History, rulers and the Pakistani Way

August 10, 2009

Pakistan’s political history is littered with blood and shameful departures of rulers. Our rulers thrive on violence; orchestrate political farces to hoodwink the masses and are sent back home in the same manner. The recent cries for Musharraf’s persecution are a classical example this curse which has continually haunted Pakistani rulers since the creation of Pakistan.

Pakistan first premier Liaqut Ali Khan was gunned down in a Rawalpindi public meeting and his alleged killer also met the same end. The police officer investigating the case also perished in an air crash and with him also the traces that could point that who was the behind the assassination.

After Liaquat assassination, a crippled bureaucrat, Ghulam Mohammad assumed powers and is responsible for the many cancerous traditions in politics. The first dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and notorious “doctrine of necessity” are the parts of his shameful legacy. He was sent abroad during a serious illness but his legacy is still haunting us and will continue to do so in the years to come.

Another bureaucrat Skindar Mirza followed Ghulam Mohammad and brings the army in politics by admitting the Commander in Chief Mohammad Auyb Khan in his cabinet as defence minister. Later, Auyb deposed him and sent him to Britain, where the former president and his wife, when pressed by the circumstances started clerical jobs in a hotel and died and buried in that country.

Field Martial Mohammad Auyb Khan imposed the first martial law in country and abrogated the 1956 constitution in a fit of frenzy. He framed another constitution and changed the form of government to presidential and became president after a sham election. He fooled the masses for eleven years with slogans like ‘Operation Gibraltar’, ‘Basic Democracies’, ‘Green Revolution’ and the ‘Decade of Development.’ He had to step down after students’ protests in the country and to hand over power to Yahya Khan.

Gen. Yahya Khan, “drowned the two-nation theory,” and the East Pakistan in the Bay of Bengal in the Dakkha debacle of 1971 and spent rest of his days under house arrest.

Yahya handed over the reins of the country to the charismatic Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) after the fall of Dakkha and he became the first civil martial law administrator of the history. He introduced the slogans of ‘Islamic Socialism,’ ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan,’ ‘1,000 years war’ and nationalization of the industries. He was put behind the bars after a coup and his dead body came out of the prison after a sham trial and was buried in the Ghari Khuda Bux cemetery under the shadow of bayonets in the darkness of night.

Ziaul Haq hanged ZAB and ruled the country for nearly 11 years on the name of Islam and flogging. His Islamisation and Afghan jihad backfired and resulted into the sectarianism, heroin and kalashinkove culture in the country. He perished along with his coterie in a mysterious plane crash on August 17, 1988.

Benazir Bhutto followed Zia and was sworn in as the first female head of the state of an Islamic country. Her first government was discharged on the charges of corruption. Her husband earned notoriety for corruption and was branded as the Mr. Ten Percent and her only brother Mir was gunned down in an encounter with police and later her government was dissolved for second time. She spent nearly seven years in exile and came back to the country in October 2007 and also survived a deadly suicide attack aimed at her during his homecoming rally. She was assassinated in a suicide and gun attack on December 27, 2007.

Nawaz Sharif was a product of Zia tyranny and a general arranged his entry into politics. His first government was dissolved when differences arose between the president and him. The Supreme Court later reinstated his government but the army had to intervene to break the deadlock and both the president and the premier had to pack up. He clashed with the judiciary and sent anther president home after axing his powers. Later, an airborne general put him behind bars when he tried to remove him. He spent nearly 18 months in a prison and was exiled to Saudi Arabia he also tried to make a comeback but again sent on exile forcibly but now he is trying to establish himself as man for all season.

General Musharraf aka the ‘enlightened despot’ imposed two martial laws during his eight-year rule. He crushed a rebellion from judiciary and sent around 60 judges to homes. During his rule the militancy drove the country to the brink of chaos. He has to doff off his uniform which he used to say as second skin under intense pressure. However, he had to resign due to his growing unpopularity among public some months back to the elections. Now, the many of political adversaries are demanding his prosecution for the abrogation of constitution.

President Zardari needs to remember George Santayana’s often aphorism, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” while swimming against the currents of Pakistani politics.