Musharraf. Ethnic nationalists
are openly anti-state. The Armed Forces of Pakistan are led by a General
who openly reviles the polity of Pakistan. Who represents the majority
in Pakistan that is neither enlightened (pro-India) nor moderate (anti-Islam)?
Political observers have already noted that the outcry against the suspension
of the Chief Justice is as much a concern for the ‘independence
of the judiciary’ as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in
Musharraf. It has also been noted that unlike the public protests over
‘sugar price’ in 1969 that got transformed into ‘anti-Ayub’
movement, the present ‘judicial crisis’ has not yet given
rise to a public movement against this regime. It is because in 1969,
there was a popular alternative leader – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto -
on the scene. Today the leaders of the national parties are neither
‘less enlightened nor less moderate’ than Musharraf. If
the Muslim League and the PPP cannot find any one to lead their parties
apart from the stale and discredited leaders they have now, Musharraf
may win by default.
But it does not have to be
like that. If Musharraf leaves, the PML is more likely to make an alliance
with MMA and PML (N) rather than with the MQM and the PPP. That alliance
won two third majority in the National Assembly in 1996 Elections and
can do so again without any help from the Army or America.
has many achievements to its credit. It has restored economic health
of Pakistan. It has maintained the efficacy of the nuclear and non-nuclear
deterrent for security and dealt with insurrection in Balochistan with
cool courage. But the rate of growth of the economy is now slowing because
of the uncertainty created by Musharraf refusing to leave office gracefully.
He did not answer my question: “What would you do different to
Ayub and Zia that your legacy would outlive your period in power”?
I will give the answer: You will relinquish the office of the COAS now
and not encumber the PML with an un-natural alliance with the MQM and/or
the PPP. The Armed Forces and the Judiciary are the two institutions
where performance and conduct of their members are judged by their peers.
After a dumb start, the Chief Justice of Pakistan is being judged by
his peers. But Musharraf has resisted the judgment of his peers. They
have been telling him privately at first and publicly now that it is
time for him to go. That way his legacy, the good name, and public confidence
in the armed forces can be saved.
The writer is the Director
London Institute of South Asia.
( First published in 'The
Nation' Lahore on March 26, 2007)
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