General Pervaiz Musharaf and Uniform Issue

We the world over are wiser than the bourgeoisie, they understand the laws, governing the existence and development of things, they understand dialectics and they can see farther.

— “The People’s Democratic Dictatorship” (Mao Zedong)

The debate of uniform of President Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf is now common and open in the country. So bitter has been the debate that it has involved almost the entire country, with rival sides even questioning each other’s patriotism. The majority members/treasury benches of Punjab Provincial Assembly have already passed a comprehensive resolution in the favour of uniform of the President. In that reaction the NWFP Provincial Assembly has passed a resolution against the continuation of his uniform after the December 31, 2004. Other two Provincial Assemblies are in the favour of continuation of him, holding two portfolios i.e. presidency and CNC. The cabinet of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at its first meeting made it clear that there was no constitutional restriction on General Musharraf remaining the president in uniform.

Due to irrelevant debates, rotary of so-called religious high-headed leaders and fabricated concerns of opposition leaders, common people of the country are very worried and confused. Continued political uncertainty and un due worship/ saga of law of the land has forced the investors to withdraw their money form the stock exchanges of the country. The business activity is almost halted/stopped, which may be dangerous to the overall socio-economic productivity.

The voice of people is the “Will of God” and silent majority of the people is with President Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf. It is universal phenomena right form the ancient ages of the “Athens of Greece to Caliphates of Mecca to the States of the early American Federation” that democracy concerns the representation of people in the rule/mode of their own societies. However, there are diverse forms of democracy common in the countries of the world as well as modes of governments depending upon multitude factors including but not limited to the historical experiences, geopolitical situations, leadership culture, environment conditions, knowledge and technology level, economic resources and the awareness of human rights and Pakistan is not any exemption. Numerous experiments had have been institutionalized in the country under the different regimes but still we the common and real owner of the land hoping against hope of having basic fruit of the democracy. For example a hurricane bitter primitive society may make a person its leader who could accurately forecast the time, intensity and place of incidence of the storm and it was very common in the African countries.

Basic democracy may be observed in concurrent decision making of important matters in a public meeting of small town through simple arguments and show of hands. It is quite common in Athens of Greece and many other ancient civilizations of Europe and Asia. Issues of war and peace are the most momentous any nation can face, and at times of crisis, many nations turn to their military for leadership. Any democratic government values the expertise and advice of military professionals in reaching policy decisions about defense and national security. The forces of the civilized world that even in the democratic countries like India, the United States and the United Kingdom, the army of the state is called for from the barracks in the absolute need of a national disaster, a natural calamity and for the help of a civil administration when in political crises. 70 retired general participated in the recent held elections in Indonesia and majority of them won.

In the event of national crisis and devastating economic conditions a nation may decide to appoint an extraordinary wise, honest and visionary persons like Prophet “Yousaf”(peace be upon him), “Asoka the Great” and the last not the least “Winston Churchill” as their leader. The people of an rich country in Middle East may commend even Kingdom form of government as long as they can enjoy better life and share of economic lot of the country, the Presidents of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Sultan of UAE, Qatar and king of Brunei are the prime examples of diversified leadership exist the world basic depending upon the needs of their respective people. In the Second German Reich there was a popular saying, "der Soldate / ist der beste Mann in Staate" The soldier is the best man in the state.

The early national history of USA is replete with examples of Military Commandos like “General Grant”, “Theodore Roosevelt” and “Eisenhower” becoming the popular presidents leading their nation through crises like civil war and great regional wars. Similarly, the question of survival of nation may override the issue of certain human rights in particular society. In the constitution of USA, the commander-in-chief clause stresses that in addition to his other duties, "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States." This clause has been fundamental throughout U.S. history, as it has provided a standing invitation for civilian control of in military affairs.

The same principle that permitted the framers of the Constitution to envision the possibility that senators might become generals during war permitted them to accept a civilian president as military commander in chief. Geography also played an important role in American attitudes toward the military presidency. In our own country, the unfinished agenda and human saga of Kashmir, unfriendly rather hostile spirits of enmity in addition to its ancient concept of “Big Brother” and “Superiority of Origin” of India, unsecured borders along with unreliable ties with Afghanistan, unhealthy bilaterally relationship with Iran and most recently our firm stance against increasing menace of regional and global terrorism and the last not the least destructive activities of sectarian riots forced the policy makers to put the Army of Pakistan in decisive and central position and it is still common for our national survival.

Supporters say President Gen. Musharraf should hold uniform to fight against hardliners and terrorism.

In many countries of the world, “Military Generals” had have been severing in the best interests of their nations and achieved miracles. Generals like Branco, Hum Berto (Brazil), Franco, General Francesco (Spain), Sutharto (Indonesia), Videla, General Jorge Rafael (Argentina), Tran Do (Vietnam), and President Fidel Ramos (Philippines) and the last not the least the General Pervaiz Musharraf (Pakistan) are the few examples of general’s leadership qualities, straightforwardness and visions.

The sustenance of communist regimes in countries like North Korea and China may be partially because of issues of their geopolitical existence against the strategic designs of USA, Japan and their allies. At the times of serious security threats the military command of a nation may influence political choices as witnessed in Kosovo, Kuwait, and even in Saudi Arabia. Our national political history is witness that whenever an army general came to power, he came at a time of a national disaster, when country’s integrity was at a brink of disintegration or the people of Pakistan were at the verge of a civil war. A advocated by one faction of political players our Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah was proponent of Parliamentary form of democracy. However, keeping in view, the crisis and evolving form of the earlier Pakistani society, he himself acted as Governor General rather than becoming straight Prime Minister of newly born country.

Therefore, the lessons of history and survival of nations indicate that the modes of political choices of people and hence diverse shapes and sizes of democracy existed as greatly influenced by the forces of circumstances faced by nations. It may be safely asserted that the notion of democracy is abstract and dynamic concept that evolves along the level of civic sense of people as well as forces of circumstances and the changing roles of stakeholders of a country. The military is the single largest player in the Pakistani economy today, active in a wide variety of commercial enterprises engaged in production of items ranging from breakfast cereal, sugar and cakes to cement, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers. The military’s commercial empire, worth billions of dollars, includes a number of transport, construction, real estate, insurance and communication enterprises, steel and power plants, banks, an airline, an FM radio station, a pay-TV channel and hundreds of educational institutions. The military justifies its vast business empire as a contribution toward national development. It is also lessons of our Islamic history that caliph used to hold portfolio of Commander-in-Chief. All the four holy caliphs and afterwards are the prime examples of that crucial phenomena and basic need of the land and time i.e. geography.

Pakistan’s Army has been providing especial services in WAPDA, Railways, NAB, and NADRA etc. etc. They are also being used in the preparation of roads, bridges and other useful things. It is our army and we are proud of them. We should always remember the fact that the state does not belong to a few hundred federal and provincial assembly members of opposition or hostage of blackmailing of so-called sacred religious (not so religious) leaders/ but to 150 million people of Pakistan and 150 million of Pakistan wish that the President General Pervaiz Musharraf should hold both the portfolios which is indeed in the best interest of us as nation.

To common man bread and butter is more than anything else while to a decision maker national interest may be nerve-riding issue. The wise men of political parties glorify the maintenance of democracy in India as compare to the miscellaneous forms of rule in Pakistan. There are many excesses and follies of Indian parliamentary democracy unknown to the common men as well as political intellectuals in the country. Indian parliament democracy has been very successful in gradual alienation and eventual elimination of minorities from Indian political and economic mainstreams. Like the deities of ancient religious Indian democracy thrives on the blood of both Muslims and Christians.

President Pervaiz Musharraf’s regime has been more responsive to the unfavorable global economic and political realties and hard economic choices at home. Capacity building of the existing dams including Mangla, Gomal Zam, Mirani, Sabakzai and Satpara dams, which will add 4.44 million acre storage capacity have been initiated in the country of Rs. 84 billion. The newly launched project of Munda Dam has attracted foreign investment worth one billion dollars. In order to reinforce canal system, work is in progress on new canals namely Greater Thal Canal, Rainee Canal and Kachhi Canal at a cost of Rs81 billion to irrigate 2.65 million acres of land. Hydropower projects worth Rs 4 billion namely Khan Khwar, Aliai Khawar, Dubair Khwar, Golen Gol and Jinnah Barrage has been commenced to generate 525mw of affordable hydropower to facilitate reduction in power tariffs. Consensus building measures have been trying to build Kalabagh and Basha Dams. A comprehensive agricultural package has been given to the farmers to boast the agricultural sector in the country. Foreign reserves have touched $12.5 billion. External debts have been reduced to $ 36 billion from $38 billion. The exports targets of current fiscal years i.e. $ 13 billion have already been achieved. More emphasis is being given to higher education.

Serious and integrated efforts are conducted to have normalized ties with India in order to resolve the dispute of Kashmir. Committed efforts are also under way to reorganize our ties with Iran and other Middle East countries. Framework is ready to grab the natural and financial bounties of Central Asia. Enhanced bilateral and military cooperation is very much there with China etc. etc.

The current regime of President General Pervaiz Musharraf also enjoys better record of human rights, freedom of press, accountability, war against terrorism, seatrain riots and long-term policies for sustainable economic growth than pervious governments. Simple majority and a sensitive heart would assert the need of political stability and hence the continuation of the regime and demand him holding of two portfolios.

Legal opinion has remained divided on the exact interpretation of the 17th amendment on the military post issue. But it is obvious that his uniform is important for continuation of micro-macro economic policies, devolution of powers, stability of political system, chances of successful operations against terrorism, creating geo-strategic balances in the region, and above all making Pakistan a economic tiger. Let us hope that this time the whole nation and especially common people will not be easy prey of power thirsty crowers (opposition and religious leaders).