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Domestic Politics, International Political, Terrorism

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Kawish, 16 January, p 6

Pakistan: Article Warns Zardari Over Locking Horns With Army At This Time

Article by Dastgeer Bhatti "PPP's Government Trapped in Whirlwinds" -- All Words Within
Double Quotation Marks, As Published.

The recent political, social and judicial whirlwind is revolving around Islamabad with such a
dangerous speed that the incumbent government of the Pakistan People's Pakistan [PPP] had to
summon the National Assembly session at 24-hour notice to pass a unanimous resolution in the
favor of the president and the prime minister to demonstrate their political power.

However, its objective was lost when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani failed to win the vote
of confidence for his government. He had to eke out just a weak resolution, in which he could
not manage to include a few sentences in the favor of his real leadership President Asif Ali
Zardari.

Indeed, the leaders of two coalition partners of the government the Muttahida Qaumi Movement
[MQM] and the Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid-e-Azam [PML-Q], a few days back, made it clear
that they would decide to support the resolution after going through its text. This sign was
enough for a person having common sense to understand everything.

You must have in mind the claims of Chaudhrys [PML-Q Leaders] made to elect Pervez
Musharraf as the president in uniform 10 times, while the other party blocked chief justice's way
from airport to High Court in Karachi on 12 May 2007. When Asif Ali Zardari was including
them in his alliance assuming them his well-wishers, we shouted at that time that M. Zardari has
no sense to differentiate his friends from his foes. This was the reason that he taught us the
lesson of reconciliation mending fences with these political parties without knowing them
properly. And then we all, I mean 118 million poor people of this country, watched this drama
for a period of four years and bore the torment.

An example of recently circulated messages on the twitter in this connection is quite true and
unique. Different television channels have also mentioned it. This message says that if the wise
people of this country would ever criticize any unwanted ruling of court, the case for the
contempt of court can be registered against them. If you say anything against any unwanted
decision of the military leadership, you will be labeled as an enemy of the country. If you raise a
voice against the oppression perpetrated against the Kolhees, the Bheels, the Qadiyanis and the
Hindi communities, you will be detained under blasphemy. And when the newspaper all over the
world and electronic media shoot the arrows of condemnation against the Parliament elected by
the public, launch commentaries bordering invectives, it would be called "freedom of speech".
This is unfair, but this is also not true that pious and stain have been elected leaders from the
Parliament.

We are used to watch scenes in developed country's parliamentary institutions or assemblies that
member are throwing punches or hurling chairs on each other. We are well aware of the
amenities provided by our elected members to the poor public in the past four years.

Around a month back, when I suggested that the PPP has failed in implementing its manifesto or
honoring its pledges made to the people, it would have been a lot better if, with the consultation
of all the political parties, the elections were held during the current year and a fresh mandate
was taken from the public to assess the popularity of the PPP and other political parties. If people
are happy with the policies of incumbent government, they would have re-elected them. The
opportunity must not be provide for toppling the Zardari government through any undemocratic
mean or military power, I added. However, my suggestion infuriated the PPP member. They said
how we can spare a full year [in completing five year tenure]. We will complete the term and
demonstrate it to the world.

The ink of that claim is still wet that, on Friday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani himself has
announced on the floor of the National Assembly that if the nation is not ready to tolerate us for
five years, the tenure of the government can be curtailed from five years to four years through a
constitutional amendment. We have no objection against it; he went on to say.

Gilani now may implore for reduction in the term, but the opposition, being well aware and sick
of government's tricks, corruption, violation of merit, open violation of court' orders and
nepotism, has united. Sometimes back, President Zardari's counsel Dr Babar Awan was used to
make fun of the judiciary. He has now requested to the court to give him some time to hire a
legal counsel regarding contempt of the court case.

On Friday, when Baber Awan came in the court to seek more time, the judge asked him what
were you doing for so many days? However, he has been granted time, but it is too late now, for
now the rulers are trapped from all sides. They are now recalling Nawaz Sharif and estranged
Maulana Fazlur Rahman. The ministers are visiting them very frequently. President Zardari's
strategy! Wow! He, after staying away from free journalists for many years, eventually gave
interview to the correspondent of a private channel, saying, "I am the first president, who has
entrusted all his authorities to the elected members of the public". When the same anchorperson
reminded him that, along with the devastation of the Pakistan International Airlines [PIA], a
license of a new airline Indus Airlines was issued in the name of his sister, he replied, "I order
the Defense Minister through this television channel to revoke that license".

The thing is who would trust him that he has entrusted his powers to the Parliament when he is
trying to prove himself powerless in front of millions of people by answering the question and
issuing verbal orders, though wincing at the same time, to the Defense Minister through a
television?
The atmosphere in the country has been made as all the judges of all the courts are wrong, all
journalists of all newspapers are liars, the military institutions as well as political parties are
biased, and only one person is right. Thank God that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Pakistan and the army chief are cool-minded persons. We do still remember the time when the
civilian president Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the nonmilitary boss of the Pakistani establishment.
Being 50-year in the power corridors, he became that much experienced and powerful that with
just one blow he blew the newly elected governments of martyr Benazir Bhutto and a little bit
older government of Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Being a tasty morsel in front of them, all three army chiefs General [ret] Aslam Baig, General
Asif Nawaz Janjua [late] and General [ret] Abdul Wahid Kakar did not dare impose martial law
during his rule. They had to lose that golden opportunity of taking that tasty morsel, because
General Ziaul Haq's entirely disastrous military dictatorship in the country had not left any love
in the hearts of millions of the poor people for our soldiers. It even ignited the fire of hatred
against them. The military courts, hangings, floggings, prisons and restrictions on the freedom of
speech by the military leadership and aftermath of Afghan War fought against Russia, import of
heroin, Kalashnikov culture, and 5 million refugees suffocated the people.

In the last martial law of General [ret] Musharraf, there was about the same situation; rather it
was worse. General [ret] Musharraf himself mortgaged the security and sovereignty of the
county to the Unite States. From Shahbaz airbase, Jacobabad to Shamsi airbase, Pasni and
Quetta, and supply of weapons and ammunition through the NATO containers from Karachi port
to Afghanistan continued without any checking. The permission of the massacre of the innocent
persons in drone attacks, sending people in shackles to the US Island Guantanamo Bay detention
and torture center in exchange of dollars; God knows that what else malicious acts were
committed that even it became difficult to walk in Lahore in the military uniform.

And eventually with the help of God, the 118 people got rid of General [ret] Pervez Musharraf.
Whether somebody acknowledges it or not, this credit of his ouster goes to the lawyers and the
judges. Otherwise our all the political leaders had flown to the foreign lands. They themselves
were not sure, being Musharraf in power, whether they would be able to return or not.

Eventually, in order to have five more years in the saddle, General [ret] Musharraf issued a
reconciliatory law National Reconciliation Ordinance [NRO] which the then US president
George Bush approved for the greatest servant General [ret] Pervez Musharraf to provide him
public support on the guarantee provided by some Arab rulers and with the efforts of Richard
Boucher, as Condoleezza Rice has quoted.

Through this law, from 1988 to 1999, all genies of all political parties trapped in the bottles of
civilian and criminal cases were ordered to be set free. The NRO was prepared with the efforts
of martyred Benazir Bhutto, who was aggrieved mostly by her own people and by others as well.
As a result of the NRO, not only they reached to the power corridors, but 7,500 murderers,
robbers, terrorists and plunderers, nominated in 3,500 case have once again become free citizens
for three years to turn Karachi city into a slaughterhouse through their target killings instead of
their being behind the bars or be absconders.

Can any single truthful and honest minister among the rulers tell how and on whose orders the
murderers of hundreds of innocents people such as Ajmal Pahari, Saulat Mirza, Kamran
Madhoori and Abu Bashar Bangali, despite being in jail, are enjoying a luxurious life?

The prison officials are just trying to make them please. More than 8,140 accused are the NRO
beneficiaries. Let us come to the "critical situation" prevalent in the country. I have probably
already written earlier on the subject, but once again, I want to repeat that since the day we have
become mature, few "threats" have been echoing in our ears, and they are still echoing. First was
that our religion is facing a threat.

The military leaders and their cohort religious scholars have been repeating it to scare the
Bengalis, the Balochis and the Sindhis and have been labeling their leaders traitors for decades.
The religion got free from the danger when the Taliban emerged with their new model of Islam
on the scene following General Ziaul Haq's regime.

However, by the time, the Bengalis separated from us to create Bangladesh and the Balochi
people have also parted their ways to start an armed struggle for independence. But Asif Ali
Zardari raised the slogan, "We Want Pakistan", and soon after becoming the president of the
country, he visited Balochistan and apologized on the loudspeaker.

However, the way Attaullah Mengal had recently told Nawaz Sharif that the rein of Balochistan
is now in the hands of youths living in the mountains, makes it very much clear that "acceptance
of apology is very difficult now". Therefore, now the youths would decide about their future and
we, the heads and chieftains, are helpless in this connection. History stands witness to this fact
that action against Balochis were taken when Quid-e-Azam was still alive, i.e. actions against
Khan of Qalat and then dangerous armed actions were taken during General Ayub Khan's era
when Sardar Nauroz khan and his brothers were hanged, and it was planned to enslave the
Balochis.

The outcomes of these actions emerging now can be well understood from the killings of 15
soldiers of the Frontier Constabulary [FC] during a rocket attack in Buleda near Turbat city. The
Balochistan Liberation Army [BLA] has claimed the responsibility. The situation is not only
getting out of control of chieftains and politicians of Balochistan, but also it is getting out of
control of the civilian administration and the military leadership.

The readers should be reminded that during the régime of martial law imposed by general
Yahiya Khan after General Ayub Khan's régime, General Tikka Khan, before General Niazi,
slaughtered thousands of the Bengalis in East Bengal in March 1971.
When the country got disintegrated and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the ruler of the rest of
Pakistan, he dismissed the elected government of the chief minister Attaullah Mengal through an
unconstitutional and illegal order and public of Balochistan took up arms against that decision.

At that time, General Tikka Khan wreaked massacre in Balochistan through bombing. We still
do not know that our incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari apologized on the behalf of Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto or he apologized for years of ongoing military actions, oppression and injustice. This
must not have been stomached by the powers, if this is the case.

How serious was that apology can be understood from this fact that still hundreds of youths are
disappearing and their mutilated dead bodies are being recovered. Their families are tired of
knocking at the doors of the courts.

How Zardari got this wrong idea that he is a great statesman like a popular figure Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan who dragged the powerful General Ahmet Kenan Evren from his collar and subject him
to trial and punish him accordingly.

In the same interview, President Zardari said that his role models are Benazir Bhutto and popular
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Is this move termed as treading on the wrong path?