By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi.
Like many Pakistanis, the last few days for me have also been about the Panamagate Judgement and how people like Nawaz and Zardari have continued to survive.
And how as a society in our helplessness, we look askance at the Army for redressal.
But then the most obvious dawned.
If Nawaz and Benazir and Zardari could survive a full blue blooded coup by an Army General there’s nothing really that can defeat them.
That the entire system in Pakistan, is overwhelmingly corrupt, extraordinarily powerful and biased in their favor.
A senior officer recently told me that the Army prefers Nawaz over Imran because he’s very pliant and much easier to handle as compared to Imran. The reason being the muck they’ve got on Nawaz and his family.
So Nawaz is happy, that as long as the Army doesn’t interefere in his business and corruption and in a worse case scenario doesnt overthrow him again, they can do what they want, Foreign policy etc. A State within a State .
And because they don’t have anything on Imran, therefore not sure if he is “manageable”.
Another individual shared, also alluded to by some TV anchors, that the Army’s recommendation, clinched Zubair’s appointment as Governor, Sind.
Recently, I saw a video clip of the current Southern Command, Corps commander pontificating on the CPEC.
While fully agreeing with the good general, him being a fast dwindling breed of the rare intelligent commanders in our Army. I’ve met him and found him to be extremely bright and clear headed.
He raised very valid concerns about first ensuring our National Interests, over and above the rhetoric of “Pak Cheen Dosthee Shi Fung” and are fully endorsed.
But the issue here is different. Because the concerns he’s voiced are just that, mere words, and I say that for a couple of reasons.
One, as military commander of a geography where Gwader is located, what gives him the right to admonish or offer political advice to the political leadership at the Federal or Provincial levels, and the governments of Balochidtan and KPK?
Two, if he is doing so, what is the objective of this advice?
Does he expect the political leadership to line up and say “yes sir, yes sir three bags full sir” or is their a loaded threat to shape up or ship out?
If it’s the latter, than one finds it strange that the same institution allows these politicians and others, including many of their own, to loot and plunder, at will.
So, to my simple mind, either our men in uniform should step up and fix it, if they can, or shut up and do their jobs.
We have had enough pussy footing and dancing around the bush.
For three years, good old Gen. Raheel lead us all a merry dance behind the infamous “truck ki buthee” with his gruff voice and threatening poses, and yet at the same time allowed Nawaz and co to loot and plunder at will, without a single operation carried out in Punjab.
And now in grand style on a special plane, flies off to a million dollar salary, leaving us again at the mercy of these looters and plunderers.
My simple advice to my former comrades in khaki.
Kuch Karo. Ya Chup Raho!
Aur humay upnay haal purr rehnay do
But in all this, the person who has a lot to answer for our current abysmal state is Gen. Musharraf.
He is someone I’ve personally admired and had a personal relationship with.
As a family we are personally indebted to him for the honour, dignity and respect he bestowed on our father, late Col. S.G. Mehdi.M.C, both as an Army Chief and as President.
Our father had been earlier ostracized by the military establishment for his very public and outspoken criticism of our military establishment and its conduct in the ’65 and ’71 wars, especially Ops Gibralter, which he opposed as Group Comander, SSG, and sacked as a consequence, and then later for criticising Gen. Zia’s rule.
Hence, I write the following, with great personal consternation and dismay.
But Pakistan is bigger than Gen. Musharraf.
The one word that perhaps captures Gen. Musharraf’s legacy is “If”.
If General Pervez Musharraf hadn’t let Nawaz Sharif, and Benazir and Zardari off the hook when he took over in 1999, our recent history would have been very different.
If he had let Gen. Amjad, the then NAB Chairman, pursue the Hudaibiya case and other cases to their natural logical conclusion, Nawaz’s and Zardari’s goose would have been cooked long ago.
And we wouldn’t have had only one Imran Khan and two Supreme court judges, trying to shame this spineless nation. A judgement by the 3 majority judges is shameful, the more one reads aND understands its ramifications.
A judgement now forever remembered and damned in history, as Justice Ejaz, one of three, proudly announced a few weeks earlier, for once again, letting Nawaz escape the gallows. Shame on you, Sir!
If Gen. Musharraf hadn’t trucked with the same type of scum he removed, like the Chaudhries of Gujrat and others from Nawaz’s party and similar types from the PPP Patriots, all desperate to save their skin and get a ” free get out of jail pass”, these guys would have been history.
But he let them join in. They used him as he used them. They fattened themselves and acquired more power at his expense and when the time came, dumped him in the same gutter they had emerged from. Finally, merrily and happily, rejoining Nawaz and Zardari, making them even stronger.
No bigger rot symbolises this wretchedness, than the two odious characters who shamelessly defend Nawaz Shatif today.
Danyal Aziz, who headed the General’s, National Reconstruction Bureau, and as some say, would sit on the floor near the General’s feet. The other, Talal Chaudhry, who danced in front of Gen. Musharraf’s car welcoming him to public gatherings.
Today, both manifest in shape and form the degradation of our political leadership.
If Gen. Musharraf had not compromised and reneged on every single thing he had pledged to change we would not have had to see this day today.
Had Gen. Musharraf been genuine about his Pakistan First mantra, he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be used or allied with people like Altaf Hussain and company, simply to consolidate his power.
Of course, there’s a lot of good that his administration did. But too little and too insignificant to change the direction of Pakistan.
Today all our institutions of public accountability and regulations are the handmaidens and mistresses of Nawaz and Zardari. NAB, State Bank, FIA, FBR, SECP, Police, Judiciary at all levels. The state of our primary and secondary education and our health care systems.
He had 9 straight years. Total autonomy and power. And perhaps the only things of significance. Higher Education reform and a free media of a 100 chattering anchors, shouting and shrieking themselves hoarse every evening.
And what is perhaps most shocking was his own revelation of taking money as a “gift ” from late King Abdullah.
And when he finally left, he left us at the mercy of Nawaz and Zardari, kind courtesy the NRO, which allowed them to continue the loot and plunder, from where they left off.
Therefore, Gen. Musharraf today has no right under any authority, moral, ethical and or political to point fingers at the same discrepit system and the same people he partnered with, collaborated with and used, to perpetuate his own rule.
Many say that General Musharraf did the best he could under the circumstances. I and many others say, he didn’t.
In my opinion, he had the opportunity of a lifetime, the same that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Zia had.
And all three squandered it at the alter of personal ego and power!
So why am I bringing up this period from the past now.
Simply to bring a reality check, that’ll it’ll take much more than a Supreme Court or any JIT or an Imran Khan or an Army Chief to bring these rascals down!
And today as we all stand disrobed in this “humaam” I remember the song.
“Don’t cry for me Argentine”!