Stories about coup

Losing East Pakistan: Lessons we didn’t learn

Forty years ago, Pakistan and Bangladesh became separate countries. They may enjoy good relations with each other today, but it seems that Pakistan has not learnt any lessons from the East Pakistan debacle. After the separation, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto formed the Hamoodur Rehman commission, headed by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan. It was given the mandate to investigate all circumstances and events which led to the disintegration of the eastern wing. The commission submitted its report to Bhutto in October 1974, but the report was not made public. In august 2000, parts of this report were leaked out and ...

Read Full Post

Islamabad diary: Making sense of Zardari’s sojourn

When the coup comes, will it be a silent one or will it, like most coups do, make lots of noise? Is President Asif Ali Zardari in Dubai for genuine medical reasons or is he seeking a safe haven? Is it the army that is gunning for him or is it the Supreme Court, or perhaps a combination of the two? Such idle gossip seems to accompany nearly every elected government in Pakistan but this time there is a difference. Usually the rumours are spread by the military and their cheerleaders in the media. Now, however, most of the coup ...

Read Full Post

How Turkey tamed its generals: lessons for Pakistan

Half a century ago, Turkey’s democratically-elected Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and members of his cabinet were arrested by the military. Menderes was put on trial before a military court on charges of treason and  subsequently hanged. Two decades later, Turkey once again witnessed a bloody period of political and social crisis, which had yet again been instigated by a military coup. This time around, the self-proclaimed guardian of self-styled secularism, the Turkish military, changed the constitution giving the generals a free hand in thwarting democracy at their whims. Turkish politicians say enough is enough However, the progressive Justice and Development Party ...

Read Full Post

Democracy: Whose right is it anyway?

I would be surprised if you still have not engaged in a charismatically disingenuous conversation in which a mischievous friend let lose a blasphemous idea, revolving around the topic of whether we, Pakistanis, are ready for, or deserve democracy. Democracy, which can be simply understood as the right of people to choose their leaders. Now some, without chivalry, argue insistently that our country lacks education, maturity, intellect and economic growth levels – typical indicators of a developed nation. Of course, I do not refute the idea that we are a developing nation with abysmally low levels of education and economic ...

Read Full Post

Meeting Musharraf (with 900 people)

On Wednesday evening, the ousted Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, sat at a table talking to the British diplomat, Sir Christopher Meyer, and but for the sober glasses of water, the spotlights, cameras and 900-strong audience, the two men could have been having an informal chat. The event was arranged by Intelligence Squared, the London debate forum, and it is the first in their ‘World Leaders’ series of talks. This idea is a new beast altogether – can you clap for a politician you don’t like, laugh at their jokes, even? What if they’re funny, but also responsible for unnecessary suffering? Musharraf ...

Read Full Post

Was a fourth military coup averted in Pakistan?

Hardly. Better still, there wasn’t a coup to start with. Monday’s well-timed meeting between the so-called ‘troika’ – the President, Prime Minister, and the Army chief – is being widely interpreted as having averted a possible collapse of the elected Zardari-Gilani government. There is no word from the military’s media people on the meeting but the president’s media office took the liberty of releasing a statement renewing the commitment of Gen. Kayani, and that of the President and Prime Minister, to defending democracy. If there’s anyone who created a frenzy about an extra-constitutional [read: military-engineered] change, it is the elected government ...

Read Full Post

Go, Musharraf go… once more

October 1 is set to be a momentous day when the erstwhile General Musharraf will return to the Pakistani political stage in a long-awaited and much speculated campaign. Musharraf’s entry into the political arena is exciting news for his new army. This new army is neither armed nor khaaki clad; this army of ‘Musharrafites‘ or ‘Mushies’ for short, emanate from the educated middle and upper class who view him as a saviour from all the ills that plague us today. This new army, primarily Facebook based, is eager to welcome him back into the country citing his previous stint in office ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to Pervez Musharraf

Dear Mr Musharraf, I am writing to you in good faith. Recently, your political activities have increased. Every Pakistani should have the right to take part in the democratic process and bring change to this country. However, it is essential that you publicly apologize to the Pakistani nation for the various blunders you made during your forced rule. Only then should you be welcomed into the political arena. You may claim to be extremely patriotic, but in my opinion, you always gave your throne more importance than Pakistan. Firstly, there is absolutely no excuse for playing around with the constitution. You did ...

Read Full Post