Musharraf’s talk

Published October 4, 2015

IT seems that our infatuation with ‘saviours’ in uniform remains unwavering, even after the uniform has long been set aside. So it is with retired Gen Pervez Musharraf who has been holding forth on several forums and, in the process, burnishing the argument for the military’s apparently ‘reluctant-but-necessary’ foray into politics. Delivering a talk in Karachi titled ‘Pakistan’s past, present and future’, the former president spoke of how during his own tenure he had refrained from imposing martial law and instead introduced a civilian-run system watched over by the military so that civilians could be prodded to deliver; “there are no angels in Pakistan,” he said.

It is regrettable that our military has yet to realise that its hand on the wheel, both overt and otherwise, can only take the ship of state off-course. Each khaki intervention — invariably on the pretext of ‘saving the country’ — has progressively undermined political institutions to a point where civilian misrule has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the denunciation of the democratic system a national pastime. The unvarnished truth is that democracy has never been allowed to take root in this country; elections have been manipulated and governments destabilised; and many of the so-called political mafias have flourished with the encouragement of the establishment that has used them for its own cynical purposes. There are indeed no ‘angels’ in this country, as Mr Musharraf pointed out — but that is not only true of the civilians. At the same time, it must be said that the political class has contributed in full measure to its own degradation by its flagrant disregard for the needs and aspirations of the people. Moreover, the judiciary — the upholders of the law and Constitution — has more often than not through Pakistan’s history, given legal cover to interruptions in the democratic process instead of strengthening its institutional underpinnings. Lastly, the media — divided and corporatised — has also taken the path of least resistance instead of exploring the long-term, corrosive effects of military ‘oversight’.

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Time for dialogue
Updated 24 Jun, 2024

Time for dialogue

If the PML-N and PTI remain mired in mutual acrimony, an ever-widening gap will continue to allow non-political forces to assert themselves.
Property taxes
24 Jun, 2024

Property taxes

ACCORDING to reports in the local media, along with the higher taxes imposed on real estate in the recent budget, ...
Fierce heat
24 Jun, 2024

Fierce heat

CLIMATE change is unfolding as predicted by experts: savage heat, melting glaciers, extreme rainfall, drought, ...
China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...