I am confused today that whether should I be happy that with the passage of Constitutional Amendment passed today by both the houses of the parliament should be celebrated or should it be a moment of concern as things become more complicated from here. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked quiet active today to ensure that the motion goes through smoothly and the legal cover required by the government to set up Military courts is done . But there are a few observations which without being a conspiracy theorists have left me pondering . I hope that I am wrong and that the intention is right as it was remarkable to see the agility with which this went through but what perplexes me is the body language of the all and sundry around inclusive of the ruling party’s members (at least some of them) that as one would say have we opened another Pandora box as we tried to shove down the new law on the nation.
Now let me put a disclaimer here . I am not a legal expert. But have written in my last few blogs the need to give army powers to ensure that they are legitimately protected whilst executing their job. I have been very vocal on the fact that there are provisions in the constitution which puts the onus on the government to invite army to aid in case of any emergency situations. Also the same constitution has given rights to the judiciary to do the same. But that would have meant an emergency in the country which I am sure was not in the interest of the politicians. So every one has been looking for a middle way to get things done. It looks like that the current passage of the bill invariably serves the same purpose. Again, there is no problem with which but would it assist in resolving the issue we face today is yet to be seen.
I do have a few reservations as follows :
– Why the amendment is being made time bound? What is the expectation of the government that the mess created over the last many decades can be cleared off in 2 years time? I don’t understand the logic in the sense that them selves have taken almost a year and a half to table the bill and that too after a gory incident . How come they expect Pakistan Army to eradicate the problem within 2 years? This should have been left open ended as I am sure that even if you arrest the terrorists or their aide’s . For any decent prosecution expecting the numbers . This is too little a time. Especially when there is no provision left to extend the same.
– Though I have no qualms on the fact that the incident of December 16th 2014 has been made the sole reason for triggering the action by the parliament for introducing such an amendment. It would have been better if the bill would have condemned all terrorism activities prior to December 16th 2014 as well. The government should not forget that the resolve of the people has just not come to this level where we are seeing an unequivocal support across the board post this incident only. It has been always there. Now that it has hit its tipping point .
– I am left confused from the lines and I quote ” … from the terrorist groups by raising of arms and insurgency using the name of religion or a sect or from the foreign and locally funded state elements” . Now why we restrict to those who have only lifted arms. What about the groups or individuals who are covertly supporting these terrorism activities giving fodder for them to survive all these years. Why we did not mentioned that such people or individuals let them be in media or government or political parties or NGO’s who support such thought would be tried under the same for spreading the hatred. We saw recently that how a certain political party went to declare Taliban’s martyrs and the Army Jawans as not . We have seen recently how the holy institution as the mosque or the madressah has been used to spread crime like rapes or terrorism . Red Mosque has become unfortunately a symbol of which globally and that too a few kilometers away from the same august parliament . Why we did not come out clear on these sets of people or groups in the same bill?
– My concern is that good that the Military courts have been given jurisdiction but where is the role of the civilian government been defined per the same. My utmost fear is with all due respect that whilst the civilian government looks surrendered as we saw that Abdul Aziz (I am choosing not to call him as this coward a Maulana) of the Red mosque roam Scott free and the civilian government has not been able to execute the arrest warrants. I have seen that how our honorable judiciary has queerly kept quiet and remained on the sides where terrorists were having the best of our law due to our weak civil prosecution where many of them got released like recently people like Malik Ishaque or liberated like Bannu Jail break and are heard giving sermons on Internet and planning more of their activities to hurt the nation. I fear that the government and the judiciary has just smartly taken the hat off responsibility of imparting justice to the people of Pakistan and put that hat on the heads of our Pakistan Army . Though I am happy that Military courts have come into existence seeing the inability of the civilian courts to impart justice to the people of Pakistan. But at the same time cautious that hopefully the buck has just not been passed. With all their flaws and shortcomings of the civilian government. They may even lead the Military courts to fail.
– The respected Prime Minister today mentioned that they would advise the Military courts to adjudge which cases to prosecute or not. Again, I can understand that recently people like Asif Ali Zardari was heard showing off his fears on such courts and albeit that he may not end up over there. I am sure the same fear would be in the mind of the Prime Minister after his last sojourn post his actions of hijacking the airplane of Gen Pervez Musharraf back in Oct 1999. But it seems that if the government choose not to pass of cases due to political pressures to the Military courts. How effective these might be?
– Shameful to see that whilst this bill should have been passed unanimously . Some parties abstained. Maulana Fazlur Rehman who was sitting on the right hand side of the PM was heard cribbing in a press conference after the bill was passed by the National Assembly. Wonder why? or is it just a habit to play all the angles? So much so unfortunately, the so called leading opposition party i.e. PTI was vanished from the floor of the house. Now though we understand that they have resigned but since these have not been executed in true spirit they should have gone to vote. But instead of talking about the bill and how would it be beneficial for the nation. They were worried about rigging in NA 122 for which I wonder how in the world they brought with them a ballot paper to the press conference . Isn’t that the violation of the law? or the second agenda was the unannounced marriage of their leader which by the way is a good thing but would it not been appropriate that instead Imran Khan should have chided on the efficacy of the bill instead of shouting out the pending announcement of his marriage and the upcoming Dharna after Jan 18th 2015. Thought they imposed a moratorium of 3 months. But who cares its a world of U Turns out there.
– What was more painful to see that in the senate some leading stalwarts of PMLN like Gen Abdul Qadir Baluch abstaining from the voting . Now is that because he is pro TTP or is it because this bill’s passage would have its effects on the ongoing operation in Baluchistan ? He must come out and clarify his position. As there was a word that he may replace Khwaja Asif as the next Defence Minister. In such a case or views would it be at all feasible? I would have my doubts.
– The proof is in eating the pudding. I hope that the Civilian government would continue to play its part instead of just dumping all their responsibilities on the Pakistan Army . I am a little perturbed to see that no mention came off the Talibanization or radicalization which is mushrooming in Punjab as well as in Karachi . No specific mentions took place. It would be unfair and futile to think that by just operating in KPK the problem would be addressed . I feel if that is the strategy than its clearly hell bound. If we do not ensure an all out strategy. All these efforts may go in vain. Rightly said by the MQM legislator Dr. Farooq Sattar on the floor of the house . Why the government hesitates to name the proponents of Talibanization like Jamaat e Islami, ASWJ or LeT etc etc. Till this mindset is not changed it would not help.
Now at the same time whilst the government has unleashed a security policy . I would have been happy to see mention on the control on the administration of the Madressah where most of the suicide bombers originate and how can we make them useful instead of being a menace towards the sanctity of the republic. But again they stop short all the time.
I wonder why did Nawaz Sharif thanked Siraj ul Haque or JI in his speech whilst their members abstained and they have been opposing the operation from the outset. In fact I saw on PTV a dedication to late Qazi Hussain Ahmed to woo JI probably. What a joke? I wonder why did Raza Rabbani shed his tears today. I am sure these were because he sinned us when he supported a crook like Chaudhary Iftikhar who has turned out to be a pro Taliban proponent as he may be using them to settle his scores and for protection I guess and also maybe if the same CJ would have used the opportunity to reinforce the judiciary by bringing judges on merit. This would not have happened in the first place. Or was he crying to accept that his politics has been that of failure the reason why the nation faces the situation today. He has been there long enough since I have entered my youth . He is equally responsible in my view. I wonder why he didnt abstained and resigned. Well every one loves the chair I guess.
Anyways, I am happy that now that our Pakistan Army who I only trust for my security like millions of Pakistanis have a legitimate cover to operate. Cautious that they are not being embroiled in an elongated and a futile step due to the gaps highlighted above so that the incumbent government remains in the power as long as possible as it looked like that their bags were almost packed. Angry that the judiciary has turned out to be disappointment and also on some of those like JUI-F , PTI and JI and people like Orya Maqbool Jaan and many other TV anchors who are still finding pride in being Taliban apologists and some of them been heard saying that the massacre of our sons is being politicized. I wonder if they can say this on the face of the parents of the martyrs. Such mindset has to be corrected or either eradicated.
Hopefully, that we manage to salvage the best out of this situation as former President Gen Pervez Musharraf has been saying in the past and in his recent statement that it good that such a step has been taken but limiting it to a time table where there can be a long drawn battle to clear the mess. The provision of 21st CA Amendment should be effect related not time bound. I personally could not agree any less. I am sure that eventually we would realize that this is the right course to pursue as Pakistanis would not expect anything less. They want their Pakistan back and that’s it. Pakistan Zindabad!