No Martial Law, declares Ahsan Iqbal

  • According to press reports, Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has declared categorically that there was no possibility whatsoever of Martial Law being imposed. The level of his confidence suggests that perhaps he believes that because of his being the Interior Minister, the armed forces will seek written permission from him for imposing Martial Law which of course he will refuse.

    However, it is true that the being a thorough professional, the army chief has not shown any inclination to embark on an adventure which would be outside his line of duty. Even the former army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif was similarly-disposed and despite having ample opportunity, refrained from taking over government.

    Ahsan Iqbal's confidence has also been boosted by frequent, clear-cut statements by the army chief in support of the Constitution and democracy.

    However, the PML-N should not take the army's reluctance as giving them a licence to loot the country left, right and centre, pay out billions of rupees of government's scarce funds to buy out PML-N dissidents and further deface the Constitution by making all sorts of dubious amendments - like the one made earlier - to protect their massive, ill-gotten wealth and their skin. If the PML-N government indulges in such activities - and there are clear signs that it will - then the armed forces will be compelled to intervene, in compliance with Constitutional provisions which require them to protect the country from external as well as internal enemies.

    And so long as their hold on power is brief and in conjunction with Supreme Court, they hold free and fair elections after strict vetting of Assembly aspirants to keep out the corrupt elements, and hand over power to the elected representatives, their move will introduce real democracy in place of the present, fake one. A new breed of Parliamentarians of integrity, forming dedicated government and effective opposition later, would put the country on a sound foundation, bring back massive, looted wealth and use that to reduce the crippling loan burden and revive the economy.

    In fact, if Sharifs continue or rather escalate their mischief, not to do the needful would amount to the armed forces failing to perform their sacred, national and Constitutional duty.