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Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Is Nawaz Sharif paving the road to martial law in Pakistan?

If the army is compelled to step in

Now that the two mainstream parties have virtually declared the doors of reconciliation shut, commentators are already talking of the possibility of the army stepping in “to bring the country back to normal”. We sincerely hope this doesn’t happen. The army is incapable of providing any political solutions as we have learnt from our bitter experience time and again. But if this does come to pass, this time too the politicians would be to blame. From the hostile mood being displayed on both sides of the barricades, one can conjecture that violence will characterise the Long March right from its start and that it would be countrywide.

Punjab will clearly be the arena where the battles will erupt as the PMLN mobilisation gets underway. The government will try to tackle the opposition at the district level and prevent the small streams from joining the big current on the Grand Trunk Road. There are reports already that “non-state actors” might get busy during the Long March. Rising from South Punjab, we know whom the suicide-bombers will target, but collateral damage will be borne by the PMLN and its supporters.

What should be kept in mind, however, is that the strategy of the terrorists will not be simple. They have no love lost for the PMLN; they can kill its workers and lawyers in order to sharpen the contradiction between the protesters and the government. So far, despite violent rhetoric, the PMLN says its campaign will be peaceful. The government too says it will do nothing against the Long March if it is peaceful. But what if a “third party” makes it violent through its separate strategy? Everybody agrees that the Long March could become violent. Even the lawyers know this. It is quite possible that the protesters will come prepared for it. Some of them will definitely be armed.

If the army steps in, the PMLN may think that this will realise its hidden desire for mid-term elections. But given the genuinely abnormal conditions prevailing in the country — complete with many “failed state” symptoms — that won’t happen; or it may happen but with long-term damage to the prospects of both parties. The game will go to the terrorists, after which the world might step in, leaning on the desperate military measures that Pakistan has been warding off so far. (Daily Times, Editorial, 10 March 2009)


Abbas Ather


Munno Bhai


Khurshid Nadeem


Also read:

Long March June 2008: A recap, some pictures and comments

Nawaz Sharif, the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, and the politics of confrontation

Nawaz Sharif's politics of agitation


Rabia said...

in his speech in Jhelum today he was calling for the security forces and police around the rally to ignore the instructions of the government and warning those who didn't of the consequences. He then openly said that in a few days there would be a PML government. Now how is he planning to achieve that, if not through army intervention.


Rabia said...

whoops, I mean yesterday.

Tazeen said...

Shahbaz Shariff urged police to not listen to the government in a press conference which was covered and telecast by all TV channels. I thought there was a difference between Jalsa rhetoric and press conference.

Socrates said...

Shareef (read Badmaash) Brothers are acting contrary to their names (i.e. they are using very nasty & filthy language against some federal ministers, president, and supreme court judges) and for me they should be called NAWAZ BADMAASH & SHAHBAZ BADMAASH !!!

Shaheryar Ali said...

Its high treason. calling for such things against a constitutional and democratic government means that article 6 of the constitution must be invoked against both thugs

Anonymous said...

So interesting. There is so much difference in PPP viewpoint pre- and post- 18 Feb 2008: It then stood for restoration of CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry together with independence of judiciary, and now it is using all means, not to let CJ practice his due role.

I wonder what PPP really stands for. Is it really the party of Mr Bhutto?

Aamir Mughal said...

History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 1


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 2


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 3


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 4


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 5


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 6


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 7


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 8


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 9


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 10


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