Kashmir policy, acquiring nuclear asset(s) and Army has been sensitive issues for Pakistan since its birth in 1947. Though there can be no disagreements that Army rule could not bring change by ridding corruption and opening flood gates of economic progress by sacking popular leaderships in their four trials in 1958, 1969, 1977, and 1999 respectively. Having said that there has not been a paradigm shift in the love for its main stream Army, lust for independence of Kashmir and acquiring a sustainable mechanism to hold on to nuclear assets for a just deterrent, and maintaining state sovereignty.
Kerry Lugar Bill entails conditions quite to the opposite of Pakistani people’s psyche and character. USA has always been supportive of Pakistan’s military regimes and to some critic it’s a long standing policy of the west to mentor its upcoming generals and through nexus of Judges and Generals bring about a Govt of military Generals after a brief spell of civil rule on the name of ridding corruption, economic progress, stability and accountability. Past state record of Pakistani governments supports itself of that version of theory.
When writer spoke and enquired from one of the judges visiting UK who was sitting in the bench giving judgment of Zafar Ali Shah who challenged General Musharraf’s coup, as to how come Supreme Court gave General Musharraf the powers what even the SC did not have the power to grant meaning ‘to amend constitution’. He bluntly replied that ‘it was superpower who wished for that and our economy was such that we could not say no to it’. Thus thankfully General Musharraf was given carte blanche to do whatever with the constitution and the nation saw his tailor work in the form of LFO, 17th amendment, etc.
Kerry-Lugar Bill is asking the weaker Govt to tame the military making it sub civil rule, aid the Indians by finishing all sorts of safe heavens without resolving Kashmir, give access to Dr Abdul Qadeer and any one who is intending to proliferate, and curb militant tendencies which aid outfits in northern frontier areas causing increase in attacks or strategic losses to NATO and US forces even if it may cost the state an unbearable loss. President Zia’s 100 billion dollar aid package is no where seen to be coming and 1.5 billion annual package is linked to Word Bank monitoring.
This aid package is doable or not but is quite indicative that civil rule is asked to do what it cannot deliver in 100 years, but may lose what it has got ‘the Govt’. In the past, President tried to be friend with India single-handedly but failed. Interior Ministry tried to bring (ISI) Inter Services Intelligence under its control, but in vain. Now committing to curb military and control its promotions is such a thorny issue which may cost the civilians its Govt and leaders their lives. We have seen what happened to Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif when they acted without consensus and consultation amongst political forces. One could not save his life and the other had to remain in exile for years.
Ideally, military must work under civilian rule that in principle is a correct approach, but looking at the ground realities, Pakistan which has seen off four military regimes covering over three decades require the civilian rulers to work jointly towards that cause with joint consultation, and consensus. The way President has humiliated and discarded the ‘charter of democracy’, it seems he is not interested at all in bringing change which was envisaged by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both former premiers, who claimed to have learnt from their past mistakes. They had a vision, vote bank and responsibility to effect change in the common man’s life without disturbing the stakeholders and bringing in democracy in its true shape and form. Though it was a slow process but had a salvation plan in it, if the system is allowed to shuffle three or four times on the pattern of agreed formula ‘CoD.
The way things are progressing, the Govt’s hand is twisted to bell the cat which is not doable unless PPP in all honesty works with Conservative forces and time to me has already gone for that consultation as the way Govt is treated on its ‘credibility’ its evident that no one is willing to give them ‘hard cash’, and there is a trust deficit looming around them. Times article is haunting them, and day to day mal-governance is chasing them every where.
What new aid package requires them to do is not at all practical. People will revolt, army will check and Parliamentary leaders will protest, and new Ginny of media will expose them to an extent that it will be unthinkable for them to do a single one of it. I think its time for the rulers to rethink, realign their targets and get on with the business of implementing the ‘Charter’ before its too late as by signing these conditions of new aid package they will be agreeing to their political death warrants as who will let them hand over Dr Qadeer Khan to USA, and sack General Kiani.
Finally, unless political forces truly has the confidence of masses like they had after February 18 elections, who will stop Army intervening, these ones, who will run to their place of permanent abode on the first whistle with their foreign passports. Army will only go if the Parliament is strong, if the 1973 constitution is implemented in its entirety and if rule of law, justice and good governance come in action. At this very moment we are far far away from that position. I think either USA is bluffing or our innocent leaders are living in Cukoo’s land if aspiring to implement these conditions.