Democracy a sham in Pakistan

HK. DUA’s front-page editorial, “It’s only limited democracy: Pak army retains control” (Dec 17) was timely. Pakistan has been under long spells of dictatorship since its birth for over 60 years. Usually, dictators do not step down for fear of public reprisals. Sir Winston Churchill once observed: “Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.”

Heavens would not have fallen had Musharraf stepped down paving the way for a civilian government. After the January 8 elections, he will try to see a Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues of his own liking. It is similar to a situation where a host places the food on the table and asks his guests not to touch it.

Mr Dua has rightly asserted: “It is all a naked power game being played in Pakistan at its most cynical.” Though the government formation in Pakistan is that country’s internal matter, a civilian government bereft of Musharraf would have been the people’s choice there.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari (Hamirpur)



President Musharraf has said that the sacked judges including the Supreme Court Chief Justice Ifteqar Chowdhry will not be reinstated despite the revival of the Constitution and repeal of the PCO. Does this not amount to a massive assault on judicial independence?

Democracy is not a gift that dictators could present it to the chosen few. In a democracy, people enjoy the freedom of speech and can elect representatives of their choice. The fact that President Musharraf himself retains the control of the nuclear weapons and regulate the posting of Army commanders (instead of the elected Prime Minister) shows his distrust and fear for the safety and security of his own life and not of the country.

In his book Hitler and his admirals, Field Marshal Rommel suggested Hitler to be more humane towards the civilian population. Instead of giving serious thought to his suggestion, Hitler became more dreadful and cruel. He attacked Russia, leading to the death and destruction of humanity. He finally had a painful death, with none to mourn him.



President Musharraf is continuing the unfinished agenda of successive generals in Pakistan. He himself ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup and then pursued the policy of blood and iron. No doubt, he has lifted the emergency but he did so after constitutionally cementing his acts during the emergency, making the same unquestionable.

Post January 8, the Prime Minister would have to function as his handmaiden. Politically, every elected person will become a golden zero because of the drastic re-shaping of the Constitution by far-reaching amendments.

The political travelogue of Pakistan from October 1955 to 2007, when unfolded, flashes the circumstances of its slide down the pipeline to the abyss of limited democracy in the grip of the tight clench-fist of the military. Emergency or no emergency, democracy stands shattered, a continuing process, now culminated.

V.I.K. SHARMA, Jalandhar


Mr Dua has vindicated that the Pakistan Army commits to retain control under the dictatorship of President Musharraf like his predecessors — General Ayub Khan, General Yahya Khan and General Zia-ul Haq.

Mr Musharraf has at last lifted the emergency mainly because of the constant pressure from the US. Not only Mr Dua but the whole world is worried about free and fair elections in Pakistan. The people of Pakistan must exercise their franchise boldly.


Eat more cakes!

I read Peter Heller’s article, “Japan’s whaling shame” (Dec 18). Japan is an economic super power, with an American nuclear umbrella for its defence. Its post-World War II constitution disallows a robust militarism. However, it appears it wants to come out of this self-imposed pacifism and recently took part with India, US, Singapore and Australia in naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal. Japan’s economic power and pacifist constitution gives it a stout moral strength in world politics. It is also an important member of the Nuclear Supply Group. If it insists in breaking the moratorium on whaling which came into effect by the creation of the International Whaling Commission, Japan will only lose its moral clout in international politics by killing more endangered whales.

Japan should review its decision in breaking the moratorium, as it will be counter productive to its international image, as when participating in the naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal, it lost immense international prestige. We need countries that exercise and wield moral power to bring about sanity and moderation.

Japan can have this clout, if it gives up its irrational urges to increase its military power and kill helpless whales who die, before a lot of pain is inflicted upon them. The Japanese should eat more cakes as Marie Antoinette would have advised them!


Quilla S. Harnam Singh


Stop tree felling in Mohali

Hundreds of trees on the roadside connecting Furniture Market, Madanpura Chowk and the PCL lights in Mohali are being recklessly cut. These trees are 25 years old and are symbols of a visionary approach to keep the city green and clean. They are home to many birds and millions of species. Significantly, they keep the city’s temperature down.

Obviously, the purpose of felling is to widen the roads. However, these roads have never witnessed traffic jams and are the most smooth running ones with a well-built divider and a fine texture. Alternatively, why not reduce the width of the divider or demolish it?




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