READING news from the Fatherland whilst in India till early on Sunday last when one boarded the Shatabdi from Delhi, one was so, so depressed at the turn politics were taking in the country.
The former Army House, (are you listening, Gen Kayani?) now the President`s Lodge, was busy hatching intrigues and conspiracies against the newly elected political parties with the Commando`s toadies in the `agencies` and in the so-called `liberal` press throwing all sizes of spanners in the works.
Really, one was aghast at Gen (retd) Musharraf`s mindlessness in still insisting on being led by the nose by the discredited House of Zahoor and by their buddies in the `agencies`, and by his mule-headed temerity in not accepting the reality that stared him in the face. I agree absolutely with what a reader said in an email to me just yesterday “I think at this point in time the general is so full of himself he probably won`t see the truth if it were to slap him in the face and bite him on the nose. He will never leave willingly because that would be too honourable a thing for him to do.”
But why should Musharraf be so full of himself? I mean, what is it that keeps Musharraf glued to the President`s Lodge (formerly Army House) like a limpet? What is it, after all? Blind support from an American administration whose friends too consider it foolish to a T? Which has shown its ineptness in everything it has done over the past seven years? Which be as it may, now to the good news, or, in the words of my good and sorely missed friend Benjamin `Benji` Randall, the `best` news.
A little aside whenever one asked Benji how he was, in Punjabi, back would come the cheerful reply, even when he was not feeling too good physically “Best aye Sir, best aye.” Rest in Peace Benjers.
The `best` news came on Sunday night with the announcement by the leaders of the People`s Party and the Muslim League (PML-Q, what PML-Q?) that they would form coalitions both in the centre and in Punjab, and that the pre-Nov 3 judiciary would be reinstated by parliament within 30 days of its first sitting. I cried, my friends it was as if a veritable flood of joyous tears had come welling out.
“God bless them,” I said of Asif and Nawaz. And immediately afterwards “God bless them and keep them in His care,” for as I burst out weeping with joy I thought of what our venal and corrupt and cruel establishment was capable of doing. For we know it well, it having remained the bane of our miserable lives for too long now.
It is capable of anything of instigating strife and great trouble; of murder and mayhem too; for it cares not a jot for you and I, the common citizens of the country. It cares only for its own daddies and grand-daddies, and those who feed its miserable face with goodies and manna which in its case are doing its bidding without question.
It is a generous paymaster too, our nefarious establishment, allowing its servants to do as they will. Witness the wealth accumulated by many of its blue-eyed boys and those that bowed and kowtowed to it in utter obeisance. Witness the fancy attitudes that Sheikh Rashid `Tulli` used to strike, him of all people, and the wealth he used to flaunt, expensive Cuban cigars, designer suits and all.
Witness, indeed, that this man used to shamelessly say he is the man of the `powers that be`, even of the `fauj`, and note that this is what got him elected time and time again from what came to be his `bastion` that no one could breach. Well, all it took is the `agencies` to be told, to be ordered, to hold back, and abracadabra, `Tulli` is no more. His bastion was breached so completely that he even lost his security deposit.
It is this establishment I speak about, it is this establishment that can do anything to follow, dog-like, its various godfathers` bidding.
Which immediately takes us to a rather disconcerting happening just the other day, a happening that was inappropriate at the very least, and at its worst, direct interference in the country`s politics by the Chief of Army Staff.
And that was the statement by the COAS as reported in the press “Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani announced on Thursday his institution`s complete support for the elected government and the democratic process. However, he called for avoiding schism between various pillars of the state and dispelled a perception that the army was distancing itself from the president.”
While it is good and proper that the army will completely support the elected government, was it not absolutely inappropriate for him to call for “avoiding schism between various pillars of the state” and for saying that “the army was not distancing itself from the president”.
May one ask what happens if the elected representatives of the people were to impeach Musharraf? Or if the resurrected judiciary were to rule that Musharraf`s election was illegal and unconstitutional? What about the `schism` then? When the COAS speaks about the `pillars of state` does he consider that the person of Musharraf is one such `pillar` in spite of the fact that he was `elected` president under Emergency rule, an act Musharraf himself said was unconstitutional? What was the point in saying anything at all?
No sirs, it is high time that you went back to your training areas and firing ranges and exercise grounds and became the professional army you were before the Commando`s loving ministrations. And, indeed, to the Year of the Soldier after so many Decades of the General. And please keep your noses out of politics; I assure you we bloody civilians can manage the country`s affairs better than 22 Commandos put together.
Oh, and by the by, if the army and the Commando are tied in such firm bonds that the army simply cannot distance itself from him then do your worst; it will only hasten his and your own much delayed comeuppance.
I end with paying tribute to My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry; his brave brother judges of the superior judiciary; Aitzaz Ahsan, Muneer Malik, Justice Tariq Mehmood and above all Ali Ahmed Kurd; the courageous lawyers who braved every cruelty of the Commando`s junta; and last but not least, ordinary folk like Amna Piracha and her great kids, Athar and the indomitable Ghazala Minallah who it was so hard to keep back from police dandas and the razor wire outside the CJ`s residence, Farah and Bibi, Naila and Iman, Apa Suraiya, Asha and Aliya Hoodbhoy and Asim who coined the best slogans, and never to forget the life of the protest movement Jamil Abbasi.
There are countless others whose names there isn`t place enough to write but I must include my 12-year-old Zainab`s, who too got tear-gassed, not once but twice. Shame on you, sirs.
P.S. Just yesterday, 34 men including a newly-elected MNA and 19 women, some of them from China, were arrested in what were obviously `suspicious` circumstances as they were found in an inebriated state and dancing, etcetera. The owner of the premises, located in Sector F-10/3 had been warned previously to `keep it low`. Being `well-connected` he did not heed the `advice`.
Well, comeuppance for him too, particularly because he had named his establishment `Cat House`. I ask you!