The bomb blast at a hotel in Peshawar, the capital of NWFP, Pakistan, in which several innocent people were killed has saddened all the people. Terror and fear gripped the whole province and adjoining tribal areas as they have been anticipating more attacks in the near future. As always happens, the rulers of the province have declared the attack as the reaction to President Musharraf's suppot to war on terrorism launched by the United States.
NWFP Law Minister Malik Zafar Azam told reporters that it was a suicide attack. “I myself saw the suicide bomber’s two legs inscribed with two messages, one in Pushto and the other in Persian. The message written in Pashto warned that those spying for America would face the same consequences.”
But majority of the people consider that such of type statement as an attempt of the rulers to absolve themselves of their responsibility.
The situation in Pakistan has been worsening with each passing day, but the rulers are still busy in loot and plunder. They have just been playing politics.
According to a newspaper comment, nearly one year after the threat of the banned organisation Tehrik Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi (TNSM) reappeared in Mingora, Swat, the security forces are gathering in this area of the NWFP and Bajaur in FATA to face down the Pakistani Taliban of Sufi Muhammad and his son. Police used tear-gas, batons and fired shots in the air to disperse TNSM supporters in Kabal on Monday. The real trouble is to come on May 20 when the TNSM plans to stage a rally against the government to demand the release of its founder, Sufi Muhammad, who was jailed in 2002.
TNSM first scared the NWFP government in the early 1990s into enforcing sharia in the Malakand region. Then it went to Afghanistan to fight the Americans in 2001 and got decimated. Last year Sufi Muhammad’s son, Fazlullah, began his FM radio-haranguing of the population and made them break their TV sets. Through this illegal use of the radio he has hypnotised the people and makes them indulge in vandalism. Last year, in all the key towns of Swat district, except Kalam, the TNSM held special programs setting on fire hundreds of TV sets, VCDs and CDs in its “war against obscenity and vulgarity.
The people have been demanding action against Taliban, but there are some officials within the government who have been supporting them.
The politics in Pakistan has been taking a new turn as President General Pervez Musharraf and politicians have logged in a battle which has been ruining the already crippled system. A local newspaper in editorial comments stated Qazi Hussain Ahmad, President of Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), has done what was feared by those who would have President General Musharraf president for another five years. He has filed a constitutional petition at the Supreme Court challenging the tenure of General Musharraf as army chief. The honorable Supreme Court is already going through the tortuous routine of setting up a full bench to hear the reference pertaining to its chief, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is a potential victim of General Musharraf’s bid to remain all powerful. Now, in another example of political matters finally ending up with the judiciary, the judges are going to be on tenderhooks.
Qazi Hussain Ahmad has filed the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, maintaining that General Musharraf attained the age of superannuation in August 2003 and should not have continued his army job thereafter. He holds that the president has been violating the law and service rules by addressing public rallies and has sought the court to issue an order against General Musharraf’s tenure as the army chief. Needless to say, the entire gamut of “legal objections” being aired in the national press by jurists and experts will come up for scrutiny. The argument will start from the fact that in 1999 the Supreme Court granted General Musharraf indemnity till he held elections in 2002. Thereafter the elected parliament passed the 17th Amendment giving him further exemptions.
One key issue relates to the oath laid down in the constitution for military personnel, which disallows them to take part in politics. The Supreme Court justified the assumption of power by General Musharraf in the judgment delivered in May 2000. Does this mean that this oath has become ineffective for General Musharraf for all times to come? If he continues as the army chief, can he be a presidential candidate? If he retires now, will the two-year restriction on a military person’s taking part in politics apply to him? This is another bunch of questions that has been occupying the minds of the people in Pakistan.
We know that the MMA provided him the grounds to carry on after 2004, the year he had publicly chosen as his last year in double harness. After that, the opposition has abstained from going to the Supreme Court out of a sense of pique, but there is enough legal pretext here to elicit the court’s opinion. Despite the law passed by the current parliament to allow General Musharraf to continue in his position for a specified period, some constitutional provisions provide ample opportunity to raise the presidential election issue.
The rulers have been playing politics ignoring worsening condition in the county. There have been a series of suicide attacks in NWFP in the last six months. A suicide bomber blew himself up at an army recruitment center in Dargai on November 13, 2006, killing 42 recruits. In another major attack on January 28, 2007, 16 people including seven were police officials were killed in Peshawar. And on April 28, 28 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in an apparent attempt to kill Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao in Charsadda.
The people of tribal areas have demanded of the United States to exert pressure on Pakistan to ensure security of the people. The rulers must fulfil their responsibility.