Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Will we EVER learn?

Nov 3, 2007: The Chief of Army Staff (and President) General Musharaf has declared 2nd Martial-Law (termed as Emergency or Emergency Plus) in Pakistan and issued a PCO (Provisional Constitution Order) . Here is what happened:
  • Constitution suspended, Cabinet ceases to exist. Assemblies not dissolved
  • Accused judiciary of interfering in the affairs of other institutions, accused judiciary to free known terrorists who are now causing dangerous situation in the country
  • Most senior judges suspended, Govt invited hand-picked judges to take new oaths under PCO
  • Fundamental rights suspended, communication (phones, internet) shut down
  • Media channels closed, new ordinance issued to keep control over media and free speech. TV channels ordered to close most popular talk shows and current-affairs programs.
  • Most opposition leaders, prominent lawyers, judges and human rights activists were arrested or put under house arrest.
  • During the emergency session, Supreme court declared emergency unconstitutional and suspends it.
  • Most judges refused to take oaths but some agreed to do so. New judges assume responsibilities.
  • Protests organized by lawyers, students, media-men in Pakistan and abroad against emergency
  • Most foreign governments and UN speak against emergency and suspension of fundamental rights but Musharaf government doesn't take it seriously.
The drama goes on ....
  • New court dismisses the earlier order of Supreme court against Emergency, dismisses all cases against the re-election of Musharaf and also declares Emergency justified.
  • Ordinances issued to strip anyone (including all courts) of questioning the emergency or any order given under PCO.
  • Elections schedule announced. All parties file papers but only a few boycott the elections. It seems highly unlikely that free and fair elections will be organized without lifting emergency and curbs on media.
  • General Musharaf retires after immense pressure from the world, Takes Oath as civilian President. Announces his intention to lift emergency by Dec 16th.
  • Political parties struggle to unite. Other than Imran Khan no one has announced the clear path (who isn't contesting polls). Everyone else is submitting papers but also threatening to boycott polls.
What can we do to stop such a thing in future?? Can we define a mechanism (or a way) to ensure that this doesn't happen ever again? Can political parties learn to behave differently than just looking for power?

A few Good reads on the whole episode:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good words.