Musharraf’s mask has finally slipped

 The current crisis in Pakistan has reminded everyone of the precarious state of affairs in a country of more then 160 million Muslims. Nearly 8 years after having seized power in a coup, General Musharraf's policies have proved extremely divisive for Pakistan. Moreover his brutal attempt to put down protests by beating peacefully protesting lawyers and the smashing up of a TV station covering the protests have finally clearly shown the ugly thuggish side of the Musharraf regime. At the heart of this crisis lies the fact that Musharraf is slavishly following the American agenda for the region.

The policies that Musharraf has pursued are the main reason why so many Pakistanis have become so bitterly opposed to his rule, as highlighted by the current judicial crisis. During this time he has moved away from the traditional Pakistani position on Kashmir, having effectively given up Pakistan's claim on Kashmir under the pretence of 'peace' negotiations with India. These negotiations have yielded nothing for Pakistan in return apart from continued Indian accusations of Pakistani 'sponsored terrorism' whilst it still maintains more than 700,000 troops in Indian held Kashmir. After the events of September 11 2001, Musharraf and his regime abandoned the Muslims in Afghanistan and continue to facilitate US bombing and occupation of Afghanistan to this day which has killed thousands of innocent Afghan Muslims.

Musharraf humiliated the architect of Pakistan's nuclear program, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, in an attempt to gain kudos from his Western backers at the expense of having Pakistan labelled as an irresponsible nuclear weapons proliferator and thereby weaken Pakistan's International standing. No national leader has inflicted so much self damage so willingly in living memory. To compound the weakening of Pakistan’s security its sovereignty has also been compromised with permission granted to the CIA, FBI and American Army to set up numerous bases and stations throughout Pakistan. Citizens of Pakistan and others have been kidnapped and shipped off to Guantanamo Bay and other American torture camps throughout the world while Musharraf has continued to justify this under the guise of 'enlightened moderation'. Together with the attacks by the Pakistan army in Balochistan and Waziristan in conjunction with NATO and America, many innocent men, women and children have been killed. These Muslims are again citizens of Pakistan, citizens who rather then being protected by their rulers are actually being killed by them to please America. There has never been a greater physical and institutional threat to the integrity of Pakistan since the creation of Bangladesh.

It is the kidnapping of Pakistani citizens that has helped trigger this latest crisis. The sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudary, who was unceremoniously given a dressing down on state television before being told to resign, has ruled in several cases against the Musharraf regime in establishing the whereabouts of these missing individuals who have then promptly reappeared. Justice Chaudary also ruled against the privatisation of the Pakistan Steel Mill in what was widely acknowledged as an undervalued sell off attempt to the regime’s favourites.

In a year when the Presidential term expires and it is widely expected that elections will be postponed in order that the current National and Provincial assemblies can rubber stamp a new 5 year term, the attempted removal of the Chief Justice is nothing but an attempt to install a pliant man who will deal and rule in favour of the regime from expected legal challenges from Musharraf's political opponents. The legal reference against the Justice to the Supreme Judicial Council that will be chaired by a new Hindu Chief Justice is little more than conveniently cooked up charges. The attempted sacking is nothing but a brazen attempt by Musharraf at securing his hold on power.

This is what has prompted such a vigorous response from the Pakistani legal community. The protests have served to highlight the bogus claim of the rule of law in Pakistan as ordinary peaceful lawyers were baton charged and crude attempts made to intimidate the media into silence. It is clear Musharraf is prepared to spill blood to maintain his grip on power. The Pakistani regime’s actions also highlight the hypocrisy of western leaders. Here is a dictator in his crudest form yet his chief backers, America and Britain, continue to support him fully. The Australian Foreign Minister said in light of the current protests that he hoped Musharraf could "hold on". Where is the concern for Human Rights and Democracy by the West now?

The current attempt by Musharraf's regime to improve the lot of Pakistan has failed. The current rulers have actually shown like their predecessors, irrespective of whether civilian or military, that they actually serve the interests of their masters in America at the expense of the interests of Pakistan. Military rule or Secular Parliamentary rule, both systems have failed.
With the legal hearing against the suspended Justice continuing and more street protests widely expected, Pakistan’s chaos can only deepen. As the military establishment nervously watches on, the removal of Musharraf, if he manages to survive, is not a solution in itself. Another General will conveniently take his place, continuing to implement similar policies and constitutional system but with a new crop of political lackeys taking the place of the likes of Chaudary Shujaat Hussain with the appropriate cosmetic changes. More than a change of face is required.
The real solution to the crisis in Pakistan is the removal of the current system and the reestablishment of the Khilafah. This is a solution made obligatory upon Muslims by the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who brought the truth. The Khilafah is the implementation of Islam at it's highest level that ensures accountability and the right of the people to elect the Amir whilst avoiding the inevitable corruption of man-made laws that are devised by the powerful to serve their vested interests. This is the only system that can credibly change policies by standing up to the predatory West that is ever present looking for it’s next puppet dictator and regime to support. What person can continue to deny establishment of the Khilafah while the Ummah bleeds not only in Pakistan but the rest of the Muslim world as well?