The consequences of the wrong actions in the right direction


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It is not that those who mattered in corridors of political power were not timely advised to put Pakistan’s derailed political process back on track. It is also not that the so-called establishment did not acknowledge and consider the set of suggestions which were submitted for its consideration and appropriate action. Then what went wrong?

An exclusive political review of excerpts from an article published in the daily Jang Lahore on 18th and 19th April, 1990 and an analysis of what is happening in Pakistan now and how that can be corrected!

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The consequences of the wrong actions in the right direction

  1. 1. The Consequences of the Wrong Actions in the Right Direction Where did Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Ahmed Leghari and Pervez Musharraf go wrong? It is not that those who mattered in corridors of political power were not timely advised to put Pakistan’s derailed political process back on track. It is also not that the so-called establishment did not acknowledge and consider the set of suggestions which were submitted for its consideration and appropriate action. Then what went wrong? An exclusive political review of excerpts from an article published in the daily Jang Lahore on 18th and 19th April, 1990 and an analysis of what is happening in Pakistan now and how that can be corrected! ZHK 2014 Zahid Hussain Khalid Written for my Blogs on Slideshare, WordPress, Facebook and Twitter ZHK 2014
  2. 2. Political update reviewing excerpts from an article published in Lahore edition of April 18 & 19, 1990 of the By: Zahid Hussain Khalid Pakistan has sailed through a number of catastrophic political and military storms during the last sixty seven years. While on its way, it has lost half of its geographical territory and more than half of its population within two and half decades of its independence. Remaining pieces of Pakistan were put together and steps were taken to make it strong internally by coming up with a unique combination of pledges declaring people as country’s source of political strength; Islam as religion; and socialism as economic system promising roti (bread); kapra (cloth); and makan (house) to everyone. The country was made indefatigable externally after officially writing off Occupied Kashmir by covertly accepting line of control between Occupied Kashmir and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, according to an exclusive news story, “Time magazine’s strange logic,” published in the News International of April 22, 1996, as a permanent border and acquiring nuclear capability for putting external military threats on hold indefinitely for sure. There is no military power in this world that can even dream of attacking Pakistan anymore without thinking more than a hundred times of consequences prior to making that dream come true and seeing it turn into a nightmare after doing so practically. The question is what has gone wrong with Pakistan both internally and externally?
  3. 3. It is not that those who mattered in corridors of political power were not timely advised to put Pakistan’s derailed political process back on track. It is also not that the so-called establishment did not acknowledge and consider the set of suggestions which were submitted for its consideration and appropriate action. Then what went wrong? Here it will be hopefully appropriate to discuss the contents of an article “Qaumi Taqat kay Anasir Key Sheeraza Bandi” published on op-ed page of Pakistan’s largest circulated newspaper Jang’s Lahore edition of April 18 and 19, 1990 written by the author of this blog. That was a time when the confrontation between the federal and the provincial governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif respectively had crossed all limits of political immaturity and non- seriousness at the cost of country’s stability and security. The contents of the article invited the attention of Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the then President, and General Mirza Aslam Baig, the then Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan. Excerpts of the article follow: QUOTE: …Ghulam Ishaq Khan will have to play his central role to end the confrontation between the federal and provincial capitals. He, after sincere and unbiased review of the situation, has to decide who in the capital or the province (of Punjab) is crossing her / his limits; confidentially seek advice from country’s apolitical experts of credible intellectual reputation; keep the governors, chief ministers and political leaders of the country totally unaware of his thinking prior to the time of final action. When he finally makes up his mind he, in the presence of chief of army staff, may invite the prime minister, governors and chief minters to inform them about the facts and conclusions of his analysis; give them a timeframe with clear instructions to work remaining within the constitutional limits; and categorically inform them about the consequences in the event of non-compliance to his observations and directives. This will be the first proposed step in the right direction to resolve the crisis. …a seriously forceful directive with a definitive timeframe to the prime minister, governors, chief ministers and political parties will be an essential pre-requisite. In the meantime President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and General Mirza Aslam Baig need to take the following three steps: 1. Strict vigilance of the behavior of the prime minister, governors and chief ministers and the conduct of the political parties. 2. Preparation of a list of apolitical experts of national and international repute in different areas of expertise.
  4. 4. 3. Preparation of the list of those heads of government departments, public and private sector institutions and organization who, through their mismanagement and / or corruption, had caused irreparable damage to the country’s social and economic structures and the overall system of governance. If the prime minister, the governors and the chief ministers fail in complying to the directives of the President then the matter may be referred to the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking a verdict in view of the constitutional provisions regarding the eligibility of such leaders and their parties to head the federal and provincial governments or not in the larger interest of the country. If the Supreme Court’s ruling declares them ineligible for doing so then they may be removed from their seats of power with immediate effect replacing them with apolitical experts in different walks of life for an interim period. Such an interim set up may be assigned the following short-term, mid-term and long-term tasks: The proposed top priorities of the interim government will be: 1. The enforcement of a uniform de-segmented quality education system across the country, a system in which the children of the poor parents avail the same academic privileges which are enjoyed by the children of the affluent parents. 2. The creation of a public administrative structure in which the official designation of a bureaucrat has to be a public servant and not the ruler of the public. Those unfair perks and privileges extended to the government officials of grade 17 to 22 need to be reviewed which result in a ruling attitude instead of dedication to serve the people enabling them to feel the social, economic and political pains of the people. They must understand what the household, education, residential and transportation problems of the people are. At present the government employees in general and the govern-ment officials in particular seem to live in an artificial paradise that gives them a false sense of domination and they appear to be fortified. 3. The announcement of development projects through community participation on self-help basis is also an important initiative to work on. When our political leaders can use government positions, resources, bureaucracy to gather crowds of thousands of people to deliver speeches why can’t they use the same crowds of people for constructive purposes. Why those students, who are armed to terrorize opponents, collect extortion money and indulge in target killings, cannot be given books for involving them to eradicate illiteracy and ignorance and promote education? When the light of
  5. 5. learning and knowledge will enlighten them they will start thinking. They will be able to differentiate between right and wrong. They will recognize their friends and foes. That would be the time when the success of any democratic set-up could be expected. Till that time the following immediate steps are recommended: 1. An interim government consisting of those people may be set up who do not have any record of political and party affiliation. 2. Those people (political leaders and government officials) who are involved in the criminal activities of destroying the social, economic and political culture and structure of country may be severely punished to make them example for others. 3. The non-serious and self-centered politicians may be banned from participating in any political activity permanently. 4. Freedom of expression has to be guaranteed enabling media to point out the weaknesses in the system of governance rising above personal interests and interests of political and other mafias without any fear and favor. 5. Educational and other nation building activities ought to be initiated on self-help basis and promoted through media for mass mobilization so that people are motivated to participate in such activities. If an immediate step in the right direction is not taken then the country may confront a tragedy that will not leave room even for regret or crying… UNQUOTE! This is what was suggested in 1990 prior to the dismissal of Benazir’s government by Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Now let us see what happened… Ghulam Ishaq Khan did not form a team of highly qualified professionals to do his homework for covertly collecting evidences with the help of civilian and military intelligence agencies before the announcement of allegations of corruption against Benazir’s government. He surprisingly dismissed the Benazir government exercising his constitutional discretion by using the Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act, 1985 on mere allegations without approaching the Supreme Court with evidences of the allegations requesting its judgment for an appropriate action. And what was his justification for doing that? He categorically stated in his speech on television that he did not approach the court as advised by some quarters only for the reason that the courts
  6. 6. in Pakistan were “expected to be influenced by the politicians!” Nobody told Ghulam Ishaq Khan that it was contempt of court by the highest office holder of state in Pakistan. This is what I advised General Mirza Aslam Baig in a one-to-one meeting to use as an argument in the case of contempt of court against him. Ghulam Ishaq Khan repeated the same mistake when he dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif! What happened after that? The same Ghulam Ishaq Khan had the guts to invite the officially declared corrupt Benazir Bhutto for giving oath of office to her as Prime Minister of Pakistan and to appoint her allegedly criminal husband Asif Zardari who was globally known as Mr. 10 percent to become investment minister(!) of the country. During her second term of office Benazir Bhutto emerged politically shrewd and knocked Ghulam Ishaq Khan out of Presidential office replacing him with Farooq Ahmed Leghari as President who, following the footsteps of his predecessor, replayed Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s action against Benazir Bhutto again on judicially unsubstantiated corruption charges. What were President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and President Farooq Ahmed Leghari riding on? They were riding on Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act, 1985, which granted President the discretionary power to dissolve the National Assembly. The Article was invoked three times – by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on August 6, 1990, by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1993 and by President Farooq Ahmed Leghari against Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in November 1996. In the second instance, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was reinstated as Prime Minister by the Supreme Court, but the resulting stalemate ended with the resignation of both Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Nawaz Sharif. The use of Article 58 2(b) was justified by the President as necessary, for the removal of corrupt governments that, it was asserted, had lost the “confidence of the people.” In 1997, the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, stripping the President of the power to dissolve the national assembly and call for new elections, effectively reducing the Presidency to a ceremonial figurehead. The Thirteenth Amendment laid the foundation of a careless, fearless and corrupt to its core system of governance. The leaders of the political parties knowingly took advantage of the non-existence of a credible system of genuine investigation and consequent across-the-board accountability in the country that had forced Ghulam Ishaq Khan to shamelessly compromise with corrupt political leaders not once but twice only to remain President of Pakistan. The result was signing of a so-called deceptive and cleverly devised Charter of Democracy by the leaders of almost all political parties in London which prepared the ground for a much bigger fraud in the name of National Reconciliation Ordinance for blackmailing General Pervez Musharraf, who wanted to remain President of Pakistan after relinquishing his post as Chief of Army Staff, to bring the
  7. 7. corrupt political leaders back into power after the necessary amendments in the Constitution of Pakistan waiving the restriction on any party head or member to become Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time. The most dangerous aspect of the so-called Charter of Democracy and the National Reconciliation Ordinance for the country’s security was behind the scene pulling of strings by intelligence agencies and different ministries of four foreign countries that were (are) either actively involved in or were (are) evidently responsible for the internal unrest and external threats in and against Pakistan from within and outside the country respectively. The multi-sponsored attempts to engineer a solution for Pakistan’s political, social economic, military and diplomatic problems had (have) failed. Let us take the following realities on ground into consideration: 1. NRO was externally initiated and imposed by a number of foreign intelligence agencies to install a regime consisting of politicians and their cronies known for corruption across the globe. The purpose of doing so, not for this country specific mission but just for understanding, can be studied in detail in John Perkins’s book, Confessions of an Economic Hit man. 2. For violating the terms and conditions of an undocumented, unreported off-the-record NRO, Benazir Bhutto was mercilessly eliminated and replaced with her husband. Only history will decide, when the right time comes, that she was a real martyr or a shameless and honor-less traitor! 3. Previously, former President Pervez Musharraf was responsible for strategic decisions concerning affairs of the state and matters relating to War Theater in and around Afghanistan in his capacity both as President and Army Chief. 4. Expectations from the civilian President / Prime Minister and a truly professional Army Chief to accomplish the objectives of Military Operation Other Than War in Regional War Theater in and around Afghanistan had resulted in political chaos, strategic military confusion and diplomatic complications in triumvirate relationship between USA, Government of Pakistan and Pakistan’s military command. They had inherited a situation which was far beyond their control. Pakistan and United States both had been
  8. 8. trapped in a situation which was regional in nature and it could be addressed only through a dialogue between countries around Afghanistan and the countries in the middle east that were expected to feel the heat of the fall-out of U. S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq. The issue has a much wider geo-political dimension than a tri-lateral headache. 5. In order to camouflage the economic and financial fallout of War in Afghanistan an artificial state of uncertainty had (has) been created and perpetuated in Pakistan through an irresponsible and ignorant media. A group of beneficiaries is taking full business and financial advantage of this artificial state of uncertainty by making the life of the majority of people Miserable through frequent price ad-ons trumpeting artificially created scarcity and drumming increase in demand. The following conclusion can be drawn from the above analysis: 1. Pakistan does not have a professionally and institutionally credible code and system of aboveboard across-the board accountability. 2. National Accountability Bureau was never allowed to work independently. Plea bargain tactics have made the National Accountability Bureau toothless. It barks but doesn’t bite necessitating fourteen injections to make the political and corporate criminals to feel the pain where it genuinely hurts. 3. The most dangerous outcome of this sorry state of affairs is Pakistan’s security vulnerability because such political and corporate criminals are blackmailed to work against their countries threatening them otherwise to release the details of their criminal activities to national and international media as a common global practice by foreign intelligence agencies. 4. In view of the security challenges in and around Pakistan it is rightly expected from Pakistan’s civil and military intelligence agencies to seriously look into this aspect of country’s security vulnerability for
  9. 9. round the clock monitoring of the suspicious activities of those political and corporate leaders who evidently launder money, acquire assets abroad and directly and / or indirectly own businesses 5. in foreign countries. The sources of laundered money, assets acquired and businesses owned need to be thoroughly probed. Once that is done the question of the existence of a credible platform to prepare cases and seek justice through judicial process arises. This very dangerous aspect of Pakistan’s dilemmas has not been seriously addressed so far and unless that is done political stability based on democratic values and principles cannot be guaranteed. 6. The media in Pakistan has unfortunately played a very condemnable role in promoting a culture of corrupt politics from behind the mask of sham democracy and so-called freedom of speech. There is now a large army of senior most journalists, analysts, columnists, anchors and reporters who have allegedly compromised their professional credibility by accepting on and off-the-record favors and bribes from corrupt politicians and leaders. Their unethical professional conduct demands a thorough probe of their activities. The initiation of strict legal and judicial action against those who are evidently guilty of such professional misconduct is need of the hour to clean up the mess the country is in. Until the needful is not done the people are expected to enthusiastically respond to Revolution March and Independence March calls because now they seem to have become understandably impatient for having a truly representative democratic government that works for them and not for the family and business empires of the criminal political and corporate mafias through open and hidden corruption. See Nothing But The Whole Truth here: And here also:
  10. 10. Zahid Hussain Khalid has worked for national and international media groups not as a journalist but a marketing practitioner, researcher and analyst. He successfully initiated and completed the assigned managerial and country tasks for such publications as Arab News, Financial Times, Jang Group, Euromoney magazine, Petroleum Economist, South China Morning Post, Asiamoney magazine, Innovation Management and Hong Kong Standard and Forbes Inc, Forbes Global, Forbes Europe, Forbes Asia. He will always remain thankful to Mr. William Adamapolous and Mr. Steve Forbes of Forbes Inc and Mr. Tony Shale CEO, Euromoney Institutional Investor Group (Jersey) Limited for their personal encouragement and support in initiating and marketing Pakistan-specific innovative integrated media packages for investment promotion. He also worked as Associate Producer, Current Affairs, Pakistan Television Corp. His articles have appeared in the Daily Jang, Weekly Akhbar-e-Jehan, Daily Mashriq, the Nawa-e-Waqt and daily The Muslim on social, economic, political, diplomatic and military subjects which are available here He had co-produced more than hundred episodes of the most popular weekly program “Hafta-e-Rafta” and was nominated for Best Producer’s award for documentaries on Afghan Refugees and Year of the Aged. His work reflects a visible difference because he strongly believes in innovative approach in everything that he does. He was co-owner of International Media Sales from 1991 to 2012 and is owner of SUN&FZ Associates since 1994.