Chief Martial Law Administrator/Army Chief Gen Ziaul Haq had taken complete control over the country after ousting Pakistan’s first elected and most popular prime minister in a midnight coup early 5th July 1977 with the blessings of the United States. He had replaced the civilian set up with total militarization of the civilian authority, drastically disgorged the populist and consensus based 1973 Constitution, resolving the divisive issue of provincial autonomy that had been responsible for the partition of India in 1947 and creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Gen Zia’s name as CMLA and President was mentioned in the Constitution as the sole arbiter of power.
Martial law or summary military courts had replaced the genuine civilian legal and democratic recourse. There was hardly any top civilian or even secondary office that was not occupied by a serving army officer posted on secondment or favoured in retirement with a cushy well paid job. In short if one were to pick up a stone, low and behold one would be shocked to see jump from under it a man in uniform wielding the gun.
So on and so forth the story goes on like this and at one time, while General Zia was addressing a crowded open Kaachery somewhere in Sindh, comes running at his Military Secretary who whispers in his ear something traumatic to make Zia shout– ‘What the hell! Has the army to do everything.’’ ‘’No. I cannot.’ Raising his nasally throttled voice he repeats: ‘ We are doing every civilian job messed up by the incompetent chaps.
Now they want us to defend the country and fight a war with an army six times larger than Pakistan’s. It is not possible. Let civilians fight war with India and defend Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty. I or my army does not have enough manpower and fighting paraphernalia to fight back, my men are damn morally down since the shameless defeat at the hands of Indians and skeleton Mukti Bahinis, 93,000 of them with best fighting general got back home thanks to that ‘murderer’ who tricked Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to return Pakistani PoWs without any compensation or retribution.
Look at my men in uniform with all sizes of stars, they are running PIA, they are running WAPDA, Karachi Electric Supply Corporation, running Pakistan Railways, Karachi Shipyard, Post and Telegraph, they are managing ports and developing them, National Shipping Corporation, they are running automobile industry as well fully employed in maintaining law and order.
They have their own industries to run, Fauji foundations to manage, manufacture cereals, male undergarments, brassieres for women, bangles etc.
Now you chaps want my generals/colonels/majors to defend the borders and get killed by the Indian dogs…No. most certainly not. I cannot allow this. It is now the duty of the civilians to do something for our land of pure in its defence’!
Selected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan now seems to have entered the phase of our development when everything somehow requires Midas touch of our valorous military in it. And when chips are getting placed where they were designed to belong to by powers that be from the time it was decided by the Establishment that it cannot any more do with the ‘incompetent civilians and they shall have to go.
Punjabi Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif judicially removed and a handpicked playboy cricketer prime minister who they took long to train to dance to their tunes in office, now the real players are being placed to take over.
As the new situation emerges today there are more army officers in quasi civil PTI government than they ever were. The joke that Imran Khan has more ex PPP, PMLN and other political turncoats than original PTI members in his cabinet is hardly any more valid. Now the composition of PTI government is as follows
- Army Chief on extension.
- Federal Interior Minister Ex-Brigadier Ejaz Shah (notoriously known as alleged complicit of General Pervez Musharraf in the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto)
- Attorney General of Pakistan Captain (R) Anwar Mansoor
- IGP Punjab Shoaib Dastagir
- General (R) Asim Bajwa, Special Assistant to PM, Chairman, CPEC Authority (only recently replaced MNA Firdous Ashiq Awan).
- Air Marshal Arshad Mehmood, Chairman PIA
- General (R) Muzzamil Hussain, Chairman WAPDA
- Major General (R) Arif Malik DG Anti Narcotic Force
- Major Gen (R)Zafarul Haq Director Airport Security Force
- Sa Leader (R) Shahrukh Nusrat,Director Civil Aviation Authority
- Major Gen (R) Azam, Member Civil Service Commission
- Lt Gen (R) Umar Mehmood Chairman National Disaster Management Authority
- Lt Gen (R) Anwar Ali Haider Chairman Prime Minister Housing Authority
- Major Gen (R) Qaiser Anees Director Suparco
- Lt Gen (R) Umar Mehmood Hayat DG ERA
- Major (R) Shahzad Saleem DG NAB
It is in the air that Lt General (R) Nasir Janjua is likely to be appointed as Chairman NAB. Lt General (R) Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Lt Gen (R) Zaheerul Islam— both who had served as DG ISI are most likely to be given cushy jobs for the services they rendered in PTI’s Dharnas. We are witnessing more army officers running Pakistan than ever before during the tenure of three military rulers.
The scheme of things for converting Pakistan from a garrison state into a Burmese model is gradually unfolding. One has to dread the day when this experiment blossoms into an Egyptian model.
Pakistan owed its return to democracy in 2008 to the long dauntless struggle of martyred Benazir Bhutto and her supporters in thousands who signed the road to it with their blood, toils and tears covering a period of 35 years. We have come to a critical juncture when it is now or never for democracy.
One should not accept PTI or Imran Khan any positive role in the defence of democracy. It is all on the shoulders of martyred Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif as leaders of the two largest parties in the country to defend its democracy and blunt the forces that are hell bent in undoing it—whether through attempts to undo 18th Amendment or by padding the idea of a presidential system. Had it not been for Coronavirus pandemic, things would change for the worse sooner than later.
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