Who advised the President to send a reference against the Chief Justice Pakistan? Who advised him to put the Chief Justice of Pakistan under house detention? Who advised him to allow the police to manhandle the Chief Justice of Pakistan? And why he has such bad advisors?
These were some of the first few questions which ordinary educated asked after the eventful 9th February. Then came despicable attack by the police on GEO and the protesting lawyers in Islamabad and Lahore. The spate of questions changed. Who is doing all these things that damage the image of Government? Have the winds of change started blowing over Islamabad? Why Peoples Party is so cautious about the establishment VS legal fraternity clash? Why most of PML ministers are watching the tussle from the ringside?
Let’s look at the first spate of the questions. The main thrust is that President was ill-advised. He has bad advisors. Now that the President has come out to defend himself, it is clear that he might have discussed with the Attorney General and other legal experts in the Government about how to send the reference and for preparing legal papers. But it seems he never asked them for the advice on whether to do it or not. And also what should be the timing of sending the reference. I would love to know that whether any President or Prime Minister in the recent past and at present have advisors, who can frankly tell them that they are wrong when they are faltering.
Gradually, the sycophants and insincere people who want to benefit from their close association with the people at top make an impervious circle, where no voice of sanity can penetrate. Much of the blame to have such people has to be shared by the rulers also. Regrettably these traits are not the exclusive property of dictators in our part of the world, elected leaders who rule like a monarch are not far behind.
To check such whimsical decision, the democratic society provides a number of institutions like the Parliament, Cabinet where issues can be debated. Though such institutions exist but they are seldom used for making the strategic decisions in our military controlled democracy. There is need to at least diagnose what ails the so-called democratic structure of Pakistan. But let’s keep this issue for some other time. And move on to the second set of questions: who is doing it and why? My answer is haven’t we tread this path many times since the inception of the country?
The President says that there is a conspiracy against his government. So friends, no need to speculate on why suddenly everything is going wrong for the sitting government. After public declaration by President General Musharraf that there is a conspiracy against him, a new set of questions have starting flashing on the faces of perplexed Pakistanis. Who is conspiring and why? So let’s analyse the present external and internal situation of our country and make an educated guess.
Is it that the President’s friend Pushy – Bushy trying to shake the government. Motive: Musharraf should “do more against Taliban?” (By the way did anybody notice that the US has stopped asking about Osama and the whole focus is on Taliban now). And to join the axis of bullies against Iran. They have done this previously with Ayub Khan, Bhutto and Ziaul Haq in Pakistan and to Shah in Iran.
This shock therapy is also understandable if one recalls the President Musharraf’s defiant press conference for foreign media a few weeks back. His tone was tense when he tried to put it across that Pakistan should not be pushed anymore for doing what Afghanistan and NATO forces have so far failed to do. Since then we have heard from US officials saying that President Musharraf is not indispensable and post Zia formula in which VCOAS and the Senate Chairman takes over is fine with them. Now the President’s predicament is that its hard for him to bring complete change in the traditional Afghanistan policy of his constituents. For years it has been drummed and drilled in their minds: that Pakistan can not afford to have a pro-Indian government in Afghanistan; and that the strategic depth imperative is to keep pro-Pakistan Pushtun lobby happy on the North-Western front. Kabul government is close to India, so no love lost if Taliban are giving them tough time.
In this situation Pakistani establishment finds it difficult to go all out after Taliban and at the same time keep the US admistration happy. The President is caught in the nut-cracker. So the present pressure could be from his domestic friends also. Then there is staunch anti-Indian Jihadi lobby both within the establishment and in religious groups. They are overtly trying to shake the present government, hence cannot be blamed for conspiracy. Their interest at present are converging with the liberal parties who feel that the establishment under weaker President would ensure comparatively fair elections. And he may be forced to take off the uniform which is his source of power like Samson’s hair.
A valid question in the scenario is if there are so many internal and external pressures, why the hell the government has opened yet another front with the judiciary? One reason could be that one tends to make the mistakes under pressure. Other that everybody in the legal fraternity knew that CJP was unpopular, so the government miscalculated the risk and did not realize that he symbolizes an revered institutions which cannot be dealt with crudely. What followed is a classic example of the fact that to cover up one lie one has to speak thousand and get trapped in the self-spun web.
Some critics of the government, however, suspect that all the talk about conspiracy is a ploy to postpone the elections. The President has dismissed such fears in his interview in which performed poorly.
Before concluding let me share a Punjabi copulate with you, which roughly translated is:
The people of my city were bit cruel,
And we had also a streak of death wish.