It looks as if the military is still firmly in control of Pakistan, judging from one nuanced assessment on the website of The Dawn, one of the two dominant English-language newspapers in Pakistan. Written by well-regarded feature writer Waris Husain, the analysis suggests that the nation’ highest court, in its latest ruling on “Memogate,” would appear to be tilting toward the official view of the armed forces establishment over that of the civilian government.
Memogate is shorthand for the convoluted scandal in which the military has accused the Zadari government (itself accused of possible corruption) of trying to undermine its integrity and credibility. The whole mess is now in the country’s court system.
Says Waris Husain: “Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s decision to continue its probe of Memogate is a replay of past judgments which legitimized the will of the military over the people’s civilian government.” But in an effort at journalistic fairness, he also writes: “Others contend that the will of the people demands that Zardari and his cohorts be punished in any manner for corruption, and the Supreme Court’s decision is one step in that political fight.”
Notwithstanding the effort at intellectual balance, Husain continues: “The Supreme Court’s decision to value military rights over civilian rights is a frightening precedence when one remembers the history of military intervention in civilian politics, but in many ways, it is just another episode in Pakistan’s recurrent history.”
Stay tuned. It may be that the ultimate arbitrator of the battle between the two sectors will be the court of public opinion.
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