PAKISTAN LEADERSHIP IN FORESEEABLE FUTURE

PROLOGUE

Partition of Indian Subcontinent in 1947 introduced a rare instability based on religion in the region, which shall continue to manifest itself in one form or the other irrespective of the type of governance or otherwise in either of the countries. An unstable Pakistan has been/shall remain an incurable abscess. Notwithstanding three wars in last 50 years, Indians have no design on Pakistan. That Pak leaders continue to enjoy their favourite pastime of India bashing is at the core of all major problems. It would, therefore, be a paradox that a stable Pakistan with level headed leadership is probably as important to India as to Pakistan. It may not be too far fetched to even suggest that we Indians could consider participating in creation of balanced Pak leaders. Pak leaders so far have been afflicted with “hate India” disease for their survival.

In the light of the above an attempt shall be made to analyse and forecast the quality of Pak Leadership in foreseeable future. Characteristics of past leaders shall be looked into followed by analysis of power equation amongst the military President and PM. Role of Pak PM in existing conditions shall also be scrutinized. Muslim world leadership was the dream of Jinnah. Relationship of Pak with her neighbours shall be looked into followed by influence of religion and USA in determining Pak leadership. With the above as the background shape of ruling apparatus in Pakistan shall be commented upon. In conclusion latest events shall be discussed and events after the proposed elections on 03 Feb 1997 shall be forecast.

BIRTH OF PAKISTAN

“The problem in India is not of an inter communal but manifestly of an international character and it must be treated as such. If the British Government is really in earnest and sincere to secure peace and happiness of the people of this sub-continent, the only course open to us all is to allow the major nations separate homelands by dividing India into autonomous national states.”  — Mohd. Ali Jinnah

Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 under the Indian Independence Act 1947, Section B. The Government of India Act 1935 became, with certain adaptations and modifications, the interim constitutions of Pakistan. The interim constitution was supposed to exist until a new constitution was framed by the constituent assembly of Pakistan. Constitution making in Pakistan has had a unique record of demonstrated instability in the minds of people responsible for laying down the postulates. It took nine years (1947-56) for two constituent assemblies to frame a constitution for Pakistan. The inordinate delay in  producing a stable political order in which a fledgling democracy under the control of people, who in turn were controlled almost entirely by the religious sentiments, resulted in weak and at times indecisive leadership taking roots. The death of two of her ablest leaders, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, the first PM of the country merely added to the woes. At  this stage it is pertinent to mention that ironically the vice regal model of rule by Mohd Ali Jinnah  could probably be termed as the first and most prominent factor in evolution of Leadership style witnessed in Pakistan so far. He needed neither a party (In spite of Muslim League being quite formidable) nor a dominant faction inside the party for support and sustenance. Although he expressed his faith in the British Parliamentary System, he himself was hardly an institution builder. He failed rather avoided, in developing Muslim League as a dominant political party (as was done in India in case of Congress) with a committed cadre, based on an ideology. He was too big, too supreme and unchallengeable to think in terms of elected cabinet. Such perfunctory attitude on part of the founder of nation not only delayed in giving a solid pedestal in form of a constitution but also paved way for autocratic leadership, which has resulted in three military regimes during the last 50 years.

THE CONSTITUTION

The two constituent assemblies during the period 1947-56, finally succeeded in framing a constitution for Pakistan. The first draft published in 1950 resulted in strong protests in East Pakistan. The second draft was presented in 1952 and this too met the same fate as its predecessor, but with a difference. The reaction was adverse in West Pakistan. The third draft constitution proposed by Mr Mohd Ali in September, 1954 was received with a positive response. In fact Mr Ali, the then PM, even announced the date of promulgation of the constitution viz 25th December 1954. In a lightning move, however, the then Governor-General dissolved the first constituent assembly before the constitution could be adopted by the nation. The second constituent assembly came in to being in July 1955 and put up the fourth draft on 08 January 1956 which was finally adopted on 29 February 1956 and was implemented on 23 Mach 1956. Pakistan had her first constitution, six years after India although both became independent at the same time, clearly highlighting the absence and/or failure of democratic leadership. The stage was set for impoverished/autocratic (Military) leadership to flower in turbulent and faction ridden democracy, created entirely on the basis of religion. A clear east/west divide was also visible through the cloak of democracy.

In spite of the constitution having been framed, its adoption on letter and spirit remained a distant dream. Pakistani Leaders, so far, had treated the constitution with scant respect. Far from implementing its provisions, nearly each one of them had been instrumental in subjugating, even suspending it. Pakistan leaders of yesteryears probably did not/ would not understand the effect of such subjugation of constitution on future generations. This aspect shall be quite evident when the leaders and  their leadership styles are discussed.

PAK LEADERSHIP

Ahmed Raza Kasuri said “ We want a State where Lawlessness will be fully overcome and men will be ruled by good laws instead of individuals”. In order to even hazard a guess about the quality of leadership in Pakistan in the foreseeable future, a peep in the past is absolutely essential. In the succeeding  paras a brief outline of each of them shall be mentioned. Quaid-e- Azam is not included as his mention has already been made.

Liaquat Ali Khan

Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan emerged as the leader of Pakistan after Jinnah’s death but he possessed neither his charisma nor his stature. He could never carve out an independent position for himself in league politics. He, however, gained some credibility when he elevated a much lesser known politician Mr Nizamuddin to the post of President. This action also seemed to augur well for Parliamentary Democracy taking roots in the nation. Mr Khan was, however, totally helpless in narrowing/bridging the ever widening gulf between East and West Pakistan. Finally the inner weakness of Liaquat Ali’s government became abundantly clear when Maj Gen Akbar Khan tried to capture power in what is known as Rawalpindi conspiracy case of 1948 . A man of high democratic values was forced by circumstances in appointing Lt. Gen Mohd Ayub Khan as the Commander-in Chief, a power usually vested in the head of state in democracy, ruled by civilian government. The dye for dictatorship had been cast. The first PM’s tenure came to an abrupt and tragic and when Mr. Khan was assassinated on 16 Oct. 1951.

Post Liaquat – Pre Ayub Period

The fragile democratic fibre of Pakistan was shredded beyond repair during the period after Mr Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination and prior to the coup by Gen Ayub. No Prime Minister stayed in power for more than three years. Nizamuddin’s Government lasted for 18 months, Mohd Ali Bogra for about two years, Chaudhary Mohd Ali and  Suhravardy for 13 months each. Chundrigar  for two months and Malik Feroz Khan Noon for 10 Months. The stature and influence of each of above stated leaders can be gauged from the fact that none of these were ever heard of in Pakistan after they were removed from seat of power. This period was most turbulent period in the history of Pakistan in as for as internal crises within country was concerned. Democratic system and values became the obvious casualty in the process. The stage was set and time was ripe for a dictator to take over. On 7th Oct. 1958 Gen Mohd Ayub Khan abrogated the 1956 constitution and imposed martial law.

Gen Ayub Khan

Within 20 days of taking over the country’s reigns from an elected government, Gen Ayub removed President Iskandar MIrza from the post of the President. By some travesty of fate it was Mr Mirza, who had dismissed the legitimate government of Mr Noon to make way for Gen Ayub. The parliamentary institution was in ruins and had languished for almost a decade before being scrapped by the Generals. Gen Ayub tasted power in 1953 when the army was called upon to take civil administration on Punjab as result of the outbreak of the Anti-Ahmadiya riots. The job was handled well and Pak Army won wide-spread admiration. Even as C-in C, Gen Ayub was one of the most important decision makers in Pakistan. He was instrumental in Pakistan joining SEATO and accept US Military aid. Gen Ayub was absolutely clear on the role of Army in shaping the destiny of Pakistan. He said “Let me assure everyone that whereas Martial Law will not be retained a minute longer than it is necessary, it will not be lifted a minute earlier than the purpose for which it has been imposed, is fulfilled”. In sum, Ayub envisaged a constitution which would blend democracy with discipline, the two pre-requisites to running a free society with stable government and sound administration. It is to the credit of Gen Ayub that “The Basic Democracies order, 1959” was issued. The 1962 Constitution known as Ayub Constitution revolved around the personality of the President. It did not curtail any powers enjoyed by the President, rather legitimized them. The first direct Military Rule lasted for eleven long years a period of unprecedented political stability since the inception of new state. Pakistan intelligentsia held Gen Ayub accountable and responsible for debacle during 1965 Indo-Pak war. His attempts to further the interests of his young son Gauhar Ayub Khan was also challenged, albeit discreetly. Grip over Army too was failing as well as his health. Finally Gen Ayub had to step down from the Presidency on 25 March 1969. Alas, he was forced to hand over power to another General, General Yahya Khan.

General Yahya Khan.

On assumption of power, in a broadcast to nation on 26 March 1969 the General repeated what his predecessor had stated regarding continuance of Martial Law. He even tried to inveigle the people into believing that a workable democracy was at the door step of Pakistan. The fact, however, was that Yahya was in no way Ayub’s equal. He neither had the will nor the personality of Ayub and above all he lacked the political wisdom and experience so essential for effective governance. He categorically stated that people alone would make the constitution and set October 1970 as the deadline for holding free and fair elections. The election threw up Awami League headed by Sheikh Mujib as the largest party with PPP headed by Bhutto a distant second. However, Awami League failed to win a single seat west and likewise PPP too did not win a seat in the east. The East-West divide was complete. Parliamentary Democracy demanded that Sheikh Mujib be installed as the Prime Minister. This was vehemently opposed by Bhutto and his associates. The main issue was the six point plan of Sheikh Mujib for development of East Pakistan. At this point in time the challenge before military was greater than just maintaining democracy, it  was the crucial task of maintaining territorial integrity of the country. Needless to  state that Gen Yahya failed on both fronts. He failed even more miserably as a General when he ordered Gen Tikka Khan to quell the popular uprising in East Pakistan. The seeds of 1971 Indo-Pak conflict were sown without J&K issue. Gen Yahya Khan’s dubious distinction was that  he played a stellar role in fragmentation of Pakistan. In his televised speech on 17th December,  1971, he promised constitution and autonomy in what remained as Pakistan. It was, indeed the last performance of a condemned man seeking to join the priesthood. Gen Yahya had to quit.

Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhotto

The transition of power was smooth more by default than design. It was the PPP headed by Mr. Bhutto, which had secured most number of seats in West Pakistan  (now Pakistan )  in 1970 elections. Hence the mantle of leadership fell on Mr Bhutto. It is indeed ironic that Mr. Bhutto did not restore democracy on assuming power, instead became the first (possible last) civilian Martial Law Administrator. The country remained under Martial Law till August 1972. Mr. Bhutto was a charismatic personality. Enumerating his achievements, successes and failures would by itself be a study. To understand his charisma, a look at his life-events shall suffice. Destiny  was both  kind and cruel to Bhutto. Attainment in his life was quick. He married Nusrat at 23, after much romantic rambling.  Graduated  from Berkeley at 22.  Became a cabinet minister  in the central government, in-charge of prestigious Ministry of Commerce and Industries  at 30.  Led Pakistan  delegation to UN at 31. By 34 he was confidently rubbing shoulders with heads of States as a celebrated international negotiator. He was awarded Hilal-E-Pakistan, the highest civil award and simultaneously made the Foreign Minister at 35. By 38 he became the most formidable opponent of Gen Ayub. He finally put his stamp on Pakistan politics by forming Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as the founder President, while still 39. At the age of 43, he negotiated extremely successfully with Indian Government and secured release of 93,000 PWs along with entire territory lost to Indian troops. This, in fact, was his finest hour. At 45 he became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He finally had his date with destiny. On 04 April 1979, at the age of 51, when he was hanged by Zia regime, he had paid the ultimate price for having created a FRANKENSTEIN named Gen Zia, whom Bhutto had promoted as the Chief Army Staff ahead of quite a few Generals. Nevertheless, even a statesman of Bhutto’s stature had to use “Jammu and Kashmir” card for survival. He said  “If a Muslim Majority area can remain a part of India, the raison d’etre of Pakistan collapses”.

General  Zia – Ul –Haq

In order to understand why Gen Zia undertook most of what he did, it would be pertinent to know the circumstances that led to his meteoric rise. The PPP had won 154 seats in 200 seats National Assembly in the general elections held in March 1977. Pakistan National Alliance accused the government of rigging the elections. They alleged that the National Press Trust chairman spent a sum of Rs Eighty Lakhs in printing posters for PPP. Air Marshal Asghar Khan, leader of Tehrik-e- Istaqbal declared “we always knew and believed that whenever election took place in Pakistan under Bhutto’s regime, they would be totally rigged”. Bhutto having realised the gravity of situation, offered to withdraw emergency, release of prisoners etc but opposition would have none of this. March 77 to July 77 was testing time for both, Bhutto and Pakistan. His close confident Dr Mubashir Hassan told Bhutto “I am resigning in protest against your oppressive and dictatorial regime”. The lust for power probably got the better of Bhutto and he proclaimed Marshal Law in cities of Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore and handed over the administration to Army. Gen Zia, the dictator, was born. Incidentally Gen Zia was disliked by Bhutto family, a fact not too well known. Bhutto also became critical of Gen Zia over the handling of agitation led by PNA. Bhutto’s charisma seem to work again when rallies in June 77 attracted large crowds. Gen Zia struck on 04 July 1977, the US Independence Day, as if to tell the world that tacit approval of USA was obtained before dismissing Bhutto regime. Gen Zia, the dictator, knew Bhutto too well and his penchant for revenge. Gen Zia, therefore, was quite clear about the only solution : Bhutto or himself. Bhutto, therefore, had to go. His trial was neither criminal nor Islamic, it was political. Paradoxically, it was Bhutto’s political strength that became the main cause of his execution. After taking over the reigns of the country, Gen Zia made numerous promises to the country. Some of these are listed below:-

  • On taking over the reigns he announced that election shall be held within 90 days.
  • On 4th December, 1977 he again assured that elections shall be held within 60 days after completion of accountability.
  • On 11th January, 1978 he again stated that election shall be held soon but no date was given.
  • On 27th March,1978 he claimed that presidential form of government was better suited to Pakistan, but two days later on 29th March, 1978 existing ban on political activities was extended indefinitely.
  • On 09th April, 1978, Zia announced that election would be held after revision of electoral rolls.
  • On 25th August, 1978 (More than one year the coup), he told Sandy Gall of Independence TC News of London that “we are committed to review the democratic procedure and for that first step is election.”
  • In September, 1978 Zahur  Elahi, Minister for political affairs announced that election shall be held in October 1979.
  • On 24th March,1979 Zia again announced that he would hand over power to civilian government after election on 17th November, 1979.
  • The list of broken promises is endless. The writing on the wall was clear : Gen Zia had come to stay.

Gen Zia, the past master in the art of bluffing now tried to combine the two most powerful institutions in the country, the Military and Islam. In Jan 80 Gen Zia for the first time made a direct statement regarding his dislike for elections when he said “ Election are not the remedy for people of Pakistan today. How do we expect illiterates to decide for themselves what is good and bad for them”. The process of demolition of the political and democratic edifice was complete. Islamic revival in Pakistan was a master stroke that gave Gen Zia two clear advantages. It linked him directly with the Muslim world screaming for Islamic revival at the same time reduced the magnitude of the likely backlash from Pakistan public in the event of Bhutto’s hanging . With a view to introducing Islamic Laws Gen Zia announced enforcement of Nizam-e-Islam, which covered laws related to intoxication, theft, Zina and Qazaf. Zakat and Ushar were also to come in existence. On 10th February, 1979, 1409th birthday of prophet, Zia formally announced the ushering in of the Islamic system. Ulemas were won over by Gen Zia in one master stroke. Zia’s lust for power was insatiable. In an interview Gen Zia said:-

  • Balance in the powers of an elected President and Prime Minister is a must.
  • More emphasis should be given on preventing floor crossing in the legislature.
  • The Armed Forces should have a constitutional role.

After taming the executive Zia now turned his attention to judiciary. Many leaders and dictators who tried to fetter the democracy invariably met their doom. Zia was determined to reverse the trend. He curbed the powers of judiciary and asked all judges to take oath again as per the Islamic laws. Those who failed to respond lost their jobs. The then chief justice of supreme court Mr Anwarul Haq wrote in letter to Zia that he would not like to continue in office in view of Zia’s dictates. From Ayub to Zia (Literally A to Z) Pakistan had been virtually turned in to a fiefdom, yet no movement could crush or even challenge the power of Generals. The two previous Generals met their waterloo at the hands of India. The third General, Gen Zia was lucky to avoid the ignominious exit. Destiny intervened and  Zia died in an air crash on  17th August, 1988. Pakistan was in throes of yet another disaster.

Zia’s sudden departure from Pakistan scene left Pakistan without any governing apparatus. The elections held on 16th November, 1988 brought PPP as the single largest party in the National Assembly. With tacit approval of US government Benazir wore the mantle of her hanged father. She was, however not trusted by bureaucracy as well as the Army. Her style of governance was in any case cramped by the stipulation laid down regarding her areas of influence and non- interference. It is ironic that daughter too made the mistake of endeavouring to use the Army to tackle the problems in Sind, similar to what her father had done in Baluchistan. In both case the Army assumed the role of an arbitrator rather than remaining an instrument of governance. She also unwittingly succeeded in transforming her political supporters into staunch adversaries. She eventually had to step down in August, 1990.

At this stage Nawaz Sharif, a creation of ISI, became the power centre in Pakistan. His departure too was hastened by his personal conflict with the President. He even tried to influence the selection and the appointment of COAS, which was not appreciated by the Army and the President. The Sword of Democleas descended in the form of eighth amendment and Nawaz Sharif was unceremoniously removed in June, 1992. Banazir Bhutto was once again catapulted back into the political cauldron. Her governance or rather lack of it finally brought her on the precipice. Mr Leghari, her foreign minister in previous regime, decided to exercise the draconian powers  vested in the President by eighth amendment and on 5th November, 1996 dismissed her government on charges of corruption and interference with judiciary.

Leadership Traits

From the foregoing it is quite evident that nearly common leadership traits in Pak leaders so far have been:-

  • Autocratic Style of Functioning.
  • Mutual Distrust in Hierarchy.
  • Civilian leaders have always considered Military to be preferred ally to quall the demands of opposition, irrespective of their legitimacy.

Pakistan’s problems of governance thus emerged from the basic fact that the executive i.e. the Prime Minister has had to tow the line of Generals in the past. After eighth amendment to constitution, Pak  PM is truly rode on the crutches in the form of Military and President. It is in this context that interoperability of Pak Troika shall now be examined. The term TROIKA has assumed enormous significance in the governance of Pakistan ever since the first martial law regime of Gen Ayub. Eighth amendment to Pak constitution might just devour the skeletal remains of Pak democracy.

THE TROIKA

“Politics in Pakistan often comes to an impasse and then the government in power prefers to brings the military than make way for opposition party leaders.” —Shirin Tahir Kheli

The Troika of President, Prime Minister and Army Chief thus have a significant role in policy formulation. Influence of these three institutions of Pakistan shall be examined in succeeding  paras. The Pakistan of 1997 is not different from Pakistan of 1947. The Political problem appear to be identical, the search of national identity, the development of political rules of game, the consensus regarding a new constitution, relation  between the centre and the provinces , the roles of political parties, the military and the civil service among others. Ever since  the formation of Pakistan, the country has only witnessed personal rule rather than an institution governed by rule of law with any degree of consistency. The leaders accepted, almost willingly, dependence of foreign powers rather than national autonomy, confusion in place of consensus on the rule of governance an above all systemic crisis in place of systemic growth. There can be no better example than voluntary separation of more than half her population to form a sovereign state of Bangladesh. Foundation of the nation essentially based on religious fundamentalism is weak and unable to absorb the upheavals in a truly democratic institution. Possibly it is for this reason that every time the ruling party was threatened by opposition, it chose to either hand over power to military or created situation/s, where military had to intervene and finally take control of the governance. In these manner political parties themselves have invited military to play the role of an umpire. Unless the political parties understand that while one of them shall govern the country at a time, all of them have to put in their best foot forward to protect and nurture the democratic institution in the country. The Prime Minister/s must ensure that no dilution is permitted to seep in to retard/ challenge the decision of popular mandate by any individual/group. But for this to happen all political parties, specially the one in power, must either develop national base or create a working relationship with opposition parties and give them a genuine place within the system. Unfortunately this has not been allowed to happen. Jinnah himself  broke all democratic convention by appointing himself as the Governor General. In fact this decision not only set the precedence for personality oriented rule but also embarrassed Mountbatten, who was to have functioned as Governor General, both of India and Pakistan.

In order to clearly understand the military junta involvement in Pakistan, their peace time role and allied activities have to be examined. It must be clearly understood that no cut and dried solution can be offered. The involvement of military in civil life and influencing the affairs of state is complete and total. Omnipresent military has, over the years taken nearly irreversible control of virtually everything that happens in Pakistan be it economic, political or social. In fact Zia’s Islamisation drive has very nearly changed the social fabric of Pakistan society. In the following Para specific aspect of military involvement shall be listed.

Economic  activities of Pakistan Military, which came into being at the time of her birth, expanded rapidly since the days of Ayub Khan. A huge petrochemical project was built at the cost of Rupees 270 million during third five year plan. Fauji foundation was set up at the cost of millions of rupees. This foundation currently runs a number of mills, factories, establishment and farms etc. Almost all employees are ex-servicemen. Okara military farm, Khyber  Tobacco company and Fauji Cereal are but a few prominent companies run entirely by the armed forces. Hundreds of military officials have occupied high positions in various national corporations and others Industrial establishments e.g. West Pakistan Industrial  Development Corporation, power and Mineral Resources Authority and Bureau of National Reconstruction. A large number of Generals and equivalents have occupied high civil posts such as ambassadors, governors and even ministers. Military officers have been given land at throw away prices. From the foregoing is evident, in fact blatantly clear, that it is virtually impossible for military to extricate itself from the socio-economic scene of Pakistan in foreseeable future.

Let us now examine the institution of President as it exist today after the eighth amendment in the constitution brought forwarded by Zia. Zia had unique privilege of being military ruler in the garb of civilian clothes. It is this  vital link between General Zia and Mohd Zia-ul-Haq, a legitimate civilian president, whose policies were endorsed by a referendum, that has turned the otherwise decorative/ornamental institution of President in Parliamentary democracy, all powerful, effective and with executive function authorized by the constitution. Automatic leadership, an inherent style of virtually all Pakistan leaders, has obviously flourished under such arrangement.

Now the last  element of power triangle, a democratically elected leader of majority/ ruling party, the Prime minister.  Pakistan like India adopted the British system of parliamentary Democracy. However Quaid-e-Azam himself flouted the cardinal principle of election by nominating Liaquat Ali as the Prime Minister. The PMs after him were at best of ornamental/cosmetic value. They had little or no executive power, so vital in parliamentary democracy. Probably, if Pakistan was administered by military after assassination of Liaquat Ali, the office of Prime Minister may have been saved from the disgrace and ignominy it actually went through in the most turbulent years of Pak history so far. The office of Prime Minister received a well deserved change with Bhutto at the helm of affairs. However the honeymoon of true parliamentary democracy was too short lived. The dye was cast on 20th December, 1971, when Bhutto took over as the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. On being democratically elected as PM, Bhutto did take few concrete steps e.g. release of political detainees from jails, who were behind bars during Yahya regime. It is, however, ironic that success of negotiations with India after 1971 war, went to Bhutto’s head. As an astute politician he should have realized that public memory is not only fickle but short lived. His autocratic functioning ultimately brought his own downfall. Strangely enough the institution of PM was also strangled. The shabby treatment meted out by Zia to puppet PMs during his regime is but a testimony of what Zia thought of a PM. Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto have also not done anything to bring stability and repute to this  vital appointment of parliamentary democracy. Instead, both have sought to strengthen their individual position. Dismissal of Benazir by the President, Mr. Leghari is yet another nail in the coffin of democracy driven in by the hammer called eighth amendment. It is thus quite evident that no Prime Minister in Pakistan has been able to influence the “Troika”. At best they have been deaf/mute observers, merely nodding the head as and when instructed to do so by the President and Military. As far as President and Military are concerned, the institution seem to have merged and become one or at best a two in one institution. Eighth amendment to the constitution has merely made the President all powerful. Zia was a man of great vision when he conceived this amendment. He has given to military the ultimate power of arm twisting of a democratic government at will, through the President. Military, therefore, is all powerful in as far as influencing matter of state is concerned. President is a distant second and Prime Minister decidedly has to be content with the “also ran” category. The trend is likely to continue. In the light of above, the degree and quality of governance that could be provided by the future PMs, shall be examined.

 PRIME MINISTER AND GOVERNANCE

“The man, who slept in Prime Minister’s house, would always have to keep one eye open, to be focused on the military”.  — Asaf Hussain

Can the Pakistan democratically elected Prime Minister wield real power to shape domestic and foreign policies or will the Army and President continue to share the power as at present and control and influence the decision making? The question has been faced by every PM of Pakistan and would the situation change in future?

Having seen the balance of power or sharing of power between the Military, President and Prime Minister, let us now examine the likelihood whether or not a PM in Pakistan can wield actual power? It must be understood that the problems faced by Pakistan in democratic transition flow from the legacy of military rule, feudal political culture and an under developed civil society. A democratic order can take roots only if freely competing political parties and basic protection of civil rights and liberties is in existence. Clearly neither of these are allowed to exist in Pakistan. With little or no political  legitimacy, the regime so far have found it convenient to undermine systematically the development  of such practices and institutions, more often than not by suspending, distorting, abrogating constitutions and at times subverting, and oppressing democratic movement and leaders. Time and again, even the democratically elected civilian leaders have demonstrated that democratic principles are most conveniently expendable commodity. Today the gulf that exists between PPP of Bhutto and Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif is not due to differences in political  ideology. It is born out due to lust for power. The matters have been further complicated as both leaders have opted for confrontationist strategy. Thus an overview of the developments in past few years (Post Zia Period)  clearly indicate that the progress of democratic transition in Pakistan remains highly tenuous and incomplete. Removal of Nawaz Sharif government is a classic example of Military and Presidential conspiracy in keeping the Prime Minister out of effective decision making. However ironic and unfair it may seem but the fact remains that Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan were on the opposite sides of circle on the issue of selection of the COAS after the death of General Nanjua. Both wanted the COAS to be their man. If the protectors and practitioners of democratic values are going to ruin each other on such issues, democracy and ultimately real power with Prime Minister of Pakistan is at best a pipe dream. Strangely enough the democratically elected Prime Ministers refuse to learn from the past. Bhutto was devoured by a COAS, who was appointed to the post ahead of few Generals since he was thought to be ‘Bhutto’s man.

Unless the eighth amendment is removed, the PM in Pakistan shall have no choice but to play second fiddle to the President. It is extremely unlikely that any party shall gain two third majority, minimum required for repealing/introducing fresh amendments to constitution. It is also  extremely unlikely that the opposition shall support the ruling party when this motion is put to vote in the National Assembly. Benazir Bhutto played her cards well. She promised to support Nawaz Sharif and secured release of her husband and was appointed chairman of National Assembly’s Foreign Relation Committee. At the same time she offered to support the President against Nawaz Sharif government. The “daughter of the east” played the game of political realism showing scant respect for democratic morality. Let us now see what Benazir has been able to do in her second innings as the PM. With the election of Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan, a PPP loyalist, it seemed that she had succeeded in taking first concrete step towards ensuring that “Troika“ shall no longer share power with PM as an onlooker. This was the best thing that had happened to Pakistan. Many, intellectuals actually thought so. The power differential in Troika would not permit the harmony between PM and President to last a full term. Benazir was finally sacked, just a day prior to US Presidential election.

It is thus quite evident that Pakistan’s transition to democracy has often run into a political minefield in the form of eighth amendment, laid by martial law regime. The legacies of a military dictatorship are well known: deliberate destruction of political institutions that promote and sustain democracy. The citizens and their representative groups have lost their civil competence and civil society as a whole has decayed. Military rule and autocratic governance by civilian governments have not only prevented the evolution of statesmanship and civil leadership, but also destroyed every ingredient of democratic culture, if found blocking its way. There is no doubt that developing democracies have to go through the upheavals but even the eruption of political turmoil so far is motivated by the change to military rule. Pakistan policy makers must recognize that not only has the dictatorship failed to provide coherent governance but also has left the society more divided, polarized and dangerously fragmented. The international constellation of forces have also changed significantly, hence it might be more difficult for the military to attract patrons. Probably the military is more aware of its weaknesses than ever before. It recognizes that it can no longer play the role of guardian of the nation.

Let us now see the President, Prime Minister equation. Since 1988 Pakistan has had three general election, eight Prime Ministers, four Presidents and seventeen dissolutions of duly elected assemblies.   Such instability is not  conducive to the development of democratic institutions. Another potential casualty of this constitutional ambiguity is the integrity of the courts. It must be understood that the methods adopted for determining the merits of respective dissolutions is inherently political. It may be surprising but true that while Benazir and  Nawaz Sharif were in opposition, they supported dissolution of National Assembly by the President. The courts obviously cannot remain immune to such partisanship. Unfortunately potential remedies for this ambiguity remain distant. The most obvious remedy, the repeal of eighth amendment, seems more remote now than any time since the death of Zia.

The Prognosis, therefore, is that the Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors shall jockey for more power. The courts may serve as the referee. The legislature shall remain weak and docile, albeit greedy for the perquisites of power. With all these dilemmas and basic instinct of self preservation shall keep future PMs pay more attention to their remaining in office rather than provide effective governance. Likely degree of control over the affairs of state having been clearly defined, let us now see global perception of Pak leaders.

GLOBAL RECEPTION OF OF PAKISTAN

“Pakistan came into being as a result of the urge of the Muslims of the sub-continent to secure a territory, where Islamic ideology could be practiced  and demonstrated to the world. Since a cardinal feature of this ideology is to make Muslim brother-hood a reality, it was part of her mission to do everything in her power to promote fellowship and cooperation between Muslim countries ”. — Liyaqat Ali Khan

BACKGROUND

In the formulation of the foreign policy of country, there are multi- dimensional determinates such as, geo-political context, politico-economic realities and international environment, which encompass interest and objectives of global powers, nature of balance of power in a particular region as well as bilateral and multilateral alignments. Their dimensions depend in the outlook and perceptions of the national leadership. As far as Pakistan is concerned, Bhutto can be considered as one of the major architects of the country’s foreign policy. His domestic preoccupations notwithstanding, Bhutto continued to demonstrate an identifiable perception of international linkages. During his tenure as Pakistan foreign minister, Bhutto enjoyed wide latitude in establishing the framework of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

A country’s foreign policy generally seeks three major objectives, i e security and territorial integrity, economic well being of its people and national prestige in the comity of nations.  On 27th June, 1962, while making a statement of Pakistan’s foreign policy objectives in the National Assembly, the then  Pakistan foreign minister Mohammad Ali said that following seven pillars of country’s foreign policy guided the Pakistan leadership:-

  • Ensuring security.
  • Maintaining political independence.
  • Preserving Territorial Integrity.
  • Increasing Prosperity.
  • Promoting Peace.
  • Establishing friendly relation with all countries by:-
    • Bringing about greater stability, and prosperity at home.
    • Playing a more active role abroad.

While the above continue to be the stated aims and objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy, the thrust in their relation with other countries is mainly directed against neutralizing the perceived threat to their security from India. Their  national purpose being to promote an environment, free of internal and external threats, for the blossoming of an Islamic nation enjoying a prominent status in South Asia and amongst group of Muslim nations. Major plank of Pakistan’s foreign policy since its inception as an independent state has been the Islamic factor for establishing and strengthening cordial relations with other Muslim countries. Pakistan leadership was very hopeful that other Muslim states will draw closer to it and appreciate its Pan-Islamic efforts. Pakistan’s efforts in the Muslim world started with its first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s visits to Egypt, Iraq and Iran to demonstrate the great goodwill it has for these countries. In his speeches, he stressed the Islamic ideals of Pakistan. In Tehran he stated, “My hope for the future is that Iran and Pakistan will be like one soul in two bodies”. The spirit of Islamic ideology to have closer relations with Muslim countries has been reflected in the 1956 constitution, which underlined the need for strengthening the bonds of unity amongst the Muslim world.

At partition, Pakistan being the largest Muslim country in the world had thought that it would be accepted as the leader of the Muslim world. However when Pakistan joined SEATO in 1954 and Baghdad Pact in 1955, most of the Muslim countries became critical of Pakistan’s tilt towards the West. But these pacts brought Iran and  Turkey closer to Pakistan. Also the leaders of Pakistan appeared to have been disillusioned by Islamic ideology and unity. Suhrawardy made a significant remark justifying the western connection with the CENTO when he said ” The Arab world is divided amongst themselves and even if they were united, zero plus zero after all is equal to zero” Ayub talked about these states in an equally denigrating manner. He characterised these states as no more than  bunch of  busibodies dabbling and interfering in the affairs of others on the pretext of universal Muslim brotherhood.

Dependence on USA

From 1954, until 1962, Pakistan’s foreign policy was predominantly determined by the US factor. This displeased the radical forces led by Bhutto, who voiced disenchantment with Pakistan with Pakistan’s total reliance on USA. His views were reaction against the feudal- orthodox elite, who believed that Pakistan was the only Asian country which the USA could truly depend upon for the containment of international communism. He strongly advocated that the country must modify its policy of exclusive reliance on the USA.  After Pakistan’s disillusionment with USA in the two Indo-Pak Wars ( 1965 and 1971) , Bhutto as the country’s Foreign Minister and its Prime Minister thought in terms of the theory of  “interdependence” and “bilateralism“ in foreign affairs. He realised the importance of geo-strategic location of Pakistan in the region, which was caught up in super- power machination.

Bhutto’s Impact on Formulation of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

The full significance of Pakistan’s geo-religious affinity with South and West Asia was realized by Bhutto. The location of Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf assumed added significance. Pakistan’s strategic location to the North of the Arabian Sea gave it considerable importance since 80% of oil meant for SE Asia and the Mediterranean passes close to the strategic port of Karachi and the country dominates the sea routs and point of entry to the oil rich Persian Gulf. The central features of Bhutto’s foreign policy were evolution of bilateralism, third World mobilisation through the creation of new economic order, criticism of nuclear proliferation and establishment of special relation with the Muslim countries of the world on the basis of Pan Islamism. The Islamic card as a basic tenet of Pakistan’s foreign policy, though swept aside during the appeasement of USA, re-emerged with the Bhutto era. However , because of security constraints, Pakistan could not break away from the power machination of USA and continues to have close ties with it.

PAKISTAN –USA RELATIONS

Initial US Interest and Supply of Arms

Bulwark against communist expansion was the initial interest of US in Pakistan. However, the initiative to forge Pakistan-USA security and economic relation was taken by Pakistan’s founding father , Mohammad Ali Jinnah as early as September 1947. Regional threats from India and Afghanistan promoted Pakistan to seek a security relationship. Arms sales from USA were at its peak from 1954 to 1961, which enabled Pakistan to modernise  its Armed forces and forge a credible deterrence. The divergence in the Pakistan–USA security relationship was first highlighted in 1962 when USA rushed arms to India.  Though it was member of the NAM, Pak protested against this and alleged that Chinese threat was an Indian bogey to secure weapons from the west. It was  apprehended that this aid would be used against Pak. In 1965 conflict in the Rann of Kutch and Jammu and Kashmir, the US arms were a critical factor in the defence of Pakistan, but the conflict showed the chinks in the security relationship, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Thereafter, a coercive diplomacy and arms ban by USA forced Pakistan to look to China, the erstwhile USSR, North Korea, France and other countries for arms.

Defence  Agreements

Why Pakistan joined the Defence Pacts

  • The perception of a continuous threat from India against Pakistan’s security interest, wherein, anything which weakened Pakistan was considered as being abetted by India, soured Indo-Pak relation from the outset. This was mainly responsible for Pakistan ‘s decision to joining SEATO in 1954 , and a few months later the Baghdad Pact, later known as CENTO.
  • Pakistan’s geo-strategic location makes it a bridge between SE Asia and Middle East. It also felt that the vast natural resources of oil with Middle East, will make this area a possible sources of conflict between the two super powers. To avoid any such happening, Pakistan showed deep interest in associating with any arrangements for the defence and security of the area. Through the Baghdad Pact, Pakistan hoped to contain the Indian influence in the Middle East.
  • The mutual defence agreement signed with Washington in 1954 also stemmed from Pakistani security needs against India. Though overtly the Pact was based on an unabashed declaration by Pakistan that it opposed communist expansionism, in return US made a somewhat less ambiguous promise to underwrite Pakistan’s integrity as nation state.
  • Together with NATO, CENTO and SEATO, the USA threw a chain around the periphery of communist Europe and Asia. Turkey with membership of NATO and CENTO and Pakistan with its membership in CENTO and SEATO formed two critical links in the chain.

Impact of above Pacts

  • USA supplied large quantities of arms and equipment to Pakistan ostensibly to fight the spread of communism. In spite of the assurance given by the US Government that these would not be used against India, Pakistan has gone ahead and used these freely against India in 1965 and 1971 wars.
  • The pacts fouled direct negotiations being held between the Prime Minister of India and Pakistan. India grew suspicious of Pakistan’s intentions and declared that plebiscite in Kashmir was an impossibility.
  • USA came to be looked upon by India as an ally of an aggressor, thus developing an animosity towards presence of US officers in UNMOGIP.
  • It brought cold war to India’s door steps. The Indian attitude towards NATO had not been as hostile as it was towards SEATO and CENTO since she feared being embroiled in the cold war.
  • It created tension in Asia and diverted badly needed finance from developmental activities towards an arms race.
  • These Pacts ushered in a new type of colonialism. The members of the pacts sold their hard won Independence for some military and economic assistance. Nehru called this form of colonialism as extension of sphere of influence.
  • Pakistan’s hope of Muslim brotherhood and Pan Islamisation  suffered a great setback. The Arab reaction to CENTO was very sharp and their reaction to Pakistan becoming a member even sharper. The Arab world drifted away from Pakistan.

Pakistan’s withdrawal from SEATO and CENTO

Pakistan had entered in  these Pact for the sole purpose of obtaining military aid from USA to force a military decision on India with regard to Kashmir. On the other hand, USA was mainly concerned with containing communism and did not want to intervene in any Indo-Pak conflict which forced Pakistan to reappraisal of their relationship with USA. Pakistan also realized that these Military pacts were forcing the Muslim world to drift away from it and was not in consonance with its national interest of emerging as leader of Islamic nations. Consequently , Pakistan withdrew from SEATO in 1972. Pakistan also aspired to become a member of Non -Aligned Movement where she could exercise her influence and curtail that of India. In view of this it withdrew from CENTO in 1979.

USSR Invasion of Afghanistan

On 27 December 1979, USSR troops entered Afghanistan and Pakistan was designated as a frontier state by US administration. The first offer of economic and Military assistance by President Carter was spurned by Gen Zia-Ul-Haq as “peanuts”. After President Regan came to power, contacts between the two countries were renewed and an elaborate programme of aid to Pakistan was worked out. This included the sale of forty  F-16 Planes to Pakistan. It also included ships, tanks and artillery pieces in 1983, the US congress approved and aid package of  $ 3.2 billion for Pakistan over next five years. The crisis in Afghanistan once again brought Pakistan into close relationship with the United States, however, neither country made an attempt to formalize the new agreement through treaties. In the mean time, having been invited to join the Non–Align movement, the Pakistan leadership was anxious to keep its distance from Washington. The situation in the Middle East further complicated by the Iranian revolution, the war between Iran-Iraq and close US ties with Israel necessitated that Pakistan not be identified as a US ally.

Gulf  War and its Aftermath

The Gulf war along with end of cold war and subsequent demise of USSR has put new strains of Pakistan–USA relation. The Gulf War saw the growth of strong relationship between the USA and the oil rich Gulf Countries, creating a new power equation  in this region. In addition , the withdrawl  of USSR from Afghanistan has resulted in cooling of the USA-Pakistan relationship and cutting of Military aid to Pakistan due to the latter’s nuclear programme.

Notwithstanding these development , USA cannot totally forsake Pakistan because of its geo-strategic location. USA needs Pakistan to counter – balance Iran’s influence in this region. USA is also apprehensive of India becoming a dominate power in this region with aspiration of global status in a reasonable time frame. Such a move can easily be thwarted by keeping the Pakistan – China axis open with USA.

PAKISTAN – AFGHANISTAN RELATIONS

Pakistan’s  Security  Needs

Pakistan’s paranoia for security stems from the fact that it not only has a hostile neighbour in India on its East but also a major boundary dispute with Afghanistan on its West. This gets further compounded by the Baluchis inhabiting Western Pakistan. Thus Pakistan’s national interest lies in ensuring a friendly Government in Kabul.

The Durand Line

The British had extended their control over India and reached the Pathan areas in the North-West with the aim of stopping at the scientific frontier following the line that ran between the cities of Kabul and Kandhar. Such a frontier would have brought the entire Pathan population under the British sovereignty, but the Pathans were not inclined to favour such a solution resulting to Afghan Wars. This convinced the British that what was possible and practicable was much less than what was scientific and desirable. The Durand Line was the solution, which runs 100 Miles South of Kabul- Kandahar divide and cuts the Pathan population into two – one Afghan and the other tribal. Although the Durand line was confirmed and accepted by all Afghan leaders from 1893 to 1930, it was not accepted by the Government of King Zahir Shah after British withdrew from India. Between 1947 and 1979, various Afghan governments argued that the 1893 agreement was a treaty between unequal powers. They sought a new frontier along the Indus river but were prepared to accept a second best solution, which though not defined, hinted at creation of Pakhtoonistan, an autonomous province for the entire Pathan population. Such a solution is unacceptable to Pakistan.

The erstwhile USSR invasion of Afghanistan gave the right opportunity to Pakistan to ensure establishment of a friendly government in Kabul by supporting the right faction. It has played its cards well, however, a state of flux continues. Establishment of a friendly government in Kabul will, to an extent, free Pakistan of its security anxieties in the West.  It would then be in a position to concentrate all its efforts on its eastern front against India. The main aim would be to discredit the Indian government by increasing the level of subversive activities in Kashmir valley  in spite of success of recent elections.

PAKISTAN –IRAN RELATION

Iran was the first Muslim country to recognize Pakistan and support her claim on the Kashmir question. Pakistan and Iran are not only close to each other geographically but also linked together through strong historical, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, socio–economic and religious ties. Pakistan’s tense relations with her immediate neighbors India and Afghanistan was one of the main reasons for Pakistan cultivating friendship with Iran. They formalised their relationship by singing the treaty of friendship  in 1950. The Baghdad Pact of 1955, later known as CENTO brought them closer. Iran’s attempt to mediate between Pakistan and Afghanistan resulted in the direct negotiations between the two countries. The formation of the Regional Cooperation for Development in 1964 ushered in a new era in Iran-Pakistan relations. The cooperation extended to the political fields and was evident during 1965 and 1971 Indo- Pakistan wars, in which Iran helped Pakistan in many ways.

Iran Pakistan relationship started deteriorating when Iran wanted India to play an active role in this region. It got worse, when Bhutto was sentenced to death, Iran threatened to stop all financial aid to Pakistan. With the emergence of Ayatollah Khomeini, the strain of Pakistan’s relation with Iran was highlighted because of former’s alliance with USA. Apart from president Zia’s support to the Peshawar based fundamentalist Mujahideens, his close association with USA, pro Saudi posture and his Sunni state sponsored Islamisation complicated relations with revolutionary Iran. Pakistan’s neutrality in the Iran-Iraq war further widened the gulf between her and Iran. To an extent this was redeemed in Jan 86, when Pakistan called Iraq an aggressor during the first visit of Ali Khameni to Pakistan.

Impact on India

Pakistan’s interest in ensuring good relations with Iran has always been with two fold aim of security of its frontiers with that country and obtaining economic and military aid for its endeavors against India. To this end, a not too healthy relationship between Pakistan and Iran will augur well for India. The Shia-Sunni divide and the difference in stand taken on Afghanistan are two irritants which could be exploited.

PAKISTAN –TURKEY RELATION

The Muslims of South Asia have always displayed an extra territorial religious loyalty and have instinctively identified with religious causes that, more often than not, were imaginary than real. The “Khilafat Movement” of 1920 by which the Muslim community of British India sought to preserve the ottoman Empire, despite the fact that the idea if Khilafat had been abandoned by the Turks themselves, when the Sultan had been dethroned, is a case in point. This explains the close links developed between Turkey and Pakistan. Pakistan had a commonality with Turkey in that besides being a Muslim state, both were pro-west even though Pakistan swore by Islam for public consumption. Turkey- Pakistan bonds were strengthened by the signing of an agreement for cooperation between two countries in Karachi, on 02 April 1954. The cementing of relations took place with Pakistan joining the Baghdad Pact later called CENTO. Turkey has supported Pakistan in 1965 and 1971 wars and on its claims on Kashmir. As a quid pro quo, Pakistan has supported  Turkey on Cyprus issue. Both the countries have identical views on major world issues, particularly the Afghanistan crises and Iran-Iraq war. Though there is a competition among Turkey, Pakistan and Iran to gain a position of pre-eminence with the Muslim republics of central Asia, all three want to forge economic relationship with them and have resuscitated the moribund tri-lateral agreement, Regional Cooperation for Development into an economic grouping called Economic Cooperation Organisation in November, 1991.

Impact on India

The Turkey – Iran – Pakistan nexus  towards economic cooperation may lead to a radical fundamentalist block appearing in this region at the behest of Iran or Pakistan extending from the Indian border to the Black sea. Thus Pakistan will fulfill its grand design of strategic depth from Arabian Sea to the Black Sea. India requires to exploit Turkey’s European connection and lack of fundamentalistic  attitude as well as Iran-Pakistan irritants to gain a foothold in Central Asian Republics through Iran for economic and trained manpower help.

Relation with the Muslim world

Pakistan’s relations with the Muslim countries, specially in the Gulf region are manifestation of its desire to emerge as a leader of the Islamic world. While doing  so Pakistan wished to gain support of the Muslim countries against India on Kashmir issue. In addition,  the economic boom in these countries enabled Pakistan to export its trained and semi-skilled manpower to obtain massive foreign exchange as remittances to help sustain its domestic expenditure of defence and development. Pakistan also exploited its relations with Iran and other Middle East Muslim countries to secure its petroleum needs. 80% of oil from Persian Gulf region for SE Asia and Mediterranean pass in close vicinity of the port of Karachi. Pakistan’s relationship with the Middle East Kingdom has enabled it to maintain a substantial military force away from its shores at their expense and trained on latest military hardware including aircraft to be available whenever any conflict develops with India. Pakistan supported the coalition in the gulf war and even sent troops to fight alongside the coalition forces. It has thus clearly sent signals to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of its desire to stand alongside he Muslim brethren in their hour of need. While India has lost out in the reconstruction of Kuwait, Pakistan has gained tremendous market for export of skilled, semi- skilled and unskilled manpower and also for its goods.

Impact on  India

With the temporary stoppage of all military aid from USA, Saudi Arabia, which has a large quantity of US arms and equipment, may come to Pakistan’s aid specially if such aid is required to quell the bogey of Hindu onslaught. Thus Pakistan would continue to take full advantage of the situation economically and militarily by playing the Islamic card and repeatedly emphasizing the threat from India.

PAKISTAN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS

 The emergence of Central Asian Republics (CAR) as independent states has opened new vistas in Pakistan’s foreign relations. It wishes to fill the economic vacuum in these states. With Azerbaijan it has entered into a joint venture for oil exploration. With Kazakhstan Pakistan’s negotiation for commercial credit remains inconclusive. With Tazikistan the agreement to supply power could  not be concluded due to uncertainly in Afghanistan. Pakistan has promised to sell engineering good to Uzbekistan. The CAR have shown interest to join the Economic Cooperation Organisation ( ECO ) of Turkey- Iran and Pakistan. Pakistan has no direct land route to CAR. This has to go through either Iran or Afghanistan. The economic exploitation of the opportunity with CAR will only come about once the Afghan problem is settled and a friendly government is firmly in control there. In the meantime an outlet through China’s Sinkiang  from Kirgyzstan and Kazakhstan to its northern area has been proposed.

Impact on India

There is every likelihood that CAR will have an economic grouping with Pakistan primarily because of its religious affinities. It remains to be seen as to the extent these republics will go to support Pakistan against India. They may not like to join the ECO straightaway as they would not like to fall from one block into the lap of another block. Given her technological and industrial base, India is in an eminently suitable position to help in restructuring their economy and industry and having a good toe hold in the future set up in this region.

 EFFECT OF ISLAM ON GOVERNING APPARATUS OF PAKISTAN

“To us Religion is not like a Sunday suit which can be put on when we enter a place of worship and put off when are dealing with day to day life ”.

Dr IH Qurehi, Muslim Scholar

The two nation theory which brought about the birth of Pakistan essentially propagated that demands of religious ethnicity makes it imperative that  a separate Muslim state be carved out of the then British India. Pakistan, at the time of her birth, had a federation of five provinces. In 1955 these were united as one unit, termed as West Pakistan. Yahaya’s regime in 1969 reverted back to the original status. As if structuring/restructuring was not enough to create confusion, the religion was in itself creating turbulence in Pakistan. Muslim society was divided in two different, if not conflicting, strands :-

  • The extent of Islamisation of the state structure or,
  • Loose delineation of the role of religion vis-à-vis the constitutional and political structure.

The father of Nation, Quaid –e- Azam envisaged a Pakistan where religion will have a role in individual and social life but not in functioning of institutions. The nebulous state of religious governance continued undefined until Mr. Bhutto amended the constitution to classify, Quadianis as non- Muslims and later passing a law banning alcohol for Muslim under pressure of the religious lobby. He, however, held the view that, while Pakistan’s social ethos could be Islamic, religion need not be extended to all aspects of political life by the states. Zia, during his regime, chose to alter this perception in totality. He made Islamisation the principal plank of polity and used Islam  during his eleven year regime as the basis of ruling ideology. This factor helped Zia gain/neutralise the most vocal and influential element of Pakistan society, the clergymen. These different perspectives were unable to bridge the dichotomy which Pakistan has manifested in its successive election campaign except 1990 election. The fact is that Islamic parties advocating Islamisation of the country ended up securing much lesser votes than the so-called secular parties. For an ordinary Pak citizen too, his roots lie in Islamic ideology. In fact this ethos goes to ancient times of Prophet. His journey to Mecca and Medina in 622 AD in the face of persecution and harassment is known as ”Hazira”. The concept of Hazira is acknowledged as norm and effectively implies that Muslims must not live in actual or for that matter even perceived tyranny of oppression from people of other faiths. Islamic ethos so deeply rooted in sub- conscious of every Muslim actually exhorts, Dar-ul- Islam as against Dar- ul- Harab. The attitude of religious intolerance is primarily responsible for the normal Muslim ethos of non-acceptance of being a part of pluralistic, multidimensional, religio-cultural polity, where they are not dominant. An extremely important but little known and publicized fact in that  most vocal  demand of partition came from areas where there were sizeable Muslim minorities desiring to escape from the anticipated or imagined thrall of Hindu domination. Surprisingly the Muslim majority provinces in the British India, where Muslim pre-eminence was assured, did not advocate partition. That 35-40 million Muslim chose to stay back in India is an undeniable proof of the above. Mohd Ali Jinnah, however, termed the state of Pakistan as moth-eaten and truncated Pakistan because his vision of getting entire Bengal and Punjab did not come true. The birth of Pakistan itself was permeated by bitterness and the  seed of frustration, which have ultimately sprouted in full fledged tree of hostility towards India.

Present Status

Islamisation of Pakistan politics and its growing influence is reality. No governing of apparatus of Pakistan can dare temper with the religious tinder box placed on a heap of dynamite. The ultimate step was taken by Zia in projecting Military as the “Defenders of faith”. The irreversible process cannot be ignored. Notwithstanding the religious overtures, Pakistan’s desire to lead the Muslim world remains undiminished.

Jinnah’s Dream

Partition from India and separate state for Indian Muslim was but only part of what Jinnah dreamt. An internal seething desire was to take over the leadership of world of Muslim community. That it did not happen is a different story altogether. However distant the dream may have been then or for that matter how distant it is today in reality but the fact is that every Pakistan head of state, civil or military, has yearned for this elusive distinction.

Response from Muslim World

Islamic revolution in Iran, Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and open rivalry between Arab states, perhaps have effected Pakistan more than any other country in the Muslim world. The influence from various Muslim countries of Pakistan’s social fabrics, as well as religiously oriented political parties, has been enormous. This has manifested even through ideological affiliation and different kind of political and theological linkage. Although the process of leadership projection reached its peak during Zia regime, its basis was laid during the days of tottering Bhutto. In fact mediation of the Saudi Ambassador in Islamabad was requested to settle the differences between PPP and  PNA. Predominantly  Shiite movement in Iran, however has acted as a dampener on Pak desire for leadership of Islamic states. With the Pakistan Shia population sharing an empathy for the Islamic revolution, the non-Shias in Pakistan felt threatened. The process was further sharpened through Iran-Iraq war.  The ultimate de-stabilising factor emerged in form of violent clashes in Mecca during 1987 Haj Pilgrimage between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi security men. Pakistan tried to defuse the crisis but neither country even listened to Pakistan. The self-proclaimed / imagined  status of leader of Muslim world took a severe beating. The result of these events has been the unleashing of proxy war in which different religious organizations assumed a sectarian colouring  and promoted the political goals of various Muslim countries. For instance within Pakistan feud between Tahrik-I Nifaz-i-Fiqh- Jafaria ( TNFJ), a Shia organization and Anjuman-e-Sipahe-Sahaba (ASS) a Sunni group, has threatened to erupt on numerous occasions. TNFJ is openly backed by Iran whereas ASS has its roots in Saudi Arab and Iraq. Such events clearly undermine the status of Pakistan as world leader of Muslim community. Having failed in religious front, Pak leadership has failed on political front as well in trying to be the leaders. In fact Benazir Bhutto approached Muslim countries such as Liyba and Saudi Arab to pressurize opposition to drop the no-confidence motion in October 1989, thereby tacitly acknowledging greater role and influence within the Muslim world than Pakistan herself. Recognition of Pakistan as leaders of Muslim community shall remain, at best of times, a  distant mirage. However every Pakistan government of future shall be running to proclaim itself as leaders in spite   of being absolutely certain that it was an impossibility.

USA AS A DETERMINANT OF PAKISTAN LEADERSHIP

My opponent is not PNA but Jimmy Carter”. Bhutto’s statement  published in The Times, 29 April 1977.

The US interest in Pakistan are not of recent origin. In fact even prior to India’s stand of non-alignment and panchsheel, USA had interest in this region. A launch pad in Asian mainland was a necessity for countering/containing influences of the erstwhile USSR.  State department in USA correctly identified Pakistan as the most likely candidates for such ventures, specially after the instability since 1951. A declassified state department paper on Pakistan states :-

“The political power in Pakistan has been assumed by a small group of British trained administrators and military leaders centering around General Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan.  We believe that the present leadership would be favourably inclined towards US peacetime development of air bases for US use”. Badaber base near Peshawar became operational in 1959.

The above quote published in The Washington Post of 20 Oct 83 stated that this assessment was made full four years prior to Pak granting air base facility to USA in 1955. US government through its ambassador started influencing/dictating the decision making in Pakistan. A dispatch from US ambassador Hidreth to the State Department of the issue of inclusion of Suhrawardy in the cabinet read:- “Ambassador (of the US) has told Islander Mirza that USA has no objection to inclusion of Suhrwardy in a high cabinet post”. It would be naïve to believe that such interferences were allowed without tacit approval of Pak government. In the same dispatch, the ambassador stated:- “While fully understanding the necessity to avoid US involvement in internal politics (of Pakistan ), the fact is that US relationship is so important to Pakistan”.

PRESENT STATUS

USA, however, has from time to time kept Pakistan in her place firmly as this dispatch sent to US state department on the eve of secretary of state visit to Pakistan shows :- “The US embassy is convinced that there is deliberate effort by Govt. of Pakistan to stage some sort of demonstration. Pak officials and public opinion earnestly believes that the best way to get maximum out of USA. In order that such ways are nipped in the bud Pakistan must be clearly told that our interests in Pakistan shall diminish and increase in India”. Even in the recent times US ambassador continues to be a central figure in maintaining balance of power in Pakistan internally. Benazir Bhutto came to power with the tacit mediation of US ambassador between the military and the government. The key elements of the deal were:-

  • Retention of President Ghulam lshq Khan.
  • Continuation of Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yakub Khan.
  • No interference in internal Army matters.

FUTURE TREND

US  interference /influence has been /will remain a major balancing factor for pro-US, Pak government and at the same time a de-stabilising factor for not so pro-US government. There are no short  or long term solution to this quagmire. Only internal strength of Pak leadership can minimize and ultimately eliminate the US influence in governance of Pakistan. This internal strength has been/shall remain elusive in foreseeable future; hence the US factor shall continue to dominate. It is my considered opinion that external influencing factor in Pak politics of governance has become a permanent factor. It can, at best be replaced by another e.g. China.

SHAPE OF RULING APPARATUS OF PAKISTAN

“In Pakistan, an extremely repressive and brutal regime has entrenched itself by championing Islamic reforms and by imposing fiscal and penal  law which to the rest of the world, look barbaric and medieval, but which have aroused hardly any opposition within the country because they have been implemented in the name of Islam”. Salim Qureshi

An attempt shall be made to clearly define the likely shape of ruling apparatus of Pakistan that can emerge under the situation that obtains at present. In any democracy, Presidential or Parliamentary, the ruling apparatus invariably has four basic prongs. Each one of these prongs must function correctly and within bounds so as to ensure proper and just governance. These are :-

  • Executive
  • Judiciary
  • Legislature
  • Media

Present fabric of each of these shall now be discussed.

EXECUTIVE

At the time of its formation the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) was the elite cadre and its members inherited the ICS culture. The CSP remained dominant in the bureaucracy and indeed over national decision making right till the commencement of Ayub period. Arbitrary dismissal of 1300 CSP officers in 1959 was the first big jolt. The CSP Cadre never really recovered from the knock out punch by the Military. Military authorities had wrested the task of decision making by force. In the subsequent regime of Gen Yahya Khan over 300 officers were removed. A not too well publicised fact is that during Bhutto regime over 1400 CSP officers were removed. Apart from removals Bhutto started inducing his loyalists into key civil positions laterally, which further eroded cohesion and uniformity in decision making. Gen Zia appeared to have given a semblance of respect and recognition to CSP cadre. Senior bureaucrats were given relatively long tenures. In the first tenure of Benazir Bhutto new stresses were placed on the structure of bureaucracy due to ever widening gulf between ruling PPP government at centre and the opposition IJI government in Punjab. In numerous instances the use of bureaucrats as instruments of the political power struggle put CSP officers to great personal and professional inconvenience. The situation continues to be much the same as on date.

The typical civil servant today is faced with formidable problems of poverty, social polarisation, breakdown of law and order and erosion of infrastructure. He is expected to tackle these problems in an environment where often conflicting demands from nascent political systems are impinging upon an administrative institution, the internal stability and cohesion of which has already become a casualty. In order to function effectively in such a situation the civil servants would have to be men of considerable professional awareness, integrity and initiative. Few of them today could claim to be imbued with these qualities. Given the poverty of their education and institutional environment, they are in most case, incapable of even comprehending the nature of the problem they face, let alone conceptualise, formulate and evaluate policy interventions to overcome them.

JUDICIARY

The judiciary has essentially been a political institution, whose role and decision have had a political fall out, almost right from the day Pakistan came into existence. The 1953 decision of justice Munir upholding the dissolution of constituent assembly was the first nail in the coffin of parliamentary democracy. The decision was probably the most significant event during the first decade of Pakistan. It may not be out of place to mention that it could well have been an indicator for future governance and ways for undesirable intervention by judiciary in Pakistan politics. The traumatic decision in 1979 taken by the highest judicial body of the country paved the way for judicial and political murder of Mr. Bhutto. Notwithstanding such negativity in some cases, the Judiciary has also acted from position of strength e.g. removal of an elected government by the then President Gulam Ishaq Khan was annulled. It is a different matter that the order could not be put into effect since the elections were already announced. Pakistan Judiciary has certain characteristics which are :-

  • It is a political institution, whose mental makeup is conservative and whose ethos is steeped in British legal traditions. It has a general tendency to uphold the status quo and not “rock the boat”. Given this make up, it is inconceivable for brilliant but anti-establishment lawyers to ever occupy a position in the benches of Pakistan’s Judiciary.
  • As a political institution, more often than not, the judiciary reflected “ground realities” including mood of masses.
  • More than any other institution in Pakistan the Judiciary has been asked to “play a role” with recurring frequency, which is above and beyond the call of duty.

The last characteristic needs amplification to highlight the influence that the Judiciary has been able to “exercise” in shaping the destiny of Pakistan. The judiciary has often been asked to adjudicate in disputes amongst politicians, between politicians and bureaucrats and between politicians and Military. Every enquiry into a major event in Pakistan is held by a judge, every election is sought to be supervised by Judiciary and the Judiciary is also being depended upon to preserve, protect and promote democracy. In popular perception, however, there is a criticism of the judiciary and its role in certain situation. It is viewed as a “status quo” institution, which does not go against an incumbent government. The 1959 supreme court decision justifying Martial Law, 1972 supreme court decision declaring Martial Law illegal (after Gen Yahya was out of power) and 1988 supreme court ruling against Zia’s dissolution of the National Assembly after his death are  few indicators. Mr. Junejo had in fact remarked to a close associate that Judiciary would never go against Gen Zia in his life time. The pertinent questions that arise are :-

  • Can the Judiciary alone act to protect, preserve and promote democracy in Pakistan, despite the continued failure of politicians on both sides of the political divide?
  • Can the Judiciary remain immune for an indefinite period from the “Plot and Pajero culture“ that has now come to permeate Pakistan’s society at all levels with corruption institutionalised from top to bottom ?

LEGISLATURE

Instead of discussing strength and/or weaknesses of a particular party of organization, an effort shall be made to trace the permeation of democratic value/norms in the elected representatives so far. The issue that, can the legislature of future be any different from those in the past shall also be examined. During 1950-58 Pakistan had seven Prime Minister and one commander–in-chief, whereas India one Prime Minister and several commander-in-chief. Those who compare the political development of India and Pakistan very often tend to explain the divergent paths that the two countries have followed since independence in terms of certain disadvantages that Pakistan was plagued with during its early years. That Pakistan lost its founder in 1948 and its able Prime Minister was assassinated in 1951 are often cited as the origin of Pakistan’s political misfortunes. The fact that a geographically and ethnically split  country was to be run by a political party like the Muslim league, which had neither the organization nor the experience of the counterpart, the Indian National Congress, is used to explain political instability and the erosion of democracy in Pakistan. These explanations do not explain in depth the real problems that Pakistan faced during 1947-58.

Pakistan’s political leaders did not realize that a political Party like the Muslim League or its successor would have to be restructured in such a way that it would develop, on the one hand, grass-roots support throughout the country and, on the other, the skills and the machinery to run the government. This meant that besides being a well-knit organization at the governmental level, the party would have to provide leadership both at the religious and ethnic levels.  The Muslim League leaders simply did not have either the imagination or the resources to develop such a party. The challenges they faced were indeed formidable. West Pakistan for another decade or so would continue to be dominated by the landlords with periodic religious outbursts of a serious nature. The social structure in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) on the other hand, was of a vastly different nature. Despite its economic backwardness, the lower middle class group e.g. lawyers, traders, merchants, school teachers, and small farmers were emerging to challenge the domination of both the old traditional landowning groups and even urban-based leaders. Another major problem was the growing ethnic and regional conflict between the Punjabis and other ethnic groups like the Sindhis and the Pakhtuns. As a result of these internecine conflicts, the civil and military leaders emerged dominant, but they could not provide a clear sense of direction and national unity because the domination of civil and military bureaucracies in effect meant the domination of the Punjabi. The main instruments of political organization in the rural areas in Punjab, where the great majority of the population lives are the landlords who control their tenants and the Pirs and Sajjada Nashins, who are used to mobilize support through the Islamic appeal. From the very inception of Pakistan they had become noted for their intrigues and feuds. In a personal communication, Sir Francis Mudie, the British governor of Punjab in 1947-49, wrote that Jinnah as Governor General had become so disgusted with the performance of the Muslim League Ministry in Punjab that he told the Governor that he would wash his hands of them and that his policy was to let the ministry “stew in its own juice” of intrigues and feuds. Some of the landlords were involved in feuds with each other dating back several decades. These disputes had originated in cases involving cattle stealing and claims against each other’s landed property.

If the Muslim league had developed its grass-roots organization and had not allowed the Muslims and maulanas to continue to exercise almost total influence in religious matters the anti Ahmadi movement might not have erupted with the same ferocity as it did in the early part of 1953. Beneath the façade of overall defence that was furnished by the ulema belonging to various schools and sects to the court of inquiry set up to investigate the anti-Ahmadi disturbances of 1953, the court felt that in the eyes of certain Sunni leaders all Shiahs were kafirs (non-believers) and some of the Shia leaders were inclined to pay the same compliment to the Sunnis. Thus the political and ethnic conflicts at the centre had their basic roots in the provinces. In Punjab economic discontent among the common people enabled certain religious groups to give vent to their pent-up anti-government attitudes, and the anti-Ahmadi movement became a legitimate and natural outlet for this resentment. All this exposed the inability of the Muslim League politicians to control the situation and the centre had to intervene. It is thus quite evident that legislatures in Pakistan have not come of age to support and protect the edifice of democratic structure of which they are the foundations, cornerstones and pillars. Feudal society and autocratic character has prevented the legislatures from identifying themselves with themselves. Transitional state and uncertainty of tenure of elected representatives has only helped them moving further away from the problems of common man. The status is likely to continue until stability in political system becomes an intrinsic part of people’s lives. Alas! Even forced division of the country in 1971 has not taught any lesson.

MEDIA

There are a number of inputs that influence various decision of any government. A few of these are government’s priorities and programmes as well as interest of those affected by such decisions. The media can play a highly influential role constructively. However, so far the role of media has lacked consistency, determination and at times pragmatic approach, almost deliberately. Governments in Pakistan so far have been, for most of the time aloof from the masses, and they generally do not consider themselves accountable to people. The responsiveness to popular needs of popular aspirations is, therefore, limited. The Media responsiveness is either conspicuous by its absence or at best selective. There is indeed a reason for this state of affairs prevailing. The electronic media almost entirely and a major chunk of print media is under total government control. We must not forget that the government controlled media is like a bikini which reveals what is suggestive but it hides or conceals what  is vital.

In Pakistan today four types of media are operating, therefore, relevant in this discussion. The electronic media, the official print media, independent print media and the clergymen. Radio and television are entirely owned and controlled by the government and these continue to parrot officially certified truth. This media, therefore, has little credibility. The official print media run by National Press Trust falls in the same category.

The impact that the media has on government decision making in Pakistan is, therefore, limited to the independent print media and the western media. This too is limited to editorial analyses, news stories and letters to editors column. The impact of western media of Pakistan is far greater than that of its own independent print media. The government, therefore, is forever finding ways and means to butteress their reporters so that “all is well in Pakistan“ line may be continued to be shown/written.

Clergymen, perhaps, are the most powerful mouth piece of Pakistan society. Their diktats (read Fatwas) cannot be challenged openly, even by the ruling apparatus. The basic attribute  of media; freedom of press is almost missing from Pakistan media and that is why it is unable to play its rightful role towards restoration of democracy. This has been further compounded and complicated by the fact that the journalistic community in Pakistan is highly political. During the last few years there have been some positive changes in government controlled media e.g. allocation of time for opposition leaders and removal of stringent provisions for issuing NOC to journalists for travelling abroad. However all these measures are drop in ocean because the media, particularly print media has not been able to reach masses for mutual exchange. The syndrome “Those who read newspapers do not vote and those who vote  do not  read newspapers” continues to play dominant role in any election held so far.

ANALYSIS

It is, therefore, quite evident that all four prongs of the democracy are implicated with one or the other ailment, preventing them from doing their duty towards nurturing the democracy.  It is ironic that the brunt of ill-governance is born almost entirely by the common man. The complex situation that obtains today has no doctoral or conceptual remedy. The first step towards the right directions would be for masses to realise the futility of rhetoric churned out by successive Pak regimes, military or civil. Possibly, removal of ‘Indian Bogey’ from their minds might be the start point. Reduction in religious intolerance could be the next step. For either of these to surface as movement, a co-operative and responsive media shall be of prime importance. A Judiciary based on principles of natural justice would have to co-exist. The bureaucracy shall have to rise from the ashes of the past. Then and only then, the legislature, the most active member of any democracy shall avoid sitting on a political tinder box placed on a heap of dynamite ready for ignition by feudal lords and autocratic rulers.

CONCLUSION

“Hoping for stable leadership in Pakistan and not conventional deterrence is the answer to solving Indo-Pak crisis”.

Fifty years after independence, Pakistan still remains in state of flux. Permeation of spirit of nationhood is a distant dream. The two major planks that have kept Pakistan bobbing up and down in the troubled waters of her own creation are the religion and India bashing. Having failed to assume the mantle of leadership of Muslim nations, a pre-partition dream, Pakistan is torn between sectarian clashes within the country. Anti-India stance has enabled Pakistan to gain mileage from time to time, both on the national and international fronts. The issue, however, has decidedly taken a back seat amongst international community and organizations e.g. UN etc. Even the OIC has stopped trumpeting Pak anti-India propaganda. Internal security problems and crises of governance by successive civil and military governments have frustrated all efforts for achieving a semblance of stability. Pakistan leadership  is drifting in the ocean of uncertainty in a rudderless boat. The masses in Pakistan are yearning for consistency in governance. Possibly the two most stable governments were Bhutto’s first two year (72-73) and Zia’s first five years (77-82). Bothe these leaders also had to resort to anti-India/nuclear option/ Islamisation antics, when the governing apparatus faltered in providing clean and efficient administration internally. Credibility factor, therefore, has hit an all time low. Pak hierarchy is confused and uncertain of their ability to meet the aspiration of the people. Both forms of governance have failed miserably. The only consistency that has manifested all governments has been autocratic style of functioning. Military is set to rule (or misrule) the country from the permanent dark shadows of an executive president, who has been vested with draconian powers in the form of eighth amendment. That this option has been exercised once by Zia and thrice by other Presidents in the last eight years in itself is a testimony of the misuse/abuse of this provision. Alas! All political parties, who essentially are the protectors of democratic values, have invariably been instrumental and vocal in requesting the president to exercise his powers to remove a majority ruling government on even trumped up charges of corruption and misrule.

Wishful thinking and presumptuous imagination notwithstanding, the country deserves popular and stable government. However, the legacy left behind by Zia has brought in a new dimension in respect of governing apparatus (other than military vs civil) and that is the form of democratic government. Zia, towards the end of his tenure, had categorically opined that Presidential form of government was better suited to Pakistan. Had Zia not met his tragic and sudden end, he may well have become the first elected President. He, however, has made the President all powerful. Democracy in Pakistan under present circumstances may flourish, if Pakistan chooses to adopt a Presidential form of government, Democracy cannot and shall definitely not flourish with Prime Minister remaining in office at the mercy of the President, as at present.  The dismissal of Benazir government on 05 Nov 96 has brought Pakistan back to brink. Following are the likely prospects:-

  • Continuance of Farooq Ahmad Leghari as President with/without a caretaker government headed by puppet PM and Cabinet comprising of selected individuals.
  • Election on 03 Feb 97, as already announced and formation of an elected government.
  • Takeover by the Army on the invitation of President without imposing martial law. Each one of the above shall now be discussed.

Continuance of  Farooq Ahmed Leghari

Sacking of Benazir government completed the hat-trick of dismissals by using the constitutional power vested in the President. The strife torn Pakistan is without any political party that can promise clean and efficient governance. Their single point programme “Sack Benazir“ does not speak of how they are going to overcome/eliminate problems that face the country today. In effect except for saying that “we shall remove corrupt practices” the combined opposition has said little of substance. Further  more, Mr Leghari has cultivated the Army top brass with finesse. If such was not the case, Mr. Leghari could never have applied the provisions of eighth amendment. The nexus can develop and a decision in favour of Mr. Leghari to continue as the President with a puppet care taker government installed for ornamental purpose, as at present, may be most convenient option, both for the military as well as the President. Election could simply be postponed for administrative reasons.

Election on 03 Feb 97

Mr. Leghari demonstrated sound political acumen by announcing dates of election along with the dismissal of Benazir government. However, even if the election do take place as scheduled , following political picture might emerge:-

  • PPP gains majority.
  • Opposition led by Nawaz Shareif comes back to power.
  • Fundamentalist, party e.g. Jamat-i-Islami gains majority.
  • No party achieves majority.

Irrespective of dismal performance of PPP govt. the chances of their victory cannot be ruled out. However, in order to keep Benazir out of reckoning for the post of PM, she may be disqualified for contesting the elections. This would pave the way for a new leader to head PPP government. The chances of PPP gaining majority are bright with or without Benazir. There is, however, a distinct possibility that Benazir may boycott the elections. Although Nawaz Sharief has been able to continue anti-Benazir campaign effectively, presuming it to be a Pro-Nawaz wave may be the biggest surprise in store for PNA leader. Nawaz Sharief’s dismal performance has not yet been erased from the memories of people. Third successive failure of elected government shall play a major destabilising factor against PNA gaining a majority. In spite of religious fervour in Pakistan , the public has never voted in favour of religious parties e.g. Jamat-i-Islami. The situation, however, is ripe for such parties to stake their claim for governance of the country should they even win maximum number of seats, though still remaining short of majority. Open Iranian backing and with funds from Saudi Arabia might just be the right mixture for fundamentalist to take over power (as in Afghanistan).

The most likely outcome of the Feb. 97 elections, if held, shall be a hung National Assembly. Keeping in view the fluid situation, horse trading might play a stellar role for achieving majority. Should this happen religious/fundamentalist parties shall stand to gain.  At the same time this eventuality may prompt the President to keep National Assembly in state of suspended animation, (of course with the prior approval of Army) and continue to govern the country as at present. The chances of Army taking over are at best remote because Army is and can continue to rule Pakistan through the President. Army, however, shall sabotage, albeit discreetly, any efforts being made by elected National Assembly to repeal the provisions of eighth amendment. Under such circumstances Army may even consider taking over the reigns of the country.

It would not out of place to discuss the personalities that may be thrown up as contenders for the riskiest job in Pakistan that of Prime Minister. Benazir shall be out of running either due to disqualification or voluntary non-participation in election. Nawaz Shareif was acceptable to PNA to bring Benazir down, however, constituents of PNA may not accept and elevate him as PM, specially after his encore as PM in his first innings. The situation thus is highly ripe for western (specially US) influence  (with tacit understanding of Army and the President) in electing a leader.

Irrespective of the results of Feb 97 election Pak leadership, at least up to first quarter of next century, shall continue to be plagued with internal crises almost entirely due to non-existent democratic value structure. India bashing shall continue to occupy their attention. Islamic fundamentalist have waited for 50 long years for such state of affairs and shall become extremely active, if not rule the country. Saudi Arabian money, Iranian religious fundamentalism and instability in Afghanistan  shall be the major influencing factors favourable for installation of government ruled by the clergymen of Pakistan. Ironically the counter balance for religious forces of power may come from within Pakistan i.e. Army. Zia, the visionary gave the Army the ultimate tool of backdoor governance in form of eighth amendment, primarily with a view to avoid Army becoming directly involved in unseating of an elected government. Zia used the clergy to tame the judiciary, however, scrupulously kept them away from being a part of governing apparatus of Pakistan. Pak Army, always a good learner, hopefully has learnt the lesson that Islamisation notwithstanding, governance must not be passed on to the clergy. With the above situation, it is highly probable that the ultimate dream of Late Gen Zia might become a reality. President Leghari might become the first head of state in Presidential form of government in Pakistan. Indeed if this were to happen, it would be with direct approval of the Army. Army would have thus achieved the legitimate role in the governance of the country.

Indian Option

This paper shall remain incomplete if a mention of Indian option was not made. Instability in Pakistan has invariably resulted in a backlash for India. A stable Pakistan is, therefore, more important to India than to Pakistan herself. We should, therefore, work towards creating a stable leadership in Pakistan. Diplomatic overtures and military superiority have not been effective in improving  Indo-Pak relations. At best of times our relations have been between bad to worst. The psyche of Pak youth (Born after 1947)  has undergone a permanent metamorphosis due to which India is seen to be “something” that needs to be banished. We have to strike at the psyche of youth of Pakistan in schools and colleges. Indian government should unilaterally decide and throw open the gates of our educational and even selected military institutions to Pakistani youth. Those who return to Pakistan after their sojourn in India shall be our true ambassadors. The process would not only be slow but also have few risks e.g. risk of espionage. Even then the net beneficiary would be state of India. A Pakistan of 2050 AD might just be different.

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