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Lives Of Millions Are In Danger, But Rulers Are Busy In Power Game

By       Message Muhammad Khurshid     Permalink
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Rulers of Pakistan led by US President George W. Bush can rightly be held responsible for making this world as hell. Now innocent people mostly women and children are facing imminent threat, but they are still playing the power game. When their power game will end no one knows. It is not clear as who is ruling Pakistan. There is great confusion.

According to a comment of Dawn newspaper, as Pakistan’s security forces step up their military operation in the tribal areas, unsurprisingly the civilian population caught in the crossfire has been fleeing from the war-stricken zone. Although precise numbers are not available, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are believed to have been affected. With the war in Fata and Swat assuming a protracted character — Swat joined the fray in November last year whereas Waziristan had already become a battleground a year earlier — the displacement of local populations is becoming a way of life in the region that has periodically experienced the influx and exodus of refugees since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. But this does not minimise the human dimension of the phenomenon in any way. While war brings death, injury and destruction of property, the displacement that follows inflicts its own miseries on the people. Made homeless and deprived of their livelihood, the refugees have to brave physical hardship as well as the emotional trauma of having their social and family support system devastated.

Another comment of the same newspaper stated:

THE monumental political tussle over the exit of President Musharraf has gripped the nation and sparked frenzied, ever-changing speculation on the president’s fate. Some observations are in order. First, the president has clearly lost the moral right to stay in office. The four constituent provinces of the federation of Pakistan have spoken unanimously: they want President Musharraf to go. The votes required to impeach the president in a joint session of parliament appear to be firmly in the grasp of the ruling coalition. Talk of fomenting breakaway factions within the PPP, destabilising Sindh politically, and wooing independents in parliament to keep the president in office has proved far-fetched thus far. Second, the country continues to face severe governance crises. Inflation is at a record high, the rupee at a record low, the tribal areas and northern Pakistan are awash with militancy, suicide bombers have returned to strike terror in cities, relations with India are at their lowest point in years and the powers that be in Afghanistan have all but tried to hang the ISI. These challenges would test the strongest of governments at the best of times. Pakistan, of course, has no such luxury.

The guessing game is centred on what is being exchanged between the coalition leaders, the president and the parade of foreign interlocutors who have been wending their way through Islamabad. Speculation has mounted that the terms on which the president can make a graceful exit and be kept out of the hands of the politicians are being fought over. If indemnity for President Musharraf is the price that is being demanded for a quick end to the paralysing political crisis then the politicians should think hard about paying that price. Whatever the charges that the coalition can draw up against the president, from a historical perspective they can at least be matched by the sins of past leaders of this country. Politics of retribution at this critical time in Pakistan’s history would be a great disservice to the nation.

There is also a key unpredictable variable in this crisis: the Pakistan army. So far the army has remained neutral and not interfered in the political muckraking. This must be lauded. However, experience tells us that this will not last indefinitely. Institutional demands will push the army towards rescuing a beleaguered ex-chief if certain redlines are crossed. The question is: where does the army draw those redlines? As militants step up the campaign against security forces and India and Afghanistan rattle the security state complex of the establishment the army will necessarily be pushed into a defensive crouch, which may affect the tolerance it is willing to show for political instability. So given everything that is known — and unknown — the politicians must act decisively to end this crisis quickly.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also (more...)

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