Quite a number of people forwarded me an article by Shaheen Sehbai from The News. I have some respect for Sehbai as he single handedly tried to mount opposition/resistance to Musharraf though from abroad through his South Asia Tribune when everyone else had accepted Musharraf (this was before the judiciary crisis provided the opposition a common platform to oust him).
However, yesterday’s op-ed piece reminds me that his journalistic standards are as loose as the rest of the industry. I suggest you read the whole article yourself. I am here just copying bits and pieces of it.
The minister has stated on record that Army Chief General Kayani will not be given an extension and he has not sought one, which means Zardari, through his proxy prime minister, will appoint an army general of his choice as the next COAS and Pakistan will become a safe haven for him and the corrupt and the dishonest mostly found in PPP power corridors these days
Why should it matter who is appointed from the Generals. If the Army and Kyani has deemed the person fit enough to be promoted as a General so far, I am sure they must find him capable enough to hold his own. If not, then one should not have any trust in Army to judge their own kind.
But another honourable way for the PM would be not just to resign but to dissolve the National Assembly and let the people elect new leaders, thus finding a constitutional way out of his personal dilemma. He may be accused of stabbing his party in the back but his party colleagues would be more to blame because they are the silent spectators to the rape now going on with Benazir Bhutto’s party and her principles
I want to smoke what this guy is smoking. The diatribe out of some newbie columnist would have been OK but from someone who has remained an editor of newspaper, it seems like the pen is his but the words are being fed to him probably by the army.
The basic issue is whether the Pakistan Army will allow a political leader who has a tainted past, who has a tainted present and whose future is evident from what he is doing, to dictate the terms of reference of how this country will be run and by whom, including the future of the army which has the highest stakes in the country.
Is this guy on a high? Does anything happen in this country without the army knowing? During Musharraf’s tenor when BB was murdered and all evidence was wiped out by washing it down, does anyone has a doubt that it could have happened without a go ahead from Army?
Who brought Zardari to Presidency? Wasn’t it Musharraf who engineered the NRO? Didn’t the army know that Zardari would become the president as a result and like any human try to prolong his stay at the top and fight tooth and nail with anyone trying to bring him down from his throne? If Army didn’t think this, then Army as an institution is more naive than a common man in this country.
If Kyani ever needed anyone to forward his cause for an extension or even transfer to Chairman Joint Chief of Staffs Committee (CJCSC) he knows who to hire i.e., Shaheen Sehbai
His role in the NRO, his soft guard-of-honour to General Musharraf after convincing him that he should leave the country, his decision to keep the army and ISI away from interfering in the 2008 polls, his decisive call to restore the Supreme Court judges on March 15, his intervention to stop the Kerry-Lugar fiasco, his quiet meetings with Choudhry Nisar Ali, Shahbaz Sharif and Aitzaz Ahsan to ward off potentially destructive confrontational scenarios, his focus on the war on terror and his successes, his blunt ‘no’ on several occasions to the Americans, and many other yet unknown interventions, only prove that he has the interest of the country at heart and his decisions have not been motivated by personal interest.
From the establishment parties I have always seen calling the Army to intervene and impose martial law but when the press especially the group which cries itself hoarse over democracy prints something like the following para, something is definitely now right (with the media group, that is):
If General Kayani, who went out of his way to ensure that the judges were restored at the last minute and the Long March of Nawaz Sharif was called off, now allows Mr Zardari to demolish the same Supreme Court, just because the corruption-tainted President cannot defend the billions of dollars he made illegally, it would be such a disservice to the country that all the good that the General may have done in his entire career may not be able to wash it
And the icing on the cake
What General Kayani can do, before bowing out honourably, is to ensure, like he did playing a subtle behind-the-scene role several times, that no crony of the president is appointed as the next COAS and a transparent procedure is adopted to make that appointment so that the new COAS is not obliged to any person and takes decisions only in the national interests. If Kayani thinks anyone is conspiring behind his back, he can take action now as COAS and stop this conspiracy.
This country has gone to dogs because no one respects their boundaries..politicians meddling with the judiciary, bureaucracy getting involved in politics and the army getting involved in everything (behind-the-scenes or bluntly).
Even if Zardari wants to appoint his crony as a General, I say let him do it. He is within his rights and secondly he is appointing from Generals from the Army and not some PPP politician. If Zardari thinks by making a COAS he is making his position secure, I think he has forgotten the lesson of what happened to his father in law who appointed his crony (apparently) as COAS.