Home > Asia-Pacific, Politics > Pakistan’s ‘Night of the Generals’

Pakistan’s ‘Night of the Generals’

Fatima Shahnaz writes in Radiance Viewsweekly:

The crisis pitting the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (CJP), Iftikhar Chowdhry, suspended by President Parvez Musharraf on March 9 has opened up deep-rooted systemic flaws that sporadically erupt throughout the nation’s turbulent sixty-year old history. Often locked in the impasse between military dictatorships and Islamists (called the ‘military-masjid’ syndrome by some critics), a coterie of elitist ‘zamindars,’ buttressed by feudal military institutions based on predation, or as a ‘client state’ of the United States, this Muslim nation has travelled a rocky and tortuous road between ‘soft dictatorship’ and modern democracy.

Chowdhry’s judgments against the ‘corrupt misuses of his office’ by Musharraf included the privatisation of the Karachi Steel Mills in Karach; for ‘disappeared’ political activists to appear in court; and for rape victims to be given due process of law. While the crackdown by Musharraf against the CJP was seen as a signal to intimidate the judiciary and impose military rule over Pakistan, this incident was reportedly the first assault on an edifice of law. Followed by media censorship (to gag television coverage of the incidents) and the General’s repressive measures against dissent from activists, the General’s heavy-handedness has boomeranged against his regime.

For the first time in the country’s history lawyers across the judicial board united in solidarity to challenge the President’s arbitrary and unconstitutional power. The spin-offs of the standoff between the Justice and General unravel new players and even ‘special interest parties’ covertly fanning the flames of destabilization.

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Categories: Asia-Pacific, Politics
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