Is Nawaz Sharif doomed to repeat history?
A wise man once said,
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
But the tragedy here is that our rulers have been completely blinded by power and they are repeating the same mistakes over and over again. What was supposed to be a democracy is beginning to look like an anarchical dynasty. They have ignored the basic facts of history which occurred not too long ago.
In this regard, there are two sets of dates that I would like to draw your attention to:
June 19, 1992 versus June 17, 2014 – state terrorism
On June 19, 1992, a clean-up operation was launched in Karachi against the 72 ‘big fish’ of a leading political party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) over the Jinnahpur plan controversy. As per the controversy, MQM were making plans of separating Karachi from Pakistan to provide a separate state for the Urdu-speaking Muhajir community. The idea came under extensive criticism and its tactical operational results remain inconclusive. This later turned out to be absolutely fallacious and more than 15,000 innocent MQM workers were murdered extra-judicially.
On June 17, 2014, citing a court order, the government proactively decided to remove the barriers present outside the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT)’s leader, Tahirul Qadri’s, house in Model Town, Lahore. Baton charge was put in place against the PAT workers and as a result, 11 workers were martyred and over 80 were injured. The law enforcement agencies claimed there were weapons present in large quantities inside the secretariat.
October 12, 1999 versus June 22, 2014 – plane hijacking
On October 12, 1999, the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Pervez Musharraf was overthrown from his post while he was on a foreign tour to Sri Lanka and was ordered to be arrested upon his return. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, alongside General Ziauddin Butt, was planning a coup against Musharraf so that General Ziauddin could take control of the military. Sharif ordered Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal to be sealed off to prevent the landing of Musharraf’s airliner fearing a coup d’état. His plane was denied landing and was ordered to land at Nawabshah Airport where Sharif had despatched his own jet and security team to take the general into custody.
On June 22, 2014, PAT founder Dr Tahirul Qadri was returning to Pakistan in what, he promised, was to be a revolution to bring electoral reforms and put an end to corruption. After circling Islamabad airport endlessly, in an effort to seek permission to land, Emirate airline was directed, on instructions from the prime minister, to reroute the plane to Lahore. Qadri, at this point, refused to exit the aircraft, fearing for his life, and demanded to be taken to Islamabad where he was originally supposed to land. After extensive negotiations, and what was being referred to as an ‘aircraft hijack’, he agreed to disembark the plane but on the condition that an army official and the governor of Lahore escorts him to his residence in Lahore.
The citizens of this nation are well-aware of what the consequences of decisions made in 1992 and 1999 were, but is prime minister aware or are we headed in the same direction? A famous writer, Chuck Palahniuk once said,
“If you watch closely, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognised. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. What we can’t understand, we call nonsense. What we can’t read, we call gibberish.”
All four occasions were orchestrated by the same democratic government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to deflect any ‘threat’ to their rule.
Although Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been in office for the third time, he doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from history and his past experiences. His drive for absolute power has resulted in questionable measures being taken as a result of panic which have left the nation in disarray, as always. German philosopher, Karl Marx, stated,
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
Sharif has already faced and survived a tragedy from the 1999 coup. It is now his responsibility to show leadership and experience in handling these matters to avoid any possible farce.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.