Sweets, garlands and the noose

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Sweets, garlands and the noose | dr Abdul Qadeer Khan in The News column | 25 July 2016

Random thoughts

The recent attempt by army renegades to topple the elected and popular government in Turkey was crushed by the police and the public of Turkey. Many of us were shocked to read Imran Khan’s statement (a clear incitement) saying that, should a coup take place in Pakistan, the people would welcome the soldiers and distribute sweets.

Imran should look back and see what happened to the people who collaborated with those who took power previously. It would have been much more appropriate to say that the rulers should adopt people-friendly and country-friendly policies so that any adventurists would think a dozen times before attempting anything. The problem in our country is that all and sundry want to be PM – by hook or by crook.

The Turks are a brave and proud nation. They did not come to the rescue of those rulers who were stooges of the West. Just recently, the European Union had asked Turkey to bring its anti-terrorist laws in parity (ie soften them drastically) with those of the Union in return for visa-free movement of Turks within the EU. President Recep Tayyep Erdogan flatly refused as it would have jeopardised their national security.

One wonders what the reaction would have been had such an offer been made to our leaders. I guess they would have accepted immediately (just like Musharraf accepted the American one) and would then have sent their family members to settle there.

In our country it has become a nasty tradition that the sole aim of the opposition parties from day one is simply to topple the government. They start inciting the army chief to take action and they then join hands with any usurper to loot the country. Past history is witness to this. If our rulers would install honest people and pursue country-friendly policies, nobody would dare to undertake any misadventure against an elected government.

But our rulers are deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of the people. Loadshedding, unemployment, inflation, absence of law and order – you name it, we have it. It is under such circumstances that the ordinary people welcome usurpers, hoping against hope for a miracle. Miracles they don’t get – it is all just a mirage.

Imran and Bilawal are shouting themselves hoarse against the corruption of those in power. Imran Khan we will have to test, if he ever gets a chance, but Bilawal! How can he ignore the $60 billion in Swiss Banks, the Surrey Palace, the chalet in France, properties in Dubai, London, New York and, of course, Pakistan?

One never hears any Western ruler playing the blame game and accusing predecessors. President Obama or Clinton never talked about the deeds committed by the senior and junior Bushes. Tony Blair’s successor never accused him of an illegal war in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. There are hundreds of rape cases every day in the US, but you never hear about them on CNN, etc.

But here, anything mischievous, immoral or nasty is repeated over and over again all day long. Thank God the judiciary saved us from Altaf Hussain’s daily lengthy speeches, but now we have Imran Khan and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s diatribes to listen to.

Pemra should introduce a code of conduct whereby TV stations are not allowed to relay full-length live speeches. Short clips are more than enough. The air time thus gained should be used on useful, productive programmes on education, Islamic history, general history, our culture and that of other Muslim countries, medical information, etc.

During WWI, British, French, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and Indian (under British command) troops attacked Turkey with a force of about 150,000. They wanted to occupy the Bosporus and Istanbul and join with Russian forces in the Black Sea. The brave Turks, under their great leader, Kamal Pasha, defeated them at Gallipoli, killing more than 75,000 invaders, while combined Turkish/Arab losses were more than 150,000 – but they won.

Had they lost that war, Turkey would have been no different from Iraq today. The Turks were a force to be reckoned with until the 17th century, but lazy and corrupt rulers let that advantage slip by ignoring the industrial revolution. Now, under President Recep Tayyep Erdogan, Turkey is on its way to progress, prosperity and self-respect. It is fast catching up with developed countries of Europe.

We have been most unfortunate that all the dictators we had left the country in a worse state than it was before. But then successive civilian governments have been no better, and all that is left is for the people to hope for the best when someone usurps power.

A word of caution for those in power: never think that the Almighty is oblivious to your misdeeds and wrongdoings. He has again and again warned that wrongdoers (including rulers and the public) will have to account for their deeds and there is a severe, painful punishment for them. Nobody can, or will, escape it. Rulers! Sooner or later you will have to appear before the Almighty and face the consequences of your deeds.

The person said to be behind the coup attempt is a Turk living in the US – Shaikh Fethullah Gulen – a pseudo-religious scholar. That the Americans (CIA, FBI, etc) had no knowledge of this activity is inconceivable. No phone call, message or email can bypass the American surveillance system. A coup of this kind involved hundreds of top armed forces officers, police officers and civilians. It was pathetic to see so many generals and naval and air force officers handcuffed and identifying themselves.

One wonders what made them undertake such treachery. They were holding some of the most coveted posts in the country and living luxurious lifestyles. Even had the coup been successful, only a few big ones would have had the lion’s share of positions and privileges for a few years while the rest would have only the remaining crumbs. That is always the case. We have seen enough of it in our own country.