The way Pakistan goes


ELMO GOONERATNE

On Friday, 28 July 2017, Nawaz Sharif was ousted from power. Nawaz Sharif visited Sri Lanka with his family when Ranasinghe Premadasa was the President of Sri Lanka. He faced the media with ease and answered all questions put forward by local and international journalists. The Bhutto's and the Sharif's were arch rivals in the field of politics. Benazir Bhutto came from an aristocratic family. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto entered the limelight when President Ayub Khan appointed him as Foreign Minister. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ousted President Ayub Khan, which enabled him to rise to the position of Prime Minister.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed Zia-ul-Haq as second in command. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was ousted by Zia-ul-Haq and subsequently tried and hung (in 1979). Later on, Zia-ul-Haq died in a plane crash (in 1988). Benazir Bhutto entered the limelight the same year and at that time, Nawaz Sharif was her arch rival. In 1999, the then-Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Pervez Musharraf, seized control of Pakistan in a bloodless coup d'état and became the Chief Executive of Pakistan. After Pervez Musharraf was ousted, several politicians wanted to become Prime Minister and Nawaz Sharif decided to try his luck too and he was successful. A majority of leaders in Pakistan were assassinated, including Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan who was assassinated during a public meeting in 1951.

Architect of Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Jinnah is considered as the architect of Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a Barrister by profession and was educated at the Inns of Court School of Law, University of London. Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, but he somehow managed to rally support for his cause. When Muhammad Ali Jinnah lived in India, he was a member of the Indian Congress and fought for Indian Independence with Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. Later on, Muhammad Ali Jinnah broke away from the Indian Congress and joined the Muslim Congress and demanded for a separate State, which is now known as Pakistan.

Lord Louis Mountbatten

After this, Lord Louis Mountbatten entered India's political scene. Lord Louis Mountbatten is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth. At one time, he was stationed in Kandy and acted as the Supreme Commander, and fought the Japanese.

In 1947, Lord Louis Mountbatten was appointed as the Viceroy of India and oversaw the transition of British India. Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi were amused by Lord Louis Mountbatten's exuberance, and as a result they got the Congress leaders to nod their heads to the partitioning of India. Since Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (also known as Sardar Patel) consented to the partitioning of India, Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 and Muhammad Ali Jinnah was appointed as the first Governor-General.

Unlike Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had not been a man of the masses. He couldn't speak Urdu. He dressed like a westerner and was a chain smoker. He negotiated with the British in English. He had also been a close friend of Lord Louis Mountbatten while in England and this helped him to further his cause (creating Pakistan).

The partitioning of India did not sit well with certain individuals and as a result riots broke out. There was a mass exodus and millions of people lost their homes and their identity. Women and children in particular suffered the most.

The partition forced the Sikhs and Hindus living in Pakistan to relocate to India overnight and it also forced the Muslims living in India to relocate to Pakistan overnight. This is how Pakistan came into existence.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was forced to resign after the Supreme Court of Pakistan deemed that he was unfit for office. This was because the Panama Papers revealed that Nawaz Sharif had been allegedly involved in some illegal financial transactions. The Panama Papers were originally obtained by a German newspaper and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and was made public soon after. The Panama Papers revealed that 12 current and former Heads of State and 143 other politicians were involved in illegal financial transactions.

Nawaz Sharif is the second elected Prime Minister in the world to be ousted from power over corrupt financial transactions. Prior to this, the Prime Minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson was also forced to resign because his name appeared in the Panama Papers. Certain local newspapers claimed that Sri Lankan public figures were also named in the Panama Papers.

Imran Khan

Prior to Nawaz Sharif's resignation, the people of Pakistan had mixed views about the matter. Some people protested in the streets of Pakistan and stated that he should resign, while some individuals insisted that he should stay on. Imran Khan, the former cricketer, philanthropist, and politician organized street protests and demanded a 'lockdown' of Islamabad until Nawaz Sharif tendered his resignation letter. Before Imran Khan entered politics, he married Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith, the daughter of the Financier and Politician, Sir James Goldsmith. Later on, it was revealed that the Goldsmith family had Israeli connections. After his wife gave birth to his two children, she left for England, allowing Imran Khan to concentrate on his political career.

Today, Imran Khan is tipped to be Pakistan's next Prime Minister. Imran Khan's approach towards politics is starkly different to that of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while campaigning for the post of Prime Minister and a majority of people believe that Pervez Musharraf is the one who arranged for her to be assassinated.

Sadly, Pakistan has become a haven for terrorist outfits like Al-Qaeda. The leader of the Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was killed by United States Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on 2 May 2011.

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the partition of India and the independence of Pakistan, but it is quite concerning that over the years, not a single Prime Minister in Pakistan has managed to complete their full term. Pakistan is not exactly a failed State. It provides a very comfortable life for around five million people including the immensely rich Sharif family. Prior to partitioning, Pakistan used to be one of the most prosperous parts of India. The population of Muslims in an undivided India would have been so high, that nobody would have been able to ignore them. If Pakistan and Bangladesh, which broke away from Pakistan in 1971, were still part of India, the Muslims would not constitute 13 per cent of the population of the un-partitioned India, but they would constitute more than 30 per cent.

Since 1950, an estimated 10,000 people have been killed in Hindu-Muslim communal violence, but this figure is nothing compared to the immediate long-term cost of lives of partitioning. At least a million people were slaughtered in the Hindu-Muslim massacres of 1941, when ten million people moved from India to Pakistan and when people from Pakistan moved to India.

The Bangladesh Liberation War (in 1971), claimed the lives of 30,000 soldiers on both sides. One other fact, India has been a democratic country for 70 years. Pakistan and Bangladesh on the other hand have been ruled by Generals for years.

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