Justice Markandey Katju: Pakistan President Arif Alvi’s election proposal

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Moeed Pirzada, the eminent and upright Pakistani journalist, who has been in America for some time, and has been bravely fighting for restoration of democracy in his country, has, in a recent video, analyzed the sudden proposal by President Arif Alvi to hold national elections by November 6.

In his analysis, Moeed has largely gone by the legal provisions in Pakistan’s Constitution. All that is fine, but what Moeed forgets is that the Pakistan Establishment (meaning principally the Pakistan Army) has, in the past, shown scant respect for the law. Therefore, a deeper analysis of the President’s surprise announcement is called for.

Politics is concentrated economics, and so the economic factors behind the President’s move must be considered carefully, but I am afraid Moeed has neglected to delve into this aspect at all, or into some other issues.

READ: Justice Katju’s comprehensive analytical pieces on Pakistan for indica

I have explained earlier that the US, which heavily influences Pakistan politics and was hostile to former Prime Minister Imran Khan on account of some of his statements on American interference, was bound to change its attitude towards him, for its own economic interests.

US firms have significant investments in Pakistan, which would be jeopardized by instability (which could spill over into some neighbouring countries too). Washington would like peace and stability in Pakistan, but no such stability is possible without holding free and fair elections. which Imran Khan’s PTI party is bound to sweep, as close to 90% Pakistanis support it (as all opinion polls indicate).

Wisdom must have dawned on the US authorities, and they must have realized that hostility towards Imran Khan is counter productive.

Besides, Pakistan’s army generals have unleashed a reign of terror in the country. They too must have realized that with 90% Pakistanis supporting Imran Khan, they cannot continue this much longer. A popular resistance to their rule, which is bound to develop into some form of guerrilla war against the army, will sooner or later emerge, and then they may well find themselves in the situation which the Russian army found itself embroiled in Afghanistan, or the American army in Vietnam.

An army can fight another army, it cannot fight the masses. A tiger can kill a prey, it cannot kill a swarm of mosquitoes.

Moreover, army officers must have realized that their families will not be safe if hostility through a popular uprising to the army grows. After all, their wives and children cannot remain cooped in their guarded homes forever. The wives have to go for shopping and social visits, and the children to schools and colleges. These will be targets of attacks by bitter, unforgiving people whose family members were killed, tortured or imprisoned, and who are thirsting for revenge.

I am sure that in recent Corps Commanders Conferences, where vital decisions affecting Pakistan are taken, the senior officers attending must have told the army chief Gen Munir this, and Gen Munir must have conveyed to President Arif Alvi that the army, which was earlier
totally averse to holding early elections (which would bring Imran Khan back into power), has now no objection.

These are probably the real reasons for President Alvi’s sudden announcement, which Mooed unfortunately has not mentioned or gone into.

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