Is Morsi going to be Egypt’s Bhutto?
Egypt and Pakistan may not have much in common when it comes to culture, cuisine, and heritage, but when you look at their political landscape, a lot of commonalities spring up.
My political alignment is exactly the opposite of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but I admire him as a great public orator and a tactical politician. He was a rarity amongst the political circle of our country, so much so that the biggest political party of Pakistan is still banking on his legacy to lure in voters.
In regard to his personal charisma, I think Imran Khan is the only one who comes close to his ranks. Bhutto turned the Pakistan People’s Party into a real force and won the general elections in West Pakistan by a huge margin. However, all his charm, shrewdness, and political activism were not enough to save him from the real masters of Pakistan – the military.
A publically elected leader was hanged by the army general who took over the country by force. It once again proved that the military is the strongest institution of Pakistan, and even those who uphold the most superior position due to popular support are still not strong enough to stand in the way of our beloved uniforms.
In Egypt, despite decades of suppression and brutality, Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) emerged victorious with almost 40% of total votes in the general elections. Democracy was restored and people were given a chance to exercise their right to vote and choose their representatives for legislation in the assembly.
However, with all kinds of support from the West, General Abdel Fateh al-Sisi toppled the Mohamed Morsi-government and scores of Ikhwan activists were sentenced to life imprisonment in a matter of a few months. Earlier, Morsi was given life imprisonment but it was not enough of a punishment. Therefore, capital punishment was recently announced.
It seems that just like Bhutto, Morsi was extremely popular, but he too belonged to a country where supreme authority will always lie with the military.
What’s more interesting though, is that Bhutto and Morsi differ completely from each other on their political ideologies. While the former was secular and was dethroned by a conservative army general, the latter was conservative and was toppled by a secular army general.
A glaring example of the western stance on democracy could be witnessed when western powers killed millions in Iraq and backed military coups to bless them with democracy. On the other hand, Ziaul Haq was supported because his Islamic inclinations were required to fight the USSR, whereas al-Sisi was supported due to his secular stance.
Somehow, in both countries, the military has managed to keep its pride and garner support from the masses regardless of its wrongdoings. Criticism is allowed as long as it is not directed towards the men in uniforms. Pointing fingers at the military is treated as disloyalty, it is regarded as treason and the individual is labelled a ‘foreign agent’.
Thanks to the United States, a common term ‘terrorist’ is now being used all over the globe to defame and humiliate its opponents. For example, in Pakistan, this infamous word is used for anyone who is against army operations in Balochistan, whereas the same stereotype is used in Egypt for those who are against the military rule.
I hope the climax of the Morsi case turns out to be different from the Bhutto case, but given the iron grip the military has in Egypt, it seems more likely that Morsi will follow the same fate as Bhutto did, and what’s worse, nobody will ever be able to question the decision.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.