On 10 January 2015, fifth convict in the attempt to murder case was hanged in Pakistan. They did not attempt to kill an ordinary citizen of Pakistan. They tried to kill the former President and Chief of the Army Staff General (Rtd) Pervez Musharraf. While many people are felicitating there are some who are questioning the executions of these convicts. It seems that the moratorium on death penalty was lifted only to punish those who attacked army personnel. Today I feel as if all the civilians in Pakistan are less patriotic than any of the persons in uniform. There is a parallel government working in Pakistan. There were moments when I increasingly felt that our country doesn't have army, its the army that has a country. Let me give some examples here and I will leave it to the readers to decide that what is the status of a civilian in Pakistan, which was created after countless sacrifices by the civilians.

  • People who attacked General (Rtd) Pervez Musharraf have been hanged. They have been hanged for planning an attack in which Musharraf survived. I wonder how and why Mumtaz Qadri is still alive after killing the governor of Punjab. I believe the charges on Qadri are much more severe than on the ones who planned an attack on Musharraf. There are eye witnesses of this cold blooded murder of Salman Taseer while Qadri has also accepted his unforgivable crime.
  • In June 2014, Karachi airport was attacked by the armed militants. 28 people were killed in this deadly attack and the operation continued for five hours. Police, rangers and the staff of airport security force (ASF) laid their lives to save the airport. Later, chief minister of Sindh announced compensation for the martyrs. Rs 2 million for each martyred Rangers personnel and Rs 1 million for each martyr of police and ASF. I am still unable to understand why policemen were given less compensation for the same operation. Were there lives less important?
  • General (Rtd) Pervez Musharraf is being continuously exempted from appearing in the court proceedings. On some occasions his health is made an issue while on others his security concerns are mentioned. The very same person however is meeting media persons, giving interviews, lecturing in the hotels where his health and security concerns are conveniently ignored. Hamid Mir a well-known Pakistani journalist was attacked by unknown armed militants on 19 April 2014 and days after his critical injury in the attack he appeared before the judicial commission on 2 May 2014. He was given no leniency as he was an ordinary civilian.
  • In 2012 our Prime Minister was tried and disqualified from his office by the Supreme Court. Court's decision was implemented and Yousuf Raza Gillani left his office. In contrast, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan who accepted on national television that he sold the nuclear assets of Pakistan to several countries was never tried. He was rather pardoned immediately after his confession and was put under house arrest for five years. Was Gillani's crime bigger than the crime of selling nuclear weapons?
  • In 1971, we lost East Pakistan which constituted about sixty percent of the population. That means majority got independence from minority. Hamoodur Rahman Commission was formed to dig out the reasons behind the dismemberment of Pakistan. The report was not allowed to be made public until 2000 when parts of the report were leaked by the Indian and Pakistani media. The report says that large number of senior army officers were more interested in wine, women and wealth and had lost the will to fight. No officer was punished for doing their disservice to the motherland. On the other hand, a split decision by the judiciary resulted in the hanging of an elected prime minister.
  • All government departments have a fixed budget every year and the pensions of ex-employees are paid from that budget. Armed forces budget however is exclusive of the pensions. Pensions are paid from the civilian budget.
  • And now we have military courts. No army men can be tried in the civilian courts but military courts can try any civilian.

Whenever I read such news I wonder if Pakistan really wants its civilians to play their part in the betterment of this country.  It seems the laws are only for the civilians. Pakistan is a country where elected prime ministers are sent home or to the gallows by the judiciary, but the very same judiciary seems helpless when it comes to the trial of a military dictator.  Our judiciary is free to open cases against the civilian president in office but has to wait for months for implementation of the judgment for lodging an FIR against army officials in missing persons' case.  Why corruption cases of defense deals are brushed under the carpet? Why are we protecting those very same people who are putting the sovereignty of Pakistan at stake? If there is a corruption case against any of the politicians all the media houses will immediately highlight the issue but the very same media remains silent when civilians are discriminated against the army officials. I feel like I am a lesser Pakistani with no patriotism left in me when I ask these questions. In Pakistan, being patriotic means is to behave like an ostrich and stop reasoning. We have to accept the fact that we are unfortunate civilian Pakistanis bound to live a life of a second class citizen.