Saturday, November 20, 2010


President Asif Ali Zardari's alleged corruption - in the $2-3 billion range, according to the New York Times ---has not stopped his western patrons from funding, supporting and propping up the government of a man whose legacy has been marked by political unpopularity, instability, large scale graft and violence. No wonder that his party (Pakistan Peoples Party) is popularly referred to as the Permanent Plunder Party.

by Roedad Khan

The Zardari government treats truth as an insignificant value which can be suppressed, distorted and readily sacrificed to the will of power. Every now and then ministers make outrageous statements and spread blatant lies without the slightest regard for truth or principle.
Prime Minister Gilani told journalists recently, “There is no corruption in Pakistan.”
Everybody knows this government is corrupt from top to bottom, from the bark to the core. “Talks held with US on equal footing,” said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Everybody knows this government deals with the US with its “knees on the ground”. Nobody believes a word they say. The time for such stupid remarks is over. Such cruel jokes cannot amuse a country that is prostrate, exhausted, impoverished, humiliated, abandoned and no longer independent. 

Today we have a government that is not a government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is a criminal syndicate, an organised crime ring. If you want to know how this cabal plunders this poor country, visit the Supreme Court and watch the proceedings.

The farewell address of George Washington will ever remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. In that notable testament, the Father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.” “It is folly in one nation,” George Washington observed, “to look for disinterested favours from another…it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character.” 
No truer words have been spoken on the subject. Pakistan is paying and will continue to pay a very heavy price for the folly of attaching itself to America. In this country democracy is only permissible when the results are favourable to America. Not otherwise.

We lost our independence years ago. The decolonisation of Asia, triggered by the Second World War, led to the retreat of foreign powers and the creation of a number of nation-states, including India and Pakistan, in the region. Of all the de-colonised, newly-independent countries, Pakistan is perhaps the only country which has lost its independence, has been re-colonised and turned into an American colony. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state, ill-led, ill-governed by a power-hungry junta and a puppet government set up by Washington.

“Liberty once lost,” Adams famously told his countrymen, “is perhaps lost forever.” We Pakistanis lost our independence and all our democratic institutions in October 1999 when General Musharraf toppled an elected government. Sadly, Pakistan also lost her honour and became a ‘rentier state’ on Musharraf’s watch when he capitulated, said yes to all the seven demands presented to him at gunpoint by Secretary Colin Powell and joined the “coalition of the coerced”. Regrettably, this situation remains unchanged even though the country is now under a democratic dispensation!

Marx once said: “Neither a nation nor a woman is forgiven for an unguarded hour in which the first adventurer who comes along can sweep them off their feet and possess them.” October 7, 1958 was our unguarded hour when democracy was expunged from the politics of Pakistan with scarcely a protest. The door was opened to Bonapartism. The result is the mess we are in today. Today there is not much independence or democracy left in Pakistan to celebrate.

A lesson to be drawn from the works of Gibbon is that Rome’s enemies lay not outside her borders but within her bosom, and they paved the way for the empire’s decline and fall – first to relentless barbarian invaders from the north, and then, a thousand years later, to the Turks. Many early symptoms that heralded the Roman decline may be seen in our own country today: the ever-present threat of military intervention in the affairs of state, concentration of power in one person without responsibility and accountability, contempt for the constitution and the Supreme Court, absence of rule of law, high-level corruption and greed. Today what is at stake is the survival of the state itself. At this time, all those who see the perils of the future must draw together and take resolute measures to secure our country.

“After joining the coalition of the coerced”, this is what we get: a spurious democracy brokered in Washington, an accidental president facing corruption and criminal charges, a rubber stamp parliament, a figurehead and corrupt prime minister, and to add insult to injury, Zardari regime – a facsimile of the Musharraf regime in civilian clothing. Potemkin villages dotted all over the country, the nation’s army at war with its own people; flagrant violation of our air space and national sovereignty by US aircraft, resulting in the killing of innocent men, women and children. No protest by our “democratic government”, no expression of remorse by our coalition partner in the so-called war on terror, no regret. The state of the federation is chilling. It would stun someone who went to sleep soon after Independence Day in 1947 and awakened in the present.

All philosophers tell the people they are the strongest, and that if they are sent to the slaughterhouse, it is because they have let themselves to be led there. In other countries there are men and women who love their liberties more than they fear persecution. Not in Pakistan. Here the elite who owe everything to this poor country do not think in terms of Pakistan and her honour but of their jobs, their business interests and their seats in a rubber stamp parliament. Surrender rather than sacrifice is the theme of their thoughts and conversations. To such as these talk of resisting foreign intervention is as embarrassing as finding yourself in the wrong clothes at the wrong party, as tactless as a challenge to run to a legless man, as out of place as a bugle call in a mortuary. What is tragic is the total failure of the politicians, the intelligentsia, the intellectuals, in fact, the entire civil society to comprehend the threat posed by surging American imperialism to the country’s very existence.

How can authentic democracy flourish in this country when people are not prepared to defend the core values of the nation – sovereignty of the people, inviolability of the constitution, supremacy of civilian rule, a fiercely independent, incorruptible judiciary, rule of law, an independent, incorruptible chief election commissioner, a neutral, non-politicised and honest civil service, social justice, egalitarianism and ruthless accountability of rulers? How can authentic democracy take root if people have no faith in their democratic institutions; if they do not value representative governments; if they are not prepared to make any sacrifices for its sake; if they are unwilling to defend it and if they are unable to do what it requires?

In this atmosphere of gloom and doom, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s act of courage, his defiance of the military dictator, promised a resurrection, a rebirth of the nation. Today he alone is the incarnation of the values for which we are fighting. Rarely, in the history of human endeavour, have so many owed so much to one single, solitary individual. The conspirators who have ganged up against him and the reborn Supreme Court must not succeed.
The writer is a former federal secretary. Email:
Source: The News International, Title Image: Siyasat PK
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