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‘Dealing with ex-dictators’

May 10, 2013

THIS is apropos Niaz Murtaza’s article ‘Dealing with ex-dictators’ (May 5), which has traced the history of some of the dictators from home and abroad but has failed to mention the reasons for such takeovers.

I am not here to advocate the cause of military rulers but one-sided criticism will serve no purpose at all except creating a sensation.

In Pakistan every military takeover was the result of poor governance by politicians who would only grapple with each other and do nothing for the people. As a result, all coups were hailed by the people of Pakistan except the aggrieved party and that is understandable.

Statistics prove that the country benefited more under military dictators as compared to civilian rule. Look at the reception given to a president of newly-born country when Gen Ayub Khan visited the US in 1961. American president Kennedy was present at the airport to greet him. Both travelled in open car waiving at the crowd which had thronged the roads.

Now our president is received by an officer of the level of deputy secretary. Although Gen Ayub and Gen Yahya were detained after they were deposed but were buried with full military honours, while Gen Ziaul Haq also received the same honour.

We talk so much about Nov 3 emergency in 2007. The question arises: who will decide whether the emergency is to be imposed on the country, the sitting government or the outside forces. Certainly it is the prerogative of the government and nobody else.

Let us see the concluding paragraph of the emergency. It reads: “And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman of joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice-chief of the army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan Army. Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I, Gen Pervez Musharraf, chief of army staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.

“I hereby order and proclaim that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance. This proclamation shall come into force at once.”

Naturally you don’t put hundreds of signatures.

It is always the head of state who puts his signature. The constitution was not abrogated but held in abeyance.

I do agree with the writer that Musharraf must be prosecuted and not persecuted, but that is exactly what is happening.