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Manners: Aitzaz’s architecture of agitation

10 December, 2007

By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu


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It is irony of the Millennium that the ambassadors of many Muslim majority countries had meetings with Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif on upcoming elections in Pakistan? The visit of the Turkish president too was regarding the same subject. This new kind of mega ‘Muslim’ intervention mostly from undemocratic nations in our affairs is in addition to the one from the democratic West and the US. The question is what is Pakistan, a country, a theatre or a laboratory? Are the outsiders trying to show the world and us that the  ‘nuclear’ Pakistan is so disturbed a place? The more we think about ourselves through our own misdoings and also through our connections with the outsiders the more painful it becomes to digest the discovered answer. 

This imported pain is over and above the one that we have from the insiders. It is not about the Swat Valley insurgency launched by the unfriendly Taliban; neither is it about the Waziristan deals made with the friendly Taliban that created nothing but dilemmas; nor is it about the growth of robbery or our present day economy; this pain comes from our own commentators who tell us that the lawyers’ resistance will end if it fails to get support from the political parties. It may face temporary setbacks, but a rational movement does not end forever.  And no rational movement, no matter who starts it, is apolitical if it has social/collective relevance. 

The Judicial activism that began with the suspension of the privatisation of the steel mill and the suo moto actions was expression of acceptance of social responsibility in very difficult, sad and silent times. Only the brave and the committed could do it. Though all of us knew what has been happening to us and around us since the last eight years, buried under the burden of miseries we were just silent. There was complete collapse of administrative structures as for as honesty and efficiency are concerned. Most state functionaries, from top to bottom, were not interested in their routine jobs unless bribed or pressurised. So, never before did the common people feel as alienated as during the past eight years. This culture of bureaucratic greed and apathy had created infinite problems for every body. In the absence of politics, the silent people had to seek solutions through the courts. There was no other way out. What else could they do, and where else could they go?

What the judges did was that they tried to fill the political vacuum while remaining within the constitutional limits.  Instead of looking into the causes of the emergence of the judicial activism and hence into the miseries of the people, the non-political executive heads of the state, the prime minister and the president acted repulsively, and that created the chaos. It would have been safe even for the state to correct itself through one of its organs, the judiciary. The judicial activism would not have brought about much needed revolution, but the ouster of the judges and resulting lawyers’ movement may, and that is why our all-major political parties — which are as pro-status quo as the king’s party — are not in favour of the boycott of the elections. It is the fear of massive rigging only that may keep them away from the elections.

Aitzaz Ahsan knows that his community’s movement has not born out of nothingness, it has behind it not only the cause of the deposed judges, but also a social relevance. The people are yearning for change in the system. They are looking for the saviours. They will come out the moment the ousted Supreme and High Court Judges and Aitzaz and other lawyers are freed. But there is other side of the story as well. Aitzaz is right when he says that the peoples’ political energy is likely to be consumed by the elections. It is on this premise he has developed his architecture of agitation.

Aitzaz’s idea will come into action if the major political parties participate in the elections. His plan is to engage his community, media, civil society activists and the common people in another kind of agitation, a quasi-legal battle. The plan will seek commitment from the candidates to support the cause of the judiciary and the lawyers’ in the parliaments also. The candidates would sign the oath in presence of public. The entire exercise, if not interrupted, is likely to prove as big as the elections. Imagine thousands of candidates and their supporters reaching the district courts or selected places through out the country, and guess the intensity of active collectivism and who will win the final round. Even the supporters of MQM and Muslim League (Q) will join this splendid show of commitment with the national cause. 

The exercise, however, may raise such questions as, will a weak state tolerate such captivating agitation, how would the ‘empire’ quartered in Rawalpindi react to the situation, and how would the mafias behave? Given the disgrace Pakistani ruling elites, both military and civil, are facing internationally and internally almost on daily basis due to the constitutional violations, the weak state will not most probably make more violations; and the ‘empire’ too will prefer to stay away from the political arena — developments to that effect have already started taking somewhat shape.  However, the mafias may try to resist the movement by engaging the militants and in the manner as they did to Imran Khan in the Punjab University Campus.  Again the collective action of the society is the answer to the activities of the mafias.

What if the judges are not restored even after the elections?  Not all of us would sit silently. We will not move backwards by a hundred year as Mr. Justice (deposed) Khalilur Rehman Ramday recently said. We will not allow ourselves to be swallowed first by the assets multiplying mafias, terrorists and militarists, and then by the black holes of history. The resistance will continue till it succeeds. Soon after the elections ‘Judicial Bus Movement’ too will start. Pakistan is not Georgia, Ukraine, Venezuela or India, as five martial laws and pro-status quo leaders have shattered the political will of Pakistani people, but the damage has not been done to that extent as Aitzaz is assuming. We will not take months to regain our energy if it is lost in the elections. Perhaps Aitzaz, like many others, thinks that we should not waste time and opportunity. This is a valid argument. We are already late by sixty years. Aitzaz’s architecture of realistic agitation is reflection of our new mannerism that, indeed, has social and not rhetorical or opportunistic relevance.

Reader Comments:

Wishful thinking ?

I can understand where Mr Yatu's comments come from. A deep love for his country and anguish at it's plight. But isn't it all just wishful thinking ? He reckons the lawyers movement will resume after elections ? How ? And with whose support ? The politicians, especially Bhutto, clearly seems the judiciary as an adversary and is wary of it, she is more interested in the court cases against her being waived off, hence has refrained from demanding full restoration of judiciary to pre-emergency status. After elections, the country is really going to be rules, not governed, by the army with Musharraf as it's civilian front. The ISI will ensure that the pro-Taleban religious fundamentalist parties have enough seats in parliament to be able to call the shots. Even if Bhutto or Sharif becomes, he's be a very weak PM, with all rights really in the hands of the army through the President. So, why should the lawyers movement get momentum post-elections. What is to prevent the so-called government from jailing them once again ? The unfortunate fact is that every people gets the government it deserves. Pakistan has been ruled by the military for 60 years because it is the will of the people. It's just a few intellectuals who wanted to create a system like in India. But majority of the people back the military government and will not come out in support of any movement against it. Mr Yatu says Pakistan is not India, well, like it or not, it never will be. In India, the model of governance is well-accepted by the people and all the institutions hae matured over time. The implementation leaves a lot to be desired, sad but true, but there is no confusion about the basic model or design. India has never swerved from it's path of democratic setup since 1947. Unfortunately, Pakistan forever seems to go around in circles, it toggles between civilian and military rule and it does so because that, like it or not, is the will of the people. I reiterate, people get the government they deserve. It probably would be in Pakistan's interest if they did away with any notions of becoming democratic and imbibed military rule in their constitution, so that the general is also the President and not go around in circles regarding the form of governance. Democracy is not for Pakistan, unfortunately. It's not because, I repeat, it is not what the people want.

Aurn Nair, Hungary - 10 December, 2007

Awakening of Civil Society.

Mr Aitzaz Ahsan along with other lawyers woke up the civil society! This is a very
positive sign for democratic
development in Pakistan.This
is not being appreciated by
many quarters in WashingtonDC
and their proteges abroad.As
for some political leaders and present regime inviting
outsiders for their advise is
highly unacceptable.Political
leaders must learn to sit and
sought their petty problems
in their own classrooms.Let
alone invite head of a state
to impress upon others to be
in line with a regime on issue of electtions.I hope this awakening in the civil
society emerges amongst the masses and we establish real
democracy and rule of law.

Khalid Rahim, Canada - 11 December, 2007

Tragic cooperation in exploitation.

Your article reflects the state of affairs accurately.Tragically the sales of ammunition to Pakistan's military is now double than before.9-11 surely opened huge market for American military hardware and spying gadgetry. But to Pakistan this sale has strings attached.Just like the military hardware sales to Arabs,i.e.they can't use it against Israel,they have to buy parts only from US,they have to sent their officers for training to US.Most of their installations will be controlled by American military.US even chooses their enemies and if not available,makes them.Same is true in Pakistan.The price is way too high and will be paid many times over by the future generations which will further sink into poverty and with it crimes and corruption,suicides etcetc.Pakistan's military leadership as usual has the qualites that West,US likes,fear for life,desire to control everything in the nation and greed to have everything plus surely ambition to get promoted no matter what the price the nation pays to get such incompetent people.How can nation free itself needs to be seen.Shaukat Aziz was sent with an agenda of Economic hitman as was earlier Moeen Qureshi and in Ayyub's time Muhammad Shuaib.Certainly with such leaders nation doesn't need any enemies.Your good article was picked up and posted on www.dictatorshipwatch.com

M.Khan MD, United Kingdom - 12 December, 2007

Overly politicized judiciary

IF YOU THINK THAT MUSHARRAF AND MILITARY ARE DOING WRONG,THEN YOU MUST ALSO REALIZE THAT THE POLITICAL ACTORS SLATE IS EVEN DIRTIES WITH MEGA BILLION DOLLARS LOOT OF THE NATION IN THE PAST.TO ME IT LOOKS LIKE A MADARI SHOW AS SOME ACTOR WITH ANTI STATE AGENDAS AND FOREIGN PRODDING IS ALL SET TO BE THERE AND IS ALREADY DOING THE ELECTION VICTORY DANCE AND CELEBRATIONS.DO NOT TELL US THAT THE JUDICIARY WAS ALSO NOT OVERLY POLITICIZED.

PAKISTAN IS SECURE AS LONG AS ITS MILITARY IS UNITED AND STRONG AND IT DOES SOME AMENDS ON REDRESSING AND REPOLISHING THROUGH MITIGATION ON LAND GRABS AND ENCROACHMENT INTO CIVILIAN JOBS TERRITORY.THE ARMY BRASS MAY HAVE BEEN LESS CORRUPT THAN BB'S GRAB OF BILLION PLUS AND SOME FINGER POINTING ON NAWAZ AND OTHERS FOR FOUL PLAY ON THE HONESTY CHARACTER OF THE NATION.CORRECTIONS AND REMORSE AMENDS ON PART OF SOME OF THE BRASS'S PRIVILIGING CAN BE AND MUST BE DONE TO SAVE THE NATION. THE MUCH TALKED OF BB AND ALSO NAWAZ MAY HAVE TO RETURN THOSE BILLION DOLLARS IN QUESTION TO THE NATION.AND IMRAN KHAN MAY ALSO HAVE TO DISCIPLINE HIMSELF FROM SPOILING HIS OTHERWISE ROSY IMAGE IN THE COUNTRY BY REFRAINING FROM THE PLEDGES OF HELP TO CLEAN UP BB'S CORRUPTION CHARGES.

LOOKS LIKE THE WHOLE NATION(DO NOT BLAME IT ON THE MILITARY ALONE)IS EMBROILED IN KANGAROO COURTS AND DANCES FOR THE CROOKS TO REGRAB THE LICENSE TO LOOT EVEN AFTER BOOT.

THE JUDICIARY IN DEVELOPED OR DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES NEVER BECOMES PART OF POLITICIZED AGITATION.

MUSHARRAF COULD HAVE WENT DEFIANT AGAINST AMERICA ON EMERGENCY ISSUES SIX MONTHS EARLIER AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLTOGETHER A DIFFERENT BALL GAME.BUT AGAIN MUSHARRAF AND PAK MILITARY BRASS IS TOO MUCH TIED DOWN WITH AMERICA WITH THE NATION'S SURVIVAL AT A TIME WHEN 9/11 HAS BEEN CUTTING THROUGH PAKISTAN WITH THE RESULTING POTENTIAL DANGERS OF BREAK UP PROBLEMS OF ISSUES IN TRIBAL AND SWAT AND BALUCHISTAN.YOU SIMPLY CANNOT TELL THE SOLE TIGER OF THE JUNGLE TO F- OFF, WHILE HE IS ON THE DOORSTEP WITH WOUNDED BODY AND ENERGY INSECURITY THREATENING TO SINK HIS SHIP.

THINGS HAVE WORKED SWEET AND SOUR AND RELATIVELY SAFE, STILL WITH SOME DEEP WOUNDS AND CRITICISMS.BUT,THE JUDICIARY MUST HAVE HAD SHOWED BRAINS TO ACT WITH RESTRAINTS,RESILIENCE AND CONSTRICTED CONSTRAINTS IN THE MOST TRYING CIRCUMSTANCES OF PAKISTAN.

EVEN THE WORLD IS TALKING THAT PAK GOVERNANCE IS FACING THE TOUGHEST JOBS ON THE PLANET EARTH AND PAK MILITARY IS GOING TO PLAY THE KEY ROLE EVEN IF ANY CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT GETS ELECTED.EVEN THE UNITED APPEAL OF THE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES AND THE WHOLE WORLD COULD NOT PREVENT GENERAL ZIA FROM HANGING ALI BHUTTO WHEN IT CAME TO SAVING ONE NECK OR THE OTHER.I THINK ALL PAK POLITICAL ACTORS HAVE THE TENDENCY TO DRIVE EACH OTHERS TO THE WALL AND THAT IS VERY DANGEROUS AND EXPLOSIVE THING.

I ADMIRE PAKS MORE USEFUL PROFESSIONALS LIKE DOCTORS, ENGIEERS, SCIENTISTS, PROFESSOES, ACCOUNTANTS AND TEACHERS STAYING AWAY FROM TROUBLE AND HAVING CLEAN PLATES.

IT IS ONLY IN PAKISTAN THAT PROVEN CROOKS POLITICIANS ARE GETTING READY FOR AN OTHER LOOT AFTER COME BACK FROM THE PREVIOUS BOOT. IN REAL DEMOCRACIES LIKE IN AMERICA AND EUROPE,THESE CROOKS WOULD HAVE BEEN BARRED AND DISQUALIFIED FAR BEYOND FOR EVER.

I HAVE A SINCERE ADVISE TO PAK MILITARY BRASS AND OTHERS THAT THEY CAN CONCENTRATE IN DEVELOPING AND OWNING INDUSTRIES LIKE FAUJI FERTILLIZERS AND OTHER FINACIAL ENTERPRIZES LIKE.THE NATION MUST PRAISE THE PARTICIPATION OF OUR LIFE-LINE ARMED FORCES THROUGH INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS,BESIDES THEIR SAVIOUR ROLE OF PROTECTING THE COUNTRY.I THINK,I FOUND SOME RESENTMENT AMONG ENGINEER MANAGERS AND TOP PROFESSORS WHO WERE MY FRIENDS FROM CHILD HOOD IN PAKISTAN.BUT,THE NATION WOULD LOVE THE DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRY RELATED AND IMPORTANT ROLE BY MILITARY EVEN WITH OWNERSHIP OF INDUSTRIES LIKE FAUJIS AS THEY CREATE PROSPERITY FOR CIVILIANS AND MILITARY ALIKE.

EVEN THE VERY HONEST REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS OF IRAN OWN 12 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF INDUSTRIES IN IRAN AND CREATE JOBS FOR CIVILIANS AND MILITARY AND KEEP MONEY AT HOME COUNTRY.

AGITATION THROUGH LAWYERS DOES'NT SUIT JUDGES AND JUDICIARY. AGAIN,IT WAS NOT A BIG PERCENTAGE OF JUDICIARY THAT CAME ON THE STREETS.LOOKS LIKE THEY HAD LOTS OF SPARE TIME COMPARED TO OTHER PROFESSIONALS LIKE DOCTORS, ENGINEERS, PROFESSORS ETC.

SADDAM HUSSAIN WOULD HAVE GOTTON RID OF ALL AGITATIONS WITHIN NO TIME. BUT FORTUNATTELY PAKS NEVER WENT THAT BLOODY,AND IT REALLY IS NOT GONE TO THE STAGE WHEN SKY STARTS FALLING.

PAKISTAN'S KERY POLITICAL ACTOR BB MAY HAVE CORRUPTION CHARGES ON HER IN QUESTION,SHE MAY BE CARRYING DANGEROUS FOREIGN AGENDAS, BUT SHE IS EXTREMELY SMART TO HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT SHE WON'T GET ANY WHERE WITHOUT MILITARY IN THE WAR AND QUAZI WAR CIRCUMSTANCES THAT PUTS THE ARMY OF ANY COUNTRY INTO KEY CONTROLLING FACTOR.BB KNOWS THAT SHE CAN ONLY GET A BITE OR PIECE OF THE PIE AND HER FOREIGN AGENDAS MAY WELL BE SCRAPPED BY PAK ARMY FOR NATION'S SECURITY REASONS.

Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 12 December, 2007

Honest opinion

We are not advocating the perfetion or angel like character of the Pak military.But,look what you have got for comparison in the civilian candidates.

Judges like CJP sounded better man.But,tell me please if any of the professionals including even the doctors,engineers, accountants and scientists have ever made it there without forming a political party or going through elections in democracy or other wise.Even the clergy Khomeini in Iran made it through with the help of most professionals and most people as majority support nation wide.

Almost all roads to power go through political parties and elections in democracy, or forceful military take over in other cases.

And you never find justice or fair treatment in any country in the world.Even, in America and Canda,they rob in decent ways and call it business promotions.

And in military take over like in Saddam case,it was thousand times more cruel than we may have seen in Pakistan.I know a personal friend in Canada with his friend associated with Saddam in his hey days of America truckling.

As I heard,Saddam had looted several billion dollars of the country even when it was under hardship of sanctions and at the time when hundreds of thousand Iraqi children died of malnutrition.Saddam,his family and the faithful used to literally burn hundred dollars bills for fun and have drunken whisky and shampaign parties to show how rich they were.They used to brag about half million Iranians killed in the war(they lost their half million too)and about tearing apart the flesh of their own people with chemical bombs.

In comparison,Musharraf is luckily a chicken who cannot even get out of cat and mouse game with America.

But,I will side with Musharraf on his wise stand on the after math of 9/11 and his just abstaining from grudging stand up against the jungle's sole tiger, whose ass was really badly burned on 9/11.The tiger was sure coming to the door step and Pakistan is not Iran to be spared with the world's grandest hydrocarbon reserves of gas and oil combined.

No sane person in this world objects to arming of its military.No sensible Pakistani will go against its nuclear arsenal and this was the only reason that I blasted BB in dozens of my letter,even when it was sure that the nation will never allow her to hand over Dr A.Q.Khan to foreigners.

We would have been sure invaded by India,if Paks did not have 100 nukes.Even 1971 invasion of east Pakistan would never have happened if Paks had even a dozen nukes at that time.

But,it is allways good to see your military fully equipped with conventional and nuclear weapons.The nation can allways pacify on in-fighting through compromises and mutual buttressing.

Even if the coming democracy will be half assed democracy,it will have effects on the mitigation of troubles one way or the other.If BB carries on with her statements when she was outside,it is going to be worse than what we have now.But,if she re-arranges or slightly fills those agendas,it could be pleasant surprise in the conflict resolution of internal Pakistan.But,again military is going to play the decision cards as the geo-political situation around Pakistan is the gravest in history and the world is heading towards do or die energy in-security scenario.The big and powerful nations are already in the process of short listing abou who should have the depleting supply of the world's dwindling resources and how much each in need should get of that shrinking oil for shrinking economies of the world 20,or thirty years from now.

We are out for very dangerous and tough times and Musharraf did not do all the things wrong.One big score Mush did score was that he sent the world's number one war monger Dick Chenny empty handed with no granting of invasion route to invade Iran.

If we can pacify or eliminate internal mili operations with civilian elected democracy faces,it will be great success.Military power,you absolutely need it in a very dangerous world,where every body is in dog eat dog living.The last thing we would like to see will be Indian army marching in.

americans are around us for the energy security reasons as there is survival at risk.But,they must understand that any military surge on their part has reciprocating surge by their adversaries.But,this is not our problem.I think,Paks are safer if Afgan infilteration is mitigated from our side.

If we cannot trust America as friend, we can hardly afford to see it as our adversary.Musharraf and Pak military are united and they may have mitigated the situation some what.Pak military is after all our nation's life line and it looks good with control and possession of nukes.Otherwise, India had started to eat us up after their nuke tests and with immediate strike and slaughter of of our 200 troops in Kashmir.I remember reading in the media Lal Advani saying as such:

"The time of final battle has come."

Then, it was our tests two weeks later that stopped Advani madness.

Anwar Mahmood, Canada - 15 December, 2007

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