Inviting the military

Published: August 24, 2010

The startling call made by the MQM leader for the army to step in and remove corrupt politicians defies comprehension, especially given that the party he leads has suffered much in the past at the hands of the military.  Perhaps the massive devastation caused by the flood has led him to speak the unspeakable, or is it a demand by a senior ANP leader to hand over Karachi to the army? As for inviting the generals and their patriotism, the latter has never been in doubt but the fact remains that they are not trained to rule or eliminate corruption. The role of the military is to guard the country’s physical boundaries against external threats and it should be tasked with that. In today’s conflict-ridden world, it is also to tackle internal threats such as those represented by the Taliban.  So while corruption has always been an excuse to impose martial law, the actual imposition itself has not eliminated corruption, or even reduced it in any significant manner.

Compare this, however, to an elected government, which in theory at least is held accountable to the electorate at the time of election. The point being made here is that even if there is in place a government perceptibly as corrupt as that led by the PPP, it should be allowed to govern and then be held accountable by voters at the next election. That is the only way democracies function. They mature and get better by having elections and by giving those elected a chance to prove themselves. And if they fail then the electorate can vote them out. The solution does not lie in inviting the military to step in and do something that is essentially not within its constitutional mandate.

It is certainly true there are matters that need to be corrected and much that is amiss with governance. This is the result of the frequent disruptions in democratic rule we have seen in the past. As for the implication that the army can ‘clean up’ politics, what would perhaps be more relevant to our situation is an investigation into military spending and the misappropriation of funds.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Softimage
    Aug 25, 2010 - 3:36AM

    The ancient man when descended from tree tops and adopted agriculture had to face the invasions of land hungry neighbors who very looted the crops of peaceful peasants. Series of invasions compelled the the oppressed ones to get united and to cope with the invaders which resulted in bloodshed and finally both parties agreed to a social contract based on “Live and let live”
    Thousands of years gone but the social contract based on mutual understanding and honor the rights of others still exists, the tribes, nations and countries who honored the social contract prospered whereas those who breached it, finally eliminated or suffered heavy losses.
    The best example of above can be seen in Europe where remark able progress was witnessed as soon as the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants were settled, modern world now enjoying mobile phones, internet, and supersonic transportation system etc, is in debt to the society where education and intellect flourished and hence paved way for a luxurious life.
    Pakistan came into being after a huge sacrifice never before seen in the history of mankind. The muslims of the sub-continent created a homeland for themselves where they could live in peace and harmony where they would’nt be harrased and there young ones would be brought up fearlessly, today 63 years have gone by and the masses of our country are are still in a state of confusion, we lost the better half of our country and did’nt learn any lesson from it.
    The editorial has its own view point on the demand raised by Mr. Altaf Hussain but i have a different view on the issue which i may share with the readers, Firstly MQM chief Mr. Altaf Hussain never invited the Army to take over the civil government, the address to party workers in which he said why even in martal law regims the corrupt and the feudal mindset politicians were not taken into account, they kept to florish even in the generals leadership and today those corrupt and feudal mindset politcians are in power and playing a havoc with the poor masses of the country. He said that if measures are not taken even today then the people of this country will be compelled to take action against them and then the Generals of this country will also face the same fate.the said that the prevailing situation in the country will lead to revolution just as it happened in France, The modern democracy today is the fruits of the French revolution.We need to understand the view point of Mr. Altaf Hussain in a broader sense. The constitutions are made to accomodate the masses through strict complaince and ensure that the people living under that constitution benefit and if that does not take place then its just a peaice of paper. the corrupt and the feudal mindset have no respect for the rule of law they are plundering the country and only benefiting for themselves , the electronic and print media have on numerous occasions have given detailed account of their plunderings and it is useless to write it down here every person knows about that, so, it is high time we take Mr. Altaf Hussain and MQM with more understanding and draw closer to them give them the the public backing wich could pave way for a better tomarrow and for the generations to fallow.Recommend

  • Sharif Lone
    Aug 25, 2010 - 12:15PM

    I agree with everything you say. Only electorate should change the government. MQM has good elements in it, but the majority cling to safeguard their narrow interests. MQM was created by Zia to upset PPP and the 2nd dictator, who also belonged to the same group and supported MQM. They were Musharraf’s right hand for nine years and never resigned under his regime while exploiting everything possible. Now we know its true color. We should always opt for rule of law even when that is faulty. If the next dictator turns out be like Zia, I say good night Pakistan. I had sympathy with some of MQM agenda, like secularism, but have lost all hope with it, since it came out for army rule. It is easy to manipulate one man with sweet words but difficult with an elected government which has to look after the interest of all those who voted for them. That is the dilemma with MQM. Recommend

  • Khurram
    Aug 26, 2010 - 2:26AM

    i would disagree with the author as Pakistan illiterate population do not cast their vote on the basis of performance but vote according to charisma of the political party leadership or on the basis of bradri(sorry dont know what english word could be written for it) system.PTI cannot win national assembly seats while PPP used name of Bhutto family to get votes.Recommend

  • A.S.Zara
    Sep 1, 2010 - 2:52PM

    Very True, Last time PPP won by sympathy Vote, they voted for BB although she was no more. Recommend

  • omer
    Sep 17, 2010 - 5:10PM

    a very good example is of the the PPP MNA i dun remember the name who was ousted coz of the jali degree he got. In return he made his wife a candidate and she won from Bahawalpur bt 75000 votes. My point here is that in Pakistan as long as fedualism is there democracy can never work. People will win from their constituencies because they will make sure that those living there given them the vote. That is the case all over Pakistan. MQM always wins from Karachi, PPP from central sindh, PML-N from upper punjab, ANP from NWFP ….. the only thing that can change this country is EDUCATION. Make ppl understand what rights they have only then they will start deciding and take away the lands of these powerful people. As long as they are here Pakistan will remain in a bad situation my friend.Recommend

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