By General Mirza Aslam Beg
We are living in very challenging times, constantly facing the negative impact of developments, taking place across the borders and the turmoil within, caused by bad governance, institutional conflict, corruption, rising inflation, deprivation and insurgency, compounded by unprecedented floods. This all has caused despondency and despair, in the minds of the people, wanting a change. Change is needed, no doubt but not through military intervention, nor through street violence, but through the constitutional democratic process, so that the democratic order is sustained, strengthened and buttressed to face the challenges. That is the process which has set into motion, to correct the course.
The external negative forces, impacting life in Pakistan, gradually have taken a backward turn. For example Iran, which has been facing American pressures since 1979, through sanctions and embargoes; aggression by Iraq; threat of war by Israel and induced ethnic riots, to cause strained relations with Pakistan have failed to deter Iran, from signing the eight billion dollar gas pipeline deal with Pakistan. The American government having realized that they cannot bend or break the Iranian will, now are seeking their help in finding a safe exit from Afghanistan. This is a positive change for Pakistan and Iran and for peace in the region.
Similarly in Afghanistan, the Americans and the allies, having failed in their attempt to again cheat the Taliban, of their victory, are now seeking dialogue with them, for a safe exit. This is a very positive change for Pakistan, because, the exit of the occupation forces, would remove the curse of Indian intrusion into Pakistan, a well as the ingress by the American Marines, the CIA and FBI in our border region since 2002, allowed by Pervez Musharraf, which has now been confirmed by the American scholar Bob Woodward, which I had also exposed, through several articles the rather shameful bartering away of our national interests, several years back, when Musharraf was in power, but no one took notice of it. The exit from Afghanistan will also bring to an end the running war with our own tribals, induced by the joint conspiracy of CIA and Raw. These developments are very significant for Pakistan demanding reorientation of our policies and priorities with regard to Afghanistan, India and USA.
For the last sixty years, India has let loose a reign of terror in occupied Kashmir, killing over hundred thousand Kashmiris since 1990. The state terrorism is now being confronted by the civil disobedience movement of the Kashmiri people, which has unnerved the Indian occupation forces, numbering over seven hundred thousand. The state of conflict and confrontation between India and Pakistan, which has lasted for over sixty years, is coming to an end now, and it is possible only after an amicable settlement of the dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir and not so called ‘out of box’ solution offered by the outgoing dictator.
Thus the external factors, which kept Pakistan hostage to conspiracies for long, are now melting away, one by one and it was in this background that the people of Pakistan, voted in favour of democracy, on 18th February 2008, expecting that the rule of law would prevail and the rich and the poor would get justice equally, but that was not to be. The institutional conflict, self interest of the corrupt rulers, bad governance, deprivation and indifference to the needs of the common people has caused such despondency and despair that the Pakistanis are now clamouring for change which has become inevitable. How this change will occur, is of interest to know, because it would demolish the conspiracy for setting-up a pro-establishment government at the behest of proxy powers.
The instruments of change are the national institutions, such as, the judiciary, the armed forces, the media and the civil society, which struggled to demolish dictatorship and established the democratic order and now stand together to play their role and provide safeguards to the democratic order. The judiciary gave the verdict on the NRO on 16th December 2009, but the government has gone slow in the implementation of the order, to the extent of being defiant. But the court has shown patience and did not invoke the article 190 of the Constitution, as was expected. Rather, the court chose to use other options available and ordered the Inspector General of Police, to take the two NRO beneficiaries – Brig ® Imtiaz and Adnan Khawaja, behind the bars and ordered the Law Secretary and the Attorney General to request the Swiss Court to apprise the reality with respect to the pending case.
The process of change thus has set-in, to correct the course. Step by step it would demolish all the obstacles, which had stood in the way of implementation of the court orders. In this process of cleansing, the parliament has a role and so has the opposition, which had become irrelevant for playing to the gallery. Thus the Pakistani nation today stands at the cross-roads, holding its breath, while the national institutions, having galvanized themselves into action, are poised for their role. None can dissuade, nor detract them from the path they have to tred, to bring about the change.
The change will strength national resolve and fortify democracy, with a message to the United States in particular, that “during the last fifty years, Pakistan has suffered a great deal and lost much of time and opportunity to progress, for being your friend. Its time now, to re-orientate your priorities and become real friend of Pakistan, like the Chinese people, despite adhering to different ideologies their people to people contact has never declined. The same is the message for India, to “dispel and discard the hostility of the decades, at the alter of Kashmir, and follow the Chinese line.”
Miracles have occurred in the past and they do occur even now. The defeat of the two super powers in Afghanistan at the hands of the Afghan freedom fighters, within a short period of three decades is the miracle of the century. So is the emerging order in Pakistan, which stands to defeat all external and internal conspiracies, through a peaceful process of change. The instruments of power, which became part of the Nexus, for regime change, in the past, now they are acting as the ‘Guarantors and Protectors of democracy.’ Change is the essence of life, to guarantee a meaningful existence. Subservience and servility must give way to a dignified existence of cooperation and ‘real’ friendship.
General Mirza Aslam Beg is former Chief Of Army Staff, Pakistan. After his retirement, he formed FRIENDS, a ThinkTank based in Rawalpindi. Since then he has been writing for several news papers and magazines. His articles have also appeared in International papers of repute.
Now he is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.