Total control

Pakistan may finally emerge as a constitu-tional democracy

In the 90s when Benazir Bhutto’s (BB) Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was the main opposition force, the President had the power to dismiss the Prime Minister under Article 58(2b), the judiciary had the powers to intervene and the media had the power to swing public opinion.

The Bhutto family was bru­tally attacked, no one was spared, and they were even de­clared traitors. The media/press was also tamed. Those who did not fall in line were victimized. It was an all-out war for control.

As a Muslim League child, I have very closely followed the decline of the founding party of Pakistan. My late fa­ther Nazir Ahmed Malik joined Muslim Students Federation in 1935 followed by membership in the All-India Mus­lim League (AIML). Muhammad Ali Jin­nah as President of AIML tried to lay the foundations of the new entity but when his efforts were thwarted he left in frustration never to return.

In his second term of office, Nawaz Sharif managed to get an absolute ma­jority. He could now introduce consti­tutional amendments. President Fa­rooq Leghari who had helped PML-N by dismissing the government of his own party was the first target. He tar­geted the President who was made to resign. He was elected president to re­ward Rafiq Tarrar for his efforts in top­pling the CJP.

At this stage, NS decided to establish his long-term rule. A bill was moved in the National Assembly (NA) to declare NS as Amir-ul-Mominin or Khalifa-e-Waqt. While the NA was compliant the Senate refused to pass the bill. Com­rade Aitzaz Ahsan as leader of the op­position stood in the way.

Keeping the traditions of intervention followed by a political face alive, Per­vez Musharraf launched his own brand of Muslim League (PML-Quaid). NS was tried and convicted for hijacking an air­plane and risking the lives of passen­gers. Aminullah Chaudhry, the chief of CAA (Civilian Aviation Authority) was also imprisoned with NS and his family.

NS managed a comeback for the third time through the Lawyer’s Movement.

Only Imran Khan and his party stand in the way. Despite over a hundred cas­es and an assassination attempt, he is holding his ground. In the 1970 elec­toral contest, Ayub Khan’s PML-Con was eliminated. Despite her spirited fight back BB could not push out Zia’s PML-N from the arena.

Her assassination in 2007 resulted in the shock defeat of Musharraf’s PML-Q. Her party under the command of her husband regained power. Anoth­er free and fair election in 2023 will result in a major political clean-up as it happened in 1970. PML-Q is almost dead now its the turn of PML-N to be buried in the graveyard of democra­cy. After 75 years of its independence, Pakistan may finally emerge as a con­stitutional democracy as envisioned by the founding fathers. Like the Mon­gols and the Mughals before them, the Sharifs may finally be history.

Dr Farid A Malik
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email:

The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation, email:

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