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Creeping Anarchy

Originating from multiple sources, the creeping anarchy in the country is systematic and constant.  Democracy (“the best revenge”) being a convenient camouflage for their ulterior motives, different militant groups have taken advantage of the turmoil to push their own agendas. Political patronage has allowed hundreds of target killers to walk free in Karachi despite being caught red-handed.  Justice being subverted is not an inconvenient secret anymore, the blatant display of political power is deliberately misused under the convenient garb of a democracy of the feudals, by the feudals and for the feudals. Under Supreme Court (SC) monitoring, the Rangers did a terrific job for several months in 2011.  Without continuing support of activist judicial steam, the Rangers success came back to square one.

What is happening to the Hazaras in Balochistan is an abomination, both ethnically and in religious terms.    Other than those transient in uniform in the garrison town, Quetta was mainly populated by the Hazaras till the early 70s.  Then came settlers from the Punjab alongwith a fair amount of Mohajirs, ethnic Baloch were a minority.   With Akbar Khan Bugti installed as Governor by President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the Governor’s rule imposed after throwing out of the elected NAP-led coalition in early 1973, a concerted campaign was initiated to increase the ethnic Baloch population in the city.   And this was certainly not wrong, no metropolitan city can be the sole preserve of any single ethnic race, nor can it be ghetto-ed into ethnic zones.     The ethnic-religious mix further was compounded by a large influx of Afghan refugees in the 80s, many ingrates like Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s family still own property there, acquiring Pakistani ID Cards and passports.    With the Mujahedin-e-Khalq operating across the border against the Iranian regime, the Shia-Sunni strife took on the international divide of a proxy war, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) bringing religious connotations to what was essentially a peaceful Baloch-Hazara disagreement. The Hazaras have subsequently been pushed into a bloody corner with a vengeance.

Supported by Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), formerly called the Sepah-i-Sahiba-e-Pakistan (SSP), the LEJ masterminded the January 10 carnage, the Usman Kurd-led faction (the other faction being led by Shafiqur Rahman Rind), carrying out the brutal attacks.  Captured separately, Usman Kurd and Rind escaped together from a high security prison in 2008 in Quetta.  While Rind was recaptured a little later, Usman Kurd and his second-in-command, Dawood Badani, have been carrying out large scale atrocities against the Hazaras with impunity for the last 5 years.

If it was not macabre it would be funny that the Supreme Court (SC) has entered into another exercise in frustration by taking “suo moto” notice of the carnage in Quetta.  Their Lordships do not seem to comprehend (or come to terms with) the problem of bad governance, fostered deliberately to camouflage the nexus between corruption, organized crime and terrorism. Bad governance is as much likely to be addressed as much as the sidelined NRO. How come a country at the “ground zero” of terrorism is without a dedicated “Counter-Terrorism Force” (CTF)? Given the experience of an independent Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) catching the son of a sitting Prime Minister red-handed in a drug-related scam, do you expect politicians to allow a CTF to run amok? The administrative vacuum because of atrocious governance has allowed the forces of evil to surface with a vengeance, some operate in the name of religion, others taking advantage of the shortcomings of our law and order machinery.  The roads to Karachi and Lahore airports were blocked this week, how long before these international airports are taken over? The gun battles in the counter-guerilla operations in the mountains will be child’s play compared to countering catastrophic urban guerilla warfare in the streets of Karachi (shades of Syria). Their Lordships need to kindly define the meaning of “anarchy” in one of their future pronouncements.

Between 2009 and 2012 the Supreme Court (SC) under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad has enlarged the scope of Article 184 (3) of the Constitution manifold, maintaining in case after case that once information infringing the fundamental rights of the public at large is brought before the Court, it will act on the basis of the information. The track record of SC activism, “what was said” matters rather far more than “who said it”!  His Lordships were quite rightly harsh with Dr Tahir Qadri, he had no business behaving like a spoilt child in conduct unbecoming both inside and outside the august premises of the SC.   With all due respects the Court should not have been insensitive to “dual nationality”, not only do our expatriates contribute substantially to our foreign exchange reserves, their generosity creating an economic cycle invaluable to the present and future financial health of the nation.

After the 18th Amendment under Article 213 of the Constitution, the PM in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition was to forward three names of potential Chief Election Commissioners (CEC) to a twelve member Parliamentary Committee (PC) (with 8 from the National Assembly and 4 from the Senate according to the respective party strengths).  The 12 member PC would to conduct public hearings before making a recommendation to the President for appointing the CEC.  After consultation with the Leader of the Opposition the PM short-circuited the process recommending Fakhruddin Ebrahim’s name to the President without referring it to the PC.  In the general popular acclaim of the man’s credentials everyone glossed over the legal process being flawed.  Since the CEC’s appointment matters to the destiny of the nation far more than the OGRA Chief, the PTA Head (and numerous other Chairmen) thrown out by the SC because their appointments were not according to the statutes, the SC is precedent-bound to take cognizance under Article 184 (3).  Incidentally, since the due process was not followed, why is man of principles Fakhru Bhai compromising by not resigning?   Riding high morality, in the legal sense his CEC feet are mired in clay.   However, the SC could condone the legal flew under “the Doctrine of Necessity”!

Rich in manpower and material resources, Pakistan deserves far better. Unfortunately our present form of democracy has failed to deliver.   The SC must give substance to their rhetoric, presently those who must implement the rule of law simply ignore the rule of law. Valued both as respected senior and as a friend, NAB Chief Adm Fasih Bokhari was way out of line in his letter to the President, but it was simply another manifestation of frustrated reaction to the SC’s ambivalent stance concerning the fundamental rights of the people.  With the Court allowing repeated transgressions on the “contempt” scorecard, can their Lordships be selective in Fasih Bokhari’s case?      Maybe the CJ sees “red” because of Musharraf when he sees khaki. As the country sinks rapidly into a black hole in our journey to nowhere, institutions of substance who matter have been reduced to the equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning.

The Army can be real proud, history will record that they steadfastly turned a blind eye to the loot and plunder going on in Pakistan today and adhered strictly to the Constitution while their country perished.

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