Leaving the monsters behind

Every military ruler created monsters

Today, the USA leads the world in creating international monsters followed by the armies of the Muslim world who follow the same path within. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has repeatedly suffered from this menace. There have been 16 Army Chiefs, with the incumbent being the 17h.

The first Desi Sipah-e-Salar Gen Ayub Khan crossed the line. Starting with the assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to the imposition of Martial Law in October 1958 and abrogation of the 1956 constitution, these proved to be major blows against our freedom struggle. His misrule continued for over a decade before he had to resign in March 1969. He lacked the courage to follow his own constitution, and handed over power to the Army Chief instead of the Speaker of the National Assembly. Gen Yayha Khan then presided over the dismemberment of Jinnah’s Pakistan. Bangladesh emerged on the world map after the surrender of the Armed Forces in December 1971.

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The unanimously agreed 1973 constitution was a major effort in ensuring civilian authority. Beaten and bruised, the balance in the civil-military relationship was redefined. The Army was confined to the barracks where it rightfully belonged. The focus shifted to nation building. Elected representatives of the people were in control of the republic. The dismissal of the two provincial governments (NWFP/KPK, Balochistan) followed by military action in Balochistan in 1975 brought the Khakis back into the mainstream of power.

A tribunal was set-up in Hyderabad to try the dissident political leadership. In early 1977, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto surprised everyone by dissolving the assemblies ahead of their term to seek fresh mandate. Within hours an alliance of the nine opposition parties (Pakistan National Alliance) emerged. A trap had been laid to corner the most popular leader of his times. On 5 July 1977, Gen Zia-ul-Haq clamped the third Martial Law. In October 1958, General Ayub Khan sent home the entire civilian leadership of the country. Zia went after ZAB with the active support of the alliance that the establishment had carved. Popular founding fathers like Khan Qayyum Khan and Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy survived the onslaught in the 1950s while ZAB was eliminated through the judicial process in April 1979.

Neutrality is welcome but not without the clean-up of the created monsters, you cannot just walk away. Please take your dirty laundry with you. Just open the files and uncover the truth for the sake of the motherland.

When in the same year Zia decided to indulge in the Afghan War I, ZAB warned against the consequences from his death cell. Though the USSR was made to bite the dust the republic had to pay a heavy price. While the Islamic Republic of Iran remained neutral in the conflict and confined the influx of refugees to the border camps only, they were allowed to operate all over the land of the pure where they spread their impurities like wildfire.

Then there was a U-turn after the threat from the USA post- 9/11. The fourth usurper sheepishly caved in, abandoning the Tehreek-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Afghan War II, friends became foes overnight.

With sleeper-cells all over the country, Pakistan had to suffer blatant acts of terrorism. It was never our war yet we were made to pay a heavy toll due to the misadventure of the dictators. With loss of human life close to 50,000 and collateral damage of over $100 billion, the republic has still not recovered from this misadventure. Zia and Musharraf have gone, leaving the monsters behind to add to the list left behind by Ayub, the self-proclaimed Field Marshal.

Nations must learn from history to correct their future course of action. Unfortunately in the republic those who created monsters just walked away free of any consequences. General Pervez Musharraf, the fourth usurper got away once in 1999 but was tried for treason when he crossed the line the second time in the year 2007. He was tried for treason under Article 6 of the Constitution; fearing for his life he first reported sick to a Military Hospital from where he was smuggled out. Now he resides in the safety of Dubai.

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In the USA, Robert McNamara was Secretary Defence who went to war in Viet Nam. It was an aimless war in which over 50,000 Americans lost their lives. After it was all over, he tendered a written expression of remorse in his autobiography titled My Apology. He admitted his fault and sought forgiveness from his countrymen. Perhaps he wanted to die in peace. In Pakistan it’s the other way around; not only the monsters, but even the heirs of these dictators continue to remain in the arena with no remorse or apology for the misdeeds of their forefathers.

Recently the Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi clearly came to the defence of the retired Sipah-e-Salar. He called him his ‘Mohsin‘. These Mohsins over the years have produced several ‘Rehzans‘ (Thieves) who continue to rob the nation years after the demise of their designers. Ayub was the Mohsin of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, Zia continued with them while creating the Sharifs of Lahore. Musharraf got rid of the Sharifs, continued with Chaudhrys. No wonder the Chaudhrys remain Ehsanmand (grateful) to the men in uniform. The Pir of Sindh is no different and so is our friend from Lal Haveli. In the peak of the PNA movement that brought ZAB down he said that Pakistan had three political forces; PPP, PNA and PMA (Pakistan Military Academy). In the 1990s it has been PPP, PML-N and PMA . Currently it is PTI, PDM and PMA, though the latter is now claiming to be neutral.

Neutrality is welcome but not without the clean-up of the created monsters, you cannot just walk away. Please take your dirty laundry with you. Just open the files and uncover the truth for the sake of the motherland.

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Dr Farid A Malik
Dr Farid A Malikhttps://www.pakistantoday.com.pk
The writer is ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be contacted at: [email protected]


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