How long will we have to endure the sinners of democracy to rule over us? Apology is not enough, there has to retribution. Air Marshal Asghar Khan is hailed as a great leader of Pakistan. He regretted the letter he wrote to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to intervene is settling the political crises in 1977. He was later kept in confinement by the usurper for his sin against democracy. On his release he wanted retribution. So he decided to go to the Supreme Court against Islami Jamhoori Ittehad(IJI) and its manipulation of the electoral process that produced a battery of sinners of the democratic order.
The case was linked to a deliberate attempt to derail the democratic system in order to get ‘positive’ results in 1990 elections. It was filed as a human rights petition No.19 of 1996. Dr. Faqir Hussain, Registrar Supreme Court read the detailed judgment on November 08, 2012. Rs. 140 million was doled out to some chosen politicians to buy the election. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was head of IJI and eventually replaced Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister. Generals Hamid Gul and Asad Durrani admitted to their complicity while the then COAS Aslam Baig filed a review petition which remains unheard. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was tasked to take action against the accused and convicted individuals. The verdict remains un-implemented while the sinful acts continue.
The Air Marshal died on January 05, 2018 at the age of 96 while his case is still alive and the culprits at large. Democracy in Pakistan will remain in the doldrums till it is cleansed of the sinners. My friend the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) is playing his role in correcting the wrongs. This case needs his attention as well, so that the infamous saga can come to closure. Perhaps another JIT (Joint Investigation Team ) is needed to push the sinners out of the arena.
The first constituent assembly of Pakistan consisted of elected members who came through the free and fair elections of 1946 while the second batch came from the 1970 electoral exercise. Both houses were outstanding and were focused on people friendly legislation. The unanimous 1973 constitution is a gift of these able legislators, who worked hard to rebuild of what remained of Quaid’s Pakistan. It was called “Awami Hakumat” (People’s Government) led by Quaid-e-Awam Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) whose 39 death anniversary was commemorated on April 04, 2018.
In the famous Asma Jilani (Jahangir later) case the Supreme Court has already declared Ayub’s and Yahya’s martial law illegal. Musharraf the fourth khaki usurper is currently being tried under Article-6 of the constitution. Only Zia’s misdeeds remain unaccounted for. He should be tried for the judicial murder of ZAB. In case of conviction his ranks should be taken back and properties confiscated.
On March 27, 2018, the heads of executive and judiciary had a long one on one meeting. It is indeed interesting for the two to meet. Democracy in Pakistan has been on an auto pilot since July 1977. Establishments focus has been on positive results. After the lawyers movement in 2007 the judiciary has won back its freedom. Khakis have also redeemed their honour after the war on terror. The executive which comes through the legislature has only focused on winning elections while the Khakis and Qazis in the past have looked the other way. Thanks to Panama and Imran Khan their attention has been diverted to the plight of the masses perhaps for the first time.
Friends use an old analogy of trying to clean a contaminated well with the carcass of a dead animal at the bottom. Replacing the water alone will only be a short term fix unless the body of decaying animal is removed. Without political cleansing Pakistan will remain contaminated. ‘Vote ki Izzat’ (Sanctity of the vote) is being talked about by individuals who has always worked against it. The two term limit for PM should be restored in the constitution to send a clear signal that the spots of evil are finally fading. In fact the two term limit should be introduced for all elected offices. Sinners of democracy have sinned against their own nation. People of Pakistan deserve relief, they want clean water to drink, schools to educate their children and hospitals to ease their pains/ailments. Democracy is for the people, by the people of the people which has been missing in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The clock has started to tick for the sinners, they can neither run nor hide any longer. Political guillotine awaits them. Historically speaking Nadir Shahi ended with the murder of the plunderer in June 1747, only then there was a sigh of relief both in India and Iran. All eyes are no focused on the demise of the sinners of democracy.
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation.