Tuesday, 11 August 2020

A Tale Of Parallel Democracy

Updated: March 1, 2014 5:00 pm

Pakistan’s parallel democracy, aka the Army, is very well known to the world. The 1947 Partition of India and the birth of Pakistan was terribly messy and bloody operation. It was indeed baffling that neither the British, who facilitated the Partition, nor Jinnah nor Muslim League, which raised the demand of separate nation, would be accompanied by a human tragedy of gargantuan proportion. From day of its birth, Pakistan had problems in three critical areas—political talent, bureaucracy and defence services.

The book Pakistan Under Army Rule by MM Khajooria, gives an insight into the time, how Pakistan slipped from democratic government to the Army. The book attempts to comprehensively and objectively study, survey, evaluate and interpret factors and events that went into making Pakistan vulnerable to Army take-over. It lends perspective to events and highlights the role of political leaders and army generals during the fateful days exposing conspiracies and illuminating many grey and dark areas. It focuses on the regimes of Malik Ghulam Mohammad, Major General Iskander Mirza, Genral Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and General Musharraf. It also presents a critical assessment of the Indo-Pak relations and contours of the US-Pak engagements.

The author MM Khajooria retired as Director General of Jammu & Kashmir Police, having the distinction of being the first IPS officer to be appointed as Commissioner of a Division (Poonch-Rajouri) in 1979 and State Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (after the Indo-Pak War of 1971). He has written extensively on a wide range of subjects including politico-security scenario in Jammu &Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, with special emphasis on Pan-Islamic fundamentalism and its linkage with Pakistan Army/ISI.

The book is divided into three parts. Part one depicts the birth of the state of Pakistan and instability caused due to the assassination of the then Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. The book deals with the fact that after the loss of the Quid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the creater of Pakistan, which created a void, how public perceived that the Pakistan Army alone had the credentials and capability to preserve the unity and integrity of the country. It also depicts how the army chiefs got onto the driving seat and started influencing the important decisions of the nation.

The second part analyses the era of General Musharraf. It states how Musharraf took over the charge as the president of Pakistan and how his decisions started the downfall of the nation. The second part also raises some important issues like the rise of Taliban, trouble in Baluchistan, the tension scuffled between India and Pakistan and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The book also states how the winds of change blow across Pakistan and fight against Taliban and militants got support from the army.

The last part depicts how the downfall of the Musharraf’s empire started and how there was fight for democracy. While Musharraf was busy courting trouble or wrestling with problems of his own creation, a democratically elected government completed its full term for the first time in Pakistan’s history. Elections were held and people cast their votes despite there being terrorist threats.

Overall, the book Pakistan Under Army Rule provides a full analysis of how the army took over the nation and how its downfall started.

By Rohan Pal

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