Crossing the red lines | By Malik Tariq Ali


Crossing the red lines

What happened on 9 May was a very serious incursion by misled elements within our country, who were incited to protest by inflamed video and audio messages to lodge protests outside defence installations, built on tax-payers money. This was akin to what happened on 6 January 2021 in Washington, when Capitol Building was attacked by 2000 armed protesters, following Trumps electoral defeat.

The responsibility rests surely on leadership who chose these vital symbols of state and sensitive military installations for political protests in response to arrest of their party leader. Once a politically charged mob, whose emotions have been stirred through a mix of religiously exploitative speeches and concocted notions of Heqeeqi Azadi, then mob rage takes over. Repetitive political interferences had its toll on sensitive institutions. Unity of command with no division in rank and file is very vital for national security.

What happened on May 9 jolted many from slumber, although such a tragedy was waiting to happen, given a series of events which preceded it, starting from 2014, when 126-day Dharna was held and symbols of the state such as PTV was vandalized, sanctity of NA violated and nobody prosecuted or punished.

This country has witnessed a series of Red Lines being crossed, with no accountability, leaving behind a trail of misery and humiliation. When the ambulance carrying Quaid broke down, within 4 miles from airport, because of no gasoline on 11 September 1948, it was indeed unpardonable. Yet no one was held responsible. An exhausted and feeble MAJ died that night. In 1953 PM Nizamuddin, the second PM of Pakistan was removed from office and assembly dissolved by nexus of GG, Ayub Khan and Iskandar Mirza and this illegality endorsed by Justice Munir and three other judges, with only one dissent by Justice Cornelius.

A major blunder was committed with disastrous consequences to follow. By October 1954 Gen Ayub Khan in uniform became Defence Minister of PM Bogra’s cabinet and from there on, it has been a downslide with many red lines being crossed and political engineering adopted officially by a tin-pot dictator.

Pakistan has ever since then, been trapped in a minefield, with many casualties, including dismemberment in 1971, a shameful surrender and none held responsible. Fatima Jinnah tried to put a stop when she stood up to restore Jinnah’s Pakistan, but she was defeated in a massively rigged election in connivance with bureaucracy and judiciary.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Lahore.

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