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Wednesday 15 February 2012

Decline and fall of Pakistan-4-Inherent Flaws in Jinnah's legacy

On Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 7:24 PM, Syed Ehtisham <> wrote:
  Zia broke all his pledges of election with in ninety days and introduced a particularly intolerant version of Islam. Public floggings, prosecution of rape victims, blood money and honor killings were legitimized. Even the usually tolerant West-they could not care
less if you do not hurt their interests-were forced by their public opinion to
impose sanctions.
Russians came to Zia’s rescue. All considerations of Human Rights and democracy went over board. West showered him with financial and military aid. Not to be left behind, Russians gave Afghans technology to convert opium into Heroin. Gangs, which had hitherto fought with ancient guns, now had the latest from American and Soviet armories. Corrupt officials and racketeers who thought they were lucky if they could steal/make a hundred thousand dollars, now raked in scores of millions.
Zia perverted the political process in Pakistan more than all other rulers put together. He empowered the Mullah and brewed the witch’s concoction of ethnic tensions and let the cauldron steam with out let Claiming that Islam did not permit political parties he banned them. Further that under Islamic dispensation candidates did not present themselves for election he organized a referendum in which people were asked they agreed to the teaching of Quran and Sunnah and if they did Zia ul Haq was the President. Under the same pretext he changed the name of the national assembly to “Majlis e Shoora”, consultative assembly and opinionated all the discards and losers to it. That assembly elected the senate. With fanatic zeal he suppressed all progressive thought and irreparably distorted the social fabric.
When the USA and the USSR made a deal to disengage in Afghanistan, he rejected it. In his messianic zeal he took on the Empire, fired his PM and repudiated the agreement. He wanted the Russians to be run out of Afghanistan with Mujhideen on hot chase and had taken an oath to pray in the grand mosque in Kabul after destroying the Russian army in the country. Guided by native shrewdness he became very cautious and took care to take along as many generals on all trips as he could to minimize the risk to his life. That did not save him. He came to his cherished end of death as a martyr in a blazing fire ball that his specially designed and secured C47 transport burst into after he and a dozen senior generals accompanied by the US ambassador had taken off after inspection of a tank Americans wanted Pakistan to buy[i].
General Baig, the deputy army chief convened a meeting of the Lt general’s committee which decided to follow the letter of law, and let the chairman of the senate Ghulam Ishaq Khan[ii], the designated successor under Zia constitution the country.
 But the real power remained in the hands of the army. BB had to seek the blessings of the army chief before she could become the PM. When Nawaz and the President tangled, General Kakar the army chief unceremoniously threw them out of office. And when Nawaz grew too big for his britches, Musharraf put him in jail. The civilians were only allowed their hand in the till as long as they did not tamper with army budget and privileges. All the previous military dictators had at least waited till law and order situation got out of control. The Ghazi of Kargil did not bother with contrived an excuse.
Post Musharraf, the army has barely tolerated the civilian government and the judiciary has taken up the cause of destabilizing it.

No Pakistani government, civil or military, has ever paid much attention to the problems of ordinary citizens. The ones in late forties and early fifties mortgaged national security to the nascent neo-colonists. All the country got was obsolete WWII weapons and training in waging war on unarmed public. Conditions got from bad to worse.  Leaders the country had inherited from the campaign for Pakistan were persons of personal integrity and probity. At his death, Liaquat had three hundred rupees in his account. He had left a huge feudal estate in India for which he did not even ask for any compensation he was legally entitled to. Suharwardy commanded a King's ransom for an appearance in courts of law. He died a pauper in exile in Beirut.
Later leaders had no such scruples. Ayub's son Gauhar became an industrial magnate over night. During Zia's term his fellow generals dealt in arms and drugs for the greater glory of their faith. BB's husband who was deep in debt before his marriage was able to import race horses from Argentina (on a PIA flight. I doubt he paid the freight) and buy a palace with its own heli-pad in Surrey, England. Nawaz Shareef built an estate near Lahore, which boasted of a safari park and a hospital for the family. This was in addition to four, twenty five million pound each, apartments in the swanky Park Lane in London. I have yet to come across a credible report of Musharraf stashing away a fortune. If that be true he is breaking a tradition.
 If they just filled up their pockets one could make excuses for them. They did not have job security or a pension plan. But they sold national assets, the future of the country. Industries, commercial houses, public services, mineral deposits, all that had been left after IMF and World bank grab, have been given under control of global corporations[iii]. Tribal chiefs are waiting for the army to go away so they can resume their absolute control over their serfs. Sindhi waderas continue to marry off their women folk to the Quran. Other waderas in the same political parties carry the flag of Human rights. There is little hope that things will change. The left is fragmented and impotent. Their slogans have been hijacked by NGO's of all kinds, Human Rights, Civil rights women’s liberation, prison reform, Charities running schools, orphanages, what have you. Global corporations have bought off erstwhile flag bearers of revolution. Mullahs have been energized and empowered. They indulge with impunity, in orgies of killing all who do not subscribe to their version of the faith. Victims are o longer just the Shias. Other Sunnis and even other Wahabis are fair game.
 I have endeavored to give a very brief outline of the genesis of Pakistan. Seeds of dissolution were embedded in the body from birth. Muslims had lagged behind Hindus in all walks of life for centuries. They were suffering from national depression and lived in the past. The whole Ummah[iv] had been in decline since late fifteenth century. That Jinnah could achieve an independent country was a near miracle, but he could not overcome the combined onslaught of a determined enemy, lack of an organized political party, virtual absence of a capitalist class, noxious influence of feudal lords and its subsidiaries the Mullahs and the army. Nehru with much less control over his government was able to abolish the feudal system. Jinnah's authority in his country was unquestioned. But if he had lived longer he would not have been able to persuade the landowners to commit suicide. They controlled and continue to control all elective and appointive offices of the state. They would have resorted to the convenient expedient of an assassin’s bullet.
Jinnah's legacy was inherently flawed. The two-nation theory died an ignominious death in 1971. Baluchistan has been in a state of active insurgency. Sindh had always been restive. Immigrants in the province who constitute about half the population and control nearly all commerce and finance has kept an insurgency from flaring up. They have an unholy alliance with the feudal/army interest. Only lack of credible foreign interest in the fate of Sindh and Baluchistan has kept them in the federation. The chronic anarchic state in Afghanistan has been a boon for Pakistan. Pathans do not have a credible alternative. People are getting poorer. Mal nutrition is at a higher scale than in sub-Saharan Africa[v]*. Water and electric supply are at best temperamental. Unemployment is rising. Crime is rampant. Corruption has become respectable. Vast number of people have no access to health care. Educational standards are falling.
Infrastructure is failing.
Uncharitable view is that India does not want reunification of Akhand Bharat* as it has enough problems with its own Muslim population. They would not survive an addition of another 300 million to add to its own 150

[i]  Americans were pushing Pakistan to buy a tank. Zia had gone to Bahawalpur to observe field tests. It seems that the tank could run only on a paved surface and had been rejected by US army. On the return flight Zia invited his deputy Aslam Beg to join him, but the latter made an excuse and flew on his tiny plane. He observed the mid-air explosion and retuned to make sure that his boss was good and dead, then made his way to army head quarters.
 It was later reported that a crate of mangoes from his sacked Prime minister’s farm had been loaded on Zia’s plane. Anthony Perkins in his “Confessions of an Economic Hit man has described how two South American Presidents were blown out of air with similar fruit gift baskets.
  An enquiry in which American security agencies assisted did not come to any conclusion.
[ii] Ghulam Ishaq Khan, a senior civil servant who was the secretary general to the government under Bhutto and had reportedly kept Zia abreast of the negotiations between Bhutto and the opposition. It was apparently at his instigation that army had intervened the night before a deal was to be signed between the two sides.
[iii] I am reminded of a story one of my friends is very fond of telling. In olden times a country lost its king. He did not leave an heir. The notables of the realm could not agree on a successor. They finally decided that the person first to appear at the gates of the capital city the next morning would be anointed the King. As luck would have it, a beggar was the first to arrive. He was offered the crown. He demurred. He just wanted a meal. They gave him a choice. He could keep his head under a crown or lose it altogether. He gave in. Courtiers asked for orders. He told them to cook Halwa. The orders were the same every day. Citizens became fat and flabby like Pakistani police officers.
    Anther king in the neighborhood heard of the state of affairs. He sent an army. The ministers of the beggar-king’s country begged him to order war preparations. He rejected the request and ordered that they continue to cook Halwa. The invading army got to the outskirts of the Capital, entered the city, and finally arrived at the palace gates. The King changed into his beggar clothes and advised the court that all he had ever wanted was plenty of Halwa. He had had enough. Now it was up to them to do what they wanted.
  Halwa is a very sweet and popular desert.
[iv]  Ummah is a very esoteric concept that all Muslims regardless of national origin, race, color and language belong to one nation. Purists adhere to it and lament its divides and parlous state.
[v]  I came across one UNO report. It was truly shocking.

Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham
(607) 776-3336
P.O. Box 469,
Bath NY 14810
All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.

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