Following the passing of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah a year within gaining independence in 1947, no one individual had moved the country forward, politicians instead blaming one another and calling them an agent of India. Everyone wanted to acquire more power from a relative infant country, all for personal leverage.
In this respect a bureaucrat, Iskander Mirza, changed the system of Governor General and become the first president of Pakistan. In expanding his Presidential period he had also imposed Martial Law and made his Defence General Ayub Khan the Martial Law Administrator.
General Ayub, at the same time was Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani Army and wasted no time in removing Iskander Mirza in barely twenty days, exiling him to the UK, he himself becoming head of state for the next eleven years.
He was the first General who ruled Pakistan and in his last period handed over power to another General, Yahya Khan, who led the country for the next three years. Khan also went on to conduct Pakistan’s first general election in 1970.
Unfortunately the election had broken Pakistan into two countries; the West part of Pakistan becoming Bangladesh. Unquestionably Bangladesh was an intriguing result of India’s plan, though we could not neglect the role of Pakistan’s ruling class who never adopted rational behaviour. Pakistan came into existence in two parts- East and West Pakistan, with a long distance inbetween.
The newly breathing Pakistan had been given to an elected leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had won the majority of seats in Pakistan, Bhutto becoming the country’s first elected Prime Minister.
Charismatic and a leader of the people, Bhutto was full of dreams and tried to make this country a welfare State. The Army establishment as usual however did not give him time and the worst thing happened to him, General Zia toppling his government and sentencing him to death by hanging.
Zia’s time in power was worse in every respect. He destroyed the social fabric of society and created sectarianism, hypocrisy having been injected into the veins of his followers, brutal killings observed in Muslim countries. Zia was an evil and hated person in history, hence his death came as a great relief.
Following Zia’s death Benazir Bhutto, through a general election, became the first ever woman Prime Minster of Pakistan and the Muslim world. However, followers of General Zia had not given her a free hand to rule and within eighteen months she had been removed from office.
This action created another game of musical chairs between the legacies of the late General Zia and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Observed for a decade, it ultimately came to pass when General Musharraf took over power from the forcibly deported then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the public showing no sign of opposition.
Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years however, though started losing his grip, especially due to the constant attacks by militant groups as he had decided to be part of the war against terrorism.
These attacks reportedly killed more than 50 thousand civilians and over five thousand army personnel in the process. Fear and uncertainty in people became the norm each day and the public wanted desperately to get out of this situation.
At the same time Musharraf’s arrogance went out of control, removing the Chief Justice of Pakistan on a minor issue and attacking the most powerful Baloch Tribal Chief and Governor of Balochistan, Akbar Bugti, leading to his death.
Musharraf was losing his grip and politically needed the support of the people, so he contacted Benazir Bhutto who was in self exile in London. The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was drafted and signed between the two and other silent guarantors such as powerful people from the USA, UK and a few Arab leaders of the UAE, according to reports.
Soon Benazir returned back to power, but something went wrong and Musharraf declined to provide her the security, resulting ultimately in her assassination in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.
The result was obvious. Musharaff’s plan had failed and he resigned power within the next few months.
In the subsequent election of 2008, the Pakistan People’s Party, under the command of Asif Ali Zardari (AAZ), husband of Benazir Bhutto, formed a federal government, with Nawaz Sharif’s party winning the provincial election and his brother becoming Chief Minister of Punjab.
Despite facing a number of setbacks the PPP government completed a five year tenure, leaving no stone unturned in connection to the massive corruption and bad governance in the country.
The next election held in 2013 was won by Nawaz Sharif, becoming Prime Minister of Pakistan. Within a few months the Army command had also been changed and General Raheel Sharif became its new Chief of Staff.
Nawaz Sharif somehow decided to follow the AAZ way of government, resolutely not going against the militants that the public demanded. Instead of respecting the public’s wishes he began talks and selected the team who were ideologically more Taliban, thus hurting the country in doing so. People termed his talks ‘Taliban verses Taliban’.
When these so-called talks were underway, the Taliban attacked the Karachi International Airport, killing 36 people. The Army were already not happy with the talks and reacted through air strikes in North Waziristan, such a response culminaing in Operation Zarb-e Azb.
This action though was against the will of the Prime Minister of Pakistan but won the hearts of the people. General Raheel therefore became very popular, almost breaking records of which with the public.
He has not only taken control of the internal security and insuring peace in Karachi however, but step by step he has controlled affairs entirely, in which the China-Pakistan relations, Afghanistan affairs vis-a-vis US and NATO may particularly be mentioned alongside. From this the elected government seems nothing but a dummy.
Many people are terming it a ‘soft coup’ but hardly any politician now goes against him as he is becoming a sign of hope and protector of the people of Pakistan, while all politicians miserably fail to provide the same.