Posts Tagged ‘Ghulam Ishaq Khan’

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Pakistan needs Musharraf-EXCLUSIVE

September 15, 2009

Written by Mr. Ahmad Subhani

The then little known Pervez Musharraf, the Army Chief, emerged on the political horizon of Pakistan on October 12, 1999, by default, as circumstances forced him to take over the reins of the government The state of affairs prevalent at that time was extremely worrisome. Almost all state institutions had stood ruined. Economy, in particular, was in tatters—-Pakistan was on the verge of being declared a ‘ failed state’.

Since the year 1988, four notables of the country, who have held the reins of power are: Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari. Having gone through their tenures, a bird’s eye view account of their performance is given as under:–

Benazir and Zardari with Daphne BarakPPP leader, Benazir Bhutto, held the office of the prime minister twice—1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996. On both occasions, she was dismissed from office by the then Presidents on charges of corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged, that Benazir had a close friendship with Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and she had betrayed the Sikh cause by providing names of important Sikh leaders to the Indian Govt. As per press reports, in accordance with her negotiated power sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf, she was granted amnesty and by virtue of NRO, all charges against her, including amassing of mammoth ill-gotten riches, were withdrawn. Unfortunately, she was assassinated soon after her return to Pakistan in December, 2007. The oft-repeated claim of PPP, including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democracy in the country, is a complete hoax; she never conducted in-party elections—-nomination was the norm; she accepted life-Chairmanship of the party without any hesitation and in her “will”, she nominated her husband to be her successor, as if it was a dynastic rule. Democracy was thus confined merely to holding of general elections.

Nawaz SharifNawaz Sharif also held the post of the Prime Minister twice—-from 1990 to 1993 and from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he was dismissed by the President on charges of corruption, nepotism and incompetence. In 1999, he was ousted by the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf, when he tried to get rid of him by not allowing his plane to land anywhere in Pakistan Before that, Nawaz  got rid of former Army Chief, General Jahangir Kramat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He has often claimed of having promoted democracy, independent judiciary and freedom of press in the country. His” love” for “freedom of judiciary, reminds us of the attack by his cronies and goons on the Supreme Court in1997-98, where his   case of misconduct  was being heard .He repeatedly  acted against the spirit of democracy  by  enacting oppressive laws like,  “Ehtisab Accountability Law” and “Anti terrorism Act”. He curbed press freedom by promulgating “Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance 1977” Foreign Currency Accounts were frozen which  drastically undermined the domestic and foreigners’ confidence and led to withdrawal of 13 billion dollars from the FACS, in no time. All economic, social and security parameters had been relegated to their worst ever position.

Taking into consideration the period from 1988 to 1999, it is note-worthy that the “democratic” governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif held five elections during this period, but none of the governments could complete its term, mainly due the intolerance and undemocratic attitude of its leaders… Both the top leaders never accepted the results of the elections. Not only that, both of them accused each other of being “security risk” for the country. Under these trying circumstances, Pervez Musharraf assumed power on October 12, 1999 and as stated earlier, Pakistan was on the brink of disaster then. He accepted the challenge and with great effort and skilful handling, placed its derailed economy back on the track.

A leader is judged by what he delivers. Let us have an idea, what Pervez Musharraf has delivered in his 8-year stint in office. Pakistan economy grew by 100% to become $ 160 billion. Per Capita income grew by 100% to become $ 925. Foreign Reserves grew by 500 % to become $ 17 billion. Exports grew by 100% to become $ 18.5 billion. Direct Foreign Investment grew by 500% to become 8 billion. Poverty decreased by 10 % to become 24%.In 2006, Pakistan was the third fastest growing economy in the World and a preferred destination for investors. During his tenure, record number of projects were started and completed. Higher Education Sector budget that was mere Rs. 200 million in 1999, shot up to Rs.20 billion in 2007. During his tenure, Pakistan got out of IMF’s hold and its remarkable progress was acknowledged also by the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank. Few adverse factors too came into play near to the end of his reign, due mainly to worldwide food inflation and constant rise in international oil prices. Lapses on the part of Administration also partly contributed to this fiasco since it failed to control hoarding and smuggling of food items. In aggregate, Musharraf has done much more for Pakistan than anyone else had done ever.

General Pervez Musharraf-Saviour of PakistanAs regards his personal qualities, those who know him from close quarters would affirm that as a person, he is honest, straightforward, tolerant and humble. As a ruler, he has exhibited sterling qualities such as, statesmanship, courage, patriotism and incorruptibility. This explains why he has accomplished so much in so little a time. In common parlance, he is called a dictator, yet viewed in the light of his ways of working and behaving, he is far more democratic than most of his so-called democratic adversaries. In fact, it is his democratic policies that have made him unpopular. For instance, he granted un-fettered freedom to the media but media used its new-found freedom in making Musharraf its foremost target. He is he is the only dictator, who has fulfilled the promises he made; shedding of uniform, lifting of emergency, holding of free and fair elections and unconditionally accepting results of the elections. At present, he is the only living Pakistani leader known the World-over and is held in high esteem. He speaks in unequivocal terms with conviction.

Certain allegations have been levelled against him by his opponents. Of these, Kargel War episode, Dr. Qadeer Khan’s case and participation in War on Terrorism have been dealt with, at length, by Pervez Musharraf in his speeches and memoirs (In the Line of Fire). In Lal Masjid’s case, action taken by the Govt. was unavoidable as no Govt. worth its name, could tolerate repeated violations of its writ by miscreants, who persistently indulged in unlawful and immoral activities. In Chief Justice I. M. Chaudhry’s case, reference against him was filed by Musharraf with the Supreme Judicial Council on charge of misconduct involving illegitimate favours extended to his son. The Supreme Court issued a short order dismissing the reference, but the detailed judgment is still awaited! The said case against the C.J., was mishandled and was fully exploited by the politicized lawyers who resorted to street agitation etc. The lawyers’ movement was high jacked by the Opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League. Nawab Akber Bughti’s murder was a simple case blown out of all proportion. He was killed in a military action when Govt. repelled his sponsored terrorist activity launched by his followers who were destroying national assets like, Sui gas installations, railway tracks, bridges etc. Promulgation of PCO and NRO in November, 2007, has also been objected to. As admitted by Pervez Musharraf himself, the PCO issued was unconstitutional, and was rescinded. As for NRO, this was a conciliatory gesture initiated by the President, which, in fact, enabled the present ruling parties’ heavy weights to return from their self imposed exile from abroad and participate in the ensuing elections, which they readily did.

Pervez Musharraf resigned on August 18, 2008 and the PPP Co- Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari took over.The newly elected PPP Govt. has been in place for the last more than an year and a half. Its performance, under the custodianship of Zardari, can best be described as unmitigated disaster. All economic indicators that had been made positive during Mushrraf’s regime have turned negative. The economy has deteriorated so fast and to such an extent, that Pakistan has been declared as one of the failed states of the World. Sky rocketing inflation, ever mounting unemployment, rapidly deteriorating law and order situation , never ending energy crisis—lately joined by flour and sugar crisis, have all rendered the life of the common man miserable. The change of Govt. has proved catastrophic for the nation. This abysmal down slide is the cumulative effect of rampant corruption, all pervading nepotism, gross incompetence and worst governance. It appears that the attention and energies of the ruling class are exclusively focused on grabbing more and more power and pelf through all conceivable means. In this mad race, they have sidelined the masses, who are now being fed on false promises. For a common man, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The “begging bowl”, that was broken during Musharraf’s reign, has been resurrected and the Govt.’s emissaries are roaming all over the World seeking aid from every Tom, Dick and Harry. What a reversal of fortunes indeed! President Zardari is himself leading the charade nonchalantly and unabashedly. Moreover, he has miserably failed to live up to the expectations of the nation in all spheres of national activity.

Pervez Musharraf has on many an occasion, opened up his mind saying, that Pakistan is his first priority. If it is so, won’t he take care of his forlorn baby? Everybody realizes that the gigantic task ahead for resurrecting the country’s  devastated economy and rehabilitating its crippled institutions, is a far more difficult and exacting job now than was the case in 1999, yet a devoted and determined statesman like him, I am sure, has the acumen and capability to meet the challenges coming ahead, undauntedly. He is the only ray of hope for this forsaken nation. I trust, he will respond to this clarion call, at the earliest possible. Wish him God speed.

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PAKISTAN-A SHIP WITHOUT HELMSMAN

August 10, 2009

By Mr. Ahmad Subhani

sinking-shipISLAMABAD, Pakistan—How truthful it has been stated that, “before the creation of Pakistan, there was a statesman without a state; today there exists a state without statesmen. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the politician thinks of the next election, whereas the statesman thinks of the next generation; a politician looks for the success of his party, the statesman for that of his country. Lastly, a politician never means what he says and never says what he means, but a statesman says what he means and means what he says.”  The foregoing description truly mirrors the condition that has prevailed in Pakistan since its inception. Its founder, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a great statesman and acknowledged so by all those who knew him. The leaders that followed him fit in the description of ‘leader’ as given in the above quotation. Leaving aside the distant past, let us glance through the credentials of the current two major political contenders to the power, namely, Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League (Nawaz). Incidentally, both these parties have remained at the helm of affairs, twice in succession during the period 1988 to 1999. PPP is again in power since the year 2008. For brevity sake, I have ventured to recollect here only the salient features of their self-acclaimed “accomplishments” during their tenure to refresh the memory of worthy readers in this respect.

Late Benazir Bhutto, Chair-person of the Peoples Party held the reins of her office during 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1993 to 1996. She was dismissed from office by the then President primarily on the charge of corruption. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged that she had maintained close friendship with the Indian Prime Misnister, Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and had betrayed the ‘Khalsa Movement’ by providing names of important sikh leaders of the movement to the Indian Govt. In 1996, President Laghari dismissed her on charges of mismanagement, nepotism and corruption. In those days it was openly talked about that she and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari were robbers; though born with silver spoon in mouth, yet they looted and plundered the national treasury with both hands and transferred the looted money to their accounts in the foreign banks; also they had purchased property and assets worth billion of dollars abroad with the ill-gotten money.

The oft-repeated claim of P.P.P. leaders including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democratic culture in the country is a complete hoax. Apart from her persistent dictatorial stance in her day to day dealings with fellow countrymen that bordered on fascism, she never conducted in-party elections; nominations were the normal course of action. She readily accepted the life- chairmanship of the party without any qualms. Last but not the least, she in her “will”, nominated her husband to be her successor party chairman, as if this all was a dynastic rule. Thus democracy was confined to only holding of elections.

Coming to Nawaz Sharif, he held office of the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and then from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he was dismissed by the President on charges of corruption, nepotism and incompetence. In 1999, he was ousted by the then Army Chief, General Pervez Musharraf when Nawaz Sharif tried to eliminate him from the scene by not allowing the aircraft by which Musharraf was returning from Sri Lanka, to land any where in Pakistan. But for the timely intervention of the army the crash of the plane could not have been averted because the plane had run short of fuel and was not at all in a position to fly outside of Pakistan. In fact, it was the third attempt on the part of Nawaz Sharif  to have complete control  and hold over the destiny of the nation. Earlier on, he had  gotten rid of the former Army Chief, Gen. Karamat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by underhand means.

The  three “ achievements” of which Nawaz Sharif has been boasting here there and every where are promotion of :-1 Democracy ; 2 Independent Judiciary ;and 3 Freedom of Press. Let us examine this claim on the altar of ground realities. When talking of independence of judiciary, Nawaz’s confrontation with the judiciary readily comes to mind. In 1997, the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court held Nawaz Sharif in contempt of court for passing derogatory  remarks against him and other judges. This episode created a riot in the Supreme Court that eventually led to the Chief Justice’s resignation. Nawaz Sharif had unleashed his entire propaganda machinery to undermine independence of judiciary. He had no patience for independent judges and tried to replace those who disagreed with him. The judges under the political influence, used to pass the judgments first and hear the witnesses later. His political workers and goons physically attacked the Supreme Court, abused the judges and indulged in violence and made the judges flee the court room to save their lives. It, therefore, sounds amusing to hear from the “tamer of the democracy” that his “first order if he returns to power would be to restore the deposed judges.”

As for democracy, the champion of democracy repeatedly trampled the same by issuing draconian laws like “Ehtisab Accountability Law” under which a number of opposition leaders were arrested and detained on fake charges.  “Anti Terrorism Act” empowered the law enforcement agencies to kill a person on mere suspicion and conduct search operations without warrants. This turned the country into a police state. Military courts were set up for the trial of civilians. To reinforce his authority further and to ensure his rule for an indefinite period, a new Islamic order by imposing Shariat (15th Constitutional Amendment) was promulgated enabling him assume unbridled powers as “Amirul Mominin”. All this smacked of establishing ‘theocratic fascism’ in Pakistan.

He now talks of ‘press freedom’ which he tried to curb soon after his assumption of office as Prime Minister. by promulgating ‘Registration of  Printing Press and Publishing Ordinance 1977 which authorized magistrates and sub-inspectors to initiate action including forfeitures of newspaper copies without judicial review and restraint. This led to harassment and intimidation of journalists. Fundamental rights were suspended by imposing a state of emergency in the country, apparently aimed at freezing foreign currency accounts of the people which drastically undermined domestic and foreign investors’ confidence, an idea of which can be had from the fact that almost 13 billion dollars in the FCAS evaporated in no time. His claim to have left a peaceful and progressive Pakistan behind, is a cruel joke played on this nation. All economic social and security parameters had been relegated to the worst ever position when he left.

Finally,Pakistan’s history pertaining to the period from 1988 to 1999 and then since 2008 is a witness to the fact that Nawaz Sharif , Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari have proved to be the spoilers of democracy   and betrayers of peoples’ trust, hopes and aspirations. At present, no other leader of substance is visible who could steer the ship of the state out of the troubled waters to shores of safety. Ex.-President, Pervez Musharraf (1999—2008), did illuminate the dark horizon of our country for a while, when his stupendous efforts and pragmatic approach salvaged the sinking economy and put it on even keel. He brought about remarkable upturn in all spheres of national life and earned acclaim and approbation nationally and internationally. But certain crucial mistakes committed by him during 2007

Onwards which were blown out of all proportions and exploited to the hilt by his adversaries forced his exit from the scene. Now, no body can say when another rescuer like him would surface, to guide the destiny of this virtually lost nation to a successful and vibrant future.

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