How long is the ‘Musharraf bashing saga’ to continue? There must be a limit to irrational hatred and self-serving accusations. Where is this aggression against the former president and army chief coming from? There are the following primary groups: military haters, extreme rightists who include terrorists, Taliban, al Qaeda and similar groups, people with personal vendettas and those who jump onto the ‘hate bandwagon’ and enjoy ‘negativity’.
The relationship of civilians with the ‘uniform’ is ambivalent. One factor is the symbolism of discipline. Most of the civilians in Pakistan are individualistic and do not care about discipline. Their behaviour in traffic is the most obvious example. Uniform also symbolises ‘authority’. In the case of the armed forces, the authority is strong and beyond the control of the civilians. The civilians do not like that. Recall the great demand for the removal of the ‘uniform’ championed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman!
Matters were worsened by the dictatorial rule of Ziaul Haq. He destroyed the whole fibre of a free society with lashes, death penalties and the cruel judgments of the martial law courts. These courts were also rampantly corrupt to make matters worse. Lashes were ordered and, in the side rooms, bargains were made for a price to reduce the number of lashes. Worst of all the treatment meted out to Bhutto made his supporters particularly adverse to the military in general.
All the above has some validity but analysis is required. The lack of discipline in civilians is a regrettable thing and only shows how irresponsible we are as a nation. We do not observe discipline as a ‘protest’ or perhaps feel great only when violating the law! Show offish and heavy-handed behaviour is what landlords, politicians, the rich and powerful like to display. This is not something we can take pride in. On the other hand, a military man takes an oath to lay down his life in defence of the nation and the country. He/she protects the honour of civilians and is ready and vigilant at all times. Such civilians, who consider the duty of the military men to be just because they are paid for it, commit an almost blasphemy in my opinion. There is one life an individual has and it is too precious for any money. A shaheed (martyr) lays down his life only by the command of his heart and love for the nation and country. Civilians need to remember the services of the army men in every catastrophe, let it be war, floods, earthquakes or epidemics. It is the armed forces that respond and succeed, not the civilians. I can go on, but I do want to stress the fact that, for the health of a nation, it is important that full acknowledgment and respect be afforded to the men in uniform. Our attitudes must change if we have to build Pakistan as a nation. Exceptions should not be made the rule. All army officers are not Ziaul Haq. Civilians are no angels; they fully collaborate with wrong doings when any army man is involved.
In the present context, the behaviour of the so-called civilians, particularly the opinion makers, the lawmakers and some lawyers, has been such that one’s head hangs in shame. When some people in the nation show short-term memory and anger against their benefactor then one is reminded of the saying by Hazrat Ali (RA) “When you extend help and kindness (ehsaan) to someone then beware of his evil (shur)”. Musharraf saved this country from total economic disaster, from a potential caliphate, from rampant destruction of all kinds of discipline, including legal disciplines, and raised Pakistan to the status of ‘next 11’ economically progressive nations. He fought against terrorists at the risk of his own life, brought respect to the green passport holder throughout the world and finally kept the currency strong enough at Rs 68 to the dollar. He raised the level of education, planned to have all major universities in the world set up campuses in Pakistan, paid attention to our rich cultural heritage and brought in foreign investments.
The angry lot against him forgets all this. All the good is forgotten and imaginary evil is remembered. People in Pakistan need to realise that leaders are a rare breed. There are very few who can put the country onto the road to progress. Musharraf did.
The next group that hates Musharraf is composed of the extreme rightists, terrorists, Taliban, al Qaeda and similar groups. At no cost would they have Musharraf. They know that their whole game will fail if Musharraf is allowed to control the destiny of the nation. This group is well organised, almost exactly on the pattern of ‘Hindutva’ in India. Hindutva in India has a strong presence in civil bureaucracy, very strong presence in the media, effective presence in the armed forces, educational institutions and almost complete control over the moneyed classes, and the city of Bombay. Of course, their strongest are terror wings like Abhinav Bharat, Jagran Manch, Jan Sangh, Shiv Sena and many other, large and well organised terror wings.
If one looks carefully, the Hindutva equivalent, the ‘Islamists’ in Pakistan, have the same pattern. Hindutva wants a total Brahmin Raj. Islamists want ‘Salafi shariat’. Please take out time to look closely at what is happening to Pakistan. Musharraf is the rock the enemies want to destroy. I quote a very relevant portion of Humayun Gohar’s recent article: “Pakistan is on fire. Terrorists have the run of the country while our rulers are mannequins in show windows to create the illusion that we have governments while terrorists run the store. Is Pakistan in terminal decline?”
The opposition to Musharraf is no mystery. Musharraf stands to support progressive thought, economic development, the well-being of the people and the country, and he stands for Islam, not ‘Islamists’.
(To be continued)
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