Wait before you celebrate
martial law campaigners have waited for so long. This is a feast of the hungry, by the hungry, for the hungry. It is explained by the long denial and the ‘newfound consensus and confidence’ that everyone is talking about. Previously, even the most optimistic anti-military rule analyses would be qualified. The last paragraph would leave room for a patriotic general to sneak in and stay for long. That has changed and just as the chief judge announces that the days when military tanks would decide issues are gone, others join him from all sides with great relish, in some cases their enthusiasm bordering on vengeance.
They talk about the ills of military intervention with a frankness never seen before. By and large the participants are so immersed in the act that they are summarily dismissive of the suggestions that someone else could yet be pressed into playing the reformer’s role in a country where the politicians are still considered to be the least trustworthy of all.
Sadly, the governmental refrain about the supremacy of parliament does not enjoy great support, at least not in proportion to the anti-martial law calls.
For the moment most seem to be content with assuring and reassuring one another that military rule is a thing of the past in this dear homeland of theirs. So dif- ficult has been this goal — one which is deemed to have been achieved according to the ‘national consensus’.
So great is the passion that some of these remarks about the rooting out of the martial law tradition, God forbid, portray a side invigorated by notions of victory daring an old rival to a rematch.
This is not the stuff for the fainthearted. It is certainly not the stuff for those, however small their number, who are not as efficient as others — the majority? — at shrugging off fears accumulated over decades of submission to the ultimate arbiter of power in the country.
Conjecture and speculation, the refer- ence to overriding international influence in deciding what kind of rule suits Pakistan when, has to give way to some more convincing indigenous, durable factors for this fearful view to disappear.
These are all good celebrations hailing the Pakistani people’s confidence about the demise of the military rule option. The real party can, however, wait until freedom from the old interventionist threat has enabled all parts in the machine to function on a reasonably productive level, performing their assigned roles.
When this government began, amid great fanfare about the restoration of democracy, the pronouncement of