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Archive for the ‘Musharraf’ Category

Let There Be Consequences To Treason

Posted by imrananwar on March 31, 2014

I have always been a supporter of democracy, imperfect as it is, over all forms of dictatorship and tyranny, whether ‘benevolent dictators‘ or hypocritical Kings supposedly custodians of holy places. 

One reason Pakistan has always been overrun by its own military was that there were never any consequences to the military people who broke the constitution.

As in every society, sycophants will crawl at the feet of whoever has power, regardless of how evil or how illegal the dictator may be.

The worst cancer of religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism was injected into Pakistani society more than 30 years ago by the vile General Zia, who turned Islam into a weapon against democracy and moderation.

It was with a sense of hope that I read this news item today. Former #Pakistan Dictator Pervez Musharraf indicted on Treason!

General Musharaff was not bad as far as dictators go, and even did a few good things. Of course, he let power go to his head and paid the price. Even after being ousted he was delusional enough to return to Pakistan expecting to win back power.

I do not wish to see him condemned to death or anything that would be too extreme.

But, may this be a good start to the concept of “actions have consequences” and “no one is above the law” that Pakistan has long needed.

More than teaching Musharaff a lesson, I hope this teaches all politicians, and military people, that Pakistanis have awakened, the rule of law is getting established in the echelons of power, and that in time Pakistan can be a strong, stable, moderate democracy and a regional power of good. Amen.

 

 

Posted in Democracy, Freedom, Imran, Imran Anwar, Musharaff, Musharraf, Pakistan, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

On Defending Pakistan From It’s Leaders, On Defense Of Pakistan Day

Posted by imrananwar on September 6, 2009

Should Or Shouldn’t Pakistan’s General Musharaff Be Put On Trial?

What do you think?

Posted in Constitution, Democracy, History, Imran, Imran Anwar, Islamabad, Justice, Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan, Politics, Treason | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pakistan Democracy: The Long March, The First Step

Posted by imrananwar on March 25, 2009

What a difference a day makes. What an even bigger difference a week can make.

What an amazing and exciting week this has been for Pakistan as a nation. Its elected leaders had just recently squandered a historic opportunity to set Pakistan boldly and directly on the path to institution and nation building.

On more than one occasion, on TV and radio, I had compared Pakistan, as a nation and especially as a government, to the ship Titanic, except that this one had deliberately hit every iceberg it could find.

Just when it seemed that the current government in Islamabad had completely forgotten the lessons of history – of merely one year ago – something changed. It had appeared that the policies of Islamabad were surely and not so slowly pushing Pakistan in the direction of chaos and eventual return of martial law.

As someone who has told his share of lawyer jokes, for the last one year I have had nothing but praise and kudos for the barristers and attorneys of Pakistan. Theirs is a career dependent upon daily earnings, made from daily work outside the court houses of Pakistan. One could not have been imagined that profession as the consistent and unstoppable source of the year-long protest movement. What the lawyers of Pakistan carried out was doubly special, as they did it against not one but two tyrants within one year.

Besides self-inflicted wounds, almost exactly of the kind that General Musharraf suffered from, perhaps there was some hubris or misconception in Islamabad. Maybe there was a feeling that people in Pakistan have become immune to tyranny. Perhaps it was felt that when push comes to shove Pakistanis are so used to having people in power do what they please that nothing would come out as protest against any power grab carried out by Islamabad.

But just when it seemed that our ship PNS Titanic was headed straight into a minefield, surrounded by icebergs, in the midst of the perfect storm, the most amazing opposite perfect storm arose in response. The nation became a nation.

The Long March, as it was called, was the best example of a peaceful (at least by Pakistani standards) uprising by the people of Pakistan to have their way with an elected ruler trying to cling to, and expand, his power.

I was in Lahore in 1977 when it happened the last time. I remember driving past puddles of blood covered with ash in dozens and dozens of locations on The Mall where anti-PPP protesters had been killed by the government at that time. This time however, thankfully, the perfect storm that arose was one of common sense, decency, courage and people power.

In particular in addition to the lawyers of Pakistan, there are many people I, even as a New York-based Pakistani, want to give thanks to.
This includes Prime Minister Gilani for his understanding of which way the wind was blowing and helping President Zardari see some light. General Kayani must have had to fight the urge not to take over the government. It must have been difficult when the elected leaders were themselves creating a situation that was going to endanger not just law and order in Islamabad but bring chaos across the nation.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has grown in stature not just within Pakistan but also abroad. He is being praised for taking a stand on principle, showing patience and then being very statesmanlike in his response to broken promises from Islamabad. To then show courage and refuse house arrest to march upon Islamabad put him on a much higher level of leadership than he was at before.

Even the police officers who, after some “kaarwai“, showed common sense and decency, either to resign or to let the protesters begin their march towards Islamabad, should be considered heroes of democracy. As most of my readers and fans know from my background, during my days at the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore, in the early 1980s,

I was a student leader and chief organizer of QSF. The Islami Jamiate Taliba, as well as its parent, the Jamate Islami, were considered the mortal enemies of liberal organizations like ours. They even murdered Anas Choudhry, a final year student member of QSF, the year I joined UET.

But, today, as during the previous year, I am happy to give credit to this party for its principled stand against tyranny and dictatorship.

I never thought it possible, but even a member of the very political party and inner circle of Islamabad, Ms. Sherry Rehman, deserves praise for her decency, courage – and good timing – in resigning her position. It can be argued that she did it because there were others interfering in her ministry rather than what the government was doing to the independent media. But I, and the people, still give credit for her resignation.

Many of these things would not have become possible had it not been for the courageous, first-time in the life of our nation, stand of the real Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Choudhry, and his fellow judges, who resigned under General Musharraf.

They stayed out of office and jobs, despite pressure, incentives and other tricks that governments have at their disposal in Islamabad. I will avoid passing comment on the people who sold out their souls to get the appointments that they got. But I hope that this new chapter in Pakistan’s history will also be the time when we start naming our villains for future generations to remember and spit on the names of.

Another hero, an entire industry really, that is among the less respected professions around the world these days, including America, was the Pakistani media. I say this not as a member of the media but as a proud Pakistani American who was ashamed of the silent acquiescence of American media in George Bush and Dick Cheney‘s shameless rape of the American Constitution and human rights around the world.

American media cannot be shut down by any government. Yet the media here quietly let the Bush government do whatever it wanted.

The Pakistani government, through many of its Stone Age laws curtailing freedom of expression and press, can shut down almost any Pakistani media entity. The bigger they get in Pakistan, the more the government can squeeze them. Even as a teenager I know how many magazines Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto, whom I then admired, shut down for being critical of his policies. Urdu Digest was one that frequently had to reappear under other names.

I was a member of the press in Pakistan when vile dictator General Zia-ul-Haq gave many journalists a taste of what a dictator can do. He had writers’ nails pulled with pliers to make them stop criticizing him.

For the Pakistani media to have stood up, first to General Musharraf and then to the current Zardari government in Islamabad, at great risk and financial loss to themselves, is another element to celebrate in this great victory of the people. A lot of credit goes to GEO TV, Jang and many other media.

Lack of space and time prevent me from individually thanking every single group or individual, like Mr. Aitezaz Ahsan, who played a central role in this great turnaround. God bless you all, for being the new heroes of a new democracy that can still rise in our nation.

The long march may have been intended for Islamabad, but it may turn out to be something far more important.

The Long March may have become The First Step in a thousand-mile journey – to the true destiny of Pakistan – as a great, free, democratic society ready to take its place in history.

“Qadam Barhao Saathio, Qadam Barhao”

Imran Anwar is a New York and sometimes Florida based Pakistani-American entrepreneur, Internet pioneer, inventor, writer and TV personality. He can be reached through his web site http://imran.com and imran@imran.com . You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/imrananwar

Posted in America, Army, Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, George Bush, Imran, Imran Anwar, India, Judges, Justice, Musharraf, Pakistan, Prison, Zia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Musharaff Out – Pakistan Gets Yet Another Historic Opportunity

Posted by imrananwar on August 19, 2008

Like the Democratic party in America, which is capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of certain victory, I have seen fewer countries in the world that have the ability to waste historic opportunities like Pakistan has.

Much that I have been a critic of President Dictator Musharraf in Pakistan, I do have to give him credit for not having been the evil dictator that General Zia had been about 20 years ago. On top of that, I must laud retired General Musharraf for having the decency to step down, and resign instead of facing impeachment.

In that, he has shown greater courage and decency than either president Bill Clinton did or that I wish President George Bush would show.

Some of the statements in his farewell speech were laughable. But, one also has to understand how difficult it must be for any president, much less a dictator, especially one who suffers from a savior complex that Musharaff did, to step down.

But all is well that ends well. And one has to say that the Musharraf presidency and role in Pakistani politics has run its course. For better or worse he is now a part of history. Now it is up to the Pakistani coalition government as well as the Pakistani population to decide where they want to go from here.

Will Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif, the two men in power for now, do the right things for Pakistan? Will they have the good sense, decency and moral courage to put their own political ambitions aside and focus on putting Pakistan on the right track?

In this case, the right track that Pakistan needs to be on is, in reality, a long and winding road – of several interconnected and sometimes opposing paths!

On the one hand Pakistan has to do everything in its power to curtail the evil of fundamentalism and lawless terrorism that has become the norm. On the other hand it also has to stand up for its national self-interest, even if that means standing up to United States pressure.

Pakistan has to ensure that education of the masses, especially in the rural areas is a high priority. But, it cannot be done at the expense of economic development in the major cities. It needs to ensure the provinces get their fair share of revenues and development funds, but not at the expense of idiots holding up building of dams and power plants needed to survive, much less thrive, in coming years.

I am personally a big proponent of considering dictators and their supporters punishable by death when they overthrow an elected government. However, we also have to remember that the so-called elected rulers of Pakistan generally have themselves been guilty of becoming “elected dictators”.

So, yes, there is some value to charging Mr. Musharraf with treason, which he did commit, in overthrowing the government of Mr. Sharif. This is especially true if the Pakistani people seriously want future generals and dictator wannabes to have the deterrent of death staring them in the face, should they decide to overthrow an elected government. But, at the same time, I realize that the Pakistani army is not going to stand by and watch one of its own actually be hanged.

I am also quite certain that Mr. Musharraf and his partners in crime, including bureaucrats, and people like Mr. Shaukat Aziz, have played a major role in plundering the economy of Pakistan, playing the stock market, and manipulating commodity prices to their own benefit. However, these are crimes that have been committed by every single government, and every single ruler, in Pakistan.

So, if we want to jail or imprison Mr. Musharraf, we should be ready, willing, and able to do the same for Mr. Sharif as well as Mr. Zardari. After all, neither Mr. Musharraf, nor Mr. Sharif, were ever given the name Mr. 10% that Mr. Zardari is commonly known as.

In the immediate future the biggest threat to Pakistani democracy and being on the right track does not come from the Army or from any external threat. The biggest internal risk to Pakistani democracy would come from the politicians starting infighting for greed and personal ambition.

Let us all hope for the best and make sure we keep the pressure on these new rulers to follow the rules. Let us pray that this historic opportunity is also not squandered by politicians, bureaucrats and illiterate followers of fundamentalist murderers.

What do you think?

Posted in 2 Centences Worth, America, Army, Bush, Clinton, Constitution, Dictator, Dictatorship, Economy, Elections, Freedom, History, Military, Musharaff, Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan, Politics, President, Terrorism, Terrorist, Zia | Leave a Comment »

Can Bush Push Mush? Another Legacy Leaving Opportunity Lost

Posted by imrananwar on August 12, 2008

For all the years I have followed Pakistani politics, from the inside as a student political leader, or from the outside as a media person, I have always been amazed by the huge number of historic opportunities squandered by Pakistan, Pakistanis and Pakistani generals, judges and politicians.

From the dictator Zia having an opportunity to clean up the country of corruption, to Benazir Bhutto doing something for womenkind and education, history was wasted. Ghulam Ishaq Khan was thrust into the role of President and blew a historic opportunity for him to be apolitical, and have a chance to be someone Pakistanis would remember as a hero.

Alas, once in power in most countries, and especially in Pakistan, elected and unelected heads of state, regardless of being 40 years old or 70, seem to live in the moment, for the moment, and moment by moment. Even the aged Ghulam Ishaq Khan did more to enrich his relatives, and play political games, than grab the incredible opportunity he had to become a new father figure in Pakistani history.

It is amazing that in Pakistan’s 61 years, there is not a single head of state who has tried to, or left, a legacy good enough for Pakistanis to consider adding his (or her) photo on even a (now defunct) One Rupee note.

We now have a situation that is eerily similar to what we have seen before. A dictator, even more unpopular than Zia, is clinging to power, simply because one of the most unpopular American Presidents, ever, George W. Bush’s grand foreign policy for the South Asian region is — ‘we stand by Musharraf.’

Perhaps Bush supports Mush because it ensures there is at least ONE President who is more unpopular than Bush himself is! But, jokes aside, even a tragic accident of history like George W. Bush is trying, belatedly and with no success, to spend the next 6 months trying to “leave a legacy.”

I can easily say Musharraf is a far smarter and more cunning man than Bush ever was, or will be. But, one thing they both share in common besides the sound of their names – no understanding of how legacies are left.

They do not understanding that a legacy is not created by clinging to power, or failed ideas, but by doing things in the greater interest, things bigger than what even our biggest admirers could imagine us doing. Legacy and history smile on us when we do things even we could not imagine being selfless, brave and visionary enough to do. When we become bold enough to stop living for our own egos today, but to step aside now, so the future can look back on us with respect.

Alas, neither Bush, nor Mush, get the concept, which is why they are both close to each other in how history will not remember them. They are among the most unpopular, ineffective, and impeachable Presidents – though they rule over countries thousands of miles apart, and worlds apart in political, religious and social systems.

Posted in America, Army, Benazir, Bhutto, Bin Laden, Bush, Dictator, Dictatorship, Elections, Freedom, Judges, Justice, Musharaff, Musharraf, Opportunity, Pakistan, Politics, President | 2 Comments »

 
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