Friday, August 31, 2012

Pre-requisites of constitutional rule in Pakistan

It’s strange but is true. Even after the constitution of 1973 was enforced, if we go through the writings, be they are Leftist or Rightist, there is talk of government, society, politics, and such things, but no mention of the constitution, its provisions could be found in the intellectual / political discourse of the country.

I shall share some of such samples later.

For now, here are some thoughts on what are the pre-requisites of a constitutional rule in Pakistan:

Pre-requisites of constitutional rule in Pakistan

(1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason. (2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
[The Constitution of Pakistan]

It was as bad as it could be that for the first 25 years Pakistan struggled hard to have a constitution and failed repeatedly. But it’s worse than that that despite having a constitution it remains constitutionally orphaned. No need to go into the details of the recent history of 35 years of military and civil regimes, since it’s all clear by itself how the governments of the people, Islamist Generals, and then young politicians, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, on this or that pretext manipulated the constitution to fulfill their personal, ideological, sectarian, party and elitist agendas.

However, it is heartening that we have that constitution still intact and living in our midst. In spite of many an attack and all new devices to render it meaningless, it still keeps us together and woven and believing in it. After General Musharraf’s most dangerous attempt of November 3 (2007), to transform it into a jelly-constitution, the most devastating attack came from the so-called peacenik Taliban, Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi. That seems to have been repulsed.

Another fortune we came to win by sheer ‘hard-work’, is our non-dependent judiciary. This March 16, it was just like saving the prey from the jaws of the beast when the Pakistan Peoples Party had to restore the deposed judges. It needs to be kept as the dearest gain by the people in addition to the constitution. Both of these entities, the constitution and non-dependent judiciary are inseparably and in the present context symbolically related. It was for the sanctity of the constitution that lawyers and civil society waged the struggle for the restoration of the deposed judges and especially the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Their restoration meant and stood for the restoration of the constitution.

Now that we have the custodian of the constitution finally free from the shackles of the executive, legislature and Pakistan Army, we are in the right in expecting the blessings of constitutional rule for the people of Pakistan. However, it is incumbent that pre-requisites of such rule be urgently fulfilled. As mentioned above, two of the pre-requisites are already in place, others are still in the air and need to be solidified and implemented as early as possible.

One such pre-requisite, and probably an indispensable one, is that a virtual constitutional rule be provided for in Pakistan since the date the 1973 constitution came in force. This must be done strictly in accordance with the provisions of the constitution both in letter and spirit and without any let it go. Though the parliament is duty bound to set out on such a journey into the last 35 years’ unconstitutionalities, but as it is the “parliamentary system” itself that is gnawing everything constitutional in Pakistan, we cannot hope for a single step into this direction from the present parliament. It is in such a vacuum that the argument in support of judicial activism finds itself duly entrenched. The last two years’ events have amply shown that it is the judiciary that can take up the cause of the people who had been abandoned by all those who had/have anything to do with the state and governments in Pakistan.

This virtual constitutional rule should begin from the time of Pakistan Peoples Party’s government and reach General Musharraf’s regime and his present civilian prototypes via General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule and the visiting civilian governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. This virtual constitutional rule needs to be as merciless as the trial and execution of Zulafiar Ali Bhutto was and as the throwing off and trial of Nawaz Shairf was.

As the constitution is always a living document and ours has in the form of high treason article its own mechanism to protect itself, what is needed is just a push that will set the process of virtual constitutional rule rolling. It will take care of everything else. Sure, it should settle all the scores with all those who tried to play and played with the provisions of the constitution in any manner as the main culprits or as its abettors.

In order to prove that it is the true custodian of the constitution of Pakistan, the non-dependent judiciary has both moral and constitutional obligation to put the sanctity of the constitution on top of its agenda leaving everything aside and abandoning everything behind that calls for caution and expediency. It is time to do the job.

Also, another pre-requisite demands that all the constitutionally created institutions, offices and agencies be put in their due places. They must be tried, punished, checked, forewarned, reminded and made to work within their legal and constitutional limits. Zero toleration must be shown to any deviation from the dictates of the constitution. Don’t we need now after more than 60 years of military and civilian dictatorships finally a dictatorship of the constitution?

The time is ripe for such a virtual journey that will straighten not only the things past but the things for our future also. At this critical moment, when the Pakistani elites are caught in a trap of their own misdoings, and are clearing the mess created by their own dirty politics, we should keep our eyes on a vision for the longer term. We should not be distracted by their focus on the sequel of their policies such as helping the millions of persons displaced from their homes and hometowns. That is all misleading. In addition to helping the IDPs, the virtual constitutional rule must focus on finding the causes of this mayhem: who caused this and how. Those responsible must be brought to book and punished accordingly.

If the courts, lawyers, civil society and awakened people do not help this virtual constitutional rule set roll, nothing will ever be gained and no lessons will ever be learned. The gravest misdoings of the elites of Pakistan will go unpunished and culprits will keep on ruling the people scot-free as has been happening throughout the last six decades. This fate must be changed once and for all. Be it clear that the moral force and the resolve of the people that helped restore the deposed judges are still alive. Another daring act like that of March 9 (2007) is the need of the hour.

[This article was completed on June 8, 2009.] 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zawaal Ke Nishaan

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The crimes states commit

This does not relate to the crimes states commit against one another.

This takes exception to the crimes states, or Pakistani state, commit against their own citizens.

As it’s a truism that states kill. Sometimes they kill, as Syria does now, by using the weapons they purchase or manufacture with citizens’ money.

I say Citizens’ Money because most of the times what states extract from the pockets of the citizens in the form of taxes can never be justified as a just tax.

And in many cases, states kill their own citizens by making and implementing unwise and elitist policies, as Pakistan has been doing since its birth.

When I wrote the following piece (it was posted on the website of Alternate Solutions Institute on August 14, 2010) and titled it as “Pakistan – A criminal State,” the friends with whom I shared it first objected to this title. But I did not budge, and it survived.

Out of the two newspapers which carried it, Pakistan Observer (September 20, 2010) changed it to “A crime against the people.”

But I talk of two big crimes Pakistani state is committing against its own citizens! And, that’s a story without any interval – but with one exception, the present Supreme Court which against all odds is trying to check the speed of crimes being committed by the Pakistani State!

Here is the story of the "stately" crimes!

Pakistan – a criminal state

Set aside justice, then, and what are kingdoms but great bands of brigands? For what are brigands' bands but little kingdoms? For in brigandage the hands of the underlings are directed by the commander, the confederacy of them is sworn together, and the pillage is shared by law among them. And if those ragamuffins grow up to be able enough to keep forts, build habitations, possess cities, and conquer adjoining nations, then their government is no longer called brigandage, but graced with the eminent name of a kingdom, given and gotten not because they have left their practices but because they use them without danger of law. Elegant and excellent was that pirate's answer to the great Macedonian Alexander, who had taken him; the king asking him how he durst molest the seas so, he replied with a free spirit: “How darest thou molest the whole earth? But because I do it only with a little ship, I am called brigand: thou doing it with a great navy art called emperor.
[St. Augustine, City of God, Book IV]

It is the rule of law alone which hinders the rulers from turning themselves into the worst gangsters. [Ludwig von Mises, Austrian Economist, 1881-1973]

Much of the serious debate about Pakistan concerns what type of state it has come to be: a failed state, as most of the foreign commentators argue, or a national security state, as local intelligentsia holds. Or a welfare, a theocratic, or a collectivist state, as various intellectual and political groups and parties are intent upon converting Pakistan into. Whether and how far all these succeeded in achieving their goals may be a controversial issue, but what is certain and what the force of circumstances tends to demonstrate is that instead Pakistan has turned out to be a criminal state.

At first this proposition may seem outrageous, especially to the idealist patriots and nationalists. However, when bits of various “clichés” so common both in commoners and the intellectual elite are put into an organized form, the emerging picture justifies it. One of the important clichés is about the all-pervasive corruptibility (particularly financial misappropriation and abuse of office and authority) - flesh and blood of the state of Pakistan. Second one is about the deliberate manipulation of constitutional provisions and the laws of the land by the state functionaries elected or employed both. These two factors in combination with many others which we will elaborate in the following paragraphs lend sufficient support to the writer’s contention.

As this short piece cannot afford detailing all the arguments and evidence available, just allusions to them will suffice to demonstrate the point: that the state and governments of Pakistan have committed two great crimes against the people and society of Pakistan – first, they misused and abused the authority that was delegated to them by the people of Pakistan, and second, they misappropriated ever larger chunks of tax-money of the people of Pakistan to their personal coffers. All the other crimes committed by the state and governments and individuals associated with them basically fall under these two categories. 

In effect, when a country is ruled not by law, i.e. without a constitution which ensures its citizens protection of their person and property and security of their fundamental rights (Isn’t complete neglect in the performance of this protective function a great crime for any state?), or in case there exists such a constitution, but is not adhered to in ruling the people, it is a crime of the highest order against the people of that country who as a result are reduced to the status of chattel. The first half age of Pakistan saw a number of constitutions coming into force and going into abeyance; and the second half fortunately possessed a constitution, but the elites of Pakistan, notably the military and politicians, disobeyed and abused it to their interests. For instance, as the constitution that Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan preferred to use did mention fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan but they were not to be secured by the courts.

The story of the constitution of 1973, the only constitution somehow still in force after the thick and thin of about 37 years, is a story of ever greater crimes committed against that constitution and in fact against the people of Pakistan. In sum, the only thing, i.e. the constitution (ensuring the citizens protection of person and property, and security of their fundamental rights), that could hinder the elites of Pakistan from turning into the worst gangsters was made to fail and languish into the pages of the book, named the constitution of Pakistan.

Thus, as a result what we had and have is the sheer breach of trust. If ever such a history of Pakistan, from 1947 to the present or maybe beyond 2010, were to be written, it will be full to the brim with the stories of this breach of trust; though most of the episodes of this history are scattered over the pages of daily newspapers of Pakistan. How the trust of the people of Pakistan had been and is being breached by the elites, military, and politicians, is symptomatic of a chronic moral cancer, and inherent hatred for law!

The two sides of this trust, one the invested authority, and the second the public money, have seen such merciless misuse at the hands of people’s trustees, and which entrapped the country in such a vicious cycle of civilian and military dictatorships, that the people have lost all trust in democracy, democratic representation and democratic institutions. These two crimes of the elites of Pakistan are written in bold on their faces!

Who is to deny that from day first most of the individuals, from top to bottom, associated with the state of Pakistan and its institutions and the government were somehow having criminal record, or they were patronizers of criminals, or they directly or indirectly help promote crimes and criminals, or they let crimes and criminals flourish by not letting law take its course. In the first half, not by giving the nation a constitution under which they were to be ruled, and in the second, not by adhering, in letter and spirit, to the dictates of the constitution, the said elites committed crimes of the highest order. 

More than that, they used public money as if it was booty looted from an enemy in time of war. It seems these elites, who behave quite like merciless parasites, in the form of public exchequer found a gold mine to fulfill from their minor needs to their choicest luxuries. Throughout they proved to be the worst thieves and merciless robbers, if not to dub them as the worst marauders.

Isn’t this what has been in various degrees the case with politics in Pakistan? Didn’t the two great elite sections of Pakistan, i.e. a perennially interventionist and politicized army and a chronically dishonest and corrupt polity, which forfeited the state of Pakistan into their hands, completely destroy Pakistani society? They destroyed its value system, its social and moral values, its humanitarian traditions. Could there be any greater indictment than this: that the state and politics in Pakistan have destroyed the society of Pakistan!

No doubt, all that “show” continued uninterrupted through the last six decades. Now, finally, it has culminated in a government which exists only for itself, a state which has submitted itself to various armed and semi-armed, and influential mafia groups warring each other and against the state as well, and a society which is to its very core bereft of all values and codes of conduct. The only symbol which speaks and reminds of an existing federal country, Pakistan, is the constitution, and its custodian, the highest court of Pakistan which is day by day getting weaker and weaker in the face of multi-pronged onslaughts from this or that elite quarter.

The only non-state entities which are putting a check on the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of the state and government of Pakistan are private media and civil society organizations. The former is quite stronger and by its economic logic is no more loyal to the state or government, but basically to its market from where it earns its profits. The later have found a role model (They learned this role from the Lawyers Movement.) for them to build and maintain pressure on the state and government to remain loyal to and act within the limits of laws and constitutional provisions.

Unfortunate enough, the elites are more powerful and it seems they will subdue both the independent Supreme Court, and free media. This fear strengthens itself in the face of present Machiavellian government. More to it, this government’s populism works like a two-edged sword that cuts both ways. It is hacking at the root of everything moral, lawful and constitutional. Rather, with this government all morality and moral principles have gone down the drain. There is no trace of anything moral or ethical in its utterances and actions. Having done away with the moral pillar of human society, now with full steam it is after the law of the land.  

Also, with this government, the criminality of the state and government of Pakistan has reached its highest point. (May we not see another government more criminal than this!) In case it succeeds substantially in destroying the law of the land, the state of Pakistan will turn into a purely criminal state. Note that how in the form of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) such an attempt has already been made by the military and political elites, but fizzled out thanks to the same independent Supreme Court, free media and the civil society. Moreover, the issue of peoples’ representatives’ fake educational degrees, its vociferous defense by the government, and its resolve to do legislation with retrospective effect to spare these legislators from the crime of forgery (at least) is another compelling evidence to prove its enmity to the constitution and laws of the land.    

In view of the above analysis, it is obvious that at least and at best what we must aim at is trying to save the law of the land, i.e. basically the Constitution. No doubt, we should not raise moral questions, because raising moral questions before a government which is thoroughly Machiavellian in its intent is just useless. It is only on the ground of laws that this government may be confronted with, perhaps convinced, or in case it cannot be convinced which has been the case till now, then we must put as much pressure as may force it to be acting within the confines of laws and the constitutional provisions. That minimum achievement will be the maximum gain for this nation and the country upon which we may be able to build a decriminalized state. If we fail to halt the further criminalization of the state of Pakistan, we the people should be ready to be ruled not by laws, but by criminals instead of persons!      

[This article was completed on August 2, 2010.]

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Tareekh Ki Muhim

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

A world without rules

Now it’s a considered view of mine that it is in making rules, just rules, and following them, and implementing them across the board that humanity’s emancipation lies. And, I think, broadly it is rules which saved the West, including the USA, and made it the West.

Not only is it the state of the rule of lawlessness in Pakistan but the same state prevailing in most of  the world that makes one attach so much importance to rules and the institution of the rule of rules.

As Eisenhower once said,“The clearest way to show what the rule of law means to us in everyday life is to recall what has happened when there is no rule of law.”
[Dwight David Eisenhower, 1890-1969]

Likewise, I have tried to imagine how a world without rules looks like:

A world without rules

There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
[Major General Smedley Butler, War Is a Racket (1935)]

It is rules which distinguish Homo sapiens from Animalia. It is rules which separate a society from a jungle. Also, it is rules absence of which transforms Homo sapiens again into animals and a society into a jungle. That is what is happening around today. In simplified terms, I would love to formulate that Darwin’s theory of evolution may have been one of the greatest discoveries in the realm of biological and social sciences, but were he alive he would have put forward a reverse of his theory today to demonstrate how species may (de-)volve backwards. It would have been named as Darwin’s theory of devolution.

It appears too much of an ordinary thesis which has been used, abused and misused in every nook and cranny of our society, from a street to a scholar’s den, that we have our primeval animals quite alive and kicking in us to this day. No doubt, we are fond of passing this judgment that human beings are no better than animals and that they are still at the raw stage of evolution, i.e. at the stage of animality. Let me clarify I am not indulging in that cynic talk. It doesn’t mean I am an optimist. I am no pessimist either. I am going to argue that if such and such things take place, they will most probably lead to such and such situations.

Here is the gist of the argument: Animals have no rules to follow; they have their nature or their instincts which (mostly) direct their behavior, as we all know. This means they have no rules of their own making. Or if they have such rules, these are simply not comparable with those of human beings’ making. This also entails that it is not rules alone that ensure survival. In that case, the kingdom of Animalia would have been extinct now. It means that Homo sapiens too and their society also can survive without rules. Of course, we are surviving others who succumb to mass murders, blasts, bombings, suicide attacks, deliberate killings, useless wars, both state and non-state torture and oppression. This brings us back to that stage of evolution where we were no better than our animal brethren, as is said. Perhaps that is what our cynic’s ‘popular’ thesis means. 

At that stage, we may have had rules like animals, but we had not started yet discussing and debating those rules. Or it may be that when we got ourselves free from the shackles of our inherent nature (and nature from without also) and our instincts that we decisively separated ourselves from animals. We brought ourselves under the burden of rules of our own making. We ‘subjected’ ourselves to a transformation of our and our culture’s liking with the help of those rules. These rules were not merely rules but rules of just life and just behavior. Thus, it is just rules which dragged us to populate a community of our own far from the jungle of unjust rules. Clearly, if we abandon those rules and practically liken our rules to those of animals, we are doomed – regardless of the wishes of pessimists or optimists. Cynics may enjoy and wager how the game finishes.   

How this fits in the present scenario? Especially, in the aftermath of Mumbai carnage, ‘mysterious’ killings in Karachi, and escalating civil war like conditions in various parts of Pakistan?

Actually, all the violence so widespread in our world and notably in South Asia, in the final analysis, is the result of blatant violation of the rule of right is might, which is also a consequence of the violation of rules of just life and just behavior. When rule of might is right prevails, violence infects everything. In effect, when violence ensues from an authority the sole rationale of which is the use of might, such as military takeovers or unjust civil governments in Pakistan, or other regimes the world over, such an authority will naturally lose its moral, legal, and constitutional grounds. Not only does it sustain on violence and as a result of its acts provokes more and more violence, it also provides other sections of society with an alibi to justify their acts of violence. To dispel the confusion, it may be clarified that violence is the monopoly of an authority which is moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional.

What makes an authority moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional?

John Dewey pointed out: ‘the most pressing problem of humanity is living together,’ and it is to address this problem that every community creates an authority to use violence in the name and for the sake of just rules. Sure, its purpose is not to perpetrate violence, but to protect life and property of every member of that community and their inalienable or fundamental rights and their freedoms. It is to secure these objectives that that authority makes use of violence and of course strictly in accordance with the law of that community. That authority enjoys no discretion. It has to act within the ambit of that community’s law. This is what makes an authority moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional; or vice verse.

We have Pakistan as a typical example. Its constitution of 1973 ensures its citizens security of their fundamental rights. But the citizens of Pakistan have never been considered citizens with any fundamental rights by any government. In Pakistan, all those organs of the state that derive authority from this constitution have always abused and misused that authority and that constitution also. Since 1973, we have been having immoral, illegal, unlawful, and anti-constitutional or quasi-constitutional or para-constitutional or ultra-constitutional governments which include both military and civil governments, but no strictly moral and constitutional government. This shows how military and political might have been trampling the rule of right is might in Pakistan.

Here right is might may be taken as meaning what is right that be considered prevailing over might. Let me take liberty of ascribing a different, but not entirely different, meaning to the word, right. This changes the whole context of this debate. Our rights i.e. our inalienable and fundamental rights, which are actually our freedoms, ought to be mighty. In other words, might ought to flow from our rights, and back to them. That is what has been the signpost of humanity.

However, let me attach another explanation to it. It is important. When we say that rights are might, we mean to say that no entity, no matter how mighty it is, whether physically or militarily, can usurp our rights. On the other hand, let me add that no entity, no matter how mighty it is democratically, can encroach upon our rights. Thus, even a democratic government elected by an overwhelming majority has no authority to suspend these rights of ours.

Moreover, no entity of people even if it consists of 99 % of its members has any authority to rule 1 % of its no-members in a manner that curtails or suspends or defies their fundamental rights and freedoms. Let me highlight it that power does not belong to people, as Pakistan Peoples Party made us believe. In point of fact, power belongs to their fundamental rights and freedoms. Actually, it is moral might. This accords with the principle of rights are might mentioned above.

Thus a revolt of any entity of people will be moral only and only when it aims at securing them their fundamental rights and freedoms through judicial reforms or change. This should be the sole objective of any revolt or rebellion. To all purposes, it means that it is the might of our fundamental rights that justify violence whether it is resorted to by the state in securing its citizens their fundamental rights and freedoms, or by an entity of people, be it a minority or a majority, when a government completely suspends their rights and that too for an indefinite period and without any moral, legal, lawful, and constitutional justification and validation. But that violence can be justified only and only when it is targeted and is validated by an alternate judicial authority only in order to protect life and property, fundamental rights and freedoms of those people, and that authority derives its justification duly from a just constitution, for example, Pakistan’s original constitution of 1973. Or in this regard, Magna Carta, American Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and US Bill of Rights are there to seek guidance. All other acts of coercion or oppression and revolt or rebellion whether they ensue from the state or government or any other non-state entities respectively are but authoritarian and fascist in their very nature.

Also, this helps us understand clearly the burning issue of ‘terrorism.’ It has three facets. First, that all the movements which are having recourse to ‘terrorist,’ or violent, acts aim at establishing an authoritarian and fascist rule over a specific geographical area or world over. They have no idea of the principle of rights are might, and no regard either for the fundamental rights and freedoms of individual persons. They just want an ideological regimentation of all and sundry without any exception.

Second, it is misleading to dub them terrorists. They are violating everything that pertains to morality and law. They are not terrorists but criminals of the highest order human history has probably never seen. Their criminality is disproportionate to the higher level of evolution of humanity human beings have attained. Probably they are still at the level of lower consciousness that retards their understanding of life and its blessings. A higher level of consciousness requires us to value our life and our fellow human beings’ lives also; not only life but its blessings too. It requires us to differ, disagree, wrangle, quarrel, fight, battle, and indulge in all such things within the rules of just behavior. It requires us to have regard for the fundamental rights and freedoms of our fellow human beings, for their life and property. However, the war of terror and the war on terror both have relegated all the semblance of any rules of any war in waging war against each. Alas, these criminals have outraged all that is moral and human.

Third, it may be objected that this does not address ‘state terrorism.’ No way! This way of putting things exceptionally deals with the unjust state. Any state or government of a country that does not follow just rules both domestically and internationally, or say, does not follow that country’s laws and constitution is unjust. Sure, their laws and their constitutions are quite unjust if they do not ensure their citizens’ security of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and abuse and misuse their legal and constitutional authority to coerce them and citizens of other countries as well in order to further their own special agendas. In that sense, almost all the states and governments, including Pakistan, are unjust. There it is not the principle of rights are might that rules; rather it is the principle of might is right that rules with degrees of difference only.

As we see, as we know, and as we believe it is almost everywhere that powerful political, business and military elites, intelligence agencies, and their touts and their clout rule. All that is equally immoral and criminal, because whatever a state or government or its organs or its officials, its sleuths and its functionaries or its elected and appointed representatives do and that violate the just rules and legality and constitutionality of an individual’s fundamental rights and freedoms, and laws and constitution of that country is unjust.

No doubt, it is this immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional behavior of these elites that begets and promotes violence, lawlessness and criminal ideologues and ideologies. No non-state actors anywhere will ever be strong enough to play havoc with the lives of innocent people until and unless they have state actors at their back but only for a short span of time. Red Brigades of Italy, and Japanese Red Army, are good examples; after losing outside support, they died their own deaths. Also, there are such movements which are living in time such as LTTE in Sri Lanka. How are they able to survive without outside state actors’ help?

Thus terrorism, or as its true form suggests, criminality of the highest order, wherever it exists or whatever its form is, be it on the part of state actors or non-state actors, is an amalgam of criminality and supra-bestiality. Since, it defies just rules of human society, it is criminal; and as it surpasses beasts in their beastliness, it is supra-bestial. Have we heard of any beast that kills other animals without any reason?! These criminals do! Have we heard of any human being using a donkey as a suicide bomber?! These criminals do!

It is more than pathetic! It tells we are half way on the path of Darwin’s theory of devolution, though we are improving a lot upon the ferocious behavior of the most dangerous beasts. But, is it justified to use the pronoun ‘we’ here? No, absolutely not! Actually, these criminals must be separated from the majority of ‘we’ the people who believe in and follow just rules. This ‘separation’ will achieve two things: on the one hand, it will strengthen us, and on the other, will isolate and thus weaken them.

Also, will this help us wipe out this beastly criminality? Not in the short term. It may be a step leading us to a way out of this quagmire. We have discussed a long term solution kit above. What is the short term solution to this problem of ‘popular’ criminality! It is also stored in that kit.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, we urgently need the following:

First of all, the basic law i.e. the constitution of the country in its original form be restored and made supreme.

Second, judiciary be made independent and autonomous, and as a first step towards this deposed judges be rewarded with reinstatement with grace and honor they deserve.

Third, all the state organs and actors, be it judiciary, legislature, executive, or be it military or its various agencies, or be it other state and semi-state entities, strictly be made to act within the limits of their legal and constitutional duties and powers.

Fourth, any legal and constitutional violations by any authority or official be punished in accordance with the law and without any delay.

Fifth, violations committed in the past be brought in a court of law and the violators be tried without any exception.

Sixth, protection of life and property be provided to all the citizens without any discrimination.

Seventh, security of fundamental rights of the people ensured in the constitution be given top priority on the agenda of governance.

Eighth, the business of government be run in accordance with the dictates of the original constitution of 1973.

Ninth, and lastly but not finally, foreign relations with all the countries especially with the neighboring countries be reorganized on the basis of mutuality and furtherance of interests, peaceful co-existence, and open and free trade and commerce be sought with everyone, and political or military entanglement with any country be avoided. In sum, a strategy of setting one’s own house in order first be adopted as the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Reasonably, more than half century’s time is enough to convince any thinking citizen of Pakistan how sincere are the ruling elites of Pakistan in pursuing the above discussed just rules of conduct both for their persons and the institutions of the state they have been using to strengthen their social, political, judicial, constitutional, economic position at the expense of the rights, freedom, prosperity and happiness of ordinary people. It is time for ‘us’ all the individual citizens of Pakistan who believe in the supremacy of their fundamental rights and freedoms over the special interests of this or that class or section or any group or religious or political party to rise and wage a peaceful struggle to restore a Pakistan where all the organs of the state, be it legislature, judiciary, or legislature, be it any institution or authority, be it military or civil officials, are strictly made to function in accordance with the laws and constitution of the country. It is time they should make it clear to the elites perennially ruling and plundering Pakistan and Pakistani people that enough is enough, and that now they need a government which takes care of its citizens’ life and property, and their fundamental rights and freedoms as its first and foremost duty. It is time to wrap up the politics of pharisaism. It is time for these elites to stop the politics in the name of nationalism, patriotism, democracy, welfarism, and revert back to the rule of rights are might! It is such a just Pakistan that can positively contribute in transforming a world without rules into a world with just rules! Let that charity begin at home!

[This article was completed on December 15, 2008, and among other newspapers carried by The News International in its Political Economy section on December 21, 2008.]

Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast: Pakistani Siyasat Ke Pech-o-Khum Ka Falsafiyana Muhakma

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see it, click the link below:

Political Parties Or Political Arrangements: A Philosophical Critique of Pakistani Politics

This August 10, Alternate Solutions Institute released my 2nd Urdu book, Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast: A Philosophical Critique of Pakistani Politics. Copied below are the English and Urdu media releases:

Urdu Book "سیاسی پارٹیاں یا سیاسی بندوبست" (Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast) published

The book attempts a philosophical analysis of Pakistan’s political parties

The book smashes a number of political myths and cliches

Author dubs political parties as enemies of the citizens and focuses on how to make them friends of the citizens

Lahore August 10, 2012: Alternate Solutions Institute released today Dr. Khalil Ahmad's 2nd Urdu book, “Siyasi Partian Ya Siyasi Bandobast: Pakistani Siyasat Ke Pech-o-Khum Ka Falsafiyani Muhakma” (Political Parties Or Political Arrangements: Philosophical Analysis of the Intricacies of Pakistani Politics). His first book, "Pakistan Mein Riyasti Ashrafiya Ka Urooj" (The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan) came out in February this year and has been acclaimed as path-breaking.

The new book holds that the citizens are in a fix vis-à-vis political parties of Pakistan. It is the same political parties which act as their enemies when in power, and at the same time it is these parties which may act as their friends. The author deals with this thorny issue in a befitting manner. He says that these political parties after obtaining votes destroy the lives of the citizens, as is happening now; and it is the same parties which may bring peace, security and prosperity in their lives. How to make this miracle happen? This question is the focus of the book.

The book explains in detail how and when political parties come to act as political parties, and why most of the time they remain just political arrangements seeking party loyalties and protecting party interests.

The book argues that what demands citizens ought to put before the political parties, and what demands they must never. It is this deception all the politics of the political parties derives from and is based on. It is this parrot in which lies the life of the political parties. The citizens must not ask for such things from the political parties which they cannot provide. This is the Welfarist Agenda of the political parties which tantalizes the citizens, and they are trapped. The citizens should empower political parties for doing only those things which form their fundamental duty: protection of citizens’ life, property and their rights. This is the Protective Agenda.

The book further argues that the citizens must not hand over their whole life into the hands of political parties. If they do that, as to some extent they have already done so, then the political parties will act as the owners and disposers of their lives. In fact, the political parties are already substantiating such claims of theirs over the life of the citizens. Thus, they use the citizens as the fuel for their ideas and ideologies to flourish. In fact, they are already thrown the citizens into such fires. The book concentrates on such issues, and points out a way out of this situation which may make political parties to act as the friends of the citizens.

The book also attempts detailed philosophical analysis of certain political parties such as Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (F), and classifies them all as Welfarist. The book shows why most of the political parties, such as PML (Q), PTI, PPP, are just political arrangements, and not political parties proper.

The author of the book, Dr. Khalil Ahmad, has been teaching Philosophy, and is mainly devoted to Political Philosophy. He is one of the founders of the Alternate Solutions Institute, a think tank dedicated to the strengthening of personal freedom and rule of law in Pakistan. His most important works are "Pakistan Mein Riyasti Ashrafiya Ka Urooj" (The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan), and "Charter of Liberty.”

The price of the 128 page hard-bound book is Rs.200. For more information and purchasing the book, the Institute may be contacted at: Phone: 0303 – 4000 161 ; Email:
Address: Room No. 32, 3rd Floor, Landmark Plaza, 5/6 Jail Road, Lahore

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Enterprise of history - I

This is in continuation of a previous post, “Hind and Sindh civilizations and getting religion politicized.”

As I see that, and ,of course, for that matter everyone with a keen eye must have observed that, History has been proving, as Samuel Johnson dubbed Patriotism, the last refuge of (not a scoundrel) but all those intellectuals, men of letters, leaders, communities, nations, sections, or any other such introverted individuals or groups, who think themselves victim of this or that “injustice” at the hands of especially those who are ahead of them in any respect, be it economy, politics, philosophy, science, sports, etc. on the one hand, and on the other, in development, social luxuries, technologies, etc.

More than that, I think, in the presence of such a crowd, History hasn’t been able to acquire its true existence, or rationale.  

So a few new slogans may be devised: Let the History acquire its true existence! Let the History get rid of the Victims’ Burden!

Isn’t this true existence of History, another justification for its exploitation to the benefit of another sect?

I think, No! And that is why I have titled this post as the “Enterprise of history.”

To me, history is a MARSH as well as a PAINTING.

A historian or reader of History may sink into it, or may learn more and more details of that painting. Let me assert, it's a continuous painting. There may be short breaks in this or that tract of the painting, but on the whole it is continuous and continued; and it must be added as we say and need to save this human planet: to be continued.

And it depends on the attitude of a historian and reader of History how they see History. Further, it also depends on the nature of their historical venture whether History will prove to be a marsh or a painting to them.

If they go into History, i.e. write history or read history to find out certain "principles" which will justify ways of their present or imagined existence connected with the past, or this or that form of their existence, they will be trapped in the marsh.

And if they go into it to learn more and more details of the painting, they will remain firmly standing on their ground, and will not try to replace their present existence with this or that or with an imagined existence.

Let it be clarified here that this imagined existence is painted with the stuff gathered from the History, and has no future dimension. Or if it has a future dimension, as presently the violent religionists claim, it consists of the imagined existence to be imposed on the present part of the painting.

I am not saying that there is "X History" and we try to find out that; that there was a history which needs to be discovered. Also, I do not mean that we are free to write History of our choice or liking; or shape History the way we want it to be or to look. Or, as the “victim communities” desperately seek it to be and to look. What I want to bring out is that we need to see the painting with more and more details.

What’s the purpose of seeing this painting in and with more and more detail? I won’t say: in order to keep the continuity of this painting intact! I don’t mean that.

What I mean is: it is a continuous painting, and we live and tread inside and within this painting (though we do strive to go beyond that), and how can it be imagined that what we live within or inside is a broken or shattered piece of plane.

And as it may be objected: why this unbroken continued painting is necessary for our living. I would reply: as far as other forms of life are concerned who are on a very raw level of rational existence, it is fine for or with them if they do not bother about this painting or its continued-ness or its shattered-ness; nonetheless for the rational human beings, or say forms of life with higher rational consciousness, it is indispensable that their living has a continued existence in the form of this continued painting.

I remember Karl Popper says our minds are like prisons, we cannot escape it. But we are free to broaden our prisons, and we need to continue to broaden its walls.

I think it is same with History. We cannot ignore this painting; or change this painting in accordance with our wishes or demands. What we are free to do is to see the painting with more and more details. 

Let’s see what Romila Thapar has got to say in this regard:

Q: Will it be fair to say the basis of your analysis has been historical materialism?

A: Well I would not put it as simply as that. I think anyone who wrote history in the twentieth century had to take historical materialism seriously. Whether you accept it or not is another matter. If you reject it, they have to know why. My influence has been partly historical materialism, partly the French Annales School, interdisciplinary work and one's own ideas. The nice thing is that the debate in India between Marxists and others and among liberal historians has generated a lot of ideas. History has therefore changed.

[P. 109, Voices of Sanity - Harbingers of Peace, Zaman Khan, (Archetypes, Heinrich Boll Stiftung), December 2008, Lahore]

As Thapar states historians always need to sharpen their tools, their methodology; likewise the readers of History also need to be mindful of the fact that nothing can be brought out of History which may give this or that community this or that identity or any other imagined identity derived from the past and / or posited on the future part of the painting.

What history does is just gathering more and more details so that the painting is clearer and more intelligible. And more intact, also!

And it is here where perennial re-writing of history (the painting) and the perennial re-reading of history finds their rai·sons d'être.

So they are sunk in the marsh who are intent upon pasting this or that tract of the painting on this or that part of the painting, and they do this without knowing the details of that tract. Pity that they do not aspire to have a total view of the painting, and thus live inside this painting! They tear the painting, grab this or that piece of it, and run away with it, and declare this a mission of theirs that they are here to paint it anew with the colors of their choice, whilst they are color-blind!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Swiss maktoob koi ishoo naheen!

Please note: This post has been shifted to the Urdu Blog - Civil Pakistan. To see  it, click the link below:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hind and Sindh civilizations, and getting religion politicized

Recently I read an interview of Romila Thapar, renowned historian. Here are some questions and their answers which relate to the issue of religious identity in the sub-continent:

Q: Some scholars claim Hind and Sindh to be different civilizations. Do you subscribe to this view?

A: I don't subscribe to this at all. I think the Indus civilization was very widespread. It spread out to many regions that are now part of Pakistan and India. I strongly object to this view because you can't push an event that took place in the twentieth century five thousand years back in history.

Q: Why this insistence on two civilizations?

A: This happens when religion gets politicized. When religious organizations begin to feel that they can assert political power, they have to have an identity - a religious identity. And the easiest thing, of course is to say "we will take it as far back as goes the religion." There is a movement that seeks to establish Hinduism as the religion of Indus valley civilization. This is not true. One can say there are some roots of the present day Hinduism that may go back deep in history, but we cannot say for sure because we cannot read the (Indus valley) script.

Q: Has it been the failure of secular movement that led to the rise of the religious movements in India?

A: I think various things did. Religious nationalism - Hindu or Muslim - started in the 1920s. Both supported the two nation theory. Now they are trying to argue that if Pakistan is a Muslim state, why can't India be a Hindu state. They see the whole of pre-partition Indian society in terms of Hindus and Muslims. They don't see it in terms of communities with other kinds of identities. So it boils down to really to a question of identity.

[PP. 106-107, Voices of Sanity - Harbingers of Peace, Zaman Khan, (Archetypes, Heinrich Boll Stiftung), December 2008, Lahore]

The above is a continuous thread of questions and answers.

What Thapar said about India is true for Pakistan also!

More about this issue and the enterprise of history in another post!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wikileaking clandestine governments

AFP reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange urged President Barack Obama to end the US "witchhunt" against his whistleblowing website, in a speech Sunday from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy.

"I ask President Obama to do the right thing, the United States must renounce its witchhunt against WikiLeaks," said Assange, making his first public statement since being granted political asylum by Ecuador on Thursday. [August 20, 2012]
I love Julian Assange. His initiative of wikileaking clandestine governments strikes at the root of the politics of ruling elites, or better say, political elites.  

Here is the explanation:

Wikileaking clandestine governments

The latest ‘leaks’ of Wikileaks provide a historical opportunity to re-consider many a taken for granted truth!

This writing too intends to discuss afresh some such propositions which relates to the affairs of the governments. For instance, whether governments are justified in keeping various types of information secret. In Pakistan and maybe in other such countries also, this is an accepted truth. People outside governments than those inside seem more convinced in this regard. That is to be more loyalist than the king. As is the case, in contrast to the ordinary people, the elitist both inside and outside governments are to be blamed for this myth. They present government as a transcendental entity, and attribute it with similar characteristics. Without going into a lengthy debate, the simple truth is that rulers and government officials, be they elected, or nominated or appointed, all of them are from the same society of human beings, and the same countries where they come to be rulers or officials. They are not endowed with these powers to rule others from any other-world. These powers are given to them by the citizens as a trust.

Obviously, these powers are not absolute. They are determined and limited. Means that that’s no monarchy, rather a constitutional government which runs under certain rules and laws. It is for this reason that while someone is invested with powers, at the same time he is made responsible and accountable. To determine the scope of these powers, and their limits also, is the intent of laws and constitutions. For oversight, various institutions are created. That is what makes the existence of executive, legislature, and judiciary indispensable. Judiciary keeps a check on executive whether it is acting in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and laws of the land, and on legislature also whether the new laws enacted contradict or contravene with the dictates of the constitution. In Pakistan, its citizens have recently achieved a judiciary, which is not lame-duck, but alive and vigorous.

Thus, as viewed above, if the powers acquired by the rulers and officials are like a trust, then there is no justification to keep information about the affairs of the government secret. Why a government’s own matters or a government’s matters with another government should be secret is without any grounds! No argument validates this claim. However, it has been so, and remains so.

More to this, considering every government runs (and swells) at the expense of its citizens’ wealth, i.e. by levying taxes, it is quite natural for it to account for each single penny. Same is the purpose of audit and social audit. This means that all the affairs should proceed in complete transparency. There is no excuse for any secret or discretionary funds. All the incomes and expenditures of governments, including defense, should be transparent and open. This has become damn easier today. All the accounts should be put on internet for the perusal of the citizens. To this, only one exception can be considered. That’s the security and defense of a country, especially during war. To this end, certain information can be kept confidential. However, in this area extreme caution is needed. The type of information which today’s governments intend to conceal from their ‘enemies’ the very enemies somehow gain access to that, of course, due to the advancement of technology. Also, Wikileaks prove no information can be made and kept secret.

Hence, if all the affairs of governments are open and transparent, most of the possibility of this or that type of armed revolts, and war will be reduced to the minimum. This proposition would never be welcomed by rulers and governments, and also by those who despite their being outside government are stuffed with a thinking of ruling other people. They are ‘rulers’ from inside, or by instinct. They can never concede to or tolerate that the matters of governments be brought in open before the ‘ordinary’ citizens.

It is thanks to such elitist people that governments have enacted laws and rules like official secret acts, or classified information, and turned themselves into some transcendental entities. More than that, they step ahead of this when they not only conceal their affairs from their citizens but make leaking them a crime which invites various types of punishments. So, on the one hand in addition to concealing their affairs from their citizens, governments lie as well as mislead their citizens, and on the other, they contrive incomplete, incorrect and false information which they mean for “public consumption.” Interestingly, this has engaged civil society in securing citizens’ right to information. This makes for a mission for many an NGO.

In view of above, it may be concluded that the information which Wikileaks has leaked is in fact the property not only of the US citizens but world citizens. Wikileaks has only returned that information to its rightful owners. We should be thankful to Wikeleaks, and wish there spring hundreds of such initiatives which will bring official secrets and classified information back to where it rightfully belong to. And by doing this, they will make the citizens powerful instead of their governments. In leaking and revealing the secrets of governments lies the secret of citizens’ freedom and prosperity!

[This article was written on December 3, 2010.]

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Signs of decline - 1

Reflections on various things: Signs of decline

I am an integral part of this society; but I am an observer of it also. I feel, i.e. smell, taste, touch, hear, and see the all-encompassing decline of the Pakistani society. 

As I notice, a clear sign of decline is this: Any entity set up for a specific purpose starts working against the same purpose. 

This idea has been reverberating in my mind since long. If A is created to fulfill purpose B, and if it defies that very purpose, and works to achieve purpose C, what will happen. No doubt, by losing B, A will lose its reason to exist, since C is not its purpose. That will set in motion its downfall.

Pakistani society is a case in point, and I would exempt only the present Supreme Court from this list. There are no entities where the signs of decline can't be seen writ large. Other than the state institutions, and other such entities, this includes gardens, parks, zoos, etc, etc.

The decline has taken hold of every entity, institution, and of course the value system, religion, and politics also.

Another sign which the Pakistani decline manifests is deteriorating language. The language / languages of a society is / are distorted. I mean the written languages. Or say the main language of communication and  knowledge is distorted.

Here in Pakistan, the language used in communication, newspapers, magazines, journals, text books, semi-text books, and general books also is far below the standard language.

Years back, when I used to go to the Pak Tea House, where litterateurs and intellectuals gathered, Muzaffar Ali Syed, a learned critic, was kind enough to spend some time with me every time we met there. Once when the issue under discussion was the same deterioration of language, he said: you take a Ph.D. and see what he writes, it's no different from what a grade ten student writes.

Another sign, and it has more to do with intellectual realm, but it is not confined to this realm . . . I mean what causes intellectual decline . . . i.e. why intellectual spirit dies. That like Pakistan, in such a society, Reason and Argument are deprived of their due status. What is valued is Authority! Here Who says is important, and What he says is considered just unimportant. 

That attitude sanctifies personalities, and put a stop to intellectual progress or limit it to a considerable extent. Since personalities considered as Authority do not attain that status usually due to their hard work based on Reason and Argument, rather because of other channels or connections, that gambles with intellectual progress or whatever domain it relates with. 

If good personalities move to that position of Authority, that's well and good, if not, that is not just bad, but extremely bad, because once they are there not only will they try to remain in that position, they will never let those to come forward whom they do not allow or approve as worthy of that position. 

Once in an interview, which was conducted on behalf of the college where I taught, Bakhtiar Hussain Siddiqui, a renowned educationist, talking about the decline of Education in Pakistan, remarked: if an incompetent person gets appointed as a principal of a college, he would not let any competent person to be part of that college.

That may also be termed as the Killing of Merit. 

Intezar Husain, novelist, short-story writer, critic, and a literary thinker, wrote a column in the Roznama Express January 1st, last year. It was titled as "The Death of Reason, and the Victory of the Battle Cry."

These were some of the signs of decline which on the basis of my observation I have singled out; of course, these are not all those responsible for the Pakistani decline. 

I will remain focused on this, thinking and writing more about this decline of Pakistani society . . .   

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kamra attack and the nuclear arsenals

“Gunmen who are believed to be Islamist militants attacked a major Pakistani Air Force base where some of the country’s nuclear weapons are thought to be stored early Thursday (August 16), setting off a heavy battle in which eight attackers and one security official were killed.

The attack on the Minhas air force base in Kamra, 40 kilometers, or 25 miles, northwest of the capital, Islamabad, was a stark reminder of the threat to Pakistan’s most sensitive installations despite ongoing military operations against militants in their tribal hide-outs.”

So, the story goes on in the local Pakistan edition of The International Herald Tribune of August 17, 2012.

Yesternight, Kamran Khan, talk show host at Geo News, enumerated about 150 militants attack on military installations and personnel, and estimated that Pakistan Military has suffered losses in these attacks and its fight against the militants it did not suffer in all its wars with India.

Local media reports Thehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has already accepted the responsibility for the Kamra attack in which one AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft has also been damaged.

In fact, there have been such attacks on many important installations of Pakistan Army including its General Head Quarters (GHQ). 

Let’s do not mention last year’s May 2 episode in which US Seals killed Osaman bin Laden in Abbottabad. But what about the May 22 PNS Mehran attack by the same militants!


That agitates concerns about the safety of nuclear arsenals . . . and that was why Foreign Office spokesman had to immediately make a statement that ‘all is in the safe hands.’

That means it requires patient diagnosis and merciless surgery, and of course, before all that a serious review of the War Strategy against the militants!

The following piece was written in the same spirit after the PNS Mehran attack:

Where is the broken backbone, Sir?

It was on April 23 that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the most powerful man in Pakistan, while addressing the passing out parade ceremony of the 123rd Long Course, Integrated Course 42 and Lady Cadet Course 8 at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul, Abbottabad, declared: ‘the security forces have broken the backbone of the terrorists and the nation will soon prevail over this menace.’ He also reiterated: ‘the Pakistan Army is fully aware of internal and external threats to the country and will come up to the expectations of the nation.’

Exactly on the 9th day of his speech, during the night of May 2 and 3, the US Seals raided a house in the same Abbottabad, not far away from the Kakul Academy, and killed Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world. Again exactly on the 30th day of his speech, just 6 (as yet no one knows the exact number) terrorists entered the PNS Mehran in Karachi, managed collectively by Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force, and held sort of hostage the whole base as well as the whole nation.

Throughout this fight that continued through the next 17 or so hours no one from the military establishment or the government was available to tell the citizens what was happening. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, the Supreme Commander, the President of Pakistan, the Master Politician of the country, too was nowhere on the scene to be seen. Mr. Ahmad Mukhtar, the poor Defense Minister, may have made an appearance after a considerable period of time, and he did make, but his comments meant nothing. The ever active ISPR that never lets go any opportunity to know its Position on the issues of importance, such as the ‘Kerry-Lugar Bill,’ was maybe fast asleep.

It’s no use counting the number of terrorist attacks against the Army, ISI, Police, FIA, etc, but one needs reminding the attack on the GHQ of Pakistan’s Security Forces. That would have been treated as the last symbolic blow and proved to be an eye-opener, but did not. All in all, there were countless attacks on civilian targets that killed considerable number of innocent men, women and children and caused damage of millions of rupees to the private property. Nothing seemed to move anything in the power corridors of Pakistan. Obviously, no change effected in the security establishment’s overt policies as the previously made arrangements still seem in tact. Its on-board groups and lashkars continue enjoying the blanket protection against the rule of law. That’s what we see, Sir, with our own eyes and through the eyes of print and electronic media, and whatever is available on the world-wide-web!

Sir, when Osama Bin Laden was killed under the nose of a premier training institution of Pakistan Military, I did not want Pakistani forces under your command (Iqbal’s Mamula) to set fighting against the US forces (Shahbaz) as most nationalists urged, but I do have a right to know how the most sought for criminal was living there for the last 5 years safe and sound! Sir, incompetence is forgivable, complicity should not be! Sir, so often I read about the Deep State, about the Strategic Depth, and such things, I do have a right to know how and why so much time is spared to delve into such matters which according to the Constitution of the country its Parliament is entrusted with! Sir, on record you said, you are India-centric, I do have a right to know how and why such a statement makes its impact on the foreign policy of Pakistan the making of which according to the Constitution of Pakistan is the prerogative of its Parliament!

Sir, when you became the COAS, you were known to be moving the Army back to the barracks, and the media tried to make us believe that, then there was March 16 and hearsay still give credit to you for starting the process of restoring the judges deposed by your erstwhile boss, then there were wikileaks which leaked your political likes and dislikes, how come you did not stick to your own policy of keeping away from the affairs of the civil administration! Sir, Pakistan Army has a constitutional mandate and they are bound to obey the orders of the Supreme Commander and the Chief Executive of the country, and it is Pakistan Army’s constitutional duty to safeguard the geographical boundaries of the country as and when required by the civilian authorities, how and why this mandate was / is overruled and covert and overt wars declared on its own!

Sir, now it’s an open secret that the security forces of Pakistan are too busy in running various businesses which include real estate, bakeries, banking, logistics, construction, agricultural, wedding and consumer goods services, how and why such engagements find their way into the barracks and cantonments if not at the expense of professionalism of an army!

Sir, through media I am told that an Orion aircraft costs more than 3 billion rupees, and two such aircrafts were completely destroyed at the Mehran base by a handful of terrorists, how and why this billions of rupees’ loss was incurred to the poor citizens of this country, and whether the responsibility will ever be fixed for such flagrant lapse and costs recovered!

Sir, about half of the taxes the citizens of this country pay this or that way go to your huge security establishment and instead of protecting life and property of the citizens of this country from the outside aggressors, this establishment has become a burden on their stomach and well-being, and instead has created new enemies both inside and outside the borders of the country, and that for the sake of its own survival, how and why such a policy could augur well for the citizens of this country! Sir, would you mind conceiving a smart army that is light and professional and capable of following the orders of the civilian leadership!

Sir, at this moment as because of such happenings morale of an ordinary army man as well as an ordinary citizen is at its lowest, you on behalf of your institution ought to come forward, apologize to the nation for overstepping the constitutional mandate, for letting your intelligence agencies going beyond their legal domains, for interfering in the civilian affairs, un-constitutionally taking in your hands making of the defense and foreign policy, for creating and nurturing illegal groups of fighters as is alleged, for engaging in uncalled for commercial activities, and not giving due attention to the professional duties!

Sir, that is what will break the backbone of the terrorists, not your words!

Pakistan Observer published this piece on June 20, 2011.

And, Pakistan Today published it in its letters to the editor on June 21, 2011.