Military's 'veiled warning' over treatment of its former ChiefAlso a Tale of two Cities; Ankara and Islamabad.Part IGen Asfaq Kayani said: "In my opinion, it is not merely retribution, but awareness and participation of the masses that can truly end this game of hide and seek between democracy and dictatorship."Note ( Gen Pervez Musharraf returned to Pakistan On 24 March 2013, after a four-year self imposed exile. His reception was less then enthusiastic he had hoped for .For all his faults and mistakes him is perhaps one of the best rulers of Pakistan.)While I was resident in Bucharest as a journalist, in 1998 Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif forced Army Chief Gen Karamat Jehangir into retirement and replaced him with Gen Pervez Musharraf, a Mohajir. In a state ruled most of the time directly or indirectly by the military it seemed irrational so I went over to the Pakistan ambassador , a friendly Pashtun diplomat . I was told that Gen Karamat, after a lecture at the Pakistan Defense Academy, in response to a question, had only expressed the need for a National Security Council (NSC) in view of the introduction of nuclear weapons into Pakistan's arsenal. But the armed forces took a serious note of the insult and were prepared next time around.Many ignorant and glib writers and even historians forget to note that in states which practice revealed religions , 'The Book' or Books play a key role . Of the oldest of the three revealed religions, Judaism's only state since ancient times , Israel , founded on leftist tenets has since morphed into a rule by Zionist-Military oligarchy. Christians after centuries of warfare in Europe have somewhat managed to create secular polities which are still underpinned if not haunted by sectional religious ideologies.( Look at the Christian fortress Europe Union's refusal to grant full membership to Muslim but secular Turley). In the last of 'the Book' based polity Islam, the lines between the Mir and the Pir ,the temporal ruler and spiritual ruler still remain blurred ,contested and changing.Prophet Mohammad was both the religious leader and the military commander.Apart from Pakistan , in Egypt too the military ruled since 1952 and only a massive uprising forced former Air Chief president Hosni Mubarak and his cronies to leave power .Egypt is a poor country and the continuing resistance against the ruling Moslem Brotherhood by the poor, young and laboring classes might lead to a colonels coup supported by poor fellahin soldiers a la 1952 .Syria's president Bashar Assad's father who took over power 3 decades ago too was the air chief . There are many such examples in Sunni Muslim world from Algeria to Nigeria to IndonesiaIn Turkey in 2002 with the help of Saudi billions , Islamists took over power and are Islamising the secular state , but their attempts to humiliate and exorcise the proud Turkish armed forces who under the legendry Kemal Ataturk fashioned the secular republic from the ashes of the shrinking moribund Ottoman Empire ruled by Sultan Caliph from Istanbul, could backfire. Notwithstanding the uprisings of the Arab masses against US puppets in the region , wrong and not thought through and wildly ambitious Ankara's foreign policy , for example , lending active support for the regime change in Damascus , would spill over , perhaps giving the Kurds another chance to go for a state of their own and unforeseen outcome in the Gulf from where most of the money is being poured to fulfill Washington neo-colonist policies to keep the Arabs and other Muslims fighting on ethnic or Shia -Sunni divide.
In Iran after the 1979 revolution, Shias created the ideal but mythical office of Imam in the person of Ruhoallah Khomeini . The status of the Imam was evolved into the doctrines of intercession and infallibility, i.e., of the faqih/mutjahid .But the Iranians have since found that a system based on the concepts of 7th century AD is inadequate to confront and solve the problems of 21st century. Thus there is a struggle to loosen the total clerical control over almost all aspects of life .Like the first Imam Ali, Iran is ruled by the supreme religious leader, Ali Khomeini, who incidentally is Azeri Turk .The cement keeping Iran united now is its common nationalistic and patriotic heritage and Islam.In Syria the ruling Shia Alawite elite, 12% of the population which has been staunchly secular under the Assads since four decades is now besieged and attacked by MB Syrians, extremist Sunni infiltrators from outside with help and support by Sunni states like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and others and NATO powers to weaken Shia Iran of which Syria is an ally and its strategic partner and hedge Russia and China. In Lebanon the Hezbollah, which coordinates with some secular strands, combines in Hassan Nasrallah, the powers of both a military and spiritual leader. To understand the evolving situation around Pakistan and elsewhere we might look at some what similar situations in Islamic history.
The Arabs from the sands of arid Arabia who conquered the territories of the Byzantine and Persian empires who had exhausted themselves fighting each other over many centuries collapsed easily .( MAD balance between USSR and US led West led to the collapse of USSR and its allies and now over stretch of NATO is leading to US decline and fall ) Caliphs lost out on power by 10th century to the Turkish slaves from central Asia who formed the core of their fighting forces .The Turks raised the minor title of Sultan to a high rank who literally became a protector of the Caliph , left with only spiritual powers. Even that role was seized by the Ottoman Sultans ruling from Istanbul in early 16 century.Coming back to Gen Pervez Musharraf , I wrote the following piece soon after he took over power , which was also used by Delhi's "Poineer" too.TURKPULSE No:10 ............................NOVEMBER 21th, 1999(Used by Delhi's Pioneer titled 'Uphill task ahead ')Below is an article by retired Indian Ambassador to Ankara, Gajendra Singh on the latest military coup in Pakistan. As a Turkey expert who has been in this country for over ten years in two different diplomatic assignments and now as a journalist/writer, Ambassador Singh has very interesting observations of the Turkish model in the Islamic world and especially in Pakistan.NEW PAKISTANI RULER AND TURKISH POLITICAL MODEL
Ambassador Gejandra SinghGuest WriterDelhi born Gen Pervez Musharraf, the new ruler of Pakistan, has taken upon a much harder task of rescuing his country from "rock bottom" than that faced either by FM Ayub Khan in 1958 or Gen Zia-ul-Haq in 1977. Ayub had taken over at the peak of the Cold War when the fight against Communism rather than the so-called crusade for democracy was the top priority with Pakistan neatly fitting into US strategy. Zia was a pariah until the 1980 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan fell like manna from heaven, allowing Pakistan to complete its nuclear bomb program. Now Pakistan's economic position is desperate and US is more focused on fighting terrorists, who last year bombed its Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, led by the likes of Ben Laden, ensconced among Pak nurtured and backed Taliban regime in Afghanistan.Unfortunately for Pakistan, now detained Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used his 2/3rd parliamentary majority to bully the President, bend the higher judiciary to his will and force Gen. Musharraf's predecessor Gen Jahangir Karamat to resign a year ago, but this time around found the Armed Forces united against him. In mooting a decision making National Security Council (NSC) with a say for the Armed Forces, Gen Karamat was only stating a political reality, which might have avoided the recent unsavoury confrontation and the ugly outcome.The failure now of Sharif, a more representative leader than the professional feudal landlord types and of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto earlier, the two politicians who had the opportunity and political support to lay the foundations of democracy but instead chose despotic ways to steam-roller the check and balance institutions, highlights the inability of the Pakistani mind frame to accept the give and take of a democratic regime.Gen Musharraf has made it quite clear that the generals are unlikely to let Sharif or Benazir Bhutto back in hurry and it could be quite some time before another civilian gets a chance.Gen. Musharraf, soon to visit Turkey, where he did his schooling, has publicly expressed admiration for Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, whom he would like to emulate. After the military take-over, the initial broad based choice of his team so far shows similarities with Turkey's situation after the 1980 coup carried out by Gen Kenan Evren who was shrewd enough to give charge of economy to technocrat Turgut Ozal who turned around Turkey's moribund economy utilising its talented expatriates. Sooner or later the self-styled Chief Executive should move over to the Presidency as did Gen Evren (for 9 years) and then take a couple of years to sort out the mess and usher in a referendum approved new Constitution institutionalising the role of the Armed Forces which cannot be questioned.As members of Western Alliances Turkey and Pakistan have maintained close relations since 1950s and Pakistani military brass is well aware of the role of the Armed Forces in Turkey. Like Turkey in 1980 (and earlier in 1960) Gen Musharraf's first step was to create a National Security Council (and not a Revolutionary or Redemption Council).However, proposals to create a NSC are not new and had been mooted in the past. President Gen. Zia ul Haq tried in the 1980s, it was opposed and hence dropped. Another by President Farooq Leghari on 6 January 1997 through a decree, inspired and patterned on the Turkish model, lapsed after the massive electoral victory of Nawaz Sharif. Therefore, Turkey's experience of military in politics is likely to influence the latest way to "real democracy" in Pakistan and has been so acknowledged by Gen. Musharraf himself.Article 118 of the 1982 Turkish Constitution provides for a ten member (5 from the military) NSC, chaired by the President and in his absence by the Prime Minister. In Turkish Protocol, the Armed Forces Chief of General Staff (CGS) comes next to the Prime Minister and the two along with the President form the triangle, which rules the country. The agenda of the Council meetings is proposed by the Prime Minister and the CGS and only matters of prime importance are discussed. Though not institutionalized like CGS, the position of the Army Chief in Pakistan, originally based on the British colonial pattern but modified by 52 years of experience since independence, half under military regimes, is not so different. In practice his position has remained decisive and certainly more arbitrary.The Turkish Armed Forces, rooted in a mixture of Ottoman army traditions, modernized and westernized by French and German staff officers were forged into a nationalist fighting force during the War of Independence by Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk and later to uphold secularism and guard against any tilt either to the left or the right. But Ataturk had ensured that the military men gave up the uniform before joining civilian duties.After Turkey joined NATO in early 1950s, its Armed Forces have been influenced by the Western practices. Following the first intervention in 1960 when the Prime Minister and two of his colleagues were hanged (as was Bhutto by Gen Zia), in 1971 the Military members of the NSC, egged on by radical junior officers, had forced Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel to resign. A National Govt to carry out radical reform was formed. By the time Army was forced to intervene in 1980, the country was at the edge of an abyss, with more than 1000 people having been killed in left right violence in the previous 6 months. The politicians had literally abdicated their responsibility by refusing to even elect a President of the Republic for months.Gen Evren sent the discredited political leaders packing and had debarred them from politics, but almost all returned to politics by 1987. It is the general consensus that the Turkish Armed forces have interfered only when things have spun out of control in the Turkish experiment with democracy and after setting things right, have always gone back to the barracks; the Turkish masses also expect them to do so. The Armed Forces enjoy almost total autonomy in their affairs and even the Islamic PM Erbakan had to endure Army's annual (1996) cleansing of officers with suspected religious linkages or proclivities.Since the 1960 coup, the politicians slowly worked out a modus vivendi with military leaders with incremental assertion of civilian supremacy. Barring President Celal Bayar, ousted in 1960, most Turkish Presidents had been retired Military chiefs, but first Ozal (1989 to 1993) and since then Demirel have strengthened civilian ascendancy by getting themselves elected Presidents, but have to take note of Military's views in regular NSC meetings.Unlike the secular Turkish Armed Forces, the Pak Military, though starting with British colonial traditions have become politicised and now Islamised specially at the level of junior officers (as was evident by the bearded soldiers manning the Govt buildings in Pakistan after the latest intervention) with its involvement with Afghan Mujahaddin and terrorist groups and nurturing and bringing up of the Taleban organisation. Many observers fear that instead of the Turkish model Pakistan might end up closer to the Sudanese model with a Turaibi like figure from Jamait-e Islami as an ideologue (Jamait leaders have already expressed their opposition to Musharraf's liking for Kemalism).Having stoked the fire of Islamic fundamentalism, with its fighters now active all over the world, Pakistan may find that the monster at home can now no longer be contained. In contrast Turkey perhaps closest to the Western perceptions of democracy in the Islamic world had had a long tradition and history of modernisation and westernisation, first during the last century and half of the Ottoman decline with constant interaction and rivalry with European powers, ideas and non Muslim millets. And after the inception of the Republic in 1923 though forced reforms by Ataturk against tremendous odds and religious and conservative opposition. And certainly Muslim religion is an important determinant; for except for Turkey, democracy as understood in West and India has not really taken root in most Islamic countries.Pakistanis may vehemently deny but the Hindu cultural influence over Pak Islam and psyche is undeniable, i.e. converts from Hindu castes continue to marry among themselves. With a dynamic and aggressive Punjabi (nearly 60 % of Pak population) core personality, in sibling like rivalry, Pakistanis believe that they can do anything better than the Indian Hindus across the border, even in having a democracy. How Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had crowed when Emergency was declared in India in 1975. This remains an important factor in Pak's endeavour to bring back democracy, notwithstanding the fact that the movement for Pakistan and certainly the leadership of Pakistan has not emerged from the grassroots like India's Lals and Yadavs. The oligarchy of feudal landlords, bureaucrats, army officers and businessmen still remains the ruling elite, for many massive drug trade profits provide a major source of income from opium grown in Afghanistan and the border provinces of Pakistan (a major chunk of world production).A complicating factor for Gen. Musharraf is his Mohajir origin (Pakistanis born in what is now India and their descendants, now mostly confined to Karachi and Sindh, persecuted and treated as second class citizens) which coincidentally was a major reason why Sharif had picked him over others. Gen. Musharraf 's two brothers and son have opted for careers in USA and his own father, a former Pakistan diplomat, has become a naturalised US citizen.Mohajirs in power must appear to be more loyal than the King. An anti-Indian stance if not an obsession, inborn with the creation of Pakistan itself, cultivated and encouraged during the Cold War, should therefore be expected. A silver lining perhaps is Musharraf's greater acceptability by other nationalities of Pakistan, which have felt the heavy hand of Pathan leavened Punjabis.But Gen Musharraf is no Ataturk, the Gallipoli hero of the First World War and the leader of War of Independence, who after expelling the Ottoman Sultan and abolishing the Caliphate, had concentrated on building a modern nation, totally eschewing all foreign adventures.Amb (Rtd) K.Gajendra Singh 6 November 1999, Berlin firstname.lastname@example.org,Who is Pervez Musharraf?Pervez Musharraf was born on August 11, 1943, in an old haveli (mansion) in Neharvali Gali (street) behind the Golcha cinema in Delhi. When he was four years old, his family - mother and father and two brothers (his father hugging a box stuffed with a few lakhs of rupees) - migrated to Karachi in the new Pakistan soon after it became independent on 14 August, 1947.Non-Punjabi speaking immigrants from India (Urdu was the home language of the Musharrafs) are now mostly concentrated in the ghettoes of Karachi and nearby Hyderabad in Sindh, and are known as Mohajirs (a name preferred by them to that of "refugees") and they form over 8 percent of the population. They have been openly discriminated against by the ruling Punjabi-Pathan elite and have, therefore, established a political organization of Urdu-speaking migrants, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), in Karachi, whose leader, Altaf Hussain, now lives in London. But exiling powerful leaders in nothing new in Pakistan polity. Starting with president Iskender Mirza, who was exiled by General Ayub Khan after the 1958 coup, the tradition has been kept up. Former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are the latest examples.The Mohajirs, led by the Karachi-born Jinnah of the Ismaili Bohra community, who built up his legal practice and political career in Bombay, now Mumbai, were primarily responsible for the creation of Pakistan. Being generally better educated, they had formed the ruling group in Pakistan's then capital city of Karachi before the new capital was built and power center moved up north to Islamabad in the heartland of the Punjabis, who form around 60 percent of the population.After spending six years in Ankara, where Pervez learned to speak and write Turkish fluently, he completed his further education in English medium schools in Karachi and Lahore. He joined the Pakistan Military Academy in 1962 and finished second in the class after Quli Khan. The military has always been a coveted profession in Pakistan, but its officer class has traditionally been dominated by Punjabis, with the Mohajirs actively discriminated against. Nevertheless, Musharraf proved himself loyal and diligent, especially with regard to Pakistan's anti-India policy.Other members of the Musharraf family have sought greener pastures outside Pakistan. Except for his married daughter, Ayla, an architect, who lives in Karachi, the oldest brother, Javed, is an economist with the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome. Another brother, Dr Naved Musharraf, is based in Illinois, US, and is married to a Filipino. Musharraf's son, Bilal, an actuary, is settled in Boston, US, and even his mother and father, who passed away a few months after Musharraf took over, had become naturalized US citizens.Raised by parents who were moderate in their religious outlook, modern and almost secular in outlook, and well educated (his mother had a master's degree in literature from Delhi and had worked for the International Labor Organization in Karachi), Pervez's catholic outlook was reinforced by his stay in Ankara. Outgoing and extrovert, Musharraf is a caring family man, but somewhat authoritarian. After a normal retirement as a lieutenant-general, Musharraf would have perhaps divided his time between Pakistan and the US. Even now, whenever he visits USA on official visits, he spends time with Bilal in Boston, but still utilizes the time to promote the cause of Pakistan.Destiny's wheelBut destiny had other plans for Musharraf. Two things happened that catapulted him to the top of the heap. A thoughtless and erratic prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who twice came into power in the musical chairs with Benazir Bhutto - conducted by the Pakistan military after the death of dictator General Zia ul-Haq in 1988 in an air crash - started to go haywire after his 1997 election victory. After getting a two-thirds majority, with an abysmal turnout of less than 30 percent, an arrogant Sharif amended the constitution, stripping the president of the power to dismiss the government and made his power to appoint military service chiefs and provincial governors contingent on the "advice" of the prime minister.Worse, in a rush of blood, he forced into early retirement General Musharraf's predecessor, General Jahangir Karamat, an able and apolitical general. Gen Karamat, after a lecture at the Pakistan Defense Academy, in response to a question, had only expressed the need for a National Security Council (NSC) in view of the introduction of nuclear weapons into Pakistan's arsenal. But the armed forces took a serious note of the insult.Sharif, whose family is of Indian Punjab origin and now settled in Lahore, was a small-time businessman. He was groomed (along with many other middle class Punjabis) by General Zia (also from Indian Punjab) as a reliable rival to the Sindhi Benazir Bhutto, and other feudal political leaders. Sharif had promoted Musharraf in October 1998 to chief of Army staff, ahead of many others including Gen Quli Khan. He thought that being a Mohajir without a Punjabi support base he would not have any Bonapartist ambitions. Perhaps Musharraf would have faded away after completing his term.But at a time when the economic situation at home was dismal, in another rush of blood and hoping to gain absolute power and popularity, Sharif dismissed Musharraf and attempted to replace him on October 12, 1999, with a family loyalist, the Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Ziauddin. Although Musharraf was out of the country in Sri Lanka at the time, the army was prepared this time and moved quickly to depose Sharif in a bloodless coup. After Musharraf took over, Sharif was charged with attempted murder and other crimes.One of the reasons why Sharif wanted to get rid of Musharraf was that the latter had led the Pakistani forces in the debacle at Kargil, in the summer of 1999. Infiltrators from Pakistan occupied Kashmir had clandestinely occupied the remote mountainous area of Kargil in Kashmir, threatening even the ability of India to supply its forces on the Siachen Glacier. Serious fighting flared up, but the infiltrators had to withdraw after a Washington meeting between Sharif and then US president Bill Clinton in July. Sharif was severely embarrassed by the incident, although he appeared to be in the loop and would have happily reaped the benefit of popularity if the Kargil misadventure had succeeded.Two days before the coup, the Washington Post had noted that "analysts said (that) Sharif has little idea how to restore confidence in a government that has lost credibility at home and abroad - this deeply unpopular government is facing its worst crisis since early 1997".A Gallup Poll taken a day after Musharraf seized power revealed that most Pakistanis wanted an unelected, interim government of "clean technocrats" to rule for at least two years. Even Benazir Bhutto said, "He [Musharraf] was a professional soldier and I thought he was very courageous and brave. He'd been a commando and one who is a commando can take tremendous risks and think afterwards."A Pakistani editorial welcomed the coup, "This is perfectly understandable. The political record of the last decade of 'democracy' is dismal. Benazir Bhutto blundered from pillar to post during 1988-90. Nawaz Sharif plundered Pakistan (1990-93) as if there were no tomorrow. Then Benazir was caught, along with her husband, with her hands in the till instead of on the steering wheel. So Sharif returned to lord it over a bankrupt country. Then, obsessed with power, and emboldened by an illusion of invincibility, he went for the army's jugular and paid the price for his recklessness."Turkish connection;At his very first press conference soon after taking over as Pakistan's chief executive , General Musharraf spotted some journalists from Turkey. Speaking in fluent Turkish, Musharraf told them that he was a great admirer of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first president. "As a model, Kemal Ataturk did a great deal for Turkey. I have his biography. We will see what I can do for Pakistan. " Not only is he more at home with Turkish than Pakistan's national language, Urdu, Musharraf also admires Turkey's generals and the country's political model, having spent his most impressionable school years in early 1950s in Ankara, where his father was posted as a junior diplomat. Ataturk's legend of forging a new, vibrant, modern and secular Turkey out of the ashes of the decaying deadwood of the Ottoman Empire left an indelible mark on young Pervez, as evidenced by his remarks above and his subsequent actions as the leader of Pakistan.However, following his statements lauding Ataturk, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the largest of Pakistan's religious parties, immediately expressed its opposition to the secular ideology of Kemalism. As a result, Musharraf now also highlights the aborted vision for Pakistan of Qaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the country's founding father and its first leader after independence in 1947. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Musharraf visited Ankara in November, 1999, within weeks of taking power, on a pre-coup invitation from Turkey's military chief of general staff, who happened to be away when the Pakistani general landed in Ankara. Musharraf s main objective was to meet with General Kenan Evren, who had carried out the 1980 coup. But Musharraf found himself a most unwelcome guest because both President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, now back in power, had been imprisoned and debarred from politics after Evren's coup. They advised Musharraf to restore democracy at the earliest possible.The influential Turkish Daily News, close to Demirel, castigated the visit as "untimely and unnecessary so soon after grabbing power and jailing elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The coup in Pakistan or one in any other country can never be accepted. Despite the role of the military in public life in Turkey the general failed to realize the sensitivity Turks feel towards coups and authoritarian rule. He seemed to forget that Turks have now found out that coups have not solved the problems of the country and that, to the contrary, they have further complicated things. The way the general praised former coup leader General Evren was unnecessary."Discouraged from seeing Gen. Everen, Musharraf met his old friends in Ankara and lunched with the chief of protocol, an old school mate. Musharraf did concede before leaving that all countries must find their own solutions.Turkish political modelThe fascination of the Pakistani military with the Turkish military's institutionalized role in politics through a National Security Council (NSC) is old and abiding. It stems from the days of General Zia ul-Haq, if not earlier, because of close interaction between their military brass as Cold War allies of USA. Many senior Pakistani generals have been posted as ambassadors to Ankara. Zia ul-Haq had wanted to create an NSC in the 1980s, but he was dissuaded from doing so. President Farooq Leghari, under military prodding, had even issued a decree in January 1997 creating an NSC on the Turkish pattern, but Sharif, on being elected in 1997, allowed it to lapse.After the Turkish coup in 1960, the new 1961 constitution transformed the earlier innocuous National Defense High Council into the National Security Council. The president of the republic, instead of the prime minister, was made its chairperson, and the "representatives" of the army, navy, air force and the gendarmerie became its members, apart from the prime minister and four other ministers. The council now became a constitutional body and offered "information" to the Council of Ministers (cabinet) concerning the internal and the external security of the country. After constitutional amendments following the 1971-73 military intervention, it submitted its "recommendations" to the Council of Ministers. The 1982 constitution, a less liberal product and the result of the 1980-1983 military intervention, further strengthened the NSC's role by obliging the Council of Ministers to give priority to its recommendations. Threats from the military members of the NSC had made premier Demirel resign in 1971and the first-ever Islamist premier, Necmettin Erbakan, was forced to leave in 1997, thus avoiding direct military takeovers.The Turkish armed forces enjoy total autonomy in their affairs. Its Chief of General Staff (CGS) ranks after only the prime minister, and along with the president forms the troika that rules the country. Since the 1960 coup, Turkish politicians have slowly worked out a modus vivendi with military leaders, with incremental assertion of civilian supremacy. Since 1923, except for President Celal Bayar (ousted in the 1960 coup), all Turkish presidents had been retired military chiefs. But first Turgut Ozal (1989-1993) and then Demirel (1993-2000) strengthened civilian ascendancy by getting themselves elected as president. The current President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, is a former president of the Supreme Court.In Pakistan, the position of the army's CGS, originally based on the British colonial pattern but modified after 55 years of experience since independence in 1947, during which the military has directly governed for more than half the period, is even more decisive and certainly more arbitrary than the Turkish equivalent. In mooting an NSC in 1998, with a say for the armed forces in decision-making, Gen. Jehangir Karamat was only stating a political reality, which might have avoided unsavory confrontation. It would have legalized the de fact position of the military and made its role more predictable and even accountable.After the 1971 Turkish coup, with the top military command's views expressed in the NSC, putsches by colonels, tried a few times in the 1960s, disappeared in Turkey. The 1971 intervention was a result of pressure from middle level officers. Like Turkish politicians, Pakistanis will have to slowly work out a modus vivendi with military leaders for an incremental assertion of civilian supremacy. But while the Turkish armed forces, a bastion of secularism, annually expel officers suspected of any Islamic proclivities, Pakistan's armed forces and the ISI have become "Islamized" at the lower and middle levels, and even higher. In the short term, Musharraf is following General Evren's "Qaida" (primer). So soon after becoming the chief executive he created the NSC (now to have 12 members), heavily weighted in favor of the military, and formed a cabinet of technocrats.Before the 1980 Turkish coup, political leaders such as premier Demirel and the leader of the opposition, Ecevit, and others, had totally abdicated their political responsibilities. They went through hundreds of rounds of voting without electing a new president. Nearly a thousand Turks were killed in six months in left against right violence prior to the coup. So General Evren barred Demirel, Ecevit and others from politics, and closed their parties. Similarly, Musharraf has kept Benazir Bhutto out of politics on corruption charges, and in a deal exiled Sharif to Saudi Arabia in 2000.Musharraf's army constituency;From the outset, Musharraf made no secret of using referendums or amending the constitution to institutionalize the military's role in decision-making and to prolong and strengthen his hold over power. General Evren had established a committee of experts to recommend a new constitution, the approval of which by referendum also granted him a seven-year term. Musharraf had also chopped and changed the 1973 constitution, but the referendum in April last year to grant himself five more years as head of state was not a neat exercise (accusations of rigging) and left some legal loopholes. He is now having problems. He could have done better.Musharraf has succeeded in legalizing the military's takeover in 1999 - the coup was endorsed by the Supreme Court on the condition that elections be held within three years, which he has done - and he has institutionalized the military's voice through the NSC. His mentor, General Evren, after heading the NSC for two years, had himself elected as president in a referendum for a new constitution. A yes for the constitution was also a yes for another seven years for him. To make it doubly sure, he forbade any discussion of the vote on the constitution for many weeks prior to the poll. In the end, General Evren remained head of state for nine years. Musharraf has recently reiterated that his presence is necessary to harmonise the various centers of power in Pakistan.Pakistan's democracy;Throughout the Cold War, the so-called democracy in Pakistan was basically a Western media myth to put its ally on a par with India, which was on the opposite side. Utterances by Pakistan prime ministers against India made good copy in Western media. Barring perhaps Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1972-77), after the military had been totally discredited in 1971 following the liberation of Bangladesh, the Pakistan armed forces have been de jure or de facto rulers of the country. In the 11 years between General Zia's death in 1988 and Musharraf's takeover, Benazir Bhutto and Sharif were eased in and out of power whenever they tried to interfere with the military's autonomy, or their control of nuclear arms, or the policy on Kashmir and foreign affairs. Constantly squabbling with each other, they nevertheless amassed huge fortunes by corrupt means. Bhuttos, specially Zulfiqar Ali, and Nawaz Sharif had the opportunity and political support to lay the foundations for democracy, but instead they chose despotic ways to steamroller the institutions that provided the checks and balances in the state. This highlights the inability of Pakistan in general to accept the give and take of a democratic system and administration.For all the good copy that Benazir still provides the Western media, she was perhaps one of the most incompetent administrators in Pakistan's history, with her husband, "Mr 10 percent" Ali Zardari, making it worse. She played a seminal role in 1996 in promoting the stranglehold in Pakistan of the Jamaat-i-Islami and other fundamentalist groups, now hiding and biding their time in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They remain deeply entrenched in the Pakistan armed forces, the ISI and the establishment, with the potential for implosion. Tacitly approved by the US and with support from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, Pakistan created the Taliban and other jihadis to provide peace, stability and security in Afghanistan so that US oil giants could lay a pipeline from Central Asia to South Asia. Despite the ban by the Taliban on growing opium, jihadis, resurgent warlords and drug barons on both sides of the non-enforceable Durand line that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan financed themselves by the cultivation and export of opium and heroin. Too many vested interests in and outside of Pakistan, especially in the military, benefited from this lucrative arrangement So after some pause since the US war on Talebans, the production and trade in narcotics is going up again.Pakistan is now seriously infected with the virus of Islamic fundamentalism. The sympathizers of democracy cannot wish it away with the wave of a magic wand as the country has pursued the path of Sharia law, religious intolerance and authoritarian regimes. A constitution does not a democracy make. Even Turkey, perhaps the only secular democracy in the Muslim world, 80 years after Ataturk's sweeping reforms with a secular constitution in place since 1923, gets wobbly from time to time. Even its moderate Islamic parties have to be banned regularly. In November, 2002 Elections, Justice and Development party, which has Islamic roots, won two-third of seats in the Parliament but with 33% votes polled. Tensions are already building up between the new government and the secular establishment led by the armed forces.Pakistan polity;In any case, unlike India ,Pakistan began with weak grassroots political organizations, with the British-era civil servants strengthening the bureaucracy's control over the polity and decision-making in the country. Subsequently, the bureaucracy called for the military's help, but soon the tail was wagging the dog. In the first seven years of Pakistan's existence, nine provincial governments were dismissed. From 1951 to 1958 there was only one army commander in chief, two governor generals, but seven prime ministers.While the politicians had wanted to further strengthen relations with the British, the erstwhile rulers, General Ayub Khan -encouraged by the US military - formed closer cooperation with the Pentagon. And in 1958 the military took over power, with Ayub Khan exiling the governor general, Iskender Mirza, to London. A mere colonel at partition in 1947, with experience mostly of staff jobs, Ayub Khan became a general after only four years. Later, he promoted himself to field marshal. He eased out officers who did not fit into the Anglo-Saxon scheme of using Pakistan's strategic position against the evolving Cold War confrontation with the communist block.General Zia ul-Haq, meanwhile, was a cunning schemer, veritably a mullah in uniform who, while posted in Amman, helped plan the military operation, which expelled Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization from Jordan in the 1970s. But he is more remembered for having prayed at all the mosques of Amman, if not in the whole of Jordan. He seduced the north Indian media with lavish praise and chicken and tikka kebabs meals. He planned Operation Topaz, which in 1989 fueled insurgency in Kashmir, while hoodwinking Indians with his goodwill visits to promote cricket contacts between the countries. His Islamization of the country made the situation for women and minorities untenable, while the judicial killing of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977 turned General Zia into a pariah. But the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan made him a US darling, restoring and fatally strengthening the Pakistan military's links with the Pentagon. This made the Pakistani military and the ISI's hold pervasive, omnipotent, omniscient and ominous in Pakistan. This defense alliance, the seeds of which were planted by Ayub Khan, and the symbiotic relationship between the ISI and the CIA bolstered under General Zia, was never really dismantled and is unlikely to be fully disentangled.Pakistan's external constituency:The form of government in a country has seldom bothered the US in the pursuit of its national interests. Otherwise, why would it embrace Pakistan, or say Egypt, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia or any of the other kingdoms and sheikhdoms and repressive regimes around the world, and shun democratic India. Beginning with Ayub Khan's unofficial visit to the US, the foundations for bilateral cooperation in the military field were laid. These have survived through thick and thin, like a bad marriage where neither side can let go, and despite bad patches, such as the takeovers by Zia ul-Haq and Musharraf. In fact US finds military or other dictators easier to handle.Like the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, September 11 revived the necessity, if not the passion of the 1980s, for Pakistan and the US to come close to each another once again. A divorce now, as naive Indian policymakers and media propose, is wishful thinking . The US needed Pakistan to protect itself from a backlash of its earlier Afghan policies of creating the mujaheddin and supporting the jihad in Afghanistan and then Talebans, After 11 September, Washington desperately needed to stop Pakistan's nuclear bombs or material from falling into jihadi hands, and to eliminate, or at least curtail, further damage to US interests. The US and others in the West will keep on making pro forma noises in favor of more democracy but for US there appears to be no alternative to the Musharraf regime. The options are not attractive. In last years elections ,fundamentalist parties canvassing on anti-US platform , increased their votes to 11% from a normal 3% or so. They now control governments in sensitive border provinces of Baluchistan and North Frontier province and are the major opposition party in federal parliament .Ataturk as a modelMusharraf, with his elite commando training, is cool and calculating. He has handled difficult and complex situations well. And in terms of intelligence, opportunism and dedication, he is professionally far ahead of the bluff and bumbling Ayub Khan. Zia ul-Haq, a retrograde Mullah in uniform, reversed human rights progress and irreparably damaged Pakistan's polity. And there is not much to write about the befuddled General Yahya Khan, who presided over the breakaway of Bangladesh in 1971. Under Musharraf, media has enjoyed greater freedom then in recent history. Musharraf has tried to reform the economy and reduce corruption. Joining the coalition against terror has helped prop up the external sector with US support, but fundamental weaknesses in Pakistan's economy still remain And while he might have gotten rid of or relocated unreliable and Islamist generals, in such situations the toss up is either thakt (throne) or takhta (noose).At best Musharraf can be said to have succeeded in emulating his publicly undeclared model Gen Evren and that too not that well. There are some similarities with Ataturk. Delhi-born Musharraf's family comes from east Uttar Pradesh (India). Blue-eyed Ataturk was born in Salonika (Greece) and his family came from Macedonia. Ataturk was able to rally the world war-weary Turks, whose land had been occupied by foreigners. At first he battled the Ottoman Sultan's forces sent to kill him and then vanquished friend turned foe rebel Ethem and his ragtag army, which had helped fight off invading Greeks who had almost reached Ankara. This was something like the various jihadi forces and foot-loose groups that Musharraf now faces. Later, Ataturk ruthlessly crushed religious revolts led by feudal Kurdish tribal chiefs and others. And to fulfill his destiny, he even got rid of his earlier nationalist comrades, who were in favor of continuing with the Caliphate.Musharraf, too, has succeeded in sidelining many unreliable generals but not completely. Despite his belief in his avowed destiny, his proclaimed good luck in escaping helicopter mishaps, not being in the plane crash that killed Zia and victory in the standoff with Sharif, he has not shown the boldness and ruthlessness of Ataturk. September 11 and December 13 , provided him with a golden opportunity to go the whole hog in the fight against the virus of fundamentalism and usher a new era in Pakistan on the lines of Ataturk's reforms. He would have got unstinted support from US led West, India and others.Ataturk had boldly and ruthlessly carried out westernising and modernizing reforms against religious obscurantism and dogma and forged the remnants of the Ottoman Empire with a 99 percent Muslim population into a secular republic in the 1920s. The Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph .He abolished both the offices. But he had kept his external ambitions in check, he did not claim former Ottoman provinces lost in World War I, and had concentrated on building a new Turkey from the bottom up.Musharraf, a child of his times, did step down, after September 11, from the fundamentalist tiger he was riding and had helped nurture. Quite clearly he is not fully in command on the home front, with suicide bombers killing foreigners and Christians and senior officials being assassinated. He tightens up from time to time, with some arrests of ranking Al-Qaeda members and others to please USA. If he tried too hard, these forces, now baying against him, would conspire for his blood and threaten his US allies.Musharraf's childhood Ataturk-inspired dream is unlikely to come true. Perhaps he is not ruthless enough, determined and single minded like Ataturk, or maybe there are just too many cards stacked against him.Note; This piece was written in 2003 ,when the author felt that Gen Musharraf had reached acme of his power and usefulness to Washington. It was matter of time before another convenient pliable ruler of Pakistan was selected and allowed to take over .But it is to Musharraf's credit that he survived much longer than expected d left Pakistan only in 2008 .K.Gajendra Singh May 2, 2013 ,Mayur Vihar, Delhi-91Part II to Follow
Friday, May 17, 2013
Re: The Rise and fall of Gen Pervez Musharraf !
he Rise and fall of Gen Pervez Musharraf !