Soft Military Coup a possibility!
According to media reports (31August midnight) political turmoil in Pakistan has further intensified with strong likelihood of the intervention of Pakistan Army as violence is increasing in political standoff with police who took action against protesters who stormed Parliament building last night.
Pakistan Army has a long history to destabilize democracy and parliament in Pakistan .It is claimed that the army is playing a positive role this time to shun off political crises because the government of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and the opposition in Parliament believe that Pakistan is becoming victim of an international conspiracy to destroy institutions in Pakistan like certain powers did in Libya, Egypt and Syria. (This is one view)
“Thousands of protesters of Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) ransacked boundary wall of the Parliament House with a crane and one truck and entered into premises after their leaders Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri directed them to take over the control of Parliament House and the Prime Minister House. Around 450 persons were injured including 380 protesters and 70 policemen. Police and protesters clashes are still underway outside Parliament House in Red Zone since last night. At least 3 persons were killed.
The fighting continued Sunday between police in riot gear and a few hundred protesters. Many protesters came armed with batons and slingshots loaded with marbles.
Shipping containers were set ablaze, several vehicles were torched, and hundreds of tear gas canisters lay strewn on the ground on Islamabad’s normally pristine Constitution Avenue after almost 24 hours of battle. By nightfall on Sunday protesters were preparing for fresh clashes, breaking up the road to use chunks as missiles and preparing crude gas masks from cloth and plastic bottles.
Opposition groups marched to the capital on August 15 demanding Sharif’s resignation, triggering a crisis that has raised the specter of military intervention.
Pakistan’s top military commanders convened a special meeting Sunday night .They reviewed the situation in Islamabad “with serious concern” and reaffirmed their support for democracy, according to the ISPR. “The conference reviewed with serious concern, the existing political crisis and the violent turn it has taken, resulting in large scale injuries and loss of lives. Further use of force will only aggravate the problem,” it said in a statement issued after the meeting. According to the ISPR, the military has urged the government to resolve the situation “politically without wasting any time and without recourse to violent means.”
The prime minister has also convened an extraordinary joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday after presiding over a high-level meeting, a cabinet minister told AFP. “The meeting strongly condemned the desecration of state institutions and declared it undemocratic and unconstitutional,” the minister said.
Opposition leaders claim the 2013 elections that swept Nawaz Sharif to power were rigged, though local and foreign observers rated the polls as relatively fair and credible.
Speaking from the roof of a shipping container Sunday, Khan said: “Now I ask all Pakistanis: rise up against this government. This is not a constitutional government—they are killers. We will continue until our last breath. I urge all Pakistanis to come out.” The cricketer-turned-politician added that he would file murder charges against the prime minister over the violence.
The security situation has deteriorated in the capital.
It appears that the climax being built up by Imran Khan, former cricketers and Qadri has obviously been allowed to happen by the Pakistan military, which has ruled directly the British midwifed state then taken over by USA, for 38 years since its independence in 1947, and indirectly through most of the rest of the time.
It would be useful and necessary to look at the tussle between military and civilian political parties from the angle of overall changes which have been happening in the Islamic world, especially where the military has played a controlling or a major role. Thus, developments in Pakistan should be looked at along with the developments in Egypt and Turkey, all three Sunni countries.
Historical background of Revealed Religions and parallels
Of the oldest of the three revealed religions, Judaism’s only state since ancient times , Israel , founded on leftist tenets has since morphed into a rule by Zionist-Military oligarchy. Christians after centuries of warfare in Europe managed to create secular polities which are still underpinned if not haunted by sectional religious ideologies. In the last of ‘the Book’ based polity Islam, the lines between the Mir and the Pir ,the temporal ruler and spiritual ruler still remain blurred ,contested and changing.
After the 1979 revolution in Iran, Shias created the ideal but mythical office of Imam in the person of Ruhoallah Khomeini. The status of the Imam was evolved into the doctrines of intercession and infallibility, i.e., of the faqih/mutjahid .But the Iranians have since found that a system based on the concepts of 7th century AD was inadequate to confront and solve the problems of 21st century. Nevertheless, like the first Imam Ali, Iran is ruled by the supreme religious leader, Ali Khamenei, who incidentally is Azeri Turk .The cement keeping Iran united now is its common heritage and Islam.
Prophet Mohammad was both the religious leader and military commander. But the Arab Caliphs lost out on power by 10th century to the Turkish slaves from central Asia who formed the core of their fighting forces.The Turks raised the minor title of Sultan to a high rank who literally became a protector of the Caliph, left with only spiritual powers. Even this role was seized by the Ottoman Sultans ruling from Istanbul.
After the defeat of Byzantines near lake Van in 11th century, the Seljuk hordes established a Rumi Caliphate at Konya in the center of modern day Turkey But they had to brutally suppress religious leaders’ rebellions many times .To keep out the energetic soldiers and freelance militias instigated by fanatic religious leaders, Konya sent them out as Ghazis to harass neighboring Christian Byzantine territories. Out of these freebooters emerged a small band led by Ertugrul, whose small principality was expanded by his son Osman (Othman) and descendants into Europe right up to the gates of Vienna and along South Mediterranean up to Morocco and east up to Iran border and Oman on the Indian Ocean.
Since the turmoil brought by U.S.-led West and Saudi Arabia led Muslim countries, who used Pakistan under its fanatic dictator, Gen Zia ul Huq to push out Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1980s, the people of Afghanistan have paid a very heavy price, which have been mirrored in Pakistan as well .In Islamabad Saudi Arabia and USA play an important role. In fact, I have maintained that the axis between Washington, Riyadh and Islamabad have brought mayhem and destruction in West Asia and South West Asia with neighboring countries like India, Iran and others suffering from collateral damage. To these three countries can be added US poodle United Kingdom directly, which misguides Washington and picks up the remains of vulture kill, and Israel indirectly.
In Egypt, in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring, after a spell by Muslim Brotherhood, the army, which has ruled Cairo, has come back to power. Once again, the brotherhood has been outlawed and its leaders imprisoned. Only during Gamal Abdel Nasser regime people's welfare was looked after and it was a proud nation. Since then military has joined the rich and wealthy. It has very little resources to maintain its massive population unless pro-development investment by Russia, already promised and or one day tens of many billions of dollars by China pull this nation out of misery.
As for Turkey, Islamist parties first under Necemettin Erbakan, slowly increased its influences and power though coalition governments with secular parties , and finally his true disciples Erdogan and Abdullah Gul, with massive monetary support from Saudi Arabia, where Gul worked in an Islamic bank for many years, obtained a massive majority in the 2002 November elections, winning two third of seats with only 34% of votes, because of a crooked threshold system, which deprives parties getting less than 10% votes from getting any seats in the parliament. The other party Republican People's party which got 16% of votes, won rest of the seats. Nearly 50% of votes polled went waste.
Since then, AKP, under the authoritarian Islamist leader Erdogan has gained in strength. He has moved away from his partner Fatheullah Gulen, as soft Islamist leader staying in USA .Erdogan is trying to sideline moderate Abdullah Gul, from whom he has taken over as the President on 29 August.
In the meantime Erdogan has humiliated scores of senior military officers, including chiefs of armed forces even those who had served under him. I do not think that the armed forces will take it lying down and after some time try to redress the balance. Almost all the internal and external policies being pursued by Erdogan are slouching towards turmoil and unforeseen developments and results
I am sure Erdogan is watching what is happening in Islamabad. He was quite cutup after Field Marshal el-Sisi banned the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and jailed its leadership. The likely changes in Islamabad are not going to make Erdogan very happy.
I was in Berlin in 1999 to see my grandchildren when I watched the overthrow of Nawaz Sharif by Gen. Pervez Musharraf... I am reproducing below that article to remind readers what happened nearly 25 years ago.
The tussle between the spiritual/civilian /Islamic leader and the military commander will see many ups and downs in major Sunni Islamic countries before some kind of balance is struck and powers separated. The change in Ankara has been too fast and abrupt. Before AKP bulldozed its way to the presidency, the earlier secular leaders had slowly worked out a modus Vivendi and the President before Abdullah Gul was retired Chief Justice of Turkey's highest constitutional court, which still has been able to maintain its integrity and impartiality, in spite of all the efforts by AKP.
Watch for this space.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|
|William John Cox|