Can Pakistan be Saved?
Mumbai 9/11 perpetrated by the State apparatus of Pakistan disguised under the fig-leaf of a self-perceived plausible deniability exit does not befool the international community any longer. Mercifully, the present Congress Government after ages, under tremendous pressure of an angry and indignant Indian public, has made the right noises directly implicating and indicting the Pakistan State. Disturbing is the emerging trend within some in the Indian strategic community that India should help in saving the fledgling civilian government of Pakistan by not ratcheting up military tension as that would only serve the ends of the Pakistan Army. The moot question is can Pakistan be saved by outsiders? The answer of this Columnist is NO, a big NO. It is only the people of Pakistan who can save Pakistan from the Pakistan Army.
President Zardari and his civilian government are only a facade of the Pakistan Army. In 2007-2008 Pakistan's present ruling party first under Benazir Bhutto and after her assassination, then by Zardari, hijacked Pakistan's democracy before even the government was formed . The people of Pakistan stood once again cheated of democracy by an unholy nexus of unscrupulous politicians aligning with the Pakistan Army.
Readers need to recall that in 2007-2008 the legal fraternity of Pakistan massively aided by the civil society, students groups, women's groups and NGOs in widespread protest demonstrations all over Pakistan fought for the restoration of democracy , the 1973 Constitution and the restoration of the illegally sacked Chief Justice of Pakistan and 60 other judges. Pakistan was poised for a historic return to unadulterated democracy in its purist form as the wave of protests engulfed Pakistan.
The Pakistan Army fearful of the return to power of former PM Nawaz Sharif of the Muslim League along with the ISI and other intelligence agencies got into the act of pre-empting this possibility. The game started with late Benazir Bhutto who despite her commitment to the Charter of Democracy signed with Nawaz Sharif started hobnobbing with the Pakistan Army. When in the run-up to the Elections she showed signs of independence, she was bumped off. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari was amenable and more open to a deal with the Pakistan Army, where while democracy was allowed to be returned but it was to be under traditional controls of the Pakistan Army.
Pakistan's current President Zardari has been responsible along with his Pakistan Peoples Party in subverting the return of pure democracy to Pakistan in 2007-2008, by being complicit with the Pakistan Army in preventing the restoration of the former Chief Justice of Pakistan and 60 other judges sacked by General Musharraf to safeguard his power and position.
Zardari gave public pledges to restore the sacked judiciary in the run-up to the coalition building but went back on his promises once he assumed the Presidency. Bringing in Zardari was an externally supported exercise to legally save General Musharraf and so also a convicted Zardari from the wrath of a restored judiciary who had already ruled against them.
In such an unholy mess in a nation which was intended to be the 'Land of the Pure', either Pakistan gets unraveled under the weight of its own contradictions or a massive revolution by the people against the Pakistan Army's political control can only save Pakistan
If the mighty Imperial Iranian Army in neighboring Iran could be overthrown in 1979 by public will, there is no reason why the will of the Pakistani people cannot unshackle the Pakistan nation-state from political control and domination of the Pakistan Army
So, the answer to the question, can Pakistan be saved, is YES. Pakistan can only be saved by the determined will of the Pakistani people. External band-aid solutions will not work.
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Dr. Subhash Kapila
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