New Age Islam Edit Bureau
18 August 2016
Gen Ziaul Haq And His Men
By Khurram Husain
By Sibtain Naqvi
Deconstructing Extremism In Punjab
By Faisal Raja
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Gen Ziaul Haq and His Men
BY now the name of Gen Ziaul Haq has
practically become a metaphor for the darkest decade in Pakistan’s history. The
patronage of militant groups may have a longer history, preceding the era of
the general whose death anniversary just passed a few days ago, but the
proportions that it assumed in Ziaul Haq’s time was truly monstrous.
He is remembered for many things: the
sinister laws that were passed to solidify his rule, his experiment with
‘managed democracy’ (which too has a longer pedigree but took concrete form in
his time), his foreign policy, and the first steps towards economic
liberalisation that were undertaken during his time. And of course his death in
a plane crash, the biggest mystery of which is the cloak of silence that was
dropped on it.
The biggest legacy of the general is the
contradictions he left Pakistan mired in. The country was in a close and deep
alliance with America, while at home the general’s regime stood on the
shoulders of extremist elements for its own legitimacy.
Economically, he tried to reverse the
legacy of both his predecessors, by opening up the economy to encourage
competition and roll back the nationalisations and halt the growing role of the
state in every area of economic life. But his economic policies left the
country trapped between a rentier business elite demanding more protections and
foreign creditors demanding more openness.
The general was caught between his dreams
and reality, eventually losing touch with both. Much the same fate befell
Musharraf, although in his case when the time came to choose, he opted to cling
to his dreams and jettison his contact with reality. The results are clear to see.
Gen Zia was caught between his dreams and
reality, eventually losing touch with both.
Today Zia is dead and nobody in the
country, including in the army that he led, is interested in asking who did the
dirty deed. Musharraf, on the other hand, has lived to dream of electoral
victory on the promise of confronting the Taliban when he cannot even muster
the courage to face the court trying him for treason, or even win the Sind Club
election let alone a parliamentary one.
The general who wanted to rule forever, and
was laying down the architecture of eternal dictatorship in the days following
the dissolution of the Junejo government, was scared stiff of a 35-year-old
woman whose father he had executed and whose popularity he could do nothing to
extinguish. Those who met him in the twilight of his life describe a man who
was obsessed with Benazir Bhutto and couldn’t complete a train of thought
without mentioning her at least once.
He came to power promising elections, he
left promising elections. By May 1988 it was clear that any election would only
be won by the PPP since it was the only party capable of fielding a candidate
on every seat in the country, and the general’s men took to giving private
assurances to all they met that the general’s regime was here for a lot longer
than being conveyed in public statements. That is when his plane exploded,
precisely at the time when his dream of being in power indefinitely must have
seemed closer to him than ever before.
His infamous Eighth Amendment, used by him
to dismiss a government elected under his own rules, was subsequently employed
to dissolve the PPP government, and also the government of his own protégé,
Nawaz Sharif. All components of the general’s rule and his legacy were at
loggerheads with each other.
One very interesting dimension of the
general’s rule was its impact on the civil service. The rise of Ghulam Ishaq
Khan was an emblematic achievement of his rule, drawn by a marriage of
convenience. Mr Khan was a man of many shades, skilful at building a network of
support for himself within the services, keenly aware of where talent lay,
supremely loyal to his own people, but clumsy at his attempts to engineer a
political outcome in the great civil contests that began following the
general’s death and completely beholden to GHQ for his position.
Who remembers the network of civil servants
he pulled into a tight network around him? There was A.G.N. Kazi, the master
administrator who held almost every important economic post in the country,
V.A. Jaffery, the quiet and temperate technocrat of sorts and so many others.
And circling in their midst was the ever present Mahbubul Haq, the thorn in
Khan’s side, whom the general had taken a liking to despite Khan’s best efforts.
Mahbubul Haq served as finance minister twice, once in 1985 and then in 1988,
replacing Wattoo once the Junejo government had been dismissed. But that is
The point is this: this entire network,
which continued wielding considerable power so long as their benefactor enjoyed
a good rapport with GHQ, was swept away once Khan was gone from the scene
following his fatal clash with Nawaz Sharif in 1993.
In politics too, the general opened the
door to so many of the same politicians who are today vilified as emblematic of
everything that is wrong with civilian rule. Nawaz Sharif first used the power
of money and mass advertising campaigns to win in the 1985 election. Who
subordinated civil institutions to play the role of dividing up the political
space between loyalists and opportunists? Who wanted to create Mehran Bank and
for what purpose? Was Jam Sadiq Ali really such a big improvement on Ghulam
Mustafa Jatoi in Sindh? Who gave us the IJI and how was it created?
So many questions, all with a direct
relevance to our times, all the legacy of the general and his men, who toyed
with the country with the wiles of a schoolboy. So many memories to rake up
every time this infernal anniversary passes us by. And so many anniversaries in
IT is a basic principle of representative
democracy that citizens elect people who govern and serve the community and
society at large. Inclusivity and the opportunity to control the agenda is what
keeps voters’ faith and ensures their active participation in this ideal.
Nonperforming parties or individuals can be voted out at the next election,
thus giving a measure of control to every voter. Pakistan’s major cities —
certainly all the provincial capitals barring one — are governed by these
principles. The exception is Karachi.
The PPP has been running Karachi for the
past eight years, and its lacklustre performance is glaring. The Mercer’s
Quality of Living Survey ranks Karachi 202nd out of 230 cities, dropping 12
places since 2012. The Economist’s Intelligence Unit also puts it near the
bottom; 134th out of 140 cities.
This is a regular feature of Pakistan’s
largest city and commercial hub, a place that contributes half of the total
revenue collected by the FBR and more than 20pc of the national output. You
don’t need to rely on international rankings; the deplorable conditions of
roads, mounds of uncollected waste, stagnant pools of un-drained rainwater and
lack of development make it clear to any observer that Karachi is in steep and
Sindh’s other cities share this same fate:
malnutrition, child deaths, inadequate healthcare, derelict public schooling
and crumbling law and order are just some of the issues that plague the
province. But there is a key difference. Unlike Karachi, the people of interior
Sindh chose those who run their cities.
In the last elections, whether for National
Assembly, provincial or local governments, the PPP has been trounced in
Karachi. It won a solitary National Assembly seat out of 20, and just five
provincial seats out of 40. It was also beaten in the local body elections, in
both the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the district polls. The national
and provincial assemblies’ results are similar to the previous election, thus
making it clear that PPP has only the most tenuous of toeholds in Karachi.
And yet, due to the existing governance
model, it has been in charge of Karachi’s affairs. The Sindh Local Government
Act of 2013 was meant to devolve administrative powers to local councils, but
instead made them subservient to the provincial government. The mayor’s
position is a much watered down post, having none of the powers given to the
Nazim by the Local Governance Ordinance of 2001. This is in contrast to KP’s
local government system, which gives autonomy to locally elected government
Provincial Representatives Hold The City
The Sindh Assembly ensured that Karachi
would be administered through the province by retaining civic entities such as
Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Building Control Authority, Solid Waste
Management Board and others. By doing so, it abrogated the responsibilities of
the municipal bodies. For instance, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board has
taken over the responsibility of solid waste collection from the KMC and,
instead of local government representatives, the provincial chief minister is
in charge of the city’s sanitation. Karachi’s overflowing gutters and garbage
dumps can show how well this policy has worked.
Local government systems work — not because
they are politically expedient but simply because they have shown to produce
the desired results of direct democracy. Large cities (eg New York City and
Chicago) are managed through local administrative bodies and the mayor has
broad executive powers. Even national capitals (eg London) have powerful
mayoral offices that ensure citizen participation in the functioning of the
Mumbai — sometimes compared with Karachi in
terms of key characteristics like population size — has a municipal
commissioner who is appointed by the Maharashtra state’s government, but it is
unthinkable for the state government to do so if it has virtually no representation
The simple fact is that Karachi’s fate is
being decided by voters who don’t live in the city and do not face the failures
of the provincial government on a daily basis. Since officials are not tied to
votes or answerable to the city’s people, there is great disconnect, which has
translated into gross mismanagement and general malaise.
In a functioning democracy, the only means
of redress is the vote. Recently, the BJP lost the state elections in Delhi and
Bihar due to performance issues, the first blocks for Narendra Modi’s electoral
juggernaut of empowered local voters. Nullify this power and you have a sham
democracy in which people elected from other places have power over people who
have actually booted them out.
Since the PPP leadership and voting
patterns of interior Sindh are unlikely to change, Karachi faces a conundrum
that is fast leading to an existential crisis.
Over the years, Punjab has been considered
as hotbed of extremism, especially its southern region where huge landholdings
are coupled with high unemployment and low literacy rates. The districts in the
region have witnessed mushroom growth of Madaris (religious seminaries), along
with hefty foreign financial aid for establishing large infrastructures for
medical, housing and educational facilities through an array of selective
sponsorship programmes. While moving towards Bahawalpur, the landscape abruptly
changes as one enters the old city of Multan. Sand dunes and muddy tracks can
be seen on both sides of the road frequented with small and big religious
seminaries all the way up to the boundary of Rajanpur.
In order to understand the extremist
structure in Punjab it is essential to synthesise the data on account of
district-wise distribution, educational qualification, age-bracket, caste,
financial position, marital status, parents’ occupation and economic condition
of extremists. It will help us to determine the actual extremist framework, and
ways and means available to combat and curb these tendencies.
Before analysing the situation, three
assumptions have been made. One: we have not used the word militant for these
persons, although some of them have participated in violent activities or have
experience of active battlefields. Second: though frequent changeovers from one
group to another have been observed on multiple grounds we have assumed that
the picture remains static when it comes to group affiliation and attachment.
Third: the region is akin to division as elaborated in the Police Order 2002.
A data of more than 4,000 extremists is
available for analysis. Among the extremists include persons on 4th Schedule,
34 percent; Afghan Trained Boys (ATBs), 40 percent; Tribal Trained Boys (TTBs),
(one percent); Local Trained Boys (LTBs), two percent; Returnees from Afghan
Prisons (RAPs), five percent; Lal Masjid Elements (LMEs), two percent; Persons
Released from Jails (PRJs), seven percent; Persons Confined in Jails (PCJs),
one percent; Returnees from Guantanamo Bay (RsGB), less than one percent; and
activists of various religious organisations operating in the province, seven
On regional basis, the percentage
distribution of extremists shows that 16 percent of total extremists belong to
Bahawalpur Region, followed by Multan (14 percent), Rawalpindi (13 percent),
Dera Ghazi Khan (13 percent), Sargodha (13 percent), Faisalabad (13 percent),
Gujranwala (nine percent), Sahiwal (five percent), Sheikhupura (two percent),
and Lahore (less than two percent) respectively.
The district-wise distribution of these
extremists indicate that Bahawalpur district has the highest number (278),
followed by Bhakkar (235), Attock (231), Faisalabad (225), Multan (203), Bahawalnagar
(195) and Rahim Yar Khan (163) respectively.
The data indicates that majority of the
extremists have either been affiliated with defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
(SSP,) followed by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
(HuM), Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI), Tehreek Jafria Pakistan (TJP),
Jaish-e-Muhammad (JM) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) respectively. The percentage
distribution of extremists indicates that 43 percent are affiliated with the
defunct SSP entailed by the JuD (11 percent), HuM (10 percent), JM (seven
percent), SMP (four percent), HuA (three percent) and LeJ (less than one
Before analysing extremist data, it is
pertinent to determine exact numbers of Madaris and total cultivatable land
with respect to district population in a given region. The data shows that
Multan and Bahawalpur Regions exhibit the highest madrasa density followed by
Sargodha, Dera Ghzai Khan, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala
respectively. Among the least cultivatable regions include Sargodha and Dera
Ghazi Khan, followed by Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi and Sheikhupura, thus
accommodating lowest number of persons per acre land cultivation. The estimated
employment rate is lowest for Bahawalpur and Sahiwal Regions entailed by
Sargodha, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan and Rawalpindi respectively. The regional
number of government mosque schools is highest in Dera Ghazi Khan and
Bahawalpur Regions followed by Multan, Rawalpindi, Sahiwal and Sargodha
The district-wise Madaris density indicates
that Attock, Khushab, Bhakkar, Toba Tek Singh, Khanewal, Sargodha, Layyah,
Lodhran, Sahiwal, Rajanpur, Bahawalpur, Multan and Chakwal are among the high
madrassa density areas. Whereas, per capita cultivatable land in a district
shows that Layyah, Rajanpur, Bahawalnagar, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Attock, Dera
Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh are among least cultivatable districts in the
Since agriculture is the main occupation in
the province, therefore, the districts having high madrassa density and low
cultivatable areas present more probability for contributing extremism in
Punjab. The southern region therefore exhibits high extremist susceptibility on
account of madrassa density and per capita total cultivatable land in the
region. Here it is pertinent to mention that the above calculations are not
based on urban-rural divide but solely concentrate on the available data.
The data indicates that nine extremists
hold PhD degree, 108 are postgraduate, 121 have masters degree, 286 are graduate,
416 are intermediate, 1,180 are matriculate, 220 are under-matriculation, 937
have completed their high school, and 981 have passed their examinations up to
fifth grade. Interestingly, only 36 extremists are illiterate. In other words,
the foot soldiers of terror are qualified personnel with 99 percent literacy
rate. Nearly 30 percent of these extremists are matriculates, which represent
the major portion of literacy level among them.
The data further shows that nearly 85
percent are married and 90 percent belong to poor or lower middle class. A very
small fraction (less than one percent) can be bracketed as financially well
The financial condition and educational
qualifications of these extremists’ parents have also been determined on
account of available data. Majority of extremists (40 percent) have either lost
their father posthumously or at a tender age, whereas only one percent are born
in rich families, and nearly 50 percent come from poor backgrounds. Families of
majority of the extremists (20 percent) are labourers, and nearly eight percent
are associated with private services or businesses. A small percentage of these
extremists’ parents (1.5 percent) are government employees.
The age-wise distribution of these
extremists indicates that majority of them either falls in the age-bracket of
31-40 years or belongs to 41-50 years category. The percentage representation
of these two age groups comes out to be 46 and 29 percent respectively. It
further points out that majority of the extremists are fairly young, and they
are mature men of well-settled mindset. Only nine percent of them are in their
youth (20-30 years), whereas approximately three percent can be categorised as
senior citizens (60-plus years).
The analysis clearly shows the current extremist
anatomy of the province. A semi-literate, married, poor person having
age-bracket of 30-40 years, and belonging to southern region has the greater
probability to work for an extremist organisation or a banned group than any
other person across the province. More efforts need to be focused on enhancing
per acre production, improving educational standards, discouraging undue
foreign aid for specific purposes in any region, scrutinising establishment of
madrasa through a transparent system of monitoring and supervision and
providing maximum facilities for youth exuberance outlet.
Faisal Raja is a senior superintendent of police