REGIME CHANGE: REAL OR COSMETIC SURGERY

By: Brig.(R) Samson Sharaf

When we as Pakistanis discuss the partition of the sub continent and creation of Pakistan, we usually refer to the freedom movement led by both Congress and Muslim League in the backdrop of events within the united India and the Jinnah-Nehru rivalry. We also ignore to shut our eyes to the reality that despite a sustained freedom struggle, Jinnah’s Pakistan has remained elusive due to the instability created by various power houses within and outside Pakistan’s politic body.

By 1951, most of the die hard and ideological supporters of Jinnah had become back benchers, others left for India and those who dared became traitors or got the lead clad in copper. The entire construct of Pakistan as an equal opportunity and democratic republic evaporated in the heat of political machinations exploited by elites and zealots who themselves were never the vanguard of Jinnah’s movement. By 1956, the army as the strongest institution was hobnobbing with USA and in 1958 in full grip of political power. This political seesaw has continued without addressing the factors of perennial political instability; except that all interventions notwithstanding military or political have served to secure great power interests while compromising Pakistan’s strategic equilibrium and political institutions.

Though most Pakistanis recognize and acknowledge the foreign intervention factor, none dilate that this same factor could have had an effect on the creation and future of Pakistan, evidently so because such research does not help our process of inventive nationalism and distortion of history. Had the bull be taken by the horns then, our generation of Pakistanis and the one before us would have evolved a modern and prosperous Pakistan.

History suggests that at the end of WW II, USA having emerged as the greatest military, economic and maritime power was not interested in dividing India. However due to relentless pressure of Jinnah and Nehru’s rejection of the Cabinet Mission Plan, it was not possible for Britain to deny freedom to India through partition. It was also in their interests to create a Muslim buffer between the godless communism and rapidly growing relations between the congress, USSR and China. Hence Pakistan was given freedom with a bleeding Kashmir wound and the containing Radcliffe Award drawn not by Mountbatten as the common perception is but by Frank Wavell who handed him a map cutting across the Indus River System. The controversies thus created would ensure that Pakistan does not grow beyond a certain point and coalesce with other Muslim neighbors to challenge imperial interests. Britain’s Afghan Policy with obsession of CARS could be pursued through a containment front that ultimately served the British and US interests in the 80s.  This remains the constant road map; and hence the interchangeability of military interventions and political instability.

Ayub Khan’s intimate relations with USA not only allowed him to modernize the armed forces but also urged him to become the first military dictator of Pakistan. Yet when he began to say, ‘Friend not Masters’ it needed a price hike in sugar to remove him through another military man who presided over the partition of Pakistan.

When Bhutto coalesced too close to the Saudis and Iranians to make an Islamic Union, challenge the world through an oil embargo, settle Durand Line with Afghanistan and nuclearise Pakistan, he was sent to the gallows by another military man harvested in the killing fields of Jordan.

The man who served US interests so well in the Mock Afghan Jihad was blown up in air because he too had begun to harbor notions of a greater Ummah and Islamic Bomb.

Benazir was thrown out twice not because she was corrupt but for supporting Pakistan’s Nuclear Development much beyond the point her father had envisioned and bringing political stability to a war torn Afghanistan by cajoling Mullah Umar and Taliban. She was murdered because it was impossible to kill the Bhutto in her.

General Pervez Musharraf was forced to resign not because he wanted but because he was accused of playing a double game by USA. He was guilty of not doing enough.

If this be the precedence, empirically what is next?

The print and electronic media is rife with conspiracy theories about the winds of change. There are at least five lists being circulated by aspirants, technocrats and fly by night reformers. Most pundits due to obvious reasons rule out a conventional military intervention. Some theorists are pointing towards a military backed political change with the objective to eradicate corruption and usher good governance. There are still others who pray that the change takes place constitutionally in light of various Supreme Court Judgments and their defiance by the government. Yet there are diverse dreamers who wish to re revamp the entire system through a revolution and either return to Jinnah’s Dream or a Talibanised Emirate.

Having been a keen and critical student of Pakistan’s political sociology, allow me to comment that that if a change does take place, it shall only be cosmetic. In view of many skeletons in the cupboard, only the pawns will perish and Pakistan will continue to serve other’s interests but its own.

As ever, I also pray that if a constitutional change does take place, it pursues the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. This wish is not asking the moon.

(Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a Political Economist).

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Comments

  • Idrees  On September 26, 2010 at 9:22 am

    SS,
    Substantively correct. Thanks for illuminating the forum.
    id

  • Saleem  On September 26, 2010 at 10:52 am

    “I believe this article is so meaningful. It reflects the true reality of Pakistan saga”

  • Laila  On September 26, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The instruments of change are the national institutions, such as the judiciary, armed forces, media and civil society. That have previously struggled to demolish dictatorship and established the democratic order. And now stand together to play their role and provide safeguards to the democratic order. Although the judiciary had given its verdict on the NRO on December 16, 2009, the government has gone slow in its implementation, to the extent, of being defiant. More so, the court has shown patience and did not invoke Article 190 of the constitution, as was expected. Rather, the court chose to use other options available and ordered the Inspector General of Police to take the two NRO beneficiaries, Brig (retd) Imtiaz and Adnan Khawaja, behind bars and also ordered the Law Secretary and Attorney General to request the Swiss Court to appraise the reality with respect to the pending case.
    The process of change, thus, has set in to correct the course. Step by step it would demolish all the obstacles, which had stood in the way of implementation of the court orders. In this process of cleansing, Parliament has to play its due role and so has the opposition, which had become irrelevant for playing to the gallery. The Pakistani nation, today, stands at the crossroads holding its breath, while the national institutions, having galvanised themselves into action, are poised for their role. None can dissuade, nor detract them from the delicate path they have to tread, in order to bring about the much needed change.
    Miracles have occurred in the past and they can occur even now. The defeat of the two superpowers in Afghanistan at the hands of the Afghan freedom fighters, within a short period of three decades, is the miracle of the century.
    Which way will the Judiciary go?
    Will it stand by an honest solution or stumble along the way?

  • Raheel Dogar  On September 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Politics is always about perception.
    Did Nero actually fiddle as Rome was burning? Who knows. The picture only symbolizes a perception of a public figure and becomes part of political lexicon.
    It is truly unfortunate that in the six decades long history of Pakistan, people have danced on the streets whenever a government – democratic or not – has been toppled. I suspect that when Zardari ends his presidency, the reaction will be the same. We should all cry for Pakistan.

  • Summaya  On September 26, 2010 at 11:15 am

    For the last 40 years Bhutto s and now in laws and grand daughter are bluffing Pakistan in the name of Poverty , Injustice etc etc…………..etc.
    Get rid of them , Pakistan will be a better place.This includes the blubbering niece Fatima Bhutto.Ask her the geography, history of Pakistan ?
    “Different faces but same game”

  • Nelson Alfred  On September 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Pathological Politics’ indicates that individuals not only prefer people of their own ethnic stock, culture, religion, language, nationality and so on, and dislike and despise those belonging to other groups. Which derives not from some natural propensity, but because a host of negative historical, socio-economic and cultures facts converge to create a hostile milieu in which individuals and groups, embedded in thick social webs and networks, get trapped? And mostly in such situations give birth to the politics of reaction. Reaction is then used in a double sense: as a mechanical action-reaction relationship as well as an unenlightened mode of thinking and behaving towards one another by two or more ethnic groups or states. This will mostly result from conflicts within state boundaries or as reactions to happenings in another state. Typically minorities—ethnic, religious, sectarian or linguistic—become the main targets of state-tolerated or state-sanctioned discrimination and violence. In terms of relations between two or more hostile states, pathological politics manifests itself in state-sanctioned ultra-nationalism, promotion of terrorism across borders, and bellicose postures.
    Politician Institution were always weak, since the beginning and were further bulldozed by the sacking of Badshah khan,s ministry in NWFP in fact the first unconstitutional act and given the taste of power to Army as being the sole and only disciplined and organized institution. The army power was reinserted in 1953, after the violent anti-Ahmadiyya riots took place in Punjab in which several hundred lives were lost and considerable Ahmadiyya property was destroyed. The masterminds behind those riots were politicians from the ruling Muslim League seeking to challenge the ruling faction within the party. In 1974, the Islamic socialist Zulfikar Ali Bhutto played the anti-Ahmadiyya card again in the hope of extending his populist constituency into the stronghold of the doctrinal-minded Islamic parties of Pakistan. Consequently, when General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq seized the reigns of power in July 1977 by toppling Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a bloodless coup, a long tradition of relying on Islam to define national identity and the rights of citizens was already in place.
    I am sure it is in the long run interest of Pakistan to give army forces a constitution role and this will help the country a lot , as politician have proves time and again, they are immature as infantile to rule and make Pakistan a strong country. Till the army is not given its acquired role all the changes are nothing but Cosmetics.

  • Sayyadain Zariff  On September 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Samon Sharaaf has logically described the historical events in shaping the destiny of this Country. SZ

  • KHAN ZIA  On September 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    ‘It was also in their interests to create a Muslim buffer between the godless communism and rapidly growing relations between the congress, USSR and China. Hence Pakistan was given freedom with a bleeding Kashmir wound and the containing Radcliffe Award drawn not by Mountbatten as the common perception is but by Frank Wavell who handed him a map cutting across the Indus River System’.

    Historical facts do not support this contention. After publication of the Transfer of Power Documents (12 vols.) we now know, with considerable certainty, of what transpired at the time of Partition. If you wish to know the details, you may like to take a look at chapters 7 and 8 of the recently published book Pakistan: Roots, Perspective and Genesis (available at Ferozesons). Among other things these contain personal recollections of British characters who were privy to the proceedings as well as the respective roles played by Wavell and Mountbatten.

    Lord Wavell’s full name was not Frank but ‘Archibald Percival Wavell’.

    • Samson Sharaf  On September 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

      Sir,
      Sorry for the typo error.
      Radcliffe was a plan for a smaller Pakistan. Can you deny that. If it was, what were the compulsions?
      A writer such as me never dwells in conspiracy theories. After all I have to be accountable to history.
      I know I have opened a pandora’s box with a conviction that the debate will get us close to Jinnah’s Pakistan.

      Regards

    • sharafs  On September 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Zia,
      Radcliffe was a plan for a smaller Pakistan. Can you deny that? If it was, what were the compulsions? Is it not a mystery? These volumes say nothing about it, nor do historians describe how the Kashmir war began and who were its architects. Do They?

      Surely the map that went into Mountbatten’s office never came out. The Radcliffe Boundary map shown after the award had military style markings. Sir Zafar Ullah was flabbergasted. Islamic zealots now call him a traitor.

      Why did Jinnah who single handedly won Pakistan become so powerless after his 11 August speech and died on the roadside gasping for air?

      A Godforsaken place like Ziarat where people like us on a visit carry our own first aid box; health resort of Jinnah?

      A writer such as me never dwells in conspiracy theories. After all I have to be accountable to history.

      I know I have opened a pandora’s box with a conviction that the debate will get us close to Jinnah’s Pakistan and bring out realities. Once that happens, our question of NATIONHOOD will reach its logical conclusion.

  • Salman Abbasy  On September 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Samson Simon Sharaf’s very provocative reading of Pakistan’s history pokes a finger in every major player’s eye. Alas, a constitutional change that pursues the aspirations of the people of Pakistan is, indeed, asking for the moon. The good brigadier calls to mind the American author and conservationist, Edward Abbey, who declared: “The purpose and function of government is not to preside over change but to prevent change. By political methods when unavoidable, by violence when convenient.”

    • Samson Sharaf  On September 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      This is what a very senior Pakistani and a war hero has to say.
      [Dear Brig.

      We have corresponded earlier and I feel no need for an introduction. I agree with your analysis and outlook. My tribute on your consistent patriotic exhortations.

      If I may, I like to mention that ZAB was a kind friend to me and made that very clear during some critical moments of my career in the PAF. Yet that was it! This was inclusively personal, no more. His political philosophy was an anathema for me, especially his methods to achieve his goals. I saw the Lucifer in him from very close. That was his nemesis.

      His daughter was extremely close to my brother prof. Bunyad Haider (a world renowned cardiologist and Chair as well as head of medicine of NJ university of medicine n dentistry)and his wife Shama Haider.she was very close to them till her end. I had great hope in her when she returned in Zia tyranny eon. I made some efforts to influence her conduct through her mother, but unsuccessfully. Later I went against her furiously after i saw evidence of massive and unethical corrupt ways she chose. My book Flight of the Falcon makes reference to her antics. Did you have a chance to see this book? I have indelible proof of what I say. Zardari indeed was the prime catalyst but that was just an element not the whole. So I take the liberty to share my knowledge as mere information for you. You will inexorably make your own judgement.
      Also on the nuclear issue I believe she was not inviolable and had to coalesce to the US diktat for her own survival. Friends in corridors of power had told me she would have played differently but had to placate the real power controlling the Nuke policy to keep on track. She could not capitulate to the western agenda without risking her chair. So she lived and misruled in a catch-22 stigma. Her coup de grace was owing to massive corruption and its natural corolory, mis governance. She had no real respect for honesty, democracy or the suffering masses. It was political melodrama to fool the simple, ignoramus of Pakistan. A modus operandi of Nawaz clan , ANP etc. adopted during their pillage.
      I hope we can meet one day soon and I can learn some. I especially like to introduce you to the greatest fighter bomber pilot/ commander of fighting men, one of the bravest and inextricably humble commander of men despite his indomitable courage and unmatched performance in peace and especially redoubtable achievements in both wars. This true Christian son of Pakistan and Hero incomparable goes by the name of A.Cdre. Nazir Latif with an Sj and SBt; son of the famous psychologist, Ist PHD in 40s, professor Dr. Latif who taught us at FC college in the last year of 40s.

      If you already know him that is great and I would have shared my tribute to a true hero who became victim of a stray bullet during an evening walk and lost his right eye and later suffered a stroke owing to pre- mature extraction of the bullet. But true to his legend he stands firm and optimistic about life without trepidation or remorse, which is a matter of great pride for me and his friendship a great honour. This may sound a bit out of track but I have wanted to tell you about this great Christian officer since we communicated first time.
      Meanwhile, Pakistan is haemorrhaging morally, spiritually (to lie is a norm, truth too offensive and irritable) economically, and national suffering is beyond comprehension as is the magnitude of corruption of Prez, PM, Malik, awan and a thousand thieves in the mob’ led by monsterous mobsters sitting in NA, PAs and especially the gangsters in the senate. Only a matamorphosis in the political culture through ‘Cleansing’ can just about clear the acrid air for a new start for revival of human dignity and national sovereignty, both demolished over last 63 years. Nothing short of it, such as mid term election under a quisling judicial election officials would bring even whif of change from the odious environ prevading. Vultures like Sharif brothers and cabal, the Munafiq Maulvis, Altaf the impostor ét all await in the cue with Scions hanging in close. Plastic surgery will take away even the minuscule sensitivity that might exist for Hope.

      So what is the solution?

      The SC with army as the stern vanguard to defend people from rape, extortion and vulgar exploitation. And a man of justice Corneleus and Asghar Khan’s legacy of integrity to head the election commission and monitor its conduct. Every politician who has held any chair to power, his kith and kin, all of them disqualified in perpetuity. Instant and unhesitating land reforms including the generals, air marshals and admirals. NRO verdict stingiently executed and the beneficiaries (8000 plus, but Salman farooqui having run away makes one less) sent to prison for long enough for Pakistan to be taken off the beggars’ ventilator. That’s a tall order, utopian you may say but these are extra extra ordinary times and critical mass has been crossed without a whimper from the suffering masses or the so called intelligentsia. It requires most radical and brutal but unrelenting bludgeoning of prevailing system and its perpetrators. This can start Only if people start walking the track, God will show them the road to a hopefully liberal, egalitarian and just Pakistan. Just to interpret egalitarian as all humans are equal is moot because every individual is different even twins. Each behaves and his wants differently. That is the law of nature but it is equal rights and retribution which is the crying need of the hour. It is possible to achieve. It needs collective courage not emotional frenzy raisers. The current imbroglio by the corrupt to uphold NRO and denigrate the SC verdict may just be the faint beacon of light Providence may be showing to the hapless people to March towards!!

      All the same, I respect what you perceive and predict. ]

  • Rahim Gul  On September 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    What Brigadier (R) Samson Sharaf has revealed in this article, reminded me, when on GEO TV, in a political debate, Dr Mubasher Hassan, while commenting on the remarks of a Rtd General in the discussion, said that you military men do not dare to condemn your Generals wrong doings when you are in service, and instead blindly follow his dictation to save personal interests at the cost of national one which under the oath you are supposed to defend the national one first. Even in this writing he has not clearly mentioned the real culprits and has used the word various power houses within and out side Pakistan. This is the point when we the ordinary citizens, in other words, AWAM, are disappointed when see them hiding the real culprits, even after retirement, protecting post retirement benefits, despite the fact that they are well aware of them as is seen in the content of this post. In one way this is encouraging that national awareness about the main cause behind prevailing storming situation around them and slogans for a revolutions are emerging therefore these confessions by the insider will certain more clarify one’s vision of the real culprits and in fight for survival of the motherland the real sons will be in a position to hit where it is. This is not our fate but it has been made our fate. We have all qualifications for becoming a sovereign and respectable nation of the world and we are capable of adding to the world peace and being a gateway between the East and West can become a bridge to narrow the gaps between human beings all over the globe. We are the hub of whole world’s commercial activities if we changed our past. So I hope Mr Samson, that today we have a time to call spade a spade but tomorrow it will not be of any use and will prove a shame for the true sons.

  • Tarun  On September 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Creation of Pakistan was a mistake-now you guys will see it going for a six because of dirty politicians.
    WHAT change can U expect?
    With the crop of smelly politicians U guys have!

    • Ratan Singh  On September 26, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      Ballay Ballay spoken correctly Tarun.
      Jai Ram Ji Ki!

  • FM  On September 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

    A wishful thinking which will not see the light at the end of tunnel. Pakistan lacks social justice which denies all such things to happen. One looks good to be an academic but ground reality matters only which is totally different in Pakistan. Wait and see as to what happens to so called constitutional change?
    FM

  • Rupee News  On September 27, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Islamabad ‘Tabdeeli’ means firing all NRO-Tainted officials
    LAHORE – The federal government has, at last, reached the decision to fire the ministers and other high officials who have been NRO-beneficiaries.

    Per reports, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reacting to reports of “Tabdeeli” (change in the government), has started working on the strategy of survival by firing the NRO-tainted minister. He is engaged in serious deliberations over the matter during the last 48 hours.

    Federal Minister for Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Jatoi’s controversial news conference left everybody in the government stunned.

    Well-informed sources say that PM Gilani has apparently succeeded in convincing the President that the pressure exerted by the media about “change of government” can be deflected if NRO-tainted ministers are shunted out.

    The proposal includes the the formation of a new cabinet.

    Political circles are of the view that the coming 48 hours are very important in connection with the changes in the cabinet.

    Some ministers have already written their resignation, the sources said.

    It is also being said that the termination of some envoys and high-level officers whose names are present on the list of the NRO beneficiaries is also part of the plan.

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On September 27, 2010 at 11:32 am

    @Tarun & Ratan..I always see you both sitting on our neighborhood wall like that black couple of hungry Hackle & Jackle in waiting to dive and snatch away that leftover piece of our shit waste. My Friends, Keep sitting and keep us amused but your raucous crys for us are as nauseating as like that fumes out of scattered filth and heaps of garabbage spread like culture all over your country. With cheap seducing bollywood propagation no matter how facinatly you cover your filthy stinky pillows but your mindset utterances reflect the stink of the environment you live in. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal on highways and streets of your mega cities are so cultural that has now exposed fully to the world through Common Wealth Games.

  • Zaheer Abbas  On September 27, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Dear Yasmeen,
    Let us hope that your generation will succeed where the previous generations of “people” have failed. I say people because people create politicians, in our case by being passive. That is also a form of dishonesty and we are seeing the results. Go back to the time when ideological supporters of Jinnah were in power and play forward. You will see repeated instances of the same story every 10 years or so. The same film is played changing the actors (heroes and villains), play back singers, with picture and sound quality improvement every time.
    In this remake, the crew and spectators were all guilty by association.
    How many more remakes?

  • Jehanzeb  On September 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    An interesting scenario but far fetched in practical manifestation of Super Power ambitions and reach.The Military in Pak has always been the preferred partner for US Govt relations over the immature and fickle political leadership.The problems arose when Military dictators transgressed their authority and looked at becoming saviours of the Muslim Ummah (Zia) and later Strategic Depth (Musharraf) in Afghanistan.
    The US was in Afghanistan not of its own choice but by the Soviet invasion in 1979, and subsequently as a result of 9/11 and the Talibans rule.We only exploited these opportunities as a narrow window to siphon of millions of dollars and buy time for reaching the delicate stage of weaponisation of our nuclear capability. Which the US granted by giving yearly waivers, which knowingly they quietly acqueised to this capability of ours. If the US had wanted to remove this capability, a golden opportunity was provided after 9/11, when India offered her military bases for strikes againgst not only Afghanistan but rogue Pakistan as well.
    We need to ponder about a post Afghanistan scenario, and the damning affects of dire economic state and fast eroding political stability.Instead of finding negative assymetry from geo-political situations (Afghanistan) and Kashmir, we need to ponder seriously as a nation the positive aspects of Pakistan, within a comity of friendly nations in South Asia, where all benefit from the rapidly changing strategic environment. If we fail, we will only prove the believers that Pakistan did not deserve to remain in a comity of nations and as a rogue state needs to be absorbed by its neighbours.

    With Best Regards & Wishes
    Brig Jehanzeb Raja

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