Musharraf’s “Second Coup”

By Majed Iqbal– It was too smooth to believe that Bhutto had secured a ‘deal’ with Musharraf to rule in Pakistan in Partnership. It ran too smooth when Nawaz Sharif was kicked out of the country on his return to Pakistan. It was too smooth to believe that Musharraf had secured his presidency with a majority in Parliament. So was the emergency situation that occurred on Saturday a predictable outcome?

Police Brutality during protests

Yes indeed. The signs of a desperate ruler clinging on to his last reigns of power, by ‘any means necessary’, was visible with all the actions under taken by the Military General and self professed Chief Executive/President/ Chief of Army Staff and pioneer of the prophetic ‘Enlightened Moderation’ philosophy, Pervez Musharraf.

Sunday 4th November saw Musharraf imposing emergency, to reassert his flagging authority in response to what he said was to ‘Islamic militancy and to the ‘paralysis of government by judicial interference’. Musharraf sacked and replaced the Chief Justice, house arrested all other judges failing to give oath, and re-elected a new fresh subservient bench of judges throughout the country who gave legitimacy to his previously illegal moves.

Over 1200 Judges, lawyers, Political Party activists, Human rights activists were arrested, as troops and police poured on to city streets clamping down and viciously beating any people in an oragnised protest. Television and radio stations were taken off air and telephone lines cut off intermittently. Musharraf suspended the constitution and fired the chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, who spearheaded a powerful mass movement against him earlier this year. Soldiers entered the Supreme Court where Chaudhry and six other judges said Musharraf’s declaration that he would rule under a provisional constitutional order was illegal.

‘Musharraf is acting like a spoiled child, holding the whole country hostage. These are the last days of Pervez Musharraf,’ said Aitazaz Ahsan, who leads the Supreme Court Bar Association as he was escorted from his home into a police van. Ahsan, declared “lawyers would launch a series of nationwide protests”.

The catastrophic moves on the Judiciary came as Musharraf had promised to resign as army chief by 15 November, with general elections due by January. However, the threat posed to Musharraf’s power was the Supreme Court, which was due to rule in the coming weeks on the legality of his controversial 8 October re-election as president. As the result of an opposition boycott, he received 98 per cent of the votes. Musharraf, still not content with the events, quashed the legal challenge with the imposition of an emergency or as some are citing, Martial Law, clearing the way for any further challenges for his post to Presidency.

Unfortunately for Musharraf only, his own tenure has deepened discontent within Pakistan. After eight years of supreme power, Musharraf has, by his own description, brought Pakistan to its knees through unpopular moves of siding with the US in its War on Terror, secularising the country, undermining the resistance in Kashmir, and setting the army upon the citizens of Waziristan and the Northern regions.

Gallup, an independent think tank which delivers in-depth insights on public opinion polling recently conducted a study finding that over 64% of Pakistanis believed that corruption is widespread throughout the government, 68% believed that America is a threat to Pakistani security and less than 6% thought that America was trustworthy or friendly. The study is a mirror reflection on Musharraf as well as Bhutto who have lost all credibility through open alliances with America, fostering a widespread image of corrupt ruling elites who do not carry the nations interests at heart. Nawaz Sharif has been seen in no different light with his display of pragmatic politics and possessing a previous track order of following American Directives, especially after the Kargil episode.

The time is now apt for a sincere leadership to prop forward and discard the countries corrupt legacy to into the dustbins of history. Only time will tell what the Pakistani nation puts forward as an agenda for the future of the country- but most definitely, a ‘Democratic Dictatorship’ is not on the cards.

 

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