The Minimum Responsibility

Source: ISPR

Pakistan is probably the only country in the world where coups are always unmistakably bloodless and unopposed.

But there is a slight problem with such carte blanche bloodless coups. It has become somewhat of an accepted practice, and one which is almost taken for granted. Just like how rapists are turned into grooms in a conservative society.

There has been recent news that the Pakistani government is to try General Pervez Musharraf for treason for abrogating the constitution. I think it is encouraging that finally the authorities are taking note of people abrogating the constitution. However, there is a problem with it.

First of all, I am, by no means, implying that such a trial should not be held and am surely not apologizing for the General. But I would only support it to be symbolic as long as the barbaric law of death for treason remains in effect. I would also like the prosecution to include other personnel to establish the minimum responsibility for the charge, of course with the degrees of responsibility and offense taken into consideration.  

While discussing the illegal and unconstitutional take over of the government by Musharraf, we must also try those who were directly responsible for preventing it. Now I am not saying that we should not hold people accountable for breaking the law, as some supporters of Musharraf would like to do, by demanding obstruction to a trial because a lot of other people were involved too. Especially when Article 6 of the constitution includes the clause of those aiding in the abrogation of the constitution. If the trial goes on at all, that is.

There is a reason why minimum responsibility should be established in this case and why it is not equivalent to inaction in other moral problems, because it has a legal basis. This is because army officers are responsible as per their oath to uphold the Constitution of Pakistan. This is why at least the Armed forces corps commanders should be responsible to stop the Army Chief from abrogating the constitution and taking over the country.

Arguably this should also be true for judges, civil servants and politicians, but given the precedence of military might in Pakistan in terms of politics, that is a relatively unrealistic demand, but a reasonable one and certainly not without basis in legal logic.

Furthermore, who are the only ones who have any real power to prevent someone from their ranks abusing the law and the constitution of the country? It is indeed none else but the army leadership. And to be more accurate with establishing the minimum responsibility, the corps commanders, probably.

Why it is that all the corps commanders apparently seem to be fine with the idea of their chief or even one of them arresting the Prime Minister and taking over the government? Why do they not defect from this defecting and technically treasonous faction of the state and prevent an action that is not only unlawful, but malicious to the Republic?

Why can the military not disobey all the unlawful commands of their corrupt superior and actually arrest the one person or a few who are actually the ones who need to be removed? It is only they who can prevent  this unconstitutional and dictatorial atrocity from occurring. After all, it is only they who have the necessary force to commit the crime in the first place.

But no, our military officers would be under the delusion of genuinely believing that the military rule is what the country really needed, believe it or not.

Or afterwards, when a democratic government is installed, they would justify their complicity by citing the blind military discipline to be the reason when they follow the unconstitutional and illegal commands of their superiors, such as arresting the elected Prime Minister and the cabinet.

What becomes of the blind military discipline when military commanders plan and act to stage coups? What becomes of the blind military discipline when the top military brass decides to supersede the authority of those who they are answerable to?

Army officers following unconstitutional and illegal orders from their superiors is neither discipline nor responsibility. It only makes them a party to a crime which is in clear violation of their oath, which also makes it a professional failure, surely a greater problem than jeopardizing democracy.

Let us establish at least the minimum reasonable responsibility for treason for the October 1999 coup, if we are to try for it at all.

Let us try all the corps commanders and commanding officers carrying out unconstitutional and authoritarian measures of force. And those who failed to prevent them. In that order and, if found guilty, penalizing with the respective degree.

But let us first remove the ridiculous penalty of death for the charge of treason.

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The Late Quaid Day Post: The Wrong Focus

Probably Amused by the Stupidity of his Nation

December 25, 2010

I wanted to use the occasion of Quaid Day for trumpeting my secret agenda of Secularism but I was a little disappointed by noticing something else.

This Quaid Day, I wanted to look around for something useful about the Quaid-e-Azam. But all I could find was “Islamic or Secular”.

Does it really matter whether Mr. Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam, was secular or not?

What if he was and what if he wasn’t?

One thing that I have learned from the man is that you should not giving up using your brain.

Trash the Islamic or Secular debate and just start working on this tip, and everything will be fine.

If he was not Secular, well you can be. You can think for your own, can’t you?

I’d like to focus on other qualities and values that he held. Let’s try to build Pakistan on those lines.

Regardless of what he said at any other place or any other point in history, this is what he said during his all-important address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.

“We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

When I look at the 1973 constitution, unfortunately, that is not the case. And even apart from that Secularism or “Minorities” Debate, does not that also imply that all citizens should have equal access to the basic necessities, justice and rights?

Even that is not happening.

How come we missed that?

 

Since the Nation is so orgasmic about the Islamic v Secular Debate, Secularism is not an anti-Islam doctrine, and since Pakistan is a country of 97% Muslim population, any insecurity pertaining to that is baseless. I know many people who support Secularism are anti-religion, but that is their own problem. There is a Secular constitution in India and the United States which is not anti-religion. If you have been thinking that Secularism is anti-religion, you have been listening to too many atheists. Not that anything is wrong with that.

Furthermore, Pakistan was created for “the protection of the rights of the Indian Muslim community” in theory,  and that right is not violated by declaring that every citizen of the country should have equal rights, isn’t it?

“The great majority of us are Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him). We are members of the brotherhood of Islam in which all are equal in rights, dignity and self-respect. Consequently, we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it.”

He said that after Pakistan was created, on February 19, 1948.

It’s not a question of the protection of the rights of Indian Muslim community anymore. Now, it is a question of the protection of the rights of every single Pakistani, regardless of what religion or ethnicity they belong to. All the Muslim criticism of the Hindu caste system will not be justified if we have stratification in out society too. His comments made during a February 1948 broadcast.

“The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims –Hindus, Christians, and Parsis –but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”

 

Was he not clear? He was. The problem is, Pakistanis are not.

It’s all about getting your textbook right.

This is where the Debate is sealed for me.

He endorsed Mustafa Kamal, the Ataturk. Really? That Anti-Muslim Secular Dictator? He clearly must be nuts. Well, he had his reasons. These words on March 4, 1948.

“The exploits of your leaders in many a historic field of battle; the progress of your Revolution; the rise and career of the great Ataturk, his revitalization of your nation by his great statesmanship, courage and foresight all these stirring events are well-known to the people of Pakistan.”

And remember, Mr. Jinnah opposed the Khilafat Movement?

Mullahs hated him anyway.

But what the hell, get the focus right.

This is what he said about building the nation.

The great man also said, this. June 15, 1948 in Quetta.

“We are now all Pakistanis–not Baluchis, Pathans, Sindhis, Bengalis, Punjabis and so on–and as Pakistanis we must feet behave and act, and we should be proud to be known as Pakistanis and nothing else.”

Not much comments on this one, it is self-explanatory, but only shames us on how ethnically polarized Pakistani politics have become.

Even dump Secularism, if it is so evil, can we just act on this saying? That is, Unite as a Nation.

We hardly act on anything the Quaid-e-Azam said & debate whether he was secular or not. Pakistanis need to grow up as a nation

And finally, in the words of fellow Fabian Socialist, and another great visionary and Statesman of the Indian Subcontinent, Jawaharlal Nehru, the ultimate tribute to the Quaid-e-Azam.

Jinnah is one of the most extraordinary men in history.

Both the men had almost similar approach to politics. India was lucky to have such an architect.

Pakistan was lucky to have Jinnah as the architect too, he just could not finish the building.

 

I don’t want to imply that he was a superman, far from it. But at least we can learn from him.

You even learn from your enemy they say.

Unity, Faith, Discipline.