Pakistan is the obverse image of India and has similar roots.The Pakistan army also has a shared history with the British Indian army and some of the Muslim regiments like the Punjab regiments and the Baluch regiments made a name for them in terms of bravery and loyalty in two World Wars. However the creation of a Muslim state with Islam as the state religion in 1947, was not a good thing for the army. The secular force nurtured by the English was forced into transition to a hard line Islamic force. Worse was to follow and the civilian leadership after the death of Mohammad Ali Jinnah failed to lead the country forward, resulting in a military coup by General Ayub Khan in 1958.
Power and the Army
This was the beginning and the Pakistan army became like a man eating tiger, who having tasted human flesh is unable to give it up. It got enmeshed in politics and forgot all about its professional role. The Pakistan army generals who seized power were not mass leaders and they ruled with the gun at their side. During this period the Pakistan army created a world record by losing half its territory in the east, with the creation of Bangladesh. At that time the army in Pakistan was greatly discredited and a civilian leader named Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appeared on the scene.
Bhutto was not a perfect leader as he had a major hand in the breakup of Pakistan, but he was a mass leader and people saw in him a ray of hope. He became President of Pakistan and then all credit to him he got a constitution framed, which made him the prime minister.
In 1978 Bhutto was ousted in a military coup by another general named Zia ul Haq. This man had no mass following and compared to Bhutto was a pygmy. He however held the gun and seized power. The sad part is that Zia was appointed by Bhutto, by superseding 5 generals senior to him. Gratefulness is not a trait in some people.
The Plot to Murder Bhutto
Once Zia became President he plotted with his other corps commanders as to how to rule in perpetuity. All the generals agreed that the only way this was possible was in case Bhutto was removed from the scene, as the generals feared that once free Bhutto would again come back to power. A diabolical plan was hatched to try Bhutto on a murder charge and accordingly his trial commenced straightaway in the Punjab High Court. This showed the convoluted mind of the Pak generals who were not prepared to waste time and try Butto first in the Sessions court.
A fixed judiciary awarded the death sentence to Bhutto and though there was a formality of an appeal to the Pak Supreme Court, the death sentence was confirmed. Independent jurists have confirmed that the evidence against Bhutto was flimsy, but then Zia and the generals had decided to execute Bhutto. Bhutto was hung without any compunction.
History Repeats; Nawaz Beware
I bring this point out now as once again the Pak prime minister Nawaz Sharif seems to be losing his hold and one can see that he is playing second fiddle to the army chief General Raheel Sharif. The general is strutting around as the de-facto power and Nawaz must be wary as earlier his chief of staff had ousted him in a coup and exiled him for 10 long years. In fact he would probably have been executed , but for the intervention of Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistan army has done it earlier, by executing Bhutto and sentencing Nawaz Sharif to exile and prison on a charge of treason. The present PM , better beware for history has an uncanny habit of repeating itself.