Collapse of institutions in Pakistan


Pakistan was creation of Muslims of sub continent under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The major cause of our failure has been untimely death of Quaid-e-Azam just after 11 months and assassination of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan on 16 October 1951, and this was the beginning of turmoil in newly born country. Since then we are struggling for democratic order in Pakistan without following its fundamentals.

Pakistan was facing numerous problems like Kashmir dispute, water dispute, Indian hegemony above all no constitution had been framed to bridge gap between East and West Pakistan. Ghulam Muhammad struck the first blow by dissolving the constituent assembly. In the new interim government Gen Ayub was made defense minister besides being C-in- C of the army. Speaker Maulvi Tamizuddin went for the appeal against dissolution in Sind Chief Court that was upheld but the federal government went for appeal to Federal Court that was accepted by Justice Cornelius under doctrine of necessity that paved way for executive supremacy over the elected government.

The country got its first constitution on 23 March 1956. Between 1956 and 1958 the country went through unprecedented political disturbances and five governments changed that pre-empted Gen Iskander Mirza who had become President due ailment of Ghulam Muhammad and imposed martial law on 7 Oct 1958 and appointed Gen Ayub Khan as Chief Martial Law Administrator who deposed Iskander Mirza and seized power on 27 Oct 1958. He launched Industrial and agricultural reforms and pursued successful foreign policy through Bhutto. In 1960 he gave concept of basic Democracy.

Under the system 80000 democrats were to elect the President, designed to retain the power and have presidential form of government. He gave new constitution on Ist March 1962 and took oath of President of Pakistan. In Jan 1965 fresh elections were held he defeated Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah a candidate of combined opposition parties through alleged rigging. Same year operation Gibraltar was planned in Kashmir.

Pakistan army was advancing with great speed when India attacked Pakistan on 6th September without any declaration of war. The war lasted for 17 days and remained inconclusive. Ceasefire was arranged by UN and on 23 September the war stopped. In Jan 1966 Tashkent agreement was signed and both armies returned to peace locations. Withdrawal from Indian captured area drew lot of criticism against Ayub that was exploited by Bhutto who was already out of cabinet.

As a last resort Ayub held a round table conference but our leaders forced Ayub Khan to withdraw Agartala case against Mujeeb that ultimately resulted creation of state within state. This situation was fully exploited by Bhutto and Ayub Khan was forced to resign. He did resign but handed over to Gen yahya Khan instead to the speaker. Yahya abrogated the constitution to remain in power but due to opposition pressure he had no option except to hold elections in 1970.

These were called fairest elections but that was not correct, however as a result of elections Bhutto emerged power in West Pakistan and Shaikh Mujeeb in East Pakistan. But power was not transferred to Mujeeb he revolted against government that led to military action in East Pakistan. Indian army three corps joined hands with rebel forces and forced surrender on Pakistan army. Shaikh Mujeeb formed his own government and named it Bangladesh a long cherished dream. Bhutto took oath in West Pakistan as President and CMLA on 20 December 1971.

Bhutto worked hard brought back POW’s after signing Simla agreement and then diverted his attention to frame the constitution. We had models of constitution therefore few amendments here and there brought new constitution through consensus and enforced on 14 August 1973. Due to greed of power in first 200 days the constitution was amended 7 times, 219 ordinances and 100 presidential orders were issued thus shaking the foundations of constitution that gave him sweeping powers and democracy was set aside not by dictator but by civilian ruler.

He destroyed the civil structure to control the bureaucracy and transferred large number of army officers to police and management group on political considerations. To remain in power like other rulers was keen to win elections with two third majorities scheduled for March 1977.To ensures his ambitions he wanted army support. His appointment of Gen Zia was clever move on one hand he got rid of senior most generals and appointed junior general COAS so that he plays his tune. When nomination filing date was announced, Bhutto got elected unopposed from Larkana by not allowing Jan Muhammad Abbasi JI candidate who otherwise had no chance to win.

That was the beginning of his down fall. He won the elections but opposition rejected the results due to rigging. An unending confrontation started between PNA and Bhutto and no settlement could be made. This helped Gen Zia to intervene. Operation Fairplay was not planned in haste but it was one of the contingency plans of the army to be implemented if there was no accord. It is learnt that accord was reached but not mad public so Gen Zia struck and seized power on 5 July 1977. Zia had no plans to prolong his stay, the tables were turned when Zia met Bhutto in Murree and was disrespectful being frustrated should have exercised control over his sentiments. Bhutto in principle made principal error and rest is the history.

Opposition parties sensing Gen Zia intentions got together under the banner of MRD and force him to hold elections. Elections were held in 1985 on non party basis to keep PPP out of power, a referendum was held and he was elected president for 5 years along with the post of COAS. Muhammad Khan Junejo was picked up prime minister who accepted it but had to pass 8th amendment validating martial law actions and accepting his position. But soon he started acting against the wishes of Gen Zia as a result he was sacked on 29 May 1988, another blow to democracy sacking his own appointee. Although Zia had ordered elections on 16 Nov 1988 and was perturbed died in air crash on 17 August 1988, Gen Aslam Beg took the command. Elections were held on schedule, PPP emerged the largest party so they formed the government by accepting certain pre-conditions. This was against the spirit of democracy who was ready to serve with clipped wings and limited authority. Confrontation with Punjab and Baluchistan and bad law and order situation forced Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dissolve the assemblies on 6 August under clause 58 (2) (b).

Fresh elections were held in which all opposition parties got together under the banner IJI arranged by agencies. Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister .Since IJI was not a political party but a political alliance so cracks appeared charges of corruption bad law and order President struck again and dissolved the assemblies.IJI went to the court and action of President was declared illegal and Nawaz was restored. This resulted in grave confrontation between Nawaz and Ishaq and ultimately army chief intervened and both had to leave. Fresh elections were held and Benazir became the prime minister.

It was hoped she would have learnt the lesson but it did not happen. Under massive corruption charges and row with Chief Justice forced Farooq Laghari her own appointed president struck and dismissed the government. Fresh elections were held and Nawaz won with two third majorities. He started playing with the constitution to assume the role of Ameerul Momneen, forced naval and army chief to resign prematurely.

Attack on Supreme Court and later removal of Chief Justice in most undignified manner was indication of his down fall. Now he diverted his attention towards army chief with whom he had developed serious differences over Kargil issue. He decided to retire Gen Musharraf who was returning from Sri Lanka and appointed Gen Ziauddin and crowned him .But army as an institution reacted to his ugly act and removed him on 12 Oct 1999. PML (N) went to Supreme Court, army action was upheld and was given 3 years and hold elections and allowed him to amend the constitution. Elections were held in 2002, PML Q joined hands with other parties and formed the government.Zafarullah Jamali was made the prime minister who later on was replaced by Shaukat Aziz, and for interim period of 2 months Ch Shujat became the prime Minister. Musharraf to stay in power helped by our politicians in the shape of 17 amendments in the constitution allowing Musharraf to be President and Chief of Army Staff at the same time. What happened after that is an open history. We saw two governments of PPP and PML N. Both indulged in massive corruption and are facing music. PTI government has no angels; it is again conglomeration of various turncoats shall meet the same fate until and unless existing system is demolished.

Our biggest failure in 71 years has been on political front. We systematically destroyed all the institutions instead strengthened individuals. The worst sufferer has been the constitution of 1973 hurt beyond repair; as a result democracy became a dream. Unfortunately whosoever has been the head of state always looked for army support in running day today affairs. Bad governance all around delayed justice, selective accountability and institutional distinctions has shaken the foundation of the country. Only miracle can relive us from this pain, if we fail to arrest the situation we should be mentally prepared to face the worst fate.

The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.