Ayaz Amir: “Who is he working for”?

  • Ayaz Amir: “Who is he working for”?

    In the name of ‘independent point of view’ and not unnecessarily saying ‘Aameen’ to his party policies, Mr. Ayaz Amir, MNA from Chakwal, has been critical of most of his party policies in general and of Sahrif brothers in particular. Last time I heard him on a TV channel before the great ‘Long March’. In that show I heard him requesting to the Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in a very irritating manner that ‘enough is enough, please step aside’. He also seemed unhappy over the hard stance of the PML-N on the issue of judiciary. He writes in one of his columns, “It has espoused the lawyers’ cause and the cause of the restoration of the judges deposed by Gen Pervez Musharraf. But espousing a cause is one thing, strangling oneself with it quite another. The PML-N has tightly tied the judges’ issue round its neck; to the extent where it seems that it only has a one-point agenda.

    Ayaz Amir was one of the strong critics of the ‘Long March’ for the restoration of Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. In his article “The Long March: Seeking enlightenment, a way out of the confusion”, he writes, “No street agitation can bring Iftikhar Chaudhry back and the movement's leaders do themselves no service by spreading the impression that somehow this miracle will come about with their long march”. What makes anyone think that this task can be accomplished between one sunrise and one sunset?

    Ayaz Amir may have been retired from army but he still occupies same military mentality. In his column ‘Fit for what’, he writes, “We are not fit for democracy. Of this I am becoming increasingly certain. It is not that we lack the requisite tolerance. We just do not seem to have the competence and temperament for it”.

    After Pak Army conquering (yet again) its own land in 99, Mr. Ayaz Amir demanded three things from the military dictator. First, an improvement in people’s economic condition by which is meant not wine and cheese on the table but simply more job opportunities and an easing of inflation. This calls for a revival, howsoever slight, of the economy.

    Second, a sense of security or the feeling that in their dealings with the state - whether in the form of the thana, the tehsil, the kutchery, WAPDA or the identity card office - they will get justice. This requires overhauling the administrative machinery.

    Third, across-the-board accountability, swift and ruthless and with no exceptions dictated by political expediency.

    Is this the role of Pak Army described in the constitution of Pakistan?

    I reproduce below few excerpts from his columns which he has written in the Dawn newspaper.

    1. A penchant for sticking it in the mouth


    Stupidity is of two kinds: forced (that is, by circumstances) and gratuitous. I have heard it said of Nawaz Sharif (lately of the Heavy Mandate, now Pakistan's leading democrat - along with, of course, the Queen of the East) that if an arrow was flying past him he felt impelled to catch it and stick it in his back. The Punjabi translation of this is more earthy. But then Nawaz Sharif represents a national trend. As a country we have a tendency towards gratuitous folly.

    Let me be permitted a digression here. After India had carried out its nuclear tests in May 1988 Punjab's Gauleiter, Shahbaz Sharif, summoned his MPAs, division-wise, for a series of meetings. At the meeting of Rawalpindi division MPAs, out of 22 members hardly three or four spoke in favour of testing. The rest of them argued for restraint and moderation. Let me put it on record that Raja Azmat Hayat from Choa Saidan Shah, no Ph. D. from Oxford or Berkeley, set the tone of the meeting by saying that we should ponder the fate of the Soviet Union whose collapse had not been averted by all the nuclear bombs in the world.

    Visibly confounded, Shahbaz Sharif said that these might be our personal opinions but what about our constituents? Having gone up the length and breadth of my constituency in connection with the local bodies elections which were then being held I piped up and said that wherever I went I was asked about schools, hospitals, roads and jobs but not at one place about whether we would give a tit-for-tat response to India's nuclear tests.

    To put this exchange in context it should be remembered that the four districts of Rawalpindi division are from where the army draws the bulk of its recruits. And this was the sentiment coming from this so-called martial belt. But we went ahead with testing because the decision lay not with ignorant MPAs but the stars of the military establishment (the real force behind the folly of that confused summer).

    We had nuclear capability and the world knew it. There was no need to take our firecrackers out of the closet. If for once we had allowed judgment to prevail over raw emotion, we would not have been in the desperate straits in which we find ourselves now.

    1. Hilarity or what?


    MORAL outrage and high dudgeon. There has been much of this flying around since the strategic escape of Pakistan's once-upon-a-time saviour, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. But if things be considered calmly this indignation is a bit funny and entirely misplaced.

    An angry army of punditry is saying that the military government has compromised itself and lost some of its moral standing by letting an accredited robber baron go off into comfortable exile.

    True, the government's own protestations about what accountability was meant to be do not quite square with this Hollywood departure to the Holy Land. The Sharifs were supposed to be the biggest robbers of them all. And here because of their connections and looted money they have bought their freedom.

    The Sharifs have stabbed their own party in the back, making their diehard supporters look like so many inveterate fools. Now thanks to the Sharifs and their underhand dealings with the military, the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy has been made to look like a troupe of monkeys.

    Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan may keep his sang-froid in public, he after all being an old hand at such things. But how embarrassed must he be at what the Sharifs have done to him. This is the stuff of hilarity. The nation should be grateful to the Sharifs for giving it something to laugh at after a long time.

    Rhe tears shed in some quarters about their betrayal and treachery are also a bit out of place. As they were negotiating their own safety they were telling their followers to stand tall and be counted. This more than their actual

    But then let us not forget who Nawaz Sharif really was: a product of accident and military patronage. How could the people of Pakistan ever take someone like the Sharifs seriously?

    1. Old script, new situation


    The Kashmiris of Lahore, who count the Sharifs as their most famous sons, are known for two things: good eating and muscle-flexing (the storming of the Supreme Court in 1998 being not so much an aberration as an instinctive reaction from the new Muslim League shaped in the image of the Sharifs).

    1. What Now?


    There could not be a sadder commentary on the Pakistani ethos than that a person such as Nawaz Sharif, with his limited ability and unbounded greed for money and power, should have risen to the highest position in the land.

    The army's hand was forced. If it had not done what it did it would have stood condemned before the bar of history. The Sharifs were wanting to do to the army what it had done to the Supreme Court. Had the Sharifs succeeded in their designs they would have had two Rana Maqbools in their service: one as the IGP Sindh and the other, in the form of Lt Gen Khawaja Ziauddin, as head of the army. The successful sacking of Musharraf would have diminished the army by dealing it a blow to its self-esteem and confidence.

    Sharifs are becoming the greatest lackeys of the Americans that we have ever had. They bartered national self-respect in a bid to seek American support.

    The Sharifs went after Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari both of whom were corrupt to the bone. It should now be the turn of the Sharifs, the Chaudries of Gujrat, the Saifur Rehmans, the Humayun Akhtars and the other fat cats of the Muslim League who have robbed the public sector banks.

    1. Scratchy record, familiar tune


    The army says, and rightly so, that it had not planned it and that Sharifian adventurism forced its hands. Not only is this correct. It is also true that if the army had not acted the way it did, it would have stood guilty in its own eyes. After foiling Nawaz Sharif's conspiracy, and taking the adventurists to task, the army should have returned to barracks, satisfied that it had repelled a move which, if successful, would have shaken the Republic's foundations. Nawaz Sharif was the greatest political product the army ever produced. And here he was about to do a Hitler on his generals.

    In any country it would be hard to pick a duo more conspicuously inept and corrupt than that of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

    1. Cynicism takes a thrashing


    The role of Sharifs and Chaudries in the famous cooperatives's scandal of 1991 is enough to condemn them and keep them out of politics forever. It was the huge loans which the Sharifs and Chaudries took (65 crores or thereabouts apiece) which well and truly sunk the Cooperatives.

    1. Pursuing a fallen man: not worth it


    Nawaz Sharif, while in power, his Mughal ideas of rulership were a threat to everything. If he had succeeded in his design of foisting Lt-Gen Khawaja Ziauddin on the army God alone knows where his galloping megalomania would have come to rest.

    Nawaz Sharif, as even his friends might agree, is no character from Athenian history. All this rise and fall stuff, of greatness arriving at its doom through its own excesses, sits inappropriately on his shoulders. He was a mediocre figure who rose to political stardom because of exceptional circumstances.

    Justice of course should be done but it should be commensurate with the crime. The Sharifs were perhaps the greatest robber barons this country has seen.

    And, please, no more martyrs.

    1. Being grateful for small mercies


    WE had a chance of shooting ourselves in the foot yet again but, mercifully, desisted. I do not know who is to be thanked for this, Judge Jaffery, General Musharraf or the collective wisdom of the military government. But whoever it is deserves the nation's thanks.

    A death sentence, even if it was never to be carried out, would have turned Nawaz Sharif into an instant martyr. His party also would have felt bound to stick to him in his hour of trouble.

    Nawaz Sharif tried to install a favourite as army chief and also tried to prevent General Musharraf's plane from landing at Karachi or indeed anywhere in Pakistan. It is only Nawaz Sharif who should have been in the dock for his actions and no one else.

    This is not to cast any aspersion on Judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffery who has delivered, on the basis of the evidence presented, a fine judgment.

    Ayaz Amir once called Mian Shahbaz Sharif ‘Punjab’s little Hitler’.

    1. Who botched the transition to democracy?


    Most people's favourite villains are of course Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. It is true both these champions of representative government were corrupt and incompetent.

    Benazir was prime minister in Islamabad but her writ did not run in Punjab. Beg and Ishaq encouraged the warlordism of Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and the obduracy of Altaf Hussain in Karachi. National security, at whose sacred altar the greatest sins have been committed in Pakistan, was largely outside her purview. The intelligence agencies intrigued actively against her. (telling the world that Nawaz was playing in the hands of intelligence agencies).

    When Nawaz Sharif became prime minister in 1990 he proved to be as corrupt and inefficient as Benazir.

    When Leghari decided to finish with Benazir's government in 1996, Karamat assured him of the army's backing little visualizing that Benazir's exit, especially in a forced manner, was almost an iron-clad guarantee for Nawaz Sharif's return to power. This is what happened.

    If Nawaz Sharif then behaved in an overbearing manner or struck down one institution after another, who is to blame for that? His Gawalmandi psychology honed at the knees of his enterprising father or the sophisticated world view of those who set the ground for him?

    Ayaz Amir: “Who is he working for”?

  • Doesn't it actually set a good precedent that a party member doesn't totaly have to be subservient to their party heads? If he's so vocal about his leader then its a good healthy sign for democracy that he's not willing to take their dictates.

    Recently we saw Aetzaz Ahsan who totally went against the party's stance on judcicary and there're many more who have been vocal for other reasons in PPP ranks.

    I have a lot of respect for Ayaz, Aetzaz and all other independent minded legislators who speak their minds. Remember we live in a Oligarchy and system will not change until you hear some voices from the grassroot levels.

    So I say he's just as Pakistani as anybody else and been loyal to his party so lets give credit where its due!

    my two cents

  • ayaz amir is one of very few politicians who i like the most. He is logical and the only reason you are calling him illogical because you do not agree with his logic

  • It is a good thing that Ayaz Amir speaks up his mind.

    It is also a good thing on the part of PML(N) that it listens to and does not sideline such independent voices (another is Javed Hashmi) among its ranks.

  • Frankly, I am not surprised. I think most of the drawing-room intellectuals believed that restoration of Iftikhar is just not possible. What happened on March 16th showed and proved that anything is possible if you set your mind to it and you are sincere about it. Our peoople proved it and Nawaz Sharif proved it with his determination and sheer confidence.

    As far as nuclear tests goes, time has proven that to be a right decision as well. The decision reflects sincerety, foresight and conviction on part of our leaders at the time.

  • ayaz amir used to write in dawn n did a talk show on ary n he was totally neutral in doing so, he speaks his mind n i thinks that actually good, u need to have people in a party who disagree with the leadership on issues, it was ppl like ch shujaat who always said 'kadam barhao nawaz sharif' who got nawaz killed in 1999, can u believe it the chaudharys actually lifted nawaz sharifs pajero 5 feet in the air wen he reached zahoor palace in gujrat, this was their enthusiastic way of welcoming their leader.