3rd November 2007 Emergency: 10 years in the making, Democracy ‘then &now’

By: |Syed Tazmeen Javed|


3rd November 2007 was the day what many termed as an act of treachery, face saving more precise unconstitutional. A decade ago the then President General(R) Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency, suspended the constitution and barred judges who did not comply to his extra constitutional act were put in house arrest

Not only that, Media went off the air, many channels were shut down, freedom of press was violated. That move which Musharraf succumbed, was due to  chain of uncontrolled events, that gave him the last option to survive as he used to say “Our fist will be the last”. But surprisingly that fist ultimately bounced back and the strings of many unfolding events which followed made Musharraf vulnerable as it evidently went day against him. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, PPP came into power; thus making his command more fragile.

This misadventure which he exercised to save his command faded,  eventually becoming a “useless vegetable”.  Democracy restored,  Zardari somehow managed to play his pivotal role in extracting resignation from Musharraf, who left because of possible threat of coercive impeachment.

Musharraf became a history on 18 August 2008. The enthusiasts hoping out of hope believed that now Democracy will thrive and Pakistan will return to the fundamentals of Democracy. But last 10 years are same not the less, or infact today’s political violations of democratic norms speaks volumes that Democracy is just the  name of personalities, whether in civil or army uniform, far away from “Democratic Conduct”. Both Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif who  claim themselves Democratic in nature,  took every possible chance when they ever they had the opportunity,  to crush Democratic principles. Zardari’s rule would be remembered for being disobedient to Judiciary  Commands which the Pakistan People’s Party  had never seemed to obey.

The same NRO ordinance, which paved the way for PPP to return to the power corridors became the stain on PPP’s political legacy. Also the same course of actions were followed and being followed by Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz in post Panama verdict scenario or during the proceedings seemed defiant against the institutions as the ousted premier has strong convictions based on least credible reports that someone really pulled the strings in dictating what should be the outcome of his corruption cases.

Democracy is true sense is not the name of individuals, it is more to be observed in conducts. 10 years in the making, are less or more the same. When authority is challenged they violate Democracy. Democracy has had always been sloganeering for the rulers either in civil or dictator’s  attire.

But yes, what can be construed to be the positive change from the 3rd November 2007 emergency is the viable Media and strong Judiciary. Pakistan’s society has become more politicized, more aware of their rights. Media has played a crucial role in creating awareness in disseminating information. Whereas Judiciary in past 10 years has overturned every executive unconstitutional act which seemed to be the violation of basic human rights. The cases of dismissing NRO ordinance, Panama verdict are the cases that will be cherished in the longer run.

Now it is time for Parliament to grow and adopt the true values of Democracy. So far it is not really near!


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