Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
While directionally, I think the judgement is powerful and correct, but also sadly, the obvious biases of His Lordships against Imran and the Army are there for everyone to see and read, as well!
We were and still are in exceptional circumstances which required exceptional responses.
In the future when we have robust and strong civilian institutions, strong political institutions, strong governance structures and implementation architectures, the military’s footprint will and should recede automatically.
We can of course argue till the cows come home about the chicken and egg.
Who is responsible for our Mess?
Martial Laws or incompetent and corrupt politicians?
Was it the first Martial law, which opened the floodgates of subsequent ones, the consequence of political causes and corruption or was it vice versa?
My personal view supports the former.
In my view, our Martial Laws are directly and indirectly responsible for the kind of corrupt political leaders that acquired power in Pakistan and the consequential governance mess, loot and plunder and weakened civilian institutions!
BUT and this a big BUT, like it or not, the Army, today, is THE ONLY strong, disciplined surviving institution and hence has progressively filled the vacuum left by weakened civilian institutions.
Many, as stated earlier, through their own creation, directly or indirectly!
They will only vacate, recede and reduce their footprint as we start to strengthen our civilian and political institutions.
To that extent the judgement is futuristic, directionally correct and powerful.
But the language used in penning the judgement betrayed the Honourable Judge’s very obviously bias!
While covering a large historical canvas from 2007 to 2018, the Honourable Judge did not deem it fit to even give a passing mention to the loot, plunder and rape wreaked on this hapless nation by the Zardari and Sharif administrations and to the total destruction and havoc they deliberately wreaked on civilian institutions!
And that is why this terribly weakened civilian edifice gave the military a power vacuum which they filled! And hence the heightened and very visible and prominent role of institutions like the ISI and MI etc.
They did not feel the need to mention the sedition of a Husain Haqqani, living in the President’s house, the then President harbouring a person charged with high treason, which caused serious concerns about National security.
They did not deem it appropriate to even give a token passing mention of the loot of Nawaz, the rape by Zardari. No Sir! Not at all!
It is as if the Army was the cause of all our ills. As if we lived in Lala land under Zardari and Nawaz, these 11 years, flowing with rivers and honey.
Of course the military has overextended itself.
Of course it must confine itself to its mandate.
But for now it’s in the saddle in areas it should not be. Like it or not!
Therefore it’s a journey and we will get there! But it will not happen overnight.
For now, our enemies are out to defame and weaken our Army, knowing, sadly that they really are our “last man o woman standing”!
Get them, for now, and you get Pakistan!
We must not fall into this trap of weakening the Army, sowing doubts in our own youth, to further our politics as Nawaz and Zardari are doing. Or as India and Afghanistan are doing, including Ashraf Ghani.
We must not fall into the trap of furthering those who fan the flames of conflict and sedition as in PTM, playing and preying on genuine grievances!
We must work towards strengthening our civilian institutions.
And my request to our current and future military leadership. Please do everything you can to strengthen civilian institutions and reduce your footprints in areas where you can, so others in the civilian space can breathe, stretch and grow.
Let’s not forget that the peace and freedom all of us enjoy today, including the freedom our Honourable Judges enjoy to write this judgement is because of the blood and tears of those whose dying breaths kept the flag fluttering when the terrorists were 100 kms from Islamabad!
Let none of us ever forget those sacrifices.
We sleep well today, because they sleep forever!
Salaams and Prayers.