Issues that need careful handling
Nobody would like to be an apologist for military take-overs and glorifies them but this statement ignores the fact that incompetent civil rules paved the way for take-overs everywhere, not only in Pakistan. The failure of democratic and civilian rulers provided the opportunity to the Generals to easily remove the sick civil rule. This has been the case not only in Pakistan but in many third world countries. Military took over in many newly independent countries, in the past. Middle East, Latin America, and South East Asia, not only in Pakistan and they were not due to uniform reasons: For example Nasser’s Revolution, Asad’s in Syria have not been denounced by their people or history. Some were foreign inspired and some due to the failure of the regimes. For what reasons they did not take place in India but did in Hindu/Buddhist dominated South East Asia or Burma is an illustration of the fact that failure of civilian rules paved the way for the Generals to intervene. These were the cases of the failure of local political leadership, as in South Korea. In other words grounds were paved by failure of civilian rule when politicians failed as democratic rulers, ie, the sickness lead to the disease of induction of a dictator. This is how a political scientist will survey the ups and downs of political experiments in newly independent countries with global perspective on the birth of independence in new states in the Third world.
Utter failure of Economic conditions of the masses in the countries in all systems whether democratic or otherwise have led to revolutions as it happened in France under the French revolution or in Czarist Russia or in China during Mao Ts Tung (Old spelling). The points to be looked into the history of military take-overs are many and to paint them with one stick is not correct. A real democracy does not need any one to defend it. People will never allow any military take over in any real democracy. Why does this not take place in the Western World? Because there democracy is practiced. In our countries great claims are made of our systems being democratic but claims are no substitutes for reality.
Of the four military Coups, except for Musharraf ’s whose take over was pure and simple a violent event without real failure of Nawaz Sharif’s regime, and of Yahya Khan’s incompetent rule even as a military ruler, the same cannot be said of Ayub Khan. The point I am making is that all military take-overs and their performance cannot be judged by the same measuring stick. The scenario in which each of them came into power was not the same and their performance was not of the same nature. As a historian I can be wrong in stating facts but then records are records. The point I am making is that all Military take-overs and their performance cannot be judged by the same measuring stick. Some blame for creating circumstances for the military take-over must rest on the failure of the “democratic” rulers. Political scenario when Ayub took over was really disturbing, the scene in East Pakistan Assembly, murder of the Dy Speaker in the housie, utter breakdown of parliamentary form, rapid change of governments, absolute break down of democracy or self rule are not mere words, they have an implication in actual life. Democracy means delivering goods to the public. False claim of having democracy is not a badge of honour. I am speaking purely as a political scientist and a historian with a global view. Anyone can look up any press in the world, Western Eastern, Asian Latin American, of Ayub Era. The world press praised Pakistan’s economic industrial development during Ayub Era in glowering terms. If one looks up at the economic indicators of Ayub’s time, Pakistan was then counted by the world as a model of development for the Third World. Pakistan never had that prosperity, peace, harmony and orderly rule after Ayub. The strength of the Rupee in the World market, the prices of daily use etc were the lowest in Ayub Era. He did convert his military rule as much into democratic one as a military ruler can.
Yahya Khan was an imposter and snatched power from Ayub. For whatever reasons, Pakistan was broken into half; lost East Pakistan as a result of his brutalities is a matter of yesterday. Every thing went wrong in his military rule. He was an example of the power snatching general. And fits Nawaz Sharif’s description of destroyers of Pakistan. The other power snatching general was Musharruf. He concocted a false and ridiculous charge of “Hijacking” on a Prime Minister. His false elections, his LalMasjid massacre, jailing the Chief Justice etc were crimes of most abominable nature. Pakistan lost its independence to US in his days and his last crime was NRO. Two military rulers were the worst in our history: Yahya and Musharruf. Even then the value of Rupee in world market and price index was far more satisfactory than under the present “democratic rule” Performance of the present most “democratic” rule, which never fails to claim that it is bestowed democracy to the country as if someone bestows democracy and people do not get it themselves. If this is the truest democratic rule what is its standing in the public; what is the level of satisfaction of people with their standard of living, etc.
As is in the Persian proverb, scent speaks itself not the Attar only claims it as scent, It is the most lavish government, spending money like water on its supporters. Coming to Shahbaz Sharif’s generosity of granting Liaquat Bagh land to Benazir Bhutto Mausoleum, it was an act against Pakistan’s history and to the Second most important leader of Pakistan Movement. Liaquat Ali Khan, the right hand of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, His was no small contribution to the creation of Pakistan; it was he who mobilized the support of the Indian Muslims to Pakistan Movement. He was assassinated in Liaquat Bagh in Oct 1951, the conspiracy of his assassination remains shrouded in mystery. Was he murdered after he had announced that he was going to abolish Wadera feudalism which earlier had been done in India? He was a great leader of the masses, as a father of the nation he rendered invaluable services to the creation of Pakistan. I have seen his public gatherings as a 17 year youth, in the leadership of the Muslim Students Federation. We are refugees or immigrants from India but we remember that Liaquat was a greater leader than any one in Pakistan politics after the Quaid of course. He consolidated Pakistan a country with no resources and no infra-structure when it came into existence. Is this not enough that you have named Islamabad International Airport after Benazir, the hospital after her, you have named Murree Road as Benazir Road, and now a grand Mausoleum is to be erected at Shakar Pariyan in Islamabad. Are these not enough?
Why has it now been considered necessary to create a Benazir mausoleum in Liaquat Bagh? Liaquat’s assassination was not a minor matter. Is it intended that Liaquat’s name fade out eventually and go in the dustbin of history. Depicting Liaquat as a minor leader of our history by manipulating history . You have already started treating his name as if it is on the list of dying names of history despite the fact that he was a stalwart of the League. There is that manufactured calumny that he went to US in May 1950 to sell Pakistan to US etc, and now this treatment is being given to that great leader of Pakistan who sacrificed his vast estates extending over two of the most fertile districts, Karnal and Muzzafarnagar of North India and became a pauper for the sake of Pakistan.
When he died he had left Rs 2200 in his account in the bank, not billion of dollars in foreign banks, By rubbing out his name from the history of Pakistan you will be doing no service to the history of Pakistan Movement. Why the idea did not occur to Mr ShahBaz Sharif to erect a monument to the memory of Liaquat. If you want to have a monument of Benazir put it elsewhere than in Laiquat Park Liaquat was Pakistan’s first martyr. His primacy should be respected. He should remain number one in that Park.