NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST
Will there be a 2nd NRO?
By Dr. Haider Mehdi
Let us put some simple facts on the table without bias, prejudice or partisan political affiliations. Let us be rational, logical and analytical with the core purpose of understanding what is happening in our country at the present time.
First and foremost is the simple fact that, in Pakistan, the civilian ruling elite and traditional politicians have failed this nation as much as the military rulers have. Let us not play the blame game. If the military dictators abrogated the constitution, undermined the rule of law, and submitted themselves and the nation to flawed national policies, so have the civilian regimes.
Have not our civilian rulers been patronized, promoted and imposed upon us by their foreign patrons as much as the military rulers were – by the same foreign powers? Have not the civilian regimes been conducting an American-centric and pro-West foreign policy as much as the military rulers did? Have not the civilian rulers permitted foreign power intervention in this country’s domestic affairs as much as the military dictators allowed?
Was not the infamous NRO a compromise of mutual political interests between the PPP top leadership and an incumbent military dictator? Was not the PML-N top leadership protected and vigorously cultivated by a friendly Muslim nation? Has not a friendly opposition (the PML-N) contributed to the excesses of the PPP’s political mismanagement and financial corruption in the last 5 years of a so-called democratic era by a “Muk Muka” coalition of mutual interests? These are some of the simple facts. The apologists on both sides of the divide cannot go on fooling the nation by manipulating these facts and taking on a moral defense of their respective positions and claiming that democracy is at loggerheads with the threat of a military takeover – the battle of democracy against military dictatorship.
Second simple fact: It is a matter of common sense that Gen. Pervez Musharraf did not return to Pakistan from his self-exile to face legal battles, humiliation, and possible imprisonment – or even a worse future. So, what was the General’s real agenda? Who planned the General’s return and with what specific political plans? An important question in this context is: Why did the PML-N “Quaid” remain absolutely non-vocal on the eve of the General’s return – until Musharraf was arrested? Rumor has it that the PML-N “Quaid” was told by a friendly government to maintain absolute silence over the matter. However, the question is: Why was the PML-N leadership instructed to stay mum – and by whom? These are the intricate puzzles and mysteries of Musharraf’s return. Let us not forget in this context that the Zardari regime had earlier sent off the General with a full guard of honor. Does not that all add a spice of political intrigue to Musharraf’s return with a three-way collaboration of the incumbent president of the country, the Leader of the major political party considered to be forerunners in the forthcoming elections, and the assertiveness of some friendly foreign powers in this matter?
Third fact: Ahmed Raza Kasuri, legal counsel for Musharraf and his party’s top official has already threatened in the High Court and repeated himself several times on TV talk shows that Musharraf’s trial will be the Mother of all legal trials in this country. Kasuri has warned that at least 500 people, including Parliamentarians, several generals, provincial governors and important political office holders and many members of the judiciary, will most likely face legal actions in the prosecution of this case. Kasuri has also publicly proposed a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the explicit purpose of “integrating” the nation. The most intriguing and politically alarming part of this proposal is the suggested date of July 31, 2009, as the “cut-off date” – Kasuri seems to advocate that all irregularities (I assume financial, political, monetary, legal, constitutional as well as criminal) be waived against all offenders prior to this proposed date of July 31, 2009, and only those offenders (I assume politicians, Parliamentarians, tax offenders, loan defaulters, members of the ruling elite, etc.) be dealt by law post-July 31, 2009. In other words, a second NRO is being proposed with public accountability of the ruling elite for only the last 4 years – and decades of corruption and financial mismanagement should be set aside.
So what happens to those who should be held accountable for the massive corruption, financial embezzlements, mismanagement of national affairs, and flawed domestic and foreign policies? What happens to the $97 billion purportedly owned by a select group of politicians, bureaucrats and Pakistani Mafioso (the so-called entrepreneurs) which is stacked in Swiss banks? What happens to loan defaulters and tax evaders and to those who have repeatedly undermined national interests for personal gains and vested self-interests?
Don’t be naive: this nation is once again being taken for a ride. A second NRO is being planned for the ultimate benefits of the traditional ruling elite and to maintain political-economic status-quo and American-centric foreign policy in the country. Musharraf’s return and the PPP/PML-N leadership twosome’s project of silence of “Muk Muka” 2013 democracy was part of the greater plan patronized by our friends in Washington, London and the Holy Lands which seems now to be backfiring.
Suddenly what has happened is the unforeseen and unpredictable intervention of hidden variables – a judge of the superior judiciary has surprisingly taken Musharraf to task. The game has changed its intended course of direction, though the original objective of a second NRO remains intact. Consequently, an intense anti-judiciary and anti- Chief Justice of Pakistan campaign has been launched in the media to counteract the damage to the planned project of another “Muk Muka” democracy for another 5 years in Pakistan.
Muhammad Abd al-Hameed, a Lahore-based columnist who posts his writings on his website, has convincingly argued in a series of articles recently that Musharraf’s return to Pakistan was organized by the US Pentagon: the State Department wanted a civilian government in Pakistan in 2013, while the Pentagon prevailed for Musharraf’s return as a strongman to Pakistan’s political leadership who could unquestionably and effectively aid the American exodus from Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistani armed forces and a “Muk Muka” setup. Hameed also contends that the plan was to exploit Musharraf’s known legal problematics for creating a wave of sympathy for him all over the country. (The ongoing humiliation was not predicted.)
Irrespective of Musharraf’s legal cases in Pakistani courts now, I know that the General is guilty of dragging this nation into a vicious and destructive war (the so-called war on terrorism) for which he is personally responsible. Musharraf had no legal, political or moral authority to have made such a monumental decision unilaterally. If he is guilty of other crimes as charged, he must face the music now. But, indeed, without inappropriate humiliation and vicious dragging of the entire Pakistani army along with him (the PPP and PML-N leadership have been conducting anti-army campaigns for quite some time now).
The most important point I am making here is: “Is hammam meh sab nange hain” (everyone here is shamelessly involved in this charade of evil and weakness). If Musharraf has to face the music, so should all the loan defaulters, tax evaders, embezzlers of national assets, inefficient political managers, corrupt officials, account holders of unlawful deposits in Swiss banks, and so on and so forth.
Say a big NO to a second NRO. Pakistan needs a Truth, Reconciliation, Recovery, Deliverance and Retribution Commission as I have already suggested in my article “Lut Gya Pakistan: The Abuse of Power” in The Nation of April 25th, 2013.
If elections are held, vote for a change – or this nation will have to face the ugly music for an infinity!!