When Pakistan was just 11


Sajjad Ahmad Khan

Pakistan was just eleven years old when the burden of martial law was placed on its shoulders. It was almost crushed under this burden, and it failed to attain its proper stature, health, and mental growth. It’s hormones were disturbed. Consequentially, even today, it is infected with multiple medical and surgical conditions, including political diabetes, economic asthma, terror-tumours,and cerebral corruption. Zero governance has paralyzed its muscles and we observe institutional paraplegia. We see limping institutions, bullying each other just to usurp the constitutional rights. The glaring example is that of establishment, which interferes with every institution without any hindrance. The establishment is so strong that all other institutions seem invalid and hollow before it. Who bestowed the strength on establishment is a story that goes back to 1958. The illicit-love story begins when President Iskender Mirza played the role of a pimp, Feroz Khan Noon turned into a mum-trance, and Field Martial Ayub Khan used democracy as a concubine. Under the pimpship of Iskender Mirza, Field Martial crumpled the constitution and turned himself into the sovereign of the sovereigns under the tailored regime. Later on, Iskandar Mirza was provided an exit to leave for the United Kingdom as per his choice, and thus Mr. Ayub Khan became the one and only one in Pakistan.
How macabre was the day when censorship was imposed on media, democratic norms and the rule of law was suspended and citizens were denied of their fundamental rights and freedoms. Political parties and their activities were banned, and the bare reign of dictatorship began to dance. Ayub and his bootlickers continued to argue that reforms to modernize the country and improve governance required the imposition of martial law and the slaughter of democracy. I wish Ayub’s supporters had studied the map and pointed to any developed nation whose economy, trade, and employment had expanded as a result of military action. Ayub’s Khan appointed a 12-member council of ministers which included eight civilian and four army generals: himself, General Azam Khan, General Khalid Shaikh and General Burki and the civilians included the young lawyer, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The Bhutto’s inclusion in the Ayub’s council is still a subject of controversy for critics. Many believed it marred the political figure of Bhutto, showing his leanings and affinity towards Machiavellianism.
The army has ruled Pakistan for more than thirty years, but unfortunately, the country has always been at a loss due to the uniformed government. Because every time ‘Mr. Boots’ took power, he put the sovereignty of the country in the lap of the White House. General Zia’s reign lasted from 1977 to his death in 1988. It was a long and dark period of martial law. Due to General Zia’s noxious and US-tilted foreign policy Pakistan was caught in a well of isolation. Apart from this, drugs and Kalashnikov culture spread all over Pakistan. Zia supported the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War and equipped them with combat training skills. This pleased America, but the seeds of militancy and extremism were sown in the region, the harvest of which is still being reaped in the form of suicide attacks. The extensive support provided to Islamist groups, including the provision of arms and funds, led to the proliferation of militant organizations that subsequently destabilized Pakistan and the wider region.
The story of General Pervez Musharraf is not different from that of General Zia in terms of foreign policy, weakening rule of law and authoritarian style. Pervez Musharraf’s regime, which lasted from 1999 to 2008, faced criticism on several fronts, including political, economic, and human rights issues. In 1999, Musharraf took control of the country by a military takeover of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s, a democratically elected administration. The rule of law was compromised and democratic institutions eroded under Musharraf’s leadership. He suspended the constitution, removed the judiciary—including the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—and consolidated authority in the hands of his government and the armed forces. Things took a new turn after the 9/11 incident. One night, the American President rang up Musharraf and asked him ‘obey me’ or face the music. The four-star general and brave commando could not withstand the pressure and embraced the American war. With all pride and joy he carried the American war into his own courtyard. The war resulted in the massacre of countless innocent people. It is rightly said about this battle, ‘after how many rains these blood stains will be washed away’. Pakistan emerged as a significant partner in the “war on terror” by offering every support the US needed to exact its revenge on the 9/11 terrorists by attacking Afghanistan. However, extremism and instability were brought about in the region by his policies and obedience to his masters, called uncle Sam.
Thus it is proved that the dangerous precedent set by Ayub Khan for military intervention in politics is still valid in one shape or another. Now that the army has tasted democracy’s blood, it will continue to drain it dry as long as wealthy and dishonest feudal control the reigns of power. The feudal lords will easily compromise democracy in order to further their own agendas. Let’s back political parties that truly reflect the interests of labourers, workers, and the impoverished rather than being creations of GHQ’ spermatozoa. The real political groups and leaders still exist in our nation, but the corrupt mafia and feudal lords prevent them from taking the lead.