16th December! Once Again
Officers, in other words, the leadership of Pakistan Army keep counting their performance in the grades they get, the type of courses they do and high prestige attached to the appointments held. In praise of new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) one said the only ‘A’ in war course. All individual gains. There are some who count on the medals their unit got in SAF games or Asian games. Yet there are some who count the number of Shaheeds (martyr) his or their unit has. There are some who boast the money their unit made while on UN duties, some; money earned from the welfare projects. None recalls or count on the enemy killed, area conquered, weapons destroyed and the number of enemy attacks repulsed. Well, there is a minority, who boast of fixing and straightening the civilians and the politicians. Along with such achievements they also speak loudly of setting the civil departments’ right.
1971 was a military defeat. If there is any hope of revenge, it can only accrue out of the cognition of ‘defeat’. The defeat had many a contributing factors. Writers like Dr. Safdar have done a great deal of work. Of course Hamood ur Rehman Commission Report is a dedicated work for the very purpose. That was thirty-six years ago. Have we Pakistanis as a nation consolidated the reasons of military defeat or political failure, whatever we want to call it. For army men, generally dump it as political defeat. Whatever, we could have crystallized by now answers to some of the following, very fundamental questions: -
Q-1. What was the genesis of our nationhood?
Q-2. What is the genesis of Bengali nationhood?
Q-3. How can we compare and draw parables amongst Muslim nationhood (ummah), Pakistani nationhood and Bengali nationhood?
Q-4. If we broke once, what are the chances of our breaking again?
Q-5. Do we, Pakistani really wish to stay and exist as Pakistanis? Can we priorities our options, or there is no other option?
Q-6. If we wish to exist as Pakistanis what all we MUST do and what all we MUST NOT do.
Q-7. Where has the last eight years of dictatorship taken us to, as a nation and as a Country?
Half of these questions demand writing of books. However, more than books we need to hammer out a consensus on the reasons and more than that crystallizing the way out or way forward and of utmost importance is to act with prudence and to continue living as a nation.
Involvement of army in running the government can create funny and very deceptive images to the common man. Let me collect and present a collage of attractive pictures: -
a. The day Army takes over the services of Govt run, railways, road transport and departments like Post Office improve. Common man finds many things happening in time and more efficiently.
b. The traffic police become active. They are seen in far greater number on the roads and discharging their duties more dutifully. Many drivers, otherwise could not careless of police become more disciplined. They start looking for red light signals and become more sober and responsible. This leaves an overall good impression on every body’s mind. Praise for the Army becomes due. Men in khaki are praised for the Army’s way of life, the good order and discipline they can enforce.
c. Common man finds bureaucrats attending to public for longer time and with greater interest. And this obviously results into expeditious settlement of their problems. And there one can hear the thanksgiving of an old lady or an old man for the Army to be and to stay in power. They are also heard praying to Allah ‘O Allah keep the Musharraf’s shadow on our head may he always be our president.
d. Common man finds more cleanliness as the municipality gears up out of fear. The road contractor completes the long outstanding portion of the road. The observer the beneficiary is then compelled from the core of his heart to praise Army and wish for the continuation of Army rule. e. Yet another benefit is the cheap bakeries and confectionaries. Each cantonment, however, many are hardly pure cantonments; offer one or two good bakeries. These are run by ‘good’ army units. These are relatively cheap, though low on quality and variety. And such products and services rendered by Army are considered to be relatively through more honest hands, therefore more valuable.
f. And the last one here, part of this script is the defence housing societies. Ironically word ‘Defence’ rather than fight against and resistance against enemy have become synonymous to a posh housing society. All the beneficiaries are, both proud to live there and look forward to uniformed authorities for ever improving facilities and safety and security. Those who have yet to enter are equally, rather more keen, to join the quality living and the business bonanza set up by people in uniform.
Bravo bravo! All praises. In operational terms, as of immediate results and irrespective of what damages are caused to the army’s own role; it is all very flowery. Should I also join the well wishers of Army rule for I have got a plot in each of the defence housing societies! Yes, while forgetting that I was part of the Army who lost half of Pakistan. Why haven’t I been cut to half? What has happened in last eight years? Let us have a fresh look, this time from a different window. We do not need any chronological order.
a. Air force and artillery has been extensively used within the borders. Killing extremists effectively. Who is suffering?
b. President Rafique Ahmed Tarrar sent forcefully back home. Great, he never resigned.
c. One man picked up and made the Prime Minister. Mr. Jamali, knew well whose lieutenant he was. Never he considered himself responsible to the people nor people ever gave a second thought to his being booted out. He was brought in and sent out by whom? By the armed lawlessness. Who suffered? Another man asked to get ready and be prime minister for forty five days. He obeyed and discharged his duties. Who made a robot out of him the brute force but the supremacy of constitution and law? Who was the sufferer?
d. Next man selected and then made to be elected. It was ruthless disregard to democracy, rules, laws and respect for the people. Flouting of rules and lawlessness was on the increase, all the time. It was both vulgar and machinated use of G-3 (the rifle), since all the time, there was a puppet parliament in place.
There were only one or two odd voices of dissidence and exhibition of moral character, in the parliament. Allama Tahir ul Qadri resigned from his seat as MNA on electoral disorder. And later Mr. Javed A Ghamdi resigned from the seat of Council of Islamic Ideology, (CII), when this body was circumvented by the government. During unprecedented five long years of parliament, nation watched the growth and consummation of characters like Dr. Sher Afghan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Mr. Sharif ud Din Pirzada, the legal advisor, first to CE and then President. It was March 9th when Chief Justice (CJ) of Pakistan was unsuccessfully browbeaten to resign. He refused to lay his arms of law before the unlawful G-3. Country witnessed new serge of resurrection and a great struggle by the lawyers’ community to restore unlawfully deposed CJ. They were successful finally. This nation owes a great deal to Mr. Munir A Malik, president SC Bar Association, Mr. Atizaz Ahsan, head barrister of dysfunctional CJ, fighting the reference, Mr. Ali Kurd, barrister and Mr. Justice (retired), Tariq. They all proved to be people of great character. We all thought that way but it was not be in the long run. The nation was wrong, the people were stupid; one man was right and thinking the other way. November the 3rd, Emergency was enforced to remove the CJ through yet another unlawful tool. Month of July witnessed large scale massacre at Lal Msjid, Islamabad. Who was the real sufferer? Who has time to think of that. Dr. Shahid Masud, Mr. Hamid Mir, Mr. Kamran Khan all dumped, into oblivion by shutting down Geo, a relatively out spoken channel. Since only one man knew what was right and what was in the interest of the Country, how could different analysts, scholars and observers air the voice of disagreement? That one man is still adamant. He says he knows media was being irresponsible. Immediate gains, however, were self preservation. One man rule continued, well the robes were changed.
The valiant armed forces that were to be the pride and beloved of nation were deployed all over, not on borders but within Pakistan. They were on their own protection in the main cities; on their own safety, security and guard duties. Week after week month after month and year after year they had to protect themselves from their own people. Twenty six recruits at Punjab Regimental Centre were blasted in retaliation to killing of eighty boys by Pak Army, on the orders of one man. It was a mosque in Dambdola, Bajore. It was in pursuit of American agenda. On and around western border they were to kill own kith and kin, own nationals, and Muslims invited only a few years ago to fight Russian occupation. All this was done, meeting the demands of biggest terrorist of history under the title of war against terror. What a cruel joke. Well it is so, and going on. Troops deployed and even stationed at various cantonments of NWFP and Baluchistan are in perpetual state of stress. Wish it was a positive pull, wish it could be for doing well in their firing standards and for the preparation for next war. No, it is against the civilian brethren. Troops are not permitted to go to bazaar. They are captive of their lines and training areas. When they move out for leave etc, they move with their personal weapons. The weapon is loaded, bullet in the chamber with only safety lock to release. Soldier is told many times a day; younger are told more frequently than the older ones, that ‘they’ are terrorists. Well, who? Neither the teller knows exactly nor does the one being told ask. What a quagmire.
My dear Pakistan where do I stand, she is here again, the 16th of December. Why she haunts me? How to face this date? What answers do I have to the questions she asks from me? Help me Pakistan?
Pakistan replies: Did you help me?