Oh what fun, but who's sur­prised?

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Kamran Shafi

SHOCK! Horror! Wik­iLeaks! Bombs rock Is­lam­abad! Kayani mulled oust­ing Zar­dari and bring­ing in As­fand­yar! Kayani dis­trusts Nawaz more than Zar­dari! ISI chief tells Amer­i­cans Zar­dari is cor­rupt! Zar­dari says he might be as­sas­si­nated! ISI ex­tols virtues of some Tal­iban! US sus­pi­cious of Pak­istan Army bills!

And so on and so forth the lead­ing news­pa­pers of the world as well as our own re­galed us last week with the Wik­iLeaks re­leases of US em­bassy ca­bles to Foggy Bot­tom. These leaks were most clev­erly first of all made to the Guardian and the New York Times which would def­i­nitely pub­lish them come hell or high wa­ter, as they did.

The leaks are hi­lar­i­ous and I laughed un­til I cried. Serve ' em right, I said, for talk­ing down to the rest of us from on high; ig­nor­ing our ap­peals for some san­ity, some ci­vil­ity in re­la­tions be­tween in­sti­tu­tions; for re­al­is­ing that no one was be­ing fooled by the Deep State's protes­ta­tions of in­no­cence that it was not trip­ping up the elected gov­ern­ments, es­pe­cially the fed­eral govern­ment.

So, what's new, friends? Hasn't this space been filled with alarm over the past years on all of the above great 'rev­e­la­tions'? And on how the Deep State rules supreme? And on how the es­tab­lish­ment runs the show from the shad­ows, mak­ing non­sense of democ­racy, elected gov­ern­ments and all? On how it sim­ply will not al­low the po­lit­i­cal process to flower and pros­per be­cause if democ­racy comes to stay its own power of life and death over the hap­less cit­i­zens of our poor and hap­less coun­try will be di­luted?

Whilst you may well ask what made the ISI chief tell the Amer­i­cans that his com­man­derin-chief was cor­rupt, where's the sur­prise? The Mother of All Agen­cies, as we have seen in the mat­ter of the Supreme Court's hear­ings in the pe­ti­tions of the relatives of the dis­ap­peared, is a law unto it­self, our mo­rose and down­cast at­tor­ney gen­eral him­self ad­mit­ting be­fore the court that no law con­trolled it, and that other bane of our lives, Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence.

What in­deed, is so new about the COAS ac­tu­ally think­ing of "tak­ing over" or of forc­ing the pres­i­dent, his own com­man­derin-chief, to re­sign, or of re­plac­ing him with an­other per­son? Haven't army chiefs sent other elected govern­ment's pack­ing: jail­ing, ex­il­ing, even hang­ing elected prime min­is­ters af­ter dodgy tri­als and co­erced con­fes­sions? What is so sur­pris­ing about a COAS ac­tu­ally say­ing he does not abide a cer­tain politician, in this case Nawaz Sharif? What have I been say­ing to the PML-N for over three years now?

Di­vided you politi­cians will (be made to) fall; united you may stand a chance to fur­ther the cause of democ­racy and civil gov­er­nance ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple's will and through their man­date. How many times do I have to shout from the rooftops to both the ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties to please, please rel­e­gate your re­spec­tive hawks to the back benches? To at least ask them to pipe down. For their loud rhetoric only serves to give com­fort to the en­e­mies of democ­racy. If they con­tinue with their ran­corous and spite­ful attacks upon one an­other they will only face grief, both the par­ties.

Re­cently, I had writ­ten about the shame­ful es­cape of a gen­eral from a court of law that had or­dered his ar­rest. Think­ing about this mat­ter, and com­par­ing it with the grace with which elected lead­ers ac­cepted ar­rest and jail, even in Zul­fikar Ali Bhutto's case hang­ing (shame on you, Zi­aul Haq), the case of an­other gen­eral, Fa­zle Haq, Zia's mar­tial law ad­min­is­tra­tor, gover­nor, and chief min­is­ter of the then Fron­tier prov­ince came to mind.

The man had lorded it over the prov­ince for close on 10 years known for his bul­ly­ing and in­y­our-face be­hav­iour to­wards his sub­or­di­nates. When he was ar­rested on sev­eral al­leged charges in 1989, he had the temer­ity to slap the uni­formed deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice who was ex­e­cut­ing the or­ders of ar­rest out­side the court which had re­jected his pre-ar­rest bail.

Well, the DSP, bless him, slapped him right back. Imag­ine one's dis­gust when the front pages of the news­pa­pers car­ried pho­to­graphs of a di­shev­elled Fa­zle Haq with his sun­glasses askew on his face, naked fear writ large on his face. I must add that the DSP was re­ported as say­ing to the gen­eral af­ter slap­ping him, "Sir, I served you faith­fully and loy­ally when you were rul­ing the prov­ince; I am only do­ing my duty now and you should not have slapped me."

Com­pare this with the grace with which ZAB took all the many slights thrown at him dur­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion and trial lead­ing to his ju­di­cial murder. There are many anec­dotes that we know, the peo­ple of my gen­er­a­tion, for we have lived those sad days.

One day, as he was be­ing brought to court from Kot Lakh­pat jail, Bhutto was not given the usual chair that he used to sit on for the long ride, be­ing un­able to sit on the wooden benches in the po­lice van due to a game back. It had been re­moved by the or­der of Maulvi Mush­taq Hus­sain his mor­tal en­emy and who was placed in the La­hore High Court to en­sure the death penalty for the for­mer pres­i­dent/prime min­is­ter. Bhutto merely re­fused to sit in the van - he did not curse the po­lice; he did not yell at them; he did not slap any­one - un­til a chair was brought for him. On an­other oc­ca­sion, and very early on in the trial, Bhutto's lawyers ob­jected to Maulvi be­ing on the bench be­cause of his well­known en­mity with the ac­cused. Maulvi lost his tem­per and shouted, "Stand up Bhutto". "Re­move his chair," he yelled at the court staff. "You keep stand­ing dur­ing to­day's hear­ing," he screamed at ZAB. When Bhutto com­plained that he should not be treated in this man­ner, Maulvi re­torted, "Shut up.

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