MAY 9 will remain a black day in national history, for we all witnessed the supporters of a political party attacking and vandalising military installations, including the Corps Commander House in Lahore. Regardless of the reason(s), such a reaction could not be justified.
Though at a much lesser level, people had reacted when a sitting prime minister was disqualified in the Panama Papers saga. Both were an attempt to root out the military influence from national politics. Will such incidents help the cause?
After the downfall of the Ayub Khan regime amid widespread protests, it was not a civilian setup that had followed; rather it was a martial law that later saw one half of the country becoming an independent state. Ziaul Haq’s military rule did not end because of people’s struggle; it was a plane crash that brought the curtain down on it.
Pervez Musharraf also left the presi- dency when he felt politically threatened; not by public protests. The lesson from history is loud and clear and we must pay heed to it; violence leads to nothing.
If we take a look at Turkiye, Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil and Indonesia, where the military has overthrown governments, we will see that even these countries were successful in their democratic endeavours not by adopting violent methods, but through constitutional approaches to their crises. We can learn plenty of lessons from these nations, particularly from the brotherly Turkiye.
Whenever the military establishment is coerced into submission anywhere in the world, more often than not, it springs back into action with even more force, as has been the case in, say, Thailand and Myanmar. Therefore, it is pertinent that our political leaders keep their focus on parliamentary measures rather than pushing their followers and supporters into a frenzy that causes nothing but destruction of public and private property. That, after all, is not the target of the politicians either. Or is that the case?
Muhammad Arslan Mehmood
Toba Tek Singh
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023