Friday, February 29, 2008

Moving Forward:

In the two recent articles by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqua ("Tackling the Future")and Ayaz Amir ("The Nation Deserves Better" -- links posted by commoner and Aneeza) the outlines of a way forward seem to be appearing, it is only a matter for Zardari and company of "getting a grip" as I think Zardari may have lost his nerve after seeing the seductive advantages of rule that the much diminished "Paki Raj" brings with it. Despite the fact that Musharraf doesn't have any cards left, he seems to be doing rather well on mere bluff against our unsure and jello-spined leadership.

The last parts in Dr. Ayesha Siddiqua's article are downright frightening (or should be for our "establishment" at least):
What the political parties and the civil and military bureaucracy, in fact, the entire Pakistani elite should realise is that institutional strength serves everyone’s purpose. The rule of law will not necessarily diminish the strength of the elite but will ensure that they enjoy the benefits for a longer-term. This is because justice, equality and fair play keeps the masses happy as well and ensures stability which is necessary for both the haves and have nots.

In Ayaz Amir's article, I agree with the sentiment below, and I brought this up here at pkpolitics at the august occasion of the coronation of Bilawal, and had my a## promptly ripped by no less than 5 otherwise sensible human beings:

Part of the problem is the makeup and temperament of our parties which still recoil from the thought of inner-party democracy. Decisions are taken by one man and the only consultation is with cronies or a cabal surrounding the leader. If Pakistan has a military leadership problem, it also has a civilian leadership problem and unless something is done about it our journey towards the light will continue to be strewn with pitfalls.

Also in Ayaz Amir's article, the statement about 111 brigade really angers me though its existence is a known fact. This badbaKht brigade should be disbanded and the fig leaf "responsibility" of "Protection of the Executive and Sensitive Institutions" Should come under Prime Ministerial guard and they should be under direct control of Prime Minister not the Army jurnails. Key people in this brigade should be punished as "accomplices" under article 6. Being a "small fish" in the chain of command is no excuse. Constitution takes precedence over orders, and if you don't know what the constitution means, well, READ THE FORKING CONSTITUTION!

Nawaz Sharif waxes eloquent about Pervez Musharraf a bit too much. He shouldn't. Actions should speak louder than words. Steps should be taken which make Musharraf an irrelevance. He can't be forced from office because Triple One Brigade, the ultimate interpreter of constitutional matters, answers to military not civilian command. Let parliament meet, let the judges be restored and Musharraf automatically is reduced to being a cipher. If he still wants to hang on, let it be up to him. If a man is bent on humiliating himself what can stop him?

In conclusion, Mr. Amir offers us a workable conclusion:

The solution to Pakistan's problems lies in no Charter of Democracy. Since when did parchments or pieces of paper, or tough clauses in the constitution, stop the army from seizing power? Civilian competence, civilian leaders proving themselves better at the task of governance, is the only guarantee against the resurgence of authoritarianism or Bonapartism.

To this sensible and pertinent list, I'd like to add one more thing explicitly which Dr. Siddiqua and Ayaz Amir have taken for granted, namely the education of our Army and Civilian elite (in lieu of an equitable education system for all in the interim) .

We need to change the education criteria and syllabus for our young officers, they should have a "Constitutional Matters" class in which it is drilled (no pun intended) into them that "Constitution IS Supreme". What to do in case of mutiny by a General against the civilian leadership, for example, how to arrest such a miscreant etc. Similarly, we need to have our elite somehow be plugged into the lives of the common people. I don't know how to accomplish this, severe beatings? water-boarding? anyone got any other ideas?

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