Impeaching a Commando
10 August, 2008
By Anwaar Hussain
If past performance of the players in the game is any indicator of the things to come, the Pakistani nation better tighten up their seat belts; for the umpteenth time that is.
There is no disputing the fact that the Commando in the President House, General (Retired) Musharraf, is the most out of favor man in the country right now. That is why an overwhelming majority of the peoples’ elected representatives has resolved it is time for him to go.
The love story between the Commando and his own self may be an old one but it burst forth on the national calendar on October 12, 1999, when he overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s democratically-elected government and abrogated the constitution with a real royal disdain. In this love story between the man and his ego since then, Pakistan was made hostage to his whims and wishes with the overt and covert support of toady generals and a set of most devious politicians of Pakistan.
One can say from experience of personal interaction with the man that he does come across as a forthright, competent and well meaning person. But one is at a loss to explain how come such a person has brought himself to such a sorry turn of events. Today he stands upon the gate of the inglorious hall of shame knocking feverishly to be allowed to enter to quickly earn the dubious distinction of being the first president in Pakistan’s 61 year history to be impeached by the country’s parliament. So awful is the mess that he has created for himself that even if the move doesn’t succeed, the commando will still be the first Pakistani president considered bad enough to be publicly charge-sheeted by a large number of popularly-elected lawmakers. The only reason that comes to mind for his not letting go is his obstinate ego.
How has this man who at one time inspired millions of politicians-sick Pakistanis with his refreshingly straightforward style come to such a foul pass? Let us have a look at some of his shenanigans.
From the word go, our commando rubbed elbows with the most tainted of politicians to provide a civilian façade to his ambition of perpetual rule. Towards that end, he held a fraudulent referendum, addressed political rallies in full uniform sporting garlands on his neck, allowed horse-trading and floor crossing, connived schemes like non-party local government elections to keep major political parties out of the power equation and even when he reluctantly agreed to hold elections for assemblies, tasked the intelligence agencies to contrive victory for king’s parties such as the PML-Q.
He then embarked upon taming the judiciary. He fired the unbending Chief Justice of Supreme Court, had him manhandled by ordinary cops and sacked dozens of other independent minded judges. He went on to gag the national media for reporting to the public that at one time after 3rd November, 2007, close to 3500 lawyers languished in prisons, thousands had been beaten and wounded with 1600 of these protesting lawyers treated for injuries and broken bones in Lahore alone. The shameful treatment meted out to the Chief Justice and the protestors was a first even for Pakistan, a country much hardened to callous acts of their rulers of the yore. So brazen were his acts that by and by almost every Pakistani, scribe included, came to realize that the cry of ‘Pakistan first’ was just an attractive mask for his lust for power.
Even his on again off again war on terror was so riddled with fiascos that the end result is most alarming to say the least. Under his watch the Taliban are knocking at the gates. While the Commando was busy playing Russian Roulette with Pakistan, main cities of the Frontier province stand encircled by these long haired, unwashed, medieval God-men. Already in towns and villages across FATA, and in some settled cities as well, men have been ordered to grow fistful length beards. Singing, dancing and listening to music has been banned. Video shops and barber shops have been bombed. In Swat district alone, close to 140 girls’ schools have been burnt. Watching films and painting pictures has been forbidden. Women have been forced into veils and disallowed to visit male doctors even if they are dying. So much for the ‘war on terror’.
Many opportunities came across the commando’s way to go with grace and honour. Now it is too late. From his reported chicaneries, it is quite clear that the little voice in his head is continuing to tell him to go the whole hog. It is said that he is preparing to fight it out till the bitter end, Pakistan be damned.
Reason says that rather than digging his heels in for a fight and banking on the military to bail him out, he should read the writing on the wall and quit immediately with whatever honour he has left. If it was indeed ‘Pakistan first’ as he always proclaimed then he should realize that in this game that he is gritted his teeth to play till the last, the only loser will be the country that he so professed to love. It will do him well to remember that when push comes to shove in this sordid game, his opponents are known to be past masters in the fine art of hitting way below the belt.
It would be naïve to assume that the authors of this feverish drama i.e. the Zardaris, Sharifs, Chaudries and Commandos et al, driven by individual agendas as they are, are educated enough to know the hazards of their actions in the sport they are playing. If past performance of the players in the game is any indicator of the things to come, the Pakistani nation better tighten up their seat belts; for the umpteenth time that is.
It is but plain to see that political pygmies, wittingly or otherwise, have gone into overdrive in preparing a grand catastrophe for Pakistan. This current hyperventilation, poorly defined, conducted with malice and having seeds within it of great peril for Pakistani society, could sire terrible ambiguities for this unfortunate country. The time may not be far when its reckless innovators themselves are dragged in the streets of Pakistan by the hapless citizens of our bizzaro land.
WordWeb online dictionary defines ‘commando’ as a member of a military unit trained as shock troops for hit-and-run raids. In trying to impeach a commando, the Zardari-Nawaz combo better find out who exactly our commando is planning to hit and where he intends to run to?
Pakistan is standing by.