LAHORE- In the Wednesday session of the National Assembly, parliamentary leaders of various parties congratulated Mian Nawaz Sharif for being elected as prime minister for a third time. Many of them also expressed their views, though briefly, about the important problems facing the country and the way they can be solved.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party President Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s speech was more thought-provoking.
Referring to the Article 6 petition against former president Gen Pervez Musharraf, the veteran leader said if action has to be taken against him, then all those who cooperated with him, no matter who and how many, should also be proceeded against. Otherwise, he said, the idea should be dropped.
“Nobody can (dare) violate the Constitution single-handedly,” said Achakzai, implying that Gen Musharraf was not alone in what he did either on October 12, 1999, or November 3, 2007.
Achakzai is absolutely right.
If Gen Musharraf had taken over power in 1999, it was because his colleagues had done everything on the ground when their boss was still airborne. Had other corps commanders not played their role, it would not have been possible for Musharraf (now detained at his Islamabad residence which has been declared as a sub-jail) to declare himself the country’s chief executive and stay in power even for a single day.
The role of the Supreme Court judges who validated the takeover and gave Gen Musharraf three years (without being sought) to complete his agenda can’t be overlooked.
And if Gen Musharraf is to be proceeded against for he imposed emergency and detained a large number of senior judges in November 2007, then the people who he claimed were consulted before the drastic action are equally responsible.
Appreciable is the idea of the Pushtoon leader that licences of lawyers who worked for dictators should be cancelled, judges who opposed military interventions should be eulogised and former COAS Gen Jehangir Karamat should be lauded by the house for obeying the orders of an elected prime minister (Nawaz Sharif).
Mr Achakzai’s proposal to avert dictatorship in future will be incomplete unless there is also action against all those leaders who had played into the hands of military dictators in various periods. This is important because no military leader can stay in power unless he is supported by political leadership.
It would not have been possible for Gen Musharraf to stay in power after his first three years if the PML-Q leaders had not supported him. A large number of PML-N leaders had changed loyalties and joined the PML-Q to be able to enjoy power.
Justice demands that all those who contested the 2002 elections and became part of the treasury or opposition should be disqualified for good. The PML-N leadership should shun expediency and, without taking into consideration as to who and how many of their favourites will face the axe, take an indiscriminate action against all such elements.
A similar fate should meet those who had taken part in the 2008 polls, also held under Gen Musharraf.
(The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, the Jamaat-i-Jamaat-i-Islami and PkMAP had boycotted the polls).
This process should not end here.
Those who had cooperated with Gen Zia should also be made to face the music.
An indiscriminate action against all such characters would cleanse the political stables.
Everyone knows who had cooperated with Gen Zia and worked against his own party - the PML - then headed by Mr Muhammad Khan Junejo.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who had been very close to Nawaz Sharif and Gen Musharraf, had, perhaps, the names of such people in mind when he said it was regrettable that those groomed by the military also talk against the military dictators.
Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq immediately fathomed who the leader from Rawalpindi was referring to without actually naming them. Unable to digest the remark, he snubbed Sheikh Rashid and told him not to make such comments or “you would be thrown out of the house”.
The Speaker’s quick angry reaction, apparently, shows that the PML-N leadership has little tolerance for Mr Sheikh, who was once among those most trusted by the industrialist-turned-politician.
If the Speaker has to conduct the future proceedings in a similar fashion, then only the sycophants would feel comfortable with him