BB’s government was never stable.
The President dismissed her and the assembly on the tried and tested, though time worn grounds charges of incompetence, corruption etc and ordered new elections. She had served only twenty months of her five-year term.
Elections followed. This time NS’s party won and he became the PM. MQM were again in the Government, this time with more clout.
Altaf had accompanied the opposition leaders on a tour of Pakistan. He had mesmerized the crowds in the heartland of the Punjab. That gave him ideas. He could rule over the hearts and minds of the Punjab as well. He changed the name of his party from Mohajir Qaumi movement to Muttahda Qaumi Movement
That sealed his fate in Pakistan. Army created a dissident wing in MQM and supplied it with arms.
Under BB, a retired general Naseerullah Babar, a pocket edition of the butcher of Dhaka sent in the army, and tried to destroy MQM infrastructure. Altaf was spirited out of the country. Armed forces unleashed a reign of terror with the same ferocity they had in East Pakistan. [lxvii]
Nawaz’s father was a friend of the general who governed Punjab for the army and had appointed him finance minister in the province [lxviii]. Opponents made fun of him that he consumed a whole tray of yogurt in addition to kebabs, Parathas, Pulao, chargha and desserts at breakfast [lxix].
His first tenure was marked by enhanced corruption; this time presided over by his younger brother Shahbaz. They bought four luxury apartments in the poshest of all London localities, the Park Lane in the west end. Each apartment was, reportedly, worth 2.5 million pounds [lxx].
. One of his more outlandish schemes was customs duty free government financed import of Taxis to develop new jobs. Most were used for private transport. The loss of precious and scarce foreign exchange was enormous.
N.S had tried denationalization but the industries (nationalised by Bhutto) and businesses had taken so much loan, their staff had been so bloated and the balance sheets so much in the red that there were no takers.
Conversion of foreign currency deposits to local currency had made expatriate capital shy of the country. [lxxi] Banks were on the verge of bankruptcy.
The only enterprises, which had mushroomed after denationalization, were private schools and Hospitals. People converted small houses into a school by the simple device of putting on a huge sign with an attractive title like Advanced Cambridge Academy. Licenses/registrations for private schools were available from education department for a modest bribe and a monthly retainer. The schools would be run by a nominal charitable trust [lxxii].
Hospitals also became a boom industry..
As in the case of schools, small, medium and large houses in congested areas in already crowded neighborhood were converted into hospitals. One such hospital, in a bunch of ramshackle buildings evolved into a medical college and a while later into a medical university [lxxiii]. The owner became the Chancellor of the university.
Surprisingly enough, starting a hospital did not require any kind of license, registration or permission from any state agency. One had as great liberty to allow performance of major surgery as one did to sell groceries.
Another glaring misuse of the system was that patients would wheedle, force or threaten -union officials would employ the latter method- doctors to write prescriptions for expensive medicines and exchange them for cosmetics at drug stores.
The teaching staff employed by medical schools would spend an hour or two in the school and the attached hospitals.The number of unnecessary surgery was mind-boggling.
High education suffered the same fate as medical care did.
In 1962 there were six medical colleges in the West, three in the East and corresponding number of other colleges/universities. For some curious reason, till the eighties, there was only one dental school in the western wing. In 1991 there were half a dozen universities and innumerable “professional” colleges in Karachi alone.
One day a Doctor who had been two years junior to me in medical school called me that he wanted to open a medical college in his 400 Square yard [lxxiv] hospital and wanted me to co-sign a letter asking for university approval.
Examination halls were sold to entrepreneurs. The controller of examinations in my presence offered a leading Eye doctor of the town to get any position for his daughter in twelfth grade.
Nawaz was growing too big for his britches and wanted to amend the constitution to take away the power of the President to dismiss the PM and the assembly. That required a two third support for the measure in the assembly. BB could provide that. She declined [lxxv].
The president dismissed NS. NS challenged the dismissal. The PM and the president issued contradictory orders. The army chief of the staff General Kakar intervened and forced both to resign and ordained an interim administration under an expatriate from the U.S.A.
BB won the new elections and this time secured an over all majority. She had her erstwhile foreign minister Farooq Leghari [lxxvi] elected as the President. The man, another scion of a feudal family had served as a junior minister under her father. She treated the man as a family retainer [lxxvii].
Corruption, jobbery and arbitrary governance reached ever greater heights. The President warned her in a friendly fashion. She told him to mind his own business.
The worm turned. The former retainer sacked her and ordered a new election.
In the ensuing elections in 1997 Nawaz won big. He and his minions went about crowing that they had an overwhelming mandate.
The CJ had the temerity to hear cases against the government. NS sent gangsters to manhandle the CJ while he was presiding over a trial. A minister in the Punjab provincial government and several members of the assembly were actually caught on the camera leading the mob.
NS had a vote of no confidence passed against the President and filled the slot with his attorney. He had requisite number of votes in the houses of the assembly and was able to remove the offending clause from the constitution, which authorized the President to dismiss the PM and the assembly.
He undeservedly and presumptuously took credit for the successful atomic bomb explosion in 1998.
He overreached himself and sacked a navy chief accused of pocketing a huge kick back in purchase of ships-submarines. The army chief proposed a security council [lxxviii], Nawaz demanded and got the army chief’s resignation. He appointed Parvez Musharraf to succeed in the office, under the mistaken belief that being a Mohajir he will not have roots in the army and would do his bidding with out question.
But the armed forces of Pakistan are a malevolent hydra-headed organism. You cut of one head; another grows in its place and is obeyed implicitly by senior officers [lxxix].
With out so much as 'by your leave' to the PM, the army attacked Indian positions in Kargil [lxxx] and manufactured a crisis. Standing on high ground, and taking the Indian troops by complete surprise they were able to kill several hundreds of Indian forces and force them to retreat.
NS chose to take credit for the misadventure. [lxxxi]
When the Indian PM threatened an all out war, NS had to run, with tail between legs, to Washington and beg for US intervention. Clinton made him sit by while he placated Indian PM Bajpai on phone, and arranged a cease-fire. Nawaz was made to give a pledge to keep his army on a tight leash.
As planned the army cried foul. What our Jawans had won with their blood and Shaheeds had given their life for, was lost by a pusillanimous PM who had given away what our Jawans had given their blood for.
Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham
All religions try to take over the establishment and if they fail, they collaborate with it, be it feudal or capitalist.