It is most unfortunate that every time we have some sort of election, it leaves bad taste in the mouth. Our worst experience was when we had the fairest elections in United PAKISTAN in 1971 that led to fatally lethal consequences in the break up of the country. Had our military rulers accepted the electoral results Pakistan could have possibly avoided dismemberment.
If we recall every successful election has left us with unwieldy consequences. Whether it is 1971 polls or 1977’s, as a nation we reaped the bitter harvest. Most regretfully it has been the most deplorable role of extra constitutional forces that have always spoiled the broth. Worst to impact our political history has been the 1977 elections in which the Establishment both overtly and covertly played most sinister role in subverting democracy and replacing it with military dictatorship of Army Chief General Ziaul Haq.
There could not be worst thing to happen to Pakistan than General Zia’s martial law. It changed the whole complexion of Pakistan’s idealogical moorings and from a secular, progressive state, he converted it into a quasi regimented dispensation that transformed it into security state. He distorted and disgorged the Constitution Of 1973 painstakingly drafted by the combined wisdom of political leadership in the country resolving and burying for all times the fundamental issue of autonomy that had led to the partition of India and separation of erstwhile East Pakistan into Bangladesh.
People of Pakistan, however, did not accept Gen Zia’s martial law, his fascist government and defied his oppression, whipping and hangings to move on towards their cherished democratic goal. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s walk head high to the gallows, long relentless struggle for the restoration of democracy led by martyred Benazir Bhutto finally culminated in elections 1988.
General Zia’s political heirs and his successors in the army high command were not reconciled to yet another Bhutto becoming prime minister. They introduced political engineering and the then DG ISI General Hameed Gul in order to deny Benazir Bhutto a landslide victory conjured in propping up a proxy and handing him over Pakistan’s biggest province. This was 1988.
The Establishment did not rest at that. They got Bhutto sacked by President Ishaq on ill- founded charges of corruption. Elections were inevitable and Bhutto’s victory a second time could not be ruled out. The ISI jumped in a big way to manipulate polls in 1990 and opened its coffers to fund anti- Bhutto elements.
Blatant manipulation by the intelligence apparatus ever since has been behaving like a state within the state and calling the shots by rigging, engineering in the electoral results. The Establishment has proved beyond any iota of doubt saying of Marshal Jospeh Stalin of erstwhile Soviet Union that in elections it is not the voters that count but those matter who count the vote.
Although it is considered most brazen, one must give credit to the galaxy of former Director Generals Of ISI who confessed to their sins of subverting democracy. General Hameed Gull was of the view that he propped up IJI as a counter force to Benazir Bhutto so that as he feared, she could not impose one party rule. Much similar were the promptings by General Asad Durrani who on the orders of President Ishaq and Army Chief General Aslam Beg invested millions in leaders opposed to Benazir Bhutto.
During General Musharraf’s time in 2002 a decisive role was played by ISI’s DG Internal Major General Ehtesham Zamir who also confessed about it before he died. According to late General Zamir he indulged in massive rigging in 2002 election to enable General Musharraf’s PMLQ secure a majority. Remember how National Accountability Bureau white washed corruption of nearly two dozen Ppp MNAs who were converted into PPP patriot to provide majority to PMLQ.
This digression co-relates to 2018 elections when most brazen engineering was performed by the intelligence agencies to bring in their selected prime minister. If one would recall quite a few candidates belonging to PPP and PMLN were made to switch sides just at the time of elections.
Final nail was hammered in democracy in the recent no confidence move against the Senate Chairman. When no confidence resolution was tabled, it was supported by 66 Senators and when the result was announced after formal casting of votes, vote of no confidence had been approved by 54 votes.
Then the miracle happened and angels came into play. Some how vote count ended up with 50 votes in favour of the motion and thus a mysterious defeat of no confidence motion, six votes were rejected for the pleasure of Mr Sanjrani.
Baloch leader Hasil Bazenjo who lost in the mysterious count of votes alleged that the head of an intelligence agency was behind his defeat. This charge has been strongly refuted by DG ISPR as frivolous. He believes Mr Bizenjo did no service to democracy by implicating country’s premier agency in alleged manipulation.
However, the matter requires to be investigated by no less than a Judicial commission comprising of senior most judges of the Supreme Court. If one were to look at the Supreme Court judgements in Air Marshal (Late) Asghar’s case regarding ISI’s funding of political leaders opposed to Benazir Bhutto and findings of Justice Qazi Faiz Isa in the cases of Quetta lawyers massacre and Faizabad Dharna laying siege to the federal capital by the Labaiki clerics that de-stabilised Nawaz Sharif’s government with evidence of an intelligence officer who was caught by tv cameras distributing envelopes with cash to the protestors.
Last but not the least, I recall overt and covert use of ISI against the politicians as early as Ayub Khan’s dictatorship. It so happened that in 1965 war Indians made a massive movement of their tanks in Chamb and Chavinda sector beyond the knowledge of ISI. Ayub Khan sought explanation from his DG ISI- Brigadier Riaz as to why did ISI fail to keep track of Indian tanks. Gulzar a forthright officer did not mince words and told the General candidly : ‘Sir, we were busy keeping a tap on politicians opposed to you’!
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