By Faisal Rahman
General (R) Pervez Musharraf, has launched his political party recently in London. Pakistan’s politics is amazing, a dictator who was all in all in his time and used to stop people from taking part in politics or coming back in the country is now forced to restart his politics from abroad.
Public opinion is divided in Pakistan over the comeback of Musharraf. It will surely not be an easy ride for him in politics. Arrival and stay in country will not be an easy task for the former dictator.
First and the biggest hurdle that will haunt him is 3rd November. It is something over which many sections of society, regardless of their social class and political affiliations, oppose him. 3rd November issue is not only related to the suspension of constitution and illegal sacking of the judiciary, but it also connects to several human rights violations to crush the lawyers movement, media and civil society.
Lal-Masjid operation, extra-judicial killings in Baluchistan, allowing US drone and missile attacks in Pakistan, NATO supplies and troops in tribal areas have put Pakistan into a real mess. The damage he did is so severe that even after two years we are facing the deadly impact. The violations of human rights in his tenure are probably worst in the history of Pakistan. Issues of missing people, particularly Dr. Aafia Siddiqi, will surely haunt him when he comes back.
The post 9/11 policies, which were mainly adapted to give legitimacy to Musharraf’s dictatorship in the eyes of world powers, have caused more than 40 billion dollars direct economic losses to Pakistan, according to government’s own sources. In Musharraf’s tenure, the real areas of economy such as agriculture , technology manufacturing and energy were not focused upon. As a result, we are undergoing food and worst energy crisis ever.
Some impression of stability was created through fictitious economy based on banking, real estate and telecom sector, which eventually resulted in the flight of capital and currency devaluation. This short sighted approach may have got him some political support, but for the country, the approach proved to be destructive in the long run. In fact, the economic bubble burst during the last days of his tenure.
Kashmir is another issue on which Musharraf needs to be questioned. According to APHC leaders, Musharraf damaged the Kashmir cause by sidelining the issue. The main leader from APHC, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, also accused Musharraf for the split of APHC. Keeping eyes close on India’s violations of Indus Water Treaty and letting India build dams was criminal negligence. His mishandling of Dr. AQ Khan’s issue and insulting the national hero will also not be forgiven by Pakistanis.
People including me often criticize the current setup, but we also need to see the cause of this mess i.e. NRO. We shouldn’t only see the ugly dry branches of the dead tree but also need to see who is responsible for the hot water going into roots.
Musharraf’s arrival is very important for Pakistan, as we need answers for many crimes he did against the nation. His arrival is important for strengthening rule of law as it will give chance to trial him for his unconstitutional actions. I am sure if people in NWFP and Baluchistan get a chance to file cases against him in the courts for his crimes against humanity, it will help in calming down the situation in many parts of our country. It will give a chance for Army to restore its image in the eyes of many, who have grievances against the national institution due to the policies by former dictators.
Musharraf’s arrival will also be a big test for our civil society, media and the Pakistani nation as a whole. It will give us a chance to set precedence of indiscriminate justice and rule of law. I hope we will take the right decisions without falling to our prejudices and greed.
Dr A Q Khan
The duty of a government is to protect the lives and belongings of the public. It is duty-bound to provide justice without discrimination and to ensure the basic necessities of life.
Mahmood of Ghazni was a great king and his empire stretched across a vast area. One day a caravan was looted by dacoits within his kingdom and some travellers, including a young man, were killed. The old mother of that young man went to the court of the king and complained bitterly about it. When Mahmood made the lame excuse that it was a far off place, she became infuriated and reprimanded him for conquering such far off places even though he could not ensure the security of his subjects there. The king immediately ordered a contingent of soldiers to go to the spot and impose the government’s writ.
In the olden days rulers did not hesitate to acknowledge their mistakes and apologise and accepting shortcomings, and advice was not considered something to be ashamed of. Kings and rulers of old were said to be absolute rulers with unquestionable authority, but the common man had access to them. Justice was dispensed promptly and there was no way of escape, even for the rich and powerful.
Caliph Umar (RA) punished his own son through lashing. Hajjaj Bin Yusuf punished the corrupt by lashing, and Sher Shah Suri punished his son in the same way when he was caught sitting on an elephant and teasing the wife of a poor man. Emperor Jehangir had a bell hung at the gate of his palace which any needy or aggrieved person could peal in order to get prompt justice or help. Mirza Ghalib was arrested for allowing gambling in his house and was prosecuted in the court of Mufti Sadruddin Arzu (Ghalib’s own disciple) who convicted him according to the law, but paid the fine from his own pocket.
Hundreds of years before the birth of Prophet Isa (PBUH), there lived an Emperor in India by the name of Vikramajit (Vikamadattya), who had his capital in Ujjani (near Bhopal). The concept of “Nau Ratan” (nine wise people) originated in his court. They were persons famous for their wisdom and knowledge. Famous poet and playwright Kali Das, who wrote Shakuntala and Maghdoot, was one of them. Vikramajit is reported to have had the blessings of Almighty God to extract evidence from stones, trees, birds, and animals. He was famous for dispensing justice.
The Moghul Dynasty flourished just as long as the rulers were honest, God-fearing and just. After the death of Aurangzeb, the dynasty deteriorated and ultimately disintegrated and many local rulers declared themselves autonomous, making it possible for the British to colonise the whole subcontinent. The British cleverly applied the concept of “divide and rule” and regularly paid those who were willing to take up arms against the Indian rulers. Consequently, the Moghul Empire became limited to the Red Fort in Delhi.
The success of the British was due to their intelligence and intrigues and also because of the differences between the local rulers, their cruel and corrupt rule and the absence of justice and rule of law. The uprising of 1857 put the last nail into Indian rulers’ coffin. The British gradually conquered the whole of the subcontinent and also made meticulous plans to keep it under their control for as long as possible. They eliminated those whom they considered to be nationalists, replacing them with stooges to make use of their services as and when required, as was done in both World Wars. They established Fort William College at Calcutta where British colonialists were compulsorily taught Urdu. Some became so fluent that they even became Urdu poets.
The British were wise in that they decided not to disturb local laws and religious traditions. Marriage and inheritance laws were left untouched and Maulvis and Pandits were employed to take care of these matters. They did not force people to learn English, but whoever spoke the language were assured of good jobs. They conferred titles on those who translated the Civil Procedure Code, the Indian Penal Code and other British laws into Urdu, notably Shamsul Ulema Deputy Nazir Ahmed. They did not change the names of the cities and abstained from interference in religious matters.
Hindu and Muslims festivals were declared holidays and loyal Muslim and Hindu officers were given titles such as Khan Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Sir, etc. In the police force, the constable, head constable, inspector, DSP, SP and DIG were locals. Only the IG Police was British. Similarly, in the Revenue Department, the Patwari, Tehsildar and deputy revenue commissioner were Indians and only the revenue commissioner was British. In the army, the ranks of soldier to colonel were filled by Indians and those of Brigadier General and above by British.
There was no favouritism, nepotism, superseding of officials, corruption in civil work contracts, etc. Consequently, the quality of the work carried out was of such high standard that many roads, bridges and buildings still stand today and are in relatively good condition. People respected the law and fear of punishment kept them from breaking it. Law was the same for everybody. Immediately after Partition, the leaders and law enforcing agencies were honest, but within a few years corruption, nepotism and favouritism became the order of the day. Nowadays people are even committing suicide (or suicide bombings?) and the rulers are least bothered.
The Indians did a much better job. Its independent area was reduced to less than the size of Pakistan because 553 states were sovereign. However, Sardar Patel, the home and deputy prime minister, immediately annexed all the states and also abolished the Jagirdari System, thus saving the country from future intrigues and manipulation by a few rich families. We failed to take similar action. During the rule of Liaquat Ali Khan we had such a good system in place that the editor of Blitz, Mr Karanjia, advised the chief minister of Bombay, Mr Murarji Desai, to visit Pakistan and learn about good governance.
Soon autocracy and dictatorship destroyed the very fabric of the country and we are now known as one of the most corrupt, intriguing and cheating nations of the world. The ruling elite has only one purpose in mind – how to earn money quickly, by whatever means. Courts became corrupt, further facilitating the rulers in their nefarious activities. Stolen money was transferred abroad and property bought. If a case was initiated, it dragged on for years and was ultimately dropped.
Contrary to general expectations, the military rulers turned out to be no better. Dictators, having very little public support, relied on foreign powers and sold the sovereignty of the country in return for personal survival. The result is there for all to see. Loans worth almost Rs200 billion have been written off, foreign debt has increased, submission to foreign dictates is the norm, selling citizens for bounties has become acceptable, and foreign powers have been allowed to operate within the country and kill locals with impunity. Our leaders have not learnt to apply economic austerity. Our only survival lies in a popular public uprising and cleansing of the whole system, once and for all.
Its a real shame for us that even in this modern age of civilization our people have no value infront of our governments who in order to satisfy their foreign friends can even sell their own sons of the soils and give no value for the human rights given to them by the conctitution or the collective sense of humanity and justice.
Speakers demand committee to sort out issue of missing persons(The News)
By Myra Imran
Scenes of intense emotions dominated a seminar titled ‘Do countries sell their own people?’ as relatives of missing persons continued their efforts to retrieve their dear ones.
Screams of mother of Syed Asad Hussain, recently picked up from G-7, echoed during speeches made by prominent political leaders, representatives of civil society and student organisations and the leaders of lawyer’s movement. Among the big names attending the event were Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Imran Khan, Justice (r) Wajihuddin, Lieutenant-General (r) Hameed Gul and Sardar Asmat Ullah.
In addition to expressing their solidarity with the aggrieved families, they assured them that time for President Pervez Musharraf to go had arrived. They demanded that a parliamentary committee be made to sort out the issue of missing persons.
A big gathering of people from all walks of life went to show that the peaceful movement started by wives and mothers of missing persons had gained momentum with time, especially now when more and more political leaders have openly joined hands with them.
In her emotional speech, Amina Masood Janjua, chairperson of Defence of Human Rights and wife of Masood Janjua who went missing three years ago, said that wives and mothers of missing persons were not brave people but their hearts were broken which had made them fearless. “People want electricity and ‘atta’ but we just want our family members back,” she said.
She thanked her children for standing by her and giving her hope when she was about to give up. “I want to say sorry to them as I promised that I would bring back their father but I have not been able to do so,” she said, her voice choking and tears in her eyes.
She said that it was their right to see and meet their relatives. She said that human right organisations have estimated 5,000 such cases. Zafar Jan from Balochistan said that since March 2005, 12,000 people were reported missing only in Balochistan.
Imran Khan said that the president might remember the exact figure of American soldiers killed after 9/11 but he would have no idea of how many of his people had been killed or gone missing after that attack.
He said that the same government tried its best to capture the killers of Daniel Pearl but for the 40 people killed in Karachi on May 12 it said inquiry was not important.
Criticizing the double standards of US policies, he said that Americans talk against terrorism but their ambassador held talks with Altaf Hussain in England who he claimed was responsible for killing hundreds of innocent people.
Expressing his doubts on the present government, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that the way those leaders were holding talks with American and British envoys shows that they were following the same dictates. “Our problems can only be solved when we become independent of US pressures,” he said.
Qazi said that aid that the government was getting in exchange of young people was spent on the luxury of elite class. “When the elite class becomes ready to spent life like a common Pakistani, half of our issues will be resolved,” he added.
Ghazal Minallah said that such policies were promoting militancy as people were left with no choice for they did not trust the judiciary. “If my children go missing like that and I have no place to go for justice then chances of me becoming a suicide bomber are very likely,” she said, adding that it was an ongoing torture for the families and a matter of shame for the nation for staying silent on the issue.
Justice (r) Wajihuddin said that Pakistan and US had no extradition treaty under which Pakistani people could be given to US government.
He said that even at the time of British rule in subcontinent, declared terrorists had to be presented before magistrate in 24 hours.
Urging people to join the movement, Hameed Gul said that if the movement against oppressors failed this time, things might never change. “We do not want western-styled democracy for it failed to deliver justice and was used as a tool to exploit the rest of the world,” he mentioned.