Ambassador Alam Brohi offers his views about the prevailing situation
Who hurt Pakistan – The political and economic scenario in the country since February 2023 has been, to say the least, painfully disturbing displaying the depth of the unabashed disregard of the ruling elite and the state institutions towards the constitution, rule of law, and fundamental human rights. Though the nation has been in a sort of perpetual disarray for the past seven decades, there also have been a few short spells of political and economic stability throughout these years sustaining the common man’s faith in the survivability of the country. Nevertheless, the current crisis has amply reflected our disability to forge ahead as a nation. The state is completely overwhelmed by well-organised gangs of predators clawing at the bones and flesh of the country.
What we gather from an intense and honest research on Pakistan since the early 1950s is that certain groups of self-seeking, self-indulgent, corrupt and power-hungry predators being the real and main culprits have been keeping this land in perpetual disarray with a view to strengthening their stranglehold on the levers of power and the state resources. These included bureaucrats, judges, Generals, feudal and dynastic political families, illiterate Jihadists and the corrupt and dishonest journalists and media houses. They found a common cause in collaboration with each other to acquire political power and exploit the country’s economic resources to their advantage.
The second-tier leadership of the All India Muslim League (AIML) lacked experience in governance. The political dynasties, feudal lords, political carpetbaggers, opportunists, Mullahs and spiritual leaders – all had jumped on the bandwagon of AIML, and were now in a position to assert their influence in the new country. With the advent of the independence, the top Muslim League leadership got embroiled in the delimitation of borders, division of assets, communal riots, massive shifting of populations, refugee problem and rising tensions on the future of Jammu and Kashmir, Hyderabad Deccan, and Junagadh leaving the field open for these unscrupulous opportunists.
The founder of the country was terminally sick. The demise of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in September 1948, and the martyrdom of Liaquat Ali Khan in October 1950 left the country rudderless with the civil and military bureaucrats turned politicians including Ghulam Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Iskandar Mirza, Justice Munir Ahmed and General Muhammad Ayub Khan ruling the roost. They successfully cornered the sincere Muslim Leaguers and promoted opportunists and collaborators to advance their sinister designs to capture state power in contravention of the constitutional clauses defining the domains of the governing state structures.
The Executive under the sick Governor General Ghulam Muhammad, aided and abetted by Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan, established a nexus with the judiciary under Justice Munir Ahmed, who was picked up from the Lahore High Court and promoted as the Chief Judge of the country over the head of a few senior judges, for a special mission. He invented the “Law of Necessity” to provide legal justification for the dissolution of the Central Legislature by Governor General Ghulam Muhammad. The Chief Court of Sindh, on the petition of Speaker Tamizuddin Khan, had declared the Governor General’s action unlawful. His invention (law of necessity) hounded us all the years from 1954 to 1999 followed unabashedly by his successors. This bureaucratic-judiciary nexus remains intact and is evoked whenever necessary to avert any challenge to the status quo.
Major General Iskandar Mirza wormed his way from the army into the civil service becoming the Defence Secretary, Governor General (1955-1956) and President of the Republic from 1956-1958. His nexus with the Commander in Chief General Ayub Khan was obvious to anyone without blinds. They remained partners in power with Ayub Khan holding the most powerful portfolio of the Defence. They held the real power while the Prime Ministers kept coming in and going out in quick succession. The duo lacked trust in each other as happens in palace intrigues. Though they had planned the first Martial Law together, their designs for the post-revolution rule were at odds. The military takeover of October 1958 upended the sanctity of the constitution, and the constitutional rule opening the way for the future military dictatorships and political gerrymandering. The nation would never forgive General Ayub Khan for this single national crime.
The feudal chiefs, spiritual leaders and political dynasties, landlords have been the pivot of the harmful adventures of the powerful. This class has felt no twitch of conscience in shifting political loyalties, jumping on the bandwagon of a popular party, ditching their leader when his chips are down, having no political ideology or principle, worshipping only power and the powerful. The state has been paying a heavy price for leaving their huge landed estates intact. The two abortive land reforms by Ayub Khan and Z.A. Bhutto were just eyewash. Now, this class has become a state within the state holding sway in all the Legislative Assemblies. Even their agriculture incomes could not be taxed nor can they be held accountable for the plunder of the state resources. There would be no redemption of Pakistan if they remain untouched.
We have a new crop of the political Islamists or Jihadists who have assumed a divine responsibility to kill fellow Muslims, liberals, seculars, non-Muslims to impose their variant of Islam in this hapless land. They have been posing an existential threat to the country and its citizens. The security forces have launched so many operations to rid the country of their scourge but all has been in vain. Now they claim our tribal regions.
We have a good number of black sheep in the backyards of our print and electronic media. They indulge in dishonest and yellow journalism, blackmail, distortion, mélange of facts and fiction, extortion and corruption to amass wealth hiding the truth from the citizens disabling them to make an informed decision about the affairs of the country. They are well skilled in marketing their intellectual labour for a good price to the express disadvantage of the country. This has been going on since the birth of the country without any accountability. The Weekender