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Pakistan at Crossroads

18 June, 2007

By Ahmer Muzammil


Pakistan stands at a critical juncture. This is probably the first time in our sorry-history that the oppressor of the people of Pakistan, which is not India or Israel, but its own Military/Civil establishment, is on the defensive. I get a feeling that for the first time they are not in position to dictate terms, hence will be looking for a compromise with the civil-society. This compromise is what I would like to focus on in this piece. We the people of Pakistan have to make sure that the small pressure groups that have benefited in the past at the expense of 160 million of us are accountable for their previous endeavors and if that’s too much to ask for then at least going forward there must be some kind of guarantee that these vested interest MUST NOT exploit and or take over the system. 
 
The higher brass of Pakistan Army is visibly irked because for the first time in the history of our existence the only province that really matters when it comes to reshaping the destiny of our country, which mind you is also the biggest in every sense, is on board with the fact that Pakistan Armed Forces are directly responsible - more than any other group - for the failure that is Pakistan. We are a country where the interests of 160 million human beings are gladly sacrificed to accommodate the high-life of few. The scholarly work of Dr. Ayehsa Siddiqa titled Military INC. is a pathetic reminder of the misuse of resources that belongs to the people of Pakistan and should have been used to bring about a social revolution in Pakistan.
 
How many plots, how many cars, how much money is enough? Do these thugs have any conscience what so ever? In a country where a common person doesn’t have access to clean water, and I know it’s a cliché but think about it, people are forced to drink water that one shouldn’t even bathe with and in that country the pet dogs of our rulers enjoy bottled water imported from France.  The reason people are not all lovey dovey about Pakistan Army and are openly expressing there discontent is not because the media in Pakistan is inciting hatred against them it’s because people have had ENOUGH.
 
You can’t ignore the message, the messenger is quite irrelevant, why is that so hard to understand? And the message is that a vast majority of Pakistanis would like the armed forces to stay within the bounds of constitution of Pakistan, it’s really that simple. DO THE JOB THAT WE PAY YOU TO DO! We don’t need you running the real estate agencies, we don’t need you to take over steel-mill or PIA or WAPDA or Presidency or any department for that matter, just make sure that our borders are safe and help out in emergency situations such as floods, earthquakes etc., not as a favor but because we pay you and ITS KIND OF YOUR JOB.
 
It’s nauseating to see otherwise champion of democracy and everything that is honest and upright one Mr. Hameed Gull getting uncomfortable when the society at large insinuates that maybe it’s time to bring the Army down from the stature of GOD. This justification that defense societies are cleaner and their real estate values are higher is because some how armed men are in fact a superior being is quite comical. It’s the Guns stupid! The reason special preferences are awarded to Army in all arenas is not because they are a gift to humanity its because they have the most guns and unarmed human beings are kind of scared of those who have them. We have to strive for true democracy not just in theory and not because it sounds sexy but in spirit as well. And the spirit of democracy is that all branches of the government work within the boundaries that have been set for them by the constitution of Pakistan.
 
The only positive development this current cabal of thugs in Islamabad could really boast about in the past was the comparative freedom of the media. Although a quite strong case can be made on the contrary even in the previous years, but now the gloves are off. The way journalists are openly threatened by all concerned is a travesty in its own. Dr. Shahid Masood was asked how much Latha (burial-garment) he would need. Hamid Mir was man-handled by the police and agencies. Talat Hussein and Aaj Tv was shot at for hours in broad daylight while the administration and the authorities were standing aloof like a retard. Not only these gentlemen were harassed and threatened, there respective programs were taken off air as well. What was their crime you ask? They were reporting the facts as partially and politely as you can report a rape and exploitation of a nation. Mind you these journalists are still the lucky ones; at least they are still alive. We can’t say the same about a number of them who have paid the price of their journalistic integrity with their own blood.
 
The most troubling aspect for me is the willingness of political players with real vote banks to still look to cut a deal with the Army establishment. For the love of GOD, grow a spine! It’s been 60 sorry years. Don’t you think its time we look towards the people of Pakistan for once instead of romancing Washington and GHQ? Let’s throw caution to the wind people. Maybe the success of Pakistan is in empowering the people of Pakistan and just maybe in giving them a stake in their country. I know it’s a crazy idea but what do we have to loose really? We have tried this joke of democracy for 8 years now, actually its an insult to the word democracy it should be called what it really is, Martial Law, that’s all we have really ever had. So how about turning a new leaf and I know I am reaching for stars but why is that every single country (except for Burma off course) deserve democracy but we the Pakistanis are such incompetent monkeys that we should be governed by the guy who has the biggest gun? Pakistan Peoples Party and MQM should be very careful. I think they are playing with their political future if they can’t see that the people of Pakistan are ready to kick this domination of armed forces from our civil matters. It will be a political suicide in my opinion to align yourself with the oppressor at this juncture.
 
For ages we have been told that the reason Pakistan Armed forces need this humongous budget allocation is because any day now, India will attack us, so we must buy the BMW’s for the brigadiers because that’ll some how scare of Indians. Enough with this scare tactic. Quite frankly, when India did actually attack us in ’71, Army couldn’t do anything to safeguard our international borders anyway. So let’s get off this high horse and invest in the people of Pakistan; maybe they’ll do a better job themselves if they are not disenfranchised like the people of East Pakistan.
 
 
Nisaar mein tayri galiyon ka aey watan kay jahan
Challi hay rasm kay koi na sir utha kay chalay
 
Jo koi chahnay wala tawaf ko niklay,
Nazar churra  kay chalay, jismo-0-jaan bacha kay chalay.
 
Hay ahl-e-dil kay liyayy abb yeah nazm bast-o-kushad
Kay sang-0-khusht muqayad hein, aur sag azad.

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