Thuggish Generals, Corrupt Politicians And Judges Destroying Pakistan

Developing Just Leadership

Zia Sarhadi

Dhu al-Qa'dah 24, 1445 2024-06-01

News & Analysis

by Zia Sarhadi (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 4, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1445)

Image Source - Pixabay Free Content.

There is no light at the end of Pakistan’s long, dark tunnel. It gets darker with every passing day as the country edges closer to the brink. This is not something the country’s greedy generals and corrupt politicians and judge care about.

They live in a world detached from the grinding poverty that the vast majority of people are condemned to endure. Pakistan’s monumental failures are the direct result of the faulty policies of the ruling elite. There is no evidence that they want to change this because they are its beneficiaries.

The economy is in a tailspin, primarily because of army’s disastrous interference in politics. Without any legal authority, the generals insist that they alone must decide who is to be the country’s prime minister, president or even members of parliament. The notion of democracy has been turned into a farce.

If the generals had the ability to get the country out of its predicament, the people might have accepted their overbearing attitude. But they are not smart; on the contractor, they are dumb. The only reason they are able to indulge in illegal acts is because they have the guns. Like gangsters, they terrorise the people.

The economy is in such bad shape that repeated appeals to the IMF with the begging bowl have become a necessity. The financial body’s handouts come with strings attached. In the latest round of negotiations, the IMF has demanded that the government cut down expenditure and increase revenues through taxation.

Cutting expenditure means reducing development costs. Already low, this will translate into further reduction in services for ordinary people. Pakistan spends a paltry sum on health and education. Not surprisingly, the quality of both is extremely low.

The elite send their children to private schools where the medium of instruction is English. In state schools, teaching is in Urdu. Thus, two separate educational streams operate in society. The elite’s children also go abroad for further studies and upon return occupy top jobs in government or the private sector.

Such opportunities are not available to the children of poor people, the vast majority. The low quality of education means they end up in low-paying jobs, such as clerks. This environment automatically leads to corruption since everybody wants to earn more money, especially when they see the elite living a life of rapacious extravagance.

Pakistan’s other problem is that the elite—whether generals, politicians, bureaucrats, judges or industrial barons—pay no taxes. Instead, they get huge perks. These include free houses, an army of servants, free electricity, free vehicles and free fuel for their vehicles. These have continued from the days of the British Raj. Even American officials do not enjoy such privileges.

Pakistan’s official ceremonies are reflective of this lifestyle. When foreign diplomats present their credentials to the president, they are brought in a horse-drawn carriage. Guards dressed in colourful attire ride horses on either side. It resembles a circus with clowns dressed in multi-color costumes.

One wonders why such pomp and ceremony is necessary. The envoys know Pakistan’s pathetic state of affairs and the begging bowl mentality. They are not impressed by such protocol; they have contempt for the Pakistani elite.

During the 1997 trial of Aimal Kansi, accused of killing some Americans in Pakistan, the defence attorney said, “They [the Pakistanis] will turn in their mothers for $20,000.” A storm of protest erupted in Pakistan but the comment was correct.

The one person—Imran Khan—who wanted to change this situation and make the country stand on its own feet was removed from office. Then army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, on orders from the Americans, engineered a coup in parliament by bribing a number of parliamentarians to vote against Imran Khan. The ‘no-confidence’ vote overthrew his government on April 9, 2022 and plunged the country into one of its worst political and economic crises in its history.

As prime minister, Imran Khan had stabilized the economy. In his last year in office, it had registered GDP growth rate of 6.2%. Overseas Pakistanis sent in record amounts of remittances. These remittances exceeded exports earnings. The country was well on its way to recovery but this was neither acceptable to the Americans nor to their slaves in the military.

Imran Khan had to be removed because he refused to allow US military bases on Pakistani soil. For the generals, foreign military bases, especially given to the Americans, are their dollar pipeline.

The generals and their civilian puppets have developed other strange habits. They have all become pornographic film-makers. Making pornographic videos of politicians, judges and bureaucrats has become a booming business. These are used for blackmailing purposes.

On March 26, six judges of the Islamabad High Court wrote a letter to the Supreme Judicial Council seeking direction about how to deal with the brazen interference of intelligence agencies in judicial matters. The letter made other startling revelations: secret video cameras were found in the bedroom of one of the judges. Only the intelligence agencies are capable of such dirty works.

A copy of the letter was also sent to the chief justice, Qazi Faiz Issa. What did the ‘honourable’ judge do? Instead of taking the matter seriously, he met the army-installed prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif. He even met members of the intelligence agencies. Such outrageous behaviour should have led to his resignation. But in Pakistan, illegal acts by intelligence agencies are referred back to them for instructions.

There is another issue that the army is playing up: protests of May 9, 2023. Some people marched to the Corps Commander’s house in Lahore, the general headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and an airbase in Mianwalli. The army high command accused Imran Khan’s party members of indulging in vandalism. They have now gone further: that Imran Khan had instigated his supporters.

No evidence has been presented. Many observers view May 9 as a false flag operation designed to eliminate Imran Khan and ban his party. The Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI) founder and leader is languishing in jail on a slew of bogus charges.

There have been repeated calls for a judicial inquiry into the events of May 9. There are glaring contradictions in the army narrative. Many questions remain unanswered. First, why was there no security on the two-mile stretch of road leading to the Corps commander’s house? Under normal circumstances, even a bird cannot fly over it. The same question has been asked about lack of security at the GHQ.

It has also been alleged that people destroyed statues of martyred officers. This allegation is false. What is established is that at least 26 people were shot and killed that day. Who fired the shots and why these people were killed are questions that remain unanswered. Thousands of PTI workers and leaders were arrested and many are still languishing in jail.

The PTI leadership has also called for CCTV footage of that day to be presented in court. The identity of those involved in such acts could be determined. The army top brass refuses to provide the CCTV footage.

There are concerns that such footage may have been altered or destroyed. The generals insist that their allegations against Imran Khan and PTI must be accepted without question. Not accepting such allegations amounts to treason. It also means people are against the army, which is a ‘major sin’ in Pakistan.

On May 7, 2024 (two days before the May 9 anniversary), director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Ahmed Sharif thundered at a press conference that there can be no dialogue with the “perpetrators of May 9” unless they publicly apologize. He left no doubt as to who he meant by “perpetrators”. Two days later, the army chief, General Asim Munir made similar threatening remarks.

The thugs in uniform are incapable of fulfilling their own duty which is to guard the country’s borders from enemy forces. They are, however, quick to point accusing fingers at those who question their illegal interference in politics and economic policy.

It must be asked: were the events of May 9, 2023 the greatest calamity to befall Pakistan? Why has no general been held accountable for the criminal attack on the defenceless people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in March 1971? This led to the shameful surrender of the armed forces to the invading Indian army on December 16, 1971. Today, virtually the entire country is facing the army’s brutal attacks.

The generals and their civilian puppets are the real enemies of Pakistan. Unless they are banished, they will destroy the country completely.

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