Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Sacking Of The CJ & A Writer's Block

Over the past few weeks your Blogger has suffered from a writer’s block – a difficulty usually associated with an absence of inspiration. In my case it was compounded with a palpable feeling of disillusionment with the present circumstances.

Many people tell me that this infernal general is here to stay. Personally I don’t subscribe to this view - I'm convinced that he will be gone within a year - but the widespread apathy among the country's ruling elite can be, at times, disheartening. Odds are that Musharraf will be replaced by another Khaki-clad 'Savior of Pakistan', and that is also a depressing thought.

My view of current realities tells me that Pakistan has reached a critical juncture in its 60-year history and the future appears increasingly bleak.


We face the twin grave problems of a continuing population explosion and a looming water shortage. With the shrinking of the Himalayan glaciers the volume of water in our rivers is sharply decreasing. Unless we urgently begin addressing this problem, my apprehension is that by 2025 we will have grossly insufficient irrigation resources to feed an anticipated population of 275 million people.

I fear famine and water wars could be just around the corner for us. Conflict over water supplies will not just involve India and Pakistan, but also lead to inter-provincial bloodshed within Pakistan. Compared to this frightening scenario the present quarrel over the Kalabagh Dam looks like mere child’s play.

Associated with this dilemma of the ever burgeoning population is the complete and utter collapse our educational system. We are now producing and will continue to produce millions of citizens who will grow up espousing a bleak, simplistic black and white, good vs. evil outlook to most aspects of life.

If the philosophy of extremist ‘Jihadism’ is allowed to extend to even a mere 0.4 % of Pakistan’s future population, it will result in an enraged horde of a million people.

My fear is that the ‘oxygen’ and ‘breathing space’ traditionally provided to extremist religious views under military dictatorships (Zia’s and Musharraf’s) now not only threatens the future integrity of Pakistan but has the potential to wreak havoc on the West. One only has to recall that the world’s first computer virus (the 1986 ‘brain virus’) was created in Lahore – the future development of ‘dirty bombs’ and other deadly devices by sophisticated Pakistani fanatics is not such a farfetched idea after all.

And what have seven long years of Musharraf’s dictatorship achieved in addressing any of these problems?

In my book absolutely nothing – nada, zilch!

All we have seen is the economic, social and political aggrandizement by the military in every sphere of activity in Pakistan. This coupled with its mule headed and dogmatic approach to resolving differences by the use of overwhelming force – i.e. in East Pakistan and now in Balochistan – which helps create national catastrophes

While regime supporters will continue to insist that there has been economic growth in recent years, the reality is that most of these financial figures have been cleverly doctored. If one bothers to scrutinize the government’s economic data carefully these ‘growth’ figures soon turn out to be pure bunkum. Yes, huge fortunes have been made by those ‘investing’ in the property and share market scams and while national assets such as PTCL have been privatized and sold to overseas buyers let us not delude ourselves and call these purchases ‘overseas investments’. The glaring fact remains that there has been no overseas investment in our industry or export sector in past seven years, no many times our smooth talking Shaukat Aziz asserts to the contrary.

Simply put, as any honest economist will confirm, whatever economic growth Pakistan has experienced in the last five years is due solely to 9/11 and not to any genius on the part of Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz or for that matter any other Maula Jat.


So we now come to yesterday’s sacking of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, by Musharraf.

This mockery of law and constitutionalism by the military dictator has had the effect of unclogging my writer’s block .

More about the CJ’s sacking tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

The recent sacking of Chief Justice is actually death of justice itself. Chief Justice Ifthekar Ch. seemed to be only man who took the right decisions that won people's Heart. Its the fear of Military Dictators that lead to sacking of such a great man because in near future the issue of Musharaf's Uniform had to go to supreme court. The charged against Chief Justice seem ridiculous (Using Mercedes, using Helicopter for provincial tours, got 16 marks in English in his graduate exams) Because, even a junior secretary of dictator's establishment by far exceeds these limits, let alone Ministers, Prime minister and Dictator Musharaf (I call him King Musharaf). After listening these alligations, my younger brother (who is just sixteen) told me this reminds him the story of Wolf and Lamb. See, even a teen ager thinks its rediculous :)


mountainman said...

Chaudhry Iftikhar was as good a CJ as we could get given our crop of obsequious and pliant judges. He took several bold decisions to restore some modicum of trust in the Judiciary, used the courts' Suo Moto powers extensively to intervene in travesties of justice, and generally instilled the fear of God in our arrogant and corrupt bureaucrats and police officers. As CJ of Balochistan Hight Court, he was prone to theatrics and often times went for overkill during his hearings esp those involving public servants which earned him the nickname of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in government circles and among lawyers. However, given the larger public interest served by his aggressive attitude, he could be spared his flaws in a country where everyone is up to their necks in other kinds of vices. His brusque and abrupt departure suggests that the millitary government cannot tolerate even a circumscribed notion of judicial independence. Contrary to Onlooker's opinion, I think these egregious actions of our Generalissmo reveal the weakness and insecurity of the millitary regime which is a sign of hope.

Patriot Expatriate said...

We got rid of sham democracy and now sham justice. I hope and pray that we get rid ourselves of 'sham army' soon.

Anonymous said...

We missed you - please do not let writers block or really depression silence you - these are exhausting times and voices like yours are crucial. Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

A pox be on your writer's block. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day in Pakistan's history.

For regular updates on what is happening:

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your observations but i think you go overboard about the peril facing Pakistan. Yes it is serious but our main problem is not posed from so called "Jihadi" elements. I think that just springs from your elitist/liberal background.

Pakistan's problems stem from a lack of unity, corruption and the fact that democracy has never taken hold largely due to the political, feudal, industrial and military elites.

Also, its silly to mention the virus reference since the Alvi Brothers intent was to protect their medical software not create the world's first computer virus.

Overall, i enjoy your blog. Keep it going.


Onlooker said...

You said: "our main problem is not posed from so called "Jihadi" elements. I think that just springs from your elitist/liberal background."

Actually if you read this blog you will note that I consider our ballooning population and the looming water shortage as the most serious threats facing Pakistan.

Added to that is the complete collapse in our educational system.

Coming then to the associated problem of violent 'jihadism'- why do I see it threatening Pakistan and others? Simply because it breeds complete and violent intolerence of all other views, opinions and cultures.

My mention of the Brain Virus was meant to be an example to illustrate that an extremist jihadi from the Pakistani middle class has the capacity perhaps to be more sophisticated and inventive than say his equivalent from other Muslim countries. And their numbers are much larger.

Anonymous said...

To Onlooker:

I read your blog all the time and enjoy it. I should restate what I was getting at.

I do believe that present and future conflicts will be over resources(example Iraq). I don't buy into the clash of civilizations theory expressed by Lewis nor do i belive that fundamentalists/jihadists are all some crazed religious fanatics. Many have legitimate political grievances. I belive that jihadists have been used when they are useful and then discarded and what we are experiencing is classic "blow back". Do i feel the truly lunatic fringe will ever rise to power in Pakistan......hardly. And am tired of this being used as an excuse by Musharaaf and the West to further their goals. And my feeling is that you do think this is something bigger than it really is. I mean the most harm has come from the military, political, industrial and feudual elite. Why not stop these axis of evil first? Why not declare a war against them?

You stated that our education system has collapsed I agree to an extent. What needs our attention is at the primary level....most of the rural people don't get an education thus more than half our population is illiterate. Our Universities do need more funding but are not that bad. Many go West to further their education and recevie great jobs. What we need to do in Pakistan is to setup a University that grants only Masters and Phds. We only produce a handful of Ph.D.s. a year in Pakistan. India produces hundreds if not more.

Population is tied in with education. The more educated we can make our society the lower will our birth rate decline and modern we become.

Also, if our education system was that bad how could we produce any sophisticated terrorists? And if that is really true than we should keep a closer eye out on failed states like Sudan, Haiti, somalia,zimbabwe and Afghanistan. All of them either have no education system or a very poor one.

Or their is a possiblitiy you using the Alivi Brothers was a bad example.


Anonymous said...

This was a sad day.

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