You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A brief history of military interventions in Pakistani Politics.

Just after two years of introduction of first formal constitution of 1956, Gen. Ayub Khan( ironically the first Pakistan borned commander of the Army), took over government in a military coup in 1958, citing reasons of destability erupting from student protests in Dhaka for "Bengali as National Language" and religious riots against "Ahmadi's".

He ramianed in power from 1958 till 1969. A constitution in 1962 was implemented which introduced a basic democracy(BD) framework where elected representatives vote for president. This was supposed to help military control a few hundred of elected represetatives to vote for President. Ayub Nealy Lost to Fatima Jinnah, but managed to stay in power, both as President & Army Chief.

In 1969 massive civil society activism and especially student protests forced Gen. Ayub to step down, handing over power to Gen. Yahya Khan. Gen. Yahya remained in power till 17 Dec. 1971.

Gifts of this erra were "Operation Searchlight", a crack down by West Pakistan Army on East Pakistan's Police, Paramilitary forces, Civil Society workers, politicians and students, which was one of the dominant reasons for dividing the country.

General Zia took over in late 1977 & suspended the constituion and basic rights, on the pretext of a destabilised central government. Also with a promise of an Islamic Constitution. He remained both as Chief of Army Staff and President through out till 1988. Sufferrings of this erra include:

  • Suspension of Constitution and basic rights for almost 7 years.
  • Pre-censorship on press.
  • An un-elected legislative body, Majlis-e-Shura
  • Public executions
  • Public punishments in the name of Islam, primarily exercised on the journalists and civil society workers raising voice against Martial Law.
  • A non-party form of elections, enhancing the "briadrism"(tribalism?,clanism?)
  • A proxy war against USSR in Afghanistan, which resulted in influx of terrorist attacks, Gun Culture and Drugs
  • Millions of Afghan refugees with no plan and resources for their re-habilitation.
  • Amendments in Constitution making possible for a President to dismiss elected assemblies.
In 1999, Gen. Musharraf took over in yet another military coup, reasons cited were efforts to sideline Army to make way for one man rule via constitutional amendments by the then democratic government.

Gen. Musharraf got the extension of terms earlier 3 years by Supreme Court verdict, then for 5 years via referendum, then for complete presidential term as a result of 17th amendment, now via another presidential election, which was under litigation in Supreme Court.
  • Military operations in Tribal Areas(FATA), NWFP & Balochistan and even in Islamabad in the name of war against extremism, resulted in killing of hundreds of people.
  • NAB ordinance to pave way for a dictated set of politicians to form a govt.
  • Exile of major political figures.
  • Efforts to subdue a defiant Judiciary
  • Declaration of State of Emergency and Suspension of all basic rights
  • Curbs on electronic and print Media, Suspension of Constituion, Curbs on civil society , Human Rights, Legal and Political workers
Out of 60 years of independence, 31 years have been spent under direct Military rule. Whatever the reasons Generals take over the government, their efforts are centric to extension of their terms, and greed for power.

It has already resulted in break-up of country, 17 permanent amendments in constitution (primarily in military rule), rubber stamp legislative bodies, arrests of 1000's of workers, executions of those against military governments, suspension of basic rights, killings of 1000's of people to make cold war and terrorism erra American Govt's happy.

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