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Only Musharraf Is Reponsible For Mess In Pakistan?

By       Message Muhammad Khurshid     Permalink
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There will no denying the fact that situation in Pakistan is very very critical. The imposition of emergency further aggravated the situation.  It is only natural that Pakistan is in a deep crisis as it is a frontline state in the war on terrorism. There will be lot of people who will disagree with the statement that imposition of emergency is the right step of President Pervez Musharraf, but no can deny the fact that he has played a vital role in war against terrorism.

Actually, the situation in Pakistan is very critical and no one can decide who is right and who is wrong. So throwing blame on Musharraf for all the ills may be wrong. He has a large team of people who have been a part in running the administration and must rightly be held responsible as well. There must be accoutability of all the officials.

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According to a leading newspaer: President General Pervez Musharraf says he will hold the elections in February in 2008. It is also hoped that he will quit the office of the Chief of Army Staff in the coming weeks, unless he wants more trouble on the roads and a cut in US military assistance to Pakistan. He is supposed to have promised to lift the Emergency in a fortnight after setting up a caretaker government in Islamabad. But in the mean time, why on earth is he leashing a wave of oppression that is bound to hurt Pakistan’s capacity to bounce back from the crisis?

Two processes are unfolding together in Pakistan: the oppression of the warlords activated by Al Qaeda in the “lost territories” of Pakistan, and the oppression unleashed by the Musharraf regime pretending to fight the onslaught of Al Qaeda. The latest news from Waziristan is that a well-known Shia personality has been gunned down. This is a part of the sectarian violence that Al Qaeda commits in the territories it captures. Earlier, Shias among the captured Pakistani troops were casually beheaded while the Sunnis were returned. In the Shia-majority Parachinar in the Kurram Agency, suicide-bombers have been killing indiscriminately.

The Talibanised territories see other evidence of oppression too. Women’s schools and colleges are first warned to close down, then blown up because women are neither allowed to come out of their houses alone nor to educate themselves. This trend has now spread to Afghanistan where the new regime is trying to reopen girls schools shut down by the Taliban when they ruled there. As far as Herat, girls are now staying home because their schools are under threat. That is what is happening in Pakistan too. Men too are under pressure. No one can shave his beard or can neglect to say his namaz and keep his shop open after the prayer call has been given.

On the other front, we recall how President General Pervez Musharraf justified his rule after 2001 by proclaiming that he would save Pakistan from the wave of oppression triggered by the gathering of a scattered Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas. He talked of rolling back of the effects of fundamentalist Islam spread in Pakistan during the jihad in Afghanistan. He talked of enlightened moderation so that he could count on the support of the moderate-liberal elements scared of the conversion of Pakistan into a state of warlords bent upon medievalising Pakistani society. And, although violence increased in Pakistan under his watch, he was trusted to become the bulwark of Pakistan’s real identity. He had the parliament backing him and he had the military working under him.

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But analysts inside and outside Pakistan noted his lack of success in coping with the rising tide of the clerical power that welcomed the Al Qaeda incursion. He was singularly unsuccessful in removing the markers of an extremist identity from the state of Pakistan because the politicians who backed him in parliament refused to support him. He expected that the moderate-liberal elements in Pakistan would back him without him making an effort to put together a credible liberal coalition at the centre. But as violence increased, including attempts on his own life, he kept on rejecting all possibility of reaching out to the political parties whose leaders were in exile. He let a majority of the secular-liberal parties come under the banner of Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and was not perturbed by the fact that a polarity between him and the idea of democracy was being set up.

As military operations failed in Waziristan, the world outside supporting him with concessional trading regimes and military aid began to worry about his ability to carry on his mission against extremism. On top of his dwindling record of success came the elections 2008 and he once again failed to put together all the political elements that would have helped him save the country from the onslaughts of Al Qaeda’s hard Wahabi Islam in its annexed territories. His blunders in dealing with an activated judiciary finally brought upon the country the dreaded condition of Emergency which is actually a kind of martial law complete with a PCO that allows him to change the Constitution at will.

Today General Musharraf has set up his own parallel regime of oppression matching the one initiated by Al Qaeda in the Tribal Areas. The people of Pakistan are being squeezed by two oppressions because they have tested the general in his liberal campaign and no longer believe that he can push back the hordes of Al Qaeda and restore the lost territories to Pakistan as they knew it. In fact he is busy assaulting the very segments of society that wish to take the country back to the kind of moderate governance it had before extremism took over. He is arresting members of political parties and human rights workers protesting the Emergency because they hold that the Emergency will not help in countering Al Qaeda; it will only curtail their rights and punish them for the failures of a ruler who is coming closer to the end of his tether.

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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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