17
Jan
13

The Military, PPP and Pakistan

published at the Express Tribune

The demands by the Hazara community in Quetta for the military to take control have baffled the nation’s top analysts who insist that the Protest-Sit-in-Quetta5-Jan12military, ISI and the Frontier Corps are committing genocide in Baluchistan. Strictly sticking to the facts, Pakistan’s military is garrisoned in Quetta, it is not deployed hence it is not out there abducting and slaying people as claimed. It is only the FC that is deployed in Baluchistan and terrorists captured by the FC are usually released by the courts. Only after regressive steps were taken to strip the FC of its powers in Baluchistan did terrorist attacks increased multifold. The massacre of Hazaras on Jan 11th has led the government to reinstate the FC with authority and furnish them with police powers for 2 months.

I recently had an opportunity to interview the DG-ISI, Lt General Zaheerul Islam, where he mentioned that there is an insurgency in Baluchistan and for any insurgency to succeed the law enforcement agencies have to be made ineffective. During the British colonial rule, Baluchistan was divided in A and B areas, the former were directly controlled by the British and the latter through Balochi Sardars. This continued after Pakistan’s independence until General Pervez Musharraf converted the B areas (almost 95 percent of Balochistan) into A. Hence, maintenance of law and order of the majority of the province was handed over to the police instead of the levies who mostly served the interests _51449589_pakistan_baloch_quetta_0810of the Sardars. However, in 2010 the now sacked Chief Minister of Baluchistan converted A areas back into B and the police was withdrawn from 240 plus stations. This move made the first responders, the police ineffective and led to the militant outfits including the Taliban to reorganize in the area. These groups did not face much of a challenge from the levies, who neither had the training or the resolve for such a situation. The second response consists of the FC who have been put on the defensive since the issue of the missing people was raised. After the enforcement agencies in Baluchistan were successfully hindered, violence raged on in the province uncontrolled.

Flag_of_Pakistan_Peoples_PartyMuch as our analysts assert that the military is scheming to take over the country and derail the democratic process rest assured that the military is content on the sidelines observing the political circus. The PPP government has managed to destroy public institutions like the PIA, Railways, Steel mills and the energy sector. Average GDP growth rate during the past four years has been the lowest in the history of Pakistan’s economy and per the IMF, the country’s debt is not sustainable without foreign help.

The 2013 elections will not unleash any substantial political tsunamis because the PPP will likely win the “democratic” election simply due to its ability to secure large numbers of seats in the National Parliament. A democracy should empower the people rather than elect corrupt illiterate politicians and their brood over and over again. Thus, till a radical shift takes place, Pakistan is doomed to nose dive into oblivion. Militancy has opened the door to non state actors that have eroded the writ of the government in external and internal affairs. Furthermore, it has led to b1sectarian cleansing as was witnessed in Baluchistan. The clerics, with their hold on the rural areas have not used their authority to contain violence and have instead been instrumental in preaching hatred. If the cleric is not contained, sectarian divides will keep the country in a near state of civil war. The Judiciary, on the other hand, has yet to punish a single terrorist. Without addressing cases through some oversight office such as an independent supreme judicial commission, the judiciary will remain heavily influenced and corrupt forcing the people to seek justice through other means. Likewise, the police have to be depoliticized and granted an independent protocol in order to make it effective.

Constitutional amendments to expunge the ‘Objectives Resolution’ should be considered since it goes against the unifying concept promoted by Jinnah. Any political party that has a manifesto promoting intolerance of other groups shows direct contempt for the Pakistan flag whose vertical white stripe symbolizes inclusion of minorities in the government. Seminaries must be state owned and staffed thus not allowing individuals to hijack ideology. Education is key to achieving these goals; education of the public as well as enforcing a minimum level of education to get elected into public office.

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