General’s Loss is Pak’s Gain by MOHD. ZEYAUL HAQUE (JULY 20, 2007)

Pakistan is among the better developed Muslim countries. Despite its extraordinary standing among Muslim countries it had a poor record on democracy and civil liberties.

Over the last six decades of its existence it has lived under military dictatorship for most of the time, which is a terrible blot on the vision of the founder of this state, Qaed-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Mr. Jinnah had envisaged a modern country, something like today’s Israel -- powerful, forward-looking, open and democratic. What has instead emerged is a military tyranny that has no regard for democratic values.

This is why when the Pakistan Supreme Court on July 20 set aside the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary as unconstitutional the whole world rejoiced. Justice Chaudhary immediately resumed his duties, and General Musharraf wisely decided to accept the court verdict.

This is a welcome development as it re-establishes the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law. It also shows the military usurpers of authority their place. A military which has already lost half of the country in 1971 should have the humility and common sense to stay in the barracks and allow the country to be ruled by elected representatives of the people.

The Pakistan military falsely claim to be the saviours of their country. Again a comparison with Israel would be enlightening. Israel, which came into existence a year after Pakistan, did not see a single day of military rule although it has never had peaceful relations with the surrounding Arab states.

Let us hope that one by one other democratic institutions in Pakistan will be revived on the lines of judiciary, the military will go back to the barracks and allow representative government to flourish.

Mohd. Zeyaul Haque


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