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Defining Moment for Pakistan!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
Recently responding to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan this writer had advocated measures that would either make or break the peace dialogue with Islamabad. Events have overtaken that suggestion. Internal developments are forcing a make-or-break choice for Pakistan. The outcome of the crisis will depend upon one man who stands in the middle. He is of course Pakistan Army Chief General Parvez Kayani. How will he swing? To assess that recent events in Pakistan deserve appraisal.
The Pakistan cleric based in Canada Maulana Tahrir-Ul-Qadri led his much publicized march to parliament in Islamabad demanding radical democratic reform. He sought the instant dismissal of the present Zardari government and the creation of a credible interim government that might conduct the forthcoming elections after suitable delay. He demanded that the interim caretaker government be formed after consultation with the army and the judiciary. Because of this he was dubbed by critics as a stooge of the army and the judiciary which are opposed to the present government in Islamabad.
This view was reinforced by the second event that occurred on the very same day. The Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Raja Parvez Ashraf for corruption related to an earlier case. The timing of the judgment greatly boosted Maulana Qadri’s movement and was perceived by critics as a collusive operation. However the conclusion that the Maulana might be aiding a plot to restore army rule in Pakistan could be hasty.
The Maulana’s credentials against terrorism and in favour of democracy are impeccable. His entire career has been devoted to moderating Islam and promoting democracy in Muslim nations. He heads the Sufi-based Minhaj-ul-Quran international organization that has consistently promoted over the years change of government, religious moderation, liberal education, inter-faith dialogue, a moderate interpretation of Islam employing methods of Sufism, and the establishment of good relations and understanding between communities and religions. After 30 years the organization has reportedly expanded to over 90 countries. In February 2012 Qadri visited India to release his 600 page book criticizing Fatwa’s promoting terrorism. He urged India-Pakistan friendship and advised both nations to cut defence expenditure. Would the Maulana discard the work of a lifetime to act as the army’s pawn and derail democracy? Might there not be elements within the army and the judiciary that seek genuine systemic reform and are therefore colluding with Maulana Qadri?
This betrays the anxiety that haunts sections of the Pakistan army. The two-nation theory was of course pure garbage manufactured by Imperial Britain to serve its interests. Pakistanis and Indians, including this writer, have authored books to convincingly trash the rationale of the Partition. If the two-nation theory had validity there would have been no Bangladesh. But Pakistani generals should rest assured that the Partition is history. Even though Pakistan was an artificially contrived nation there is no cause to undo it. More importantly there is not a soul in India that would like this nation to govern any part of a disintegrated Pakistan. Indians are having a hard time coping with attempts to govern what they already have.
That is why the third event that occurred on January 15 could prove crucial. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh declared that in the light of the ceasefire atrocity by soldiers it was no longer possible to continue business as usual with Islamabad. He demanded that the guilty be brought to book, cancelled visa facilities for senior Pakistan citizens and sent back visiting Pakistan sportsmen. This therefore provides the litmus test for General Kayani. Will he identify and nail the guilty army men who beheaded the Indian soldiers?
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Comments on this Article
Dinesh Kumar Bohre
01/18/2013 05:25 AM
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