Déjà Vû, a 1990.
Pakistan is all set for 11th General Election. According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), a total of 105.96 million voters out of the total population of about 200 million people are included in the electoral roll to cast vote in elections on July 25, 2018. All TV networks are flooded with political ads, exploiting sentiments, religion, and judiciary. Similarly, social media has turned into a battlefield for privileged and frustrated crowd. Polarization is at peak; people are distributing certificates of “Traitor”, “Blasphemer” and “Ignorant”. Some have tortured animals for just a political statement.
Today, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is the new blue-eyed of the establishment. He is riding on a winning horse with a magic wand of Harry Potter. On the other side, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been sent to jail for 10 years on corruption charges. International media sees ‘Dawn Leaks’ & civil-military relations as raison d’etre for Nawaz’s ouster. Surprisingly, extreme far right wing parties and banned organizations (Terrorists facilitators) have been allowed to contest elections with absolute freedom.
And all this despite the fact that in a world of advanced science and technology, people of Pakistan have gone through four wars, four military coups, one genocide, and the dismemberment of the country.
Benazir’s attempt to normalize relations with India
On 2 November 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the first female prime minister of Pakistan. She had opposed the military rule for 11 years and fought for true democracy, eventually going on to become the prime minister at the age of just 35. Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited Islamabad within a few days of Bhutto’s inauguration as prime minister to attend a summit meeting of (SAARC). International observers thought that this new generation of leaders was better suited to “bury the bitter past and start over”. But, within few months, Islamist groups and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s criticism on Bhutto’s India policy coupled with the ISI’s covert operations in support of the Kashmiris’ insurgencies had made it impossible for Bhutto to fulfill her plans for normalization of relations with India.
‘Nuclear assets unsafe under westernized woman’
Jamiat Ulema Islam leader Maulana Sami ul-Haq said, “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons capability simply cannot be safe under the leadership of a westernized woman. She cares more for American approval than for ensuring the Ummah’s first nuclear bomb”. Bhutto was now drowned into the Bermuda Triangle of Pakistan’s establishment. She refused to take dictations from generals and mullahs and eventually the ISI had to orchestrate leaks to the media of every incident of alleged “corruption”. The IJI followed up with accusations of its own, which helped build the perception of widespread corruption by the time Bhutto’s government was dismissed.
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), King’s Party
On 6th August 1990, Bhutto was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan with the help of General Zia’s controversial article 58(2b) on the charges of corruption and incompetence — reasons that Zia ul-Haq had cited to dismiss Prime Minister Junejo two years earlier. Benazir Bhutto survived just 20 months in Prime Minister Office. Her shaky defiance with military and mullah had ended. As in several other third world countries, corruption and nepotism are endemic in Pakistan. Financial corruption slogan is the only appealing crime in Pakistan that makes a fool out of the people, and very smartly makes a public discourse to use against targeted elected representatives.
“I don’t feel betrayed by the President,” Bhutto said, “I believe there were other elements that wanted me out”.
The following elections had been directed almost entirely by ex DG-ISI General Hamid Gul.
Nawaz Sharif beats Benazir through ‘traitor’ slogans
IJI, known as ‘King’s Party’, ran a nationalistic campaign and repeatedly accused Bhutto of being unpatriotic; in fact, articles were published in the government-controlled papers alleging her of links with India and she was attacked with propaganda of adultery countrywide. Eventually, Nawaz Sharif, a blue-eyed ‘messiah’, and first Punjabi leader was sworn in as prime minister on 6 November 1990, ‘déjà vû’.
After Partition, Pakistan got 19 percent of British India’s population, 17 percent of its economic resources, but 33 percent if its army. By default — British Raj was replaced by army to rule over illiterate and poor nation. Ironically, we still blame the political pawns for destruction, instead of the untouchable kings protected in a holy safe house in Pindi.
This article is a compression of historical events only; writer has no personal agenda whatsoever.