"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: AliSyed
Full Name: Ali Syed
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Correct analysis. Rightly said that government is confused in confronting this grave challenge that has pushed the country to the brink of all-out anarchy and collapse.




PML-N Government - Misplaced priorities


Misplaced priorities

 .....the obsession of some of the high and mighty with Musharraf’s treason case is an example of Pakistani Neros trying to amuse themselves with a farce that long lost its sheen and lustre.



Amir Zia
Monday, July 01, 2013

The writer is editor The News, Karachi.


For any government or state institution setting the right priorities is the key to success and the basic yardstick of performance. This becomes all the more important if a country is passing through troubled times as today’s Pakistan where the twin challenges of religious extremism and terrorism, coupled with the fast-receding writ of the state and a collapsing economy threaten its very existence. But unfortunately the lords and masters of Pakistan appear to be unable to distinguish the important from the unimportant, the primary from the secondary or the necessary from the unnecessary.


A day after Pakistan hit headlines in the world media for the slaying of 10 foreign climbers by terrorists at their camp in Nanga Parbat, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared in the National Assembly to announce plans for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s trial on treason charges.


This is what one calls flogging a dead-horse and ignoring those vital challenges that are draining and sapping the country on a fast-track basis.


Sharif has already had a taste of what Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban-inspired local terrorists, various sectarian organisations and fringe nationalist groups in Balochistan are capable of doing in less than a month of his rule. There have been more than a dozen major cases of terrorism since Sharif took oath as prime minister on June 5 as lawlessness and ethnic, religious and politically-motivated violence rages from the restive city of Karachi to the lawless mountains of North Waziristan.


Sadly, the new government’s response to all this bloodletting and incidents of terrorism that consumed more than 180 lives and left scores of others wounded, including a senior Sindh High Court Judge Justice Maqbool Baqar in Karachi on June 26, has been nothing more than a whimper. The government seems rudderless and confused in confronting this grave challenge that has pushed the country to the brink of all-out anarchy and collapse.


But the priority for our wise men in Islamabad is to try an individual, who is now an easy punchbag. His trials and tribulations are nothing but a sideshow in the unfurling tragedy of Pakistan. Unfortunately, in our world of mediocrity and intellectual barrenness, it is the sideshow that is grabbing the attention of popular discourse and media hype. Life and death issues remain on the backburner or at best get the usual shallow lip service, which tends to confuse issues rather than help with acknowledging facts and taking difficult decisions.


One example of this is the way we have reduced and linked the issue of terrorism to the US drone attacks, deliberately burying the fact that they are the result of the presence of foreign and local militants on Pakistan’s soil rather than the other way around – the myth of drone attacks triggering terrorism. This state of self-denial is either complete intellectual dishonesty or bankruptcy. In either case, we are hurtling toward our doom as erroneous analysis and self-defeating solutions are being thrust as popular narrative. Our national priorities could not be more misjudged.


And the obsession of some of the high and mighty with Musharraf’s treason case is an example of Pakistani Neros trying to amuse themselves with a farce that long lost its sheen and lustre.


Agreed that the Sharif government has been acting on the insistence of the Supreme Court, which wants the former military ruler tried under Article 6 of the constitution for imposing emergency rule on November 3, 2007, but it is in situations like these where the vision and political acumen of a leadership is judged and tested.


More bizarre is the government’s plan to focus only on an individual in the treason trial rather than taking to task all those who remained part and parcel of the collective decision. One can smell a dead rat just at the start of the opening lines of chorus of the play. The first act has not even started.


Applying only one section of Article 6 is selective justice. Clause 2 of this act clearly says; “Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.”


How can other individuals holding top positions in the civilian and military hierarchy at that time be absolved of the November 3 emergency? Is it because many of these individuals – please read abettors – hold important positions even now? They are still in the assemblies; some of them are part of the ruling party, while others still at top positions in the civil and military bureaucracy.


Many opposition stalwarts, from Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Syed Khursheed Shah in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed of his own faction of the pro-Imran Khan League and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, rightly appear concerned at the way the government wants to pursue this case.


If Musharraf’s treason trial is as vital as some want us to believe, the opposition stands justified in questioning why the clock should start from Nov 3, 2007. Why not from October 12, 1999 when the original sin was committed? Why not former military dictators and their cronies of the past? What about General Mohammed Ziaul Haq and his political heirs among whom Sharif’s name once topped the list? Why can’t they be held accountable?


Why is the act of treason punishable on one particular day and why does it remain individual-specific? What about other such days and individuals?


Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, whose words and actions now begin to look more and more similar to those of his predecessor Rehman Malik, appears too naïve when he says that the ‘army will not be maligned’ in the Musharraf trial. Either he does not know the way the army operates or is being intellectually dishonest in public statements. It is the institution and the collective leadership that give power to an individual in the army and not the individual who takes all for a ride. The Pakistan Army is too organised and well-knit an institution to fall in the second scenario.


A Pandora’s box is bound to open if a former army chief is tried for treason. If it is for the good of the country and so vital for its existence – then let it be. If it is to satisfy the ego of some, then we are treading a dangerous course and the new government has opened an unnecessary front that could have been avoided.


The best course for the present rulers would have been to focus on the issues at hand rather than getting themselves engaged in ghosts of the past. Pakistan needs a healing touch rather than new divisions and fresh wounds.


The whole exercise appears more futile especially when many analysts predict a safe exit in the end for Musharraf, who to-date reportedly remains adamant to face the courts and stay in Pakistan. But the pressure from within and abroad is likely to force him to change his stance – whether he likes it or not.


Tailpiece: If the government is serious about strengthening democracy and preventing future military adventurers from making unconstitutional moves, the best guarantee would be to provide clean government, which delivers on the key fronts of defeating terrorism, fixing the economy and fighting corruption. Last but not the least, the civilian leadership must help build consensus within institutions rather than taking them on in an attempt to establish control. Who should know this better than Sharif, who suffered the brunt of confrontation during his first two stints in power?

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