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  Asia-Pacific
Expected Relief to Nawaz Sharif
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Supporters of Nawaz Sharif in Lahore, Pakistan bring a lion in a gesture to symbolize their leader.

At last Pakistan’s Supreme Court has provided a big relief to the former Pak Prime Minister and chief of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Nawaz Sharif by removing the bar on his contesting elections. This decision of the court was not only awaited but expected too. Expected, for the way in which Nawaz Sharif exerted pressure on President Asif Ali Zardari by organizing a long march for the reinstatement of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhary & other judges, removed by the former President Parvez Musharraf, and just after that march Zardari bowed down under pressure. Since then it was felt that the judiciary would pay back to Nawaz Sharif for his support to it. And that happened. However, the supporters of democracy in Pakistan are calling it a victory for democracy.

The history goes back to 1999, when the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif denied the landing to the plane of General Parvez Musharraf, at Karachi Airport and instead directed it to land at Nawabshah Airport in South Sindh Province. Just after this alleged order of Nawaz Sharif, general Musharraf imposed coup d’état and tried Sharif in an anti-terrorism court by charging him of plane hijack attempt. Musharraf said that because there was not enough fuel in his plane to go beyond Karachi, there was a danger of crash. The anti-terrorism court of the Sindh High Court sentenced Nawaz Sharif to life imprisonment on this charge. Besides, he was barred from holding any government post or contesting elections. As a result of mediation by the king of Saudi Arabia, Sharif was exiled from Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif along with his brother went to Saudi Arabia. Under the international pressure, when Musharraf got ready to organize elections, then only after great struggle Nawaz Sharif’s way was cleared to return to Pakistan. But during the last elections, he wasn’t able to contest in view of the judicial order.

Pakistan is not only engaged in fighting terrorism, it is also struggling to fight on the front of power centre. This nation of about 180 million people, which came into existence on 14 August 1947, was declared an Islamic Republic on 23 March 1956. Pakistan, since it inception, had been a victim of the evil eyes of different power centres. It can be understood in this way. On one hand, there is strongest claim of democratic leaders. Here, we can see the similar practices as are followed in other democracies of the world. Here too, the liberals and the conservatives have their influence besides the active left and right wings.

The judiciary of Pakistan too assumes itself as an important axis of power. It has been clear from the showdown between Musharraf and Justice Choudhary that the judiciary feels that it has no less authority than the Pakistani President, whereas Musharraf, by removing Justice Choudhary and other judges, tried to convey that the orders of the President are supreme, and not of the Chief Justice. The Pakistan army also has the most evil eyes on country’s rule. It is evident that the army doesn’t want to see the rule of the nation in the hands of a civilian government. It feels that the future of the nation is safe in the hands of the army only. Pakistan has a long history of coup d’états or Marshal Law. From 1958-1971, there was military rule. After that, in 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was made the first martial law administrator with the consent of the army. In 1977, General Zia Ul Haq imposed the military rule by throwing out Bhutto. He ruled for over a decade. During this period, the nurseries of extremism and terrorism, in the name of religion, established and developed. In 1999, once again General Parvez Musharraf snatched the power form the democratically elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It is said that after getting power, the Pakistan army concentrates on two things. First is how to retain power for long & long time. Second thing is how to take care of the American interests. Four months ago, once again there were clouds of military coup, when on March 9, the current army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani alerted President Zardari about the increasing influence of Taliban and asked him to handle the situation within one week. At that time, it seemed that another coup is not so far.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI can also be viewed as another power centre which though not holds any power directly but always make attempts to control power and impose its decisions on the government. An important reason for this is that usually the top officials of the Pak army are appointed to the ISI. Thus, their mindset and thought resembles that of the army. Another power centre in Pakistan is that of the organizations and political parties supportive and patrons of extremist ideology. Taliban and Tehrik-e-Taliban are extended forms of this ideology. These organizations are seeking to extend their control over the whole Pakistan and also its nuclear weapons, by directly challenging all above mentioned power centres.

Anyway, Pakistan is currently passing through troubled waters. Pakistan is entrapped in its own created terrorism, which it nurtured on the direction of the US for the purpose of spreading disturbance in other countries. Today, Pakistan is being compelled by the whole world including America, to control terrorism. The people of Pakistan are too disturbed of the regular occurring terror and suicidal terror attacks. Amidst this, Pakistan is also being accused of giving a bad name of the entire Muslim world by spreading terror in the name of Islam, Jehad and Sharia. India is also exerting pressure on it to bring the perpetrators of 26/11 to book.

How much viable is the cat fight for power in the midst of prevailing negative circumstances. Since the long march for reinstatement of the judges to the recent orders of the Supreme Court acquitting Nawaz Sharif, all incidents should be seen in the same light. Now it is to be seen whether Nawaz Sharif would capture power from Zardari by showing his capability or General Kayani would follow the tradition of his predecessors and impose military rule. Whatever may be the case; India always supports a clean, transparent and democratic arrangement in Pakistan and is awaits for the bright future of the people of Pakistan.



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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     Likelihood of Military Rule in Pakistan
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     Angola: A Conspiracy to Ban Islam?


Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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