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]

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is there a safe passage?

By Javed HussainIN 1933, Hitler was nominated the chancellor of Germany by President Hindenberg. But before he could take office he was required to get his appointment approved by a new Reichstag (parliament).Afraid that his Nazi party would not win an absolute majority in the elections, Hitler decided to create a situation which would necessitate the imposition of an emergency. He engineered the burning of the Reichstag. Following this he got the president to issue an emergency decree for the ‘Protection of the people and the state’, which enabled him to suspend fundamental rights and imprison anyone without trial.The Reichstag elections were held in November 1933 in which the Nazi party got 43.9 per cent of the votes, not an absolute majority. Therefore, in order to free himself of any parliamentary restraint, he sought the passage of the ‘Enabling Act’, which would give him the power to make laws without the approval of the Reichstag.Since the Act deviated from the constitution, it needed a two-thirds majority to be adopted. Using subterfuge, intimidation and violence, he managed to get the Act passed by 444 votes to 94.He thus became a legal dictator and promptly brought all political and social institutions, including the press and the courts, under his control. But he made sure that the privileged position of the army was secured.Seventy-four years later Hitler’s extremist political credo is being replicated in Pakistan. In 1999, people had welcomed the Musharraf coup. Many thought that the saviour had finally arrived. They had great expectations for their country’s and their own future. Yet on Mar 9, their hopes came crashing down as he showed his true colours.He thought that by intimidating the Chief Justice he would force him to resign; he was surprised. He then filed a reference; he was surprised again.... But his scheme could fail if the political parties get their act together and spearhead the movement launched by the lawyers, journalists and civil society. If the movement reaches a crescendo before the elections, it could force a rethink on his western and local sponsors about the wisdom of supporting a person who has become a liability.One of Hitler’s cronies had thundered that “the government will brutally beat down everyone who opposes it. We do not say an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; no, he who knocks out one of our eyes will get his head cut off, and he who knocks out one of our teeth will get his jaw smashed in.”From the stage at the carnival in Islamabad [May 12], while the dead and the dying were lying in the streets of Karachi, the president had thundered in similar style.While the dissenters were “brutally beaten down”, they continue to resist. The courage, honour and sacrifice of people like Asma Jehangir, Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir Malik, Ali Ahmad Kurd, Tariq Mahmood, Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry and his colleagues, and Imran Khan, have not only turned them into national heroes, but also inspired the tormented people of Pakistan to rise from their slumber. He will be surprised yet again.Like Field Marshal Paulus and his 6th German Army at Stalingrad, he has been encircled. But unlike Paulus, a safe passage may yet be made available to him.The writer is a retired brigadier of the SSG of the Pakistan Army.( The above piece was posted on "Dawn" newspapers' opinion page, of the Nov. 28th circulation.)
The Emergency Times

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your analogies but unfortunately they are false, Mush is NO HITLER and Jomistan is no Germany. He is more like an angry husband who is impotent in outside world and comes back home to torture hapless wife and kids, that is his country men. H e certainly uses or duplicates sa,e methods to stay in power. More aptly he is best described by following Punjabi joke
Once there was a person who bought a beautiful ring, no body would look at it. So the person burns the house to ground. When neighbours and sympathisers come for consolation, the person says oh everything burnt down but only this ring was saved.
In Musharraf's case that ring is his credentials in GWOT(AKA War on terror)and the burnt house is our dear country.