Nawaz Sharif the ghaddar, Yasser Latif
Only democracy can deliver us from the ills that plague us. Nawaz Sharif, the so-called ghaddar, stands for constitutional democracy. He has learnt his lessons well
Was Nawaz Sharif once the ladla of the establishment? Yes. So was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when he was dispatched by Field Marshall Ayub Khan to dissuade Maulana Bhashani from joining the ranks of the combined opposition united under Fatima Jinnah’s heroic candidacy for the office of the president. Yet Bhutto’s government was ultimately overthrown by the same deep state for having become too strong a civilian leader for his own good.
It is true that Imran Khan is the new ladla of the establishment but if he were ever to come into power, he would soon realise why Bhutto and Nawaz before him had to engage in course correction. Given his personality, Imran Khan’s alliance with the umpire would prove to be shortest in our history. That is if Imran Khan ever makes it to power. There are very good reasons why that should never happen, not the least because Imran Khan is reportedly relying on the supernatural to deliver him the coveted throne in Islamabad. Those familiar with American TV show Game of Thrones know the script already. Imran Khan is Pakistan’s Stannis Baratheon. Fantasy meets reality in Pakistan all too often.
The military academy at Kakul does not train its recruits in political administration of the federation. Why then should they be trusted to run the country?
News from Bani Gala is at once bleak and hilarious. The red priestess has brought with her as pets two of her most favourite genies to Islamabad. Very unsportsmanlike of Imran Khan one must say. After all this is the same Imran Khan who won us the World Cup by relying on hard work and a never-surrender attitude. For him to now seek supernatural intervention is just a sad state of affairs. More importantly, it does not bode well for a nuclear-armed nation with the fastest growing stockpile to be led by a man swayed by such superstition and mumbo jumbo that defies all rationality and common sense.
Nawaz Sharif’s stance of civilian supremacy represents, at this point in time, the most important turn around by any politician. His interview in daily Dawn spelt out something that many in Pakistan have been saying for a while. This is what he said, that has caused so much offence: “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?”
The answer is simple. No, we should not. We should complete the trial and bring those responsible to justice. We should show the world that we are a responsible nation state based on rule of law and have not allowed our country to be overrun by non-state actors. Those who are opposed to this policy are the real ghaddars. Paragraph 45 of the Judgment by the Indian Supreme Court in Ajmal Kasab v. State of Maharashtra should give us Pakistanis a reason for pause:
“It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel. Mr Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai. One wonders what Quaid-e-Azam would have thought of the terrorist attack on his favourite city in the subcontinent and especially on Taj Mahal Hotel, with which he had a personal relationship of a very intimate kind.”
We did not make Pakistan to wage perpetual war on our neighbour to the East.
At an Iftar party recently, an educated young critic of Nawaz Sharif told me that even if we have done it, we should never admit it. Why not? Since when did expediency and a false sense of nationalism trump truth and the right thing to do? Nawaz Sharif is not the ghaddar. Ghaddars are those who have led Pakistan on to such a perilous and self-destructive course. It would have been one thing if these so-called patriots had limited their operations to attacking legitimate military targets in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Attacking Bombay — I will call it Bombay, not Mumbai — or Delhi or any other place within the Indian union is beyond the allowable theatre of war. Yes, we want Kashmir to be free of Indian occupation, but we do not want to make permanent enemies out of our neighbours. This idea of a 1000-year war against India, planted by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and coopted by the Pakistani military establishment, must be put to rest once and for all. Pakistan’s military is our pride and joy. We salute their sacrifices in safeguarding Pakistan’s borders, but foreign policy must at all costs be the exclusive reserve of Pakistan’s elected civilian leadership. There can be no occasion for allowing their meddling in civilian affairs. Pakistan was created by civilians and it must be run by civilians. The military academy at Kakul does not train its recruits in political administration of the federation. Why then should they be trusted to run the country? Pakistan’s first military rule led to the departure of East Pakistan. Pakistan’s second military rule gave us Deobandi religious extremism, heroin, and Kalashnikov culture. Pakistan’s third military rule weaponised the once peaceful Barelvi sect. How has military interference in governance helped the country?
India’s democracy, deeply majoritarian and casteist as it is, has an inbuilt mechanism for correction. The results from Karnataka show that BJP is on the wane. Do not be surprised if the people of India boot out Modi in 2019 elections. It may happen, or it may not, but the fact is that there is today a greater opposition to Modi’s heavy-handed tactics than ever before. We must learn a lesson from this. Pakistan must put its faith in constitutional democracy and never waver from it. Only democracy can deliver us from the ills that plague us. Nawaz Sharif, the so-called ghaddar, stands for constitutional democracy. He has learnt his lessons well. For the first time in our history, the GT Road belt has risen up against the deep state. These are revolutionary times for our country. Therefore, every true patriot of Pakistan must stand with Nawaz Sharif in finally ridding Pakistan of the aliens that have presided over its destiny, so that no future elected leader has to ask mujhe kiyoun nikala.
The writer is a practicing lawyer and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School in Cambridge MA, USA. He blogs at http://globallegalforum.blogspot.com, twitter @therealylh
Published in Daily Times, May 21st 2018.