How Military Nurseries Produced Pakistan’s ‘Democratic Warriors’

April 20, 2010

Ahmed Quraishi

Read how a veteran of a military government in Pakistan [1977-1988] explains the democratic credentials of Pakistan’s democratic warriors.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Military-led governments in Pakistan have failed in creating long term stability and fostering national identity, like the ruling party did in China.  This failure is well known. But Pakistan’s destructive politics can’t end without understanding another major failure: How Pakistan’s democratic elite is really not democratic at all.

Forget about building a great country and a healthy and prosperous people, Pakistan’s political elite divides Pakistanis by language, sect and violent politics because it has nothing else to offer in exchange for getting elected.  And with the new amendments to the Pakistani constitution, which strengthen family-run dictatorships within parties, there is hardly any chance that the able and the willing among 170 million Pakistanis will ever get a chance to lead their homeland.

In 2008, these politicians got themselves elected in the name of democracy. But even that credential is questionable.

Retired Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti, who played a major role during the military-led government of former President Gen. Zia-ul-Haq between 1977 and 1988, gave an interesting insight earlier this week in Lahore into the relationship between failed politicians and military coups.

His remarks are important because he said several things that are new and must be noted.


Mr. Chishti said that “Several (democratic) champions became leaders while sitting in the laps of army generals.”   He listed them as follows:

  1. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan [Benefactor: Field Marshal Ayub Khan].
  2. Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan [Benefactor: Gen. Zia-ul-Haq]
  3. Altaf Hussain, the exiled British-Pakistani leader of MQM [Benefactors: Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and Gen. Pervez Musharraf]
  4. Jamaat Islami [Benefactors: Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and Gen. Pervez Musharraf]

The irony is that all of them claim that Pakistan’s military should not be involved in major internal decisions when necessary but they never explained why they accepted military help in ascending to power in the first place.  Interestingly, despite being discredited as failed and inept, these politicians keep getting second and third chances thanks to the military’s failure to introduce real reforms after every coup. [Also thanks to frequent US and British meddling in our politics for their own objectives. Unfortunately, the Pakistani military has so far been unable to prevent it and, under Musharraf, even took it to new heights!]

Moreover, Pakistani military has maintained an unwritten alliance with this failed political elite, always handing power back to it after every intervention without any attempt to open doors to middle and lower-class Pakistanis to participate in running their country, especially when they have proven to be more creative in taking Pakistan forward in many areas.

One example is Gen. Musharraf, who came to power with a promise to inject new faces into a stagnant system. Eight years later, he not only failed to do that but ended up restoring some of the worst failed politicians back to power as his replacement.  The only credible new political face from the late Musharraf period is Member of National Assembly Marvi Memon.  To be fair to her, she was a late entrant who proved her mettle on her own in the two and half years since Musharraf’s departure. With her patriotic and inclusive views, a large segment of Pakistan’s younger generation identify with her. But she stands no chance of moving up in a system designed to keep people like her from exercising real power.


Mr. Chishti pointed out another irony that exposes the duplicity of the present political elite in Pakistan.  An independent Election Commission is what stops military interventionists from legitimizing their rule.  So if someone wants to stop future military interventions being endorsed by the country’s courts and parliaments, creating such an independent election commission is the first step. But strangely, despite all the noise over the recent constitutional amendments, called the 18th Amendment, none of the political parties pushed for an independent election commission.  The reason is that an independent election commission would also enforce democracy within the parties, challenging lifetime party presidents and ‘chairpersons’.


He said the decision to impose military rule, or Martial Law, is never a personal decision of one man but a collective one of the Army High Command and is a result of full spectrum assessment of the state of the nation.


Since a military coup is not a one-man-show and hence there is no question of personal ambition, then the right question to ask, says Mr. Chishti, is ‘Why the military intervenes?’ He suggests that tackling the reasons would reduce the possibility of such interventions.

Wise words. But they are falling on deaf ears. The mother of all ironies is that when Pakistan Army has a chief who has gone out of his way to support democracy, and even rescued it on a couple of recent occasions, Pakistan’s democratic warriors are leading the country to a grand national failure of epic proportions with their failure to perform.




  1. this is a bad piece of reporting. very sorry ahmed quraishi. i have seen a steady decline in your reporting skills. how the hell did president musharraf nurture altaf hussain and the JI? what the heck? altaf hussain and the MQM are established parties, whether one likes it or not. the only thing musharrraf did was leverage their position in karachi for the greater good (i.e mustafa kamal). as for JI, everyone knows how much qazi hussain hated musharraf and quite frankly how much musharraf hated him, esp after 9/11. he become one of the worst critics of the musharraf government. as for american influence in pakistan, we can blame president musharraf, but we need to look at our other politicians, who complain about it daily but then run to the US consulate when they need to complain about the incumbent government. president musharraf did well to protect pakistan. it doesnt really matter what ahmed quraishi thinks.

    • hamza—- man it is true what Ahmad Qureshi is saying, you are the ignorant one for not opening your eyes to reality, we must hang these scumbag paki political elite in order to bring Sharia in Pakistan that is the only solution.

  2. Sharia Law is ideal in a society where people understand the difference between wrong and right and lead a restrained lifestyle.But in a society like ours which is totally indisciplined, extreme measures are need of the hour. Situation demands that we follow the Chinese model perhaps not for ever but at least for a few years.

    • After 63 years of existence,this country will succumb to any new experiment.


      Shariah is the only answer but its application has to be according to the behavior of our society which requires justice first.

      I heard of a judge of Lahore High court,who used to dispense off cases on the streets,by listening to both sides and giving judgement on the spot.He became very popular(his name was probably Bashir or Shabbir).

      Presently,cases are still pending for 35 years.Itezaz fee is said to be Five Crore a case.
      FIR is not registered unless you bribe,Police is corrupt.Lower Judiciary is also corrupt.I am sure if justice is provided,the nation will gradually become receptive to Sharia.Penalty clauses should be last to be introduced.

      At the same time,we must think of ways how to remove the “moral bankruptcy” or “Akhlaqee diwaliapun”

  3. @ hamza
    President Musharif did well to protect Pakistan, from where did you pull this one?

    Musharif did everything possible to destroy Pakistan when he was in office for over eight years. At first people really didn’t understand him and about what was going on behind the war on terror effecting Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    But as time goes by things are becoming clearer for all to see that Musharif really played some very destructive double games with Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan, everything working out only for Indian invested interests in the region.

    Musharif’s list of crimes is long; enough to draw out this one simple fundamental conclusion that he was a traitor, maybe at worst side an Indian Hindu in disguise managed to penetrate into Pak Army in times when things were good and better for Pakistan.

    In around late 90’s he was getting ready for his showdown in coming times, which then we saw in the consecutive years followed by the coup on Nawaz gov. He was there to full-fill his master’s prophecies involving few demographics, as follows;

    Musharif was to withdraw Pakistan’s standings of Afghanistan paving the way for India
    Musharif was to make transition easier letting India to go into Afghanistan to take over on strategic places on the boarders of Pak Afghan agencies.

    Musharif was to assist india and America helping to build a force, known as Tharik e Taliban Pakistan TTP, to replace the local Pakistan based jihadist groups and organisations.

    Because those Pakistan based jihadist groups and organisations were for Pakistan’s invested interests in the region and it was important for the enemies of Pakistan to dismantle them firstly before getting on the other tasks in tunnel against Pakistan.

    Musharif signed off Kashmir cause in Indian favour and said anyone fighting for Kashmir cause was a terrorist and extremist, pushing for bans on the legally recognised jihadist groups and freedom movement organisations in Kashmir.

    Whenever he was probed on Kashmir issue his simple answers were, we are working on it behind closed doors, yet there was not an inch progression on Kashmir.

    Musharif caused damage to Pakistan sovereignty by allowing USA to build its bases in Pakistan and also to carry out operations such as Drone attacks on Pakistanis in tribal areas of Pakistan.

    Musharif let India to have transit routes through Pakistan’s sensitive areas into Afghanistan for her trades with Afghanistan, replacing Pakistani goods with Indians for Afghanis that were already part of Pak Afghanistan trade and of different compositions, going way back, but now all, it was to be replaced for Indian invested interests in Afghanistan.

    Musharif brought the most corrupt person Shukat Aziz as Pakistan’s PM. Both Musharif and Aziz abated Pakistan’s economy and cashed it on a daily bases.
    Pakistan’s stoke exchange rates were faked on a daily bases to fool the nation with GDP% ratios and underneath they were busy sell Pakistan’s assets, mostly over to India, i.e., Pakistani banks and Pakistan’s steal foundries were sold out for mere pennies to Indian Hindus.

    Musharif’s list of hyenas’ crimes against Pakistan and Pakistani nation are countless. He not to be forgiven nether be forgotten for he did an enemy job on Pakistan with full scale casing unprecedented damage!

    • All B***S***.
      Strange that except you nobody knew all this for 45 years he served in the Army.You deserve Nishan-e-Haider.

    • @ (((Pakistan’s Yes/No Matters)))

      man i think u r living on some other planet OR you r a blood relative of Imran Taliban Khan.

      Get your brain examined.

    • @ AQKhan
      @ Tareen
      Folks my brain is just fine.

      • Nobody said it is not fine.It only has to be in its place.Not like NS which is in his ankles(Takhnas)

      • lolol..hohoh.. you got me confused for a bit.

        lolol..hahaha trust me it is not only fine but it is also in its place as always’. However if my written work have hurt your delecate feelings towards your hero Mush then ignor me. However, what what needs to be done, it has to be done. Bro keep up and trust me he was my hero too, only till…he did us in the big way to make india a power on our cast. He is Pakistan’s traitor and should be hanged!Inshallah

      • You r lost! You r right. We should ignore you.

      • @ everyone

        Please read once again, but this time read with your eyes wide open… !:)

  4. Demoracy was fine in Pakistan till Zia-ul-haq with CIA help overthrow goverment

    since then pakistan has been in free fall ,and the rich have got richer and

    • Democracy never existed in Pakistan.
      Power,in the hands of politicians,is just like”BANDAR KAY HAATH MEIN NAARIYAL”.Name any politician.FSF & Nuth force of prostitutes was very famous in ZAB regime.Politicians take the situation to point of no return(Band gali),giving Army a chance to takeover.

    • @ Lt.Gen. Chishti
      BTW, we know Bhutto “champion of Democracy ” founder of corrupt PPP, sat on a very particular part of Field Marshal’s tall body & Yahya Khan’s tiny corpus, and acceded to power?
      But with your age & memory, perhaps u had mistaken
      Jamaat-e-Islam with

      Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam or
      Would be interesting to know how & when, JI was
      found sitting in the lap of a military dictator
      & came to Power thru the same ? OR

      900 chohay kha kar billi hajj ko challi
      aur jatte jatte khambay par moot gayi !!

  5. ZA Bhutto was the one who brought the Islamic countries together and worked for our nuclear program that stopped the superpower of stupidity india from attacking pakistan. If someone can recall the indian statements after their nuclear tests in pokhran they were very threatening and once pakistan conducted its tit for tat superior nuclear tests these banyas just melted away all because of this man ZA Bhutto who gave his life for our nuclears and who benefitted from this was these very generals who hanged him i.e. Zia Ul Haq, General Chishty and company for american dollars. So who was patriot ZA Bhutto not these soul selling Generals.

    • Who knows he might have saved himself if he did not shave his grown up beard saying that I don’t want to die a Mullas death.

  6. @ Pakistan’s Yes/ No matters

    It is obvious that you have undergone a ” Brain Bypass’ operation at the hands of the ‘By Chance’ (Ittefaq )fame despots viz. Sharif Badmash and Daghabaaz Sharif.

    Na kar yaar !

    • @ excalibur

      Yaar kia ha..kion muj ko Nawaz kay gang maa samil kar rahy ha app?..

      Nawaz should be out-rightly cast-out from our good books forever. He has been nothing but the burdon on our backs.

      Time to claim back Pakistan, which was given to us by our beloved Quaid and Iqbal. All traitors must be dealt before the judgement of the public of Pakistan for they did real bad of all to us!

      Plz debate the issue!

      • @ Kissay nanga kahein, kissay badmaash,
        is hammam mein to sabhi nangay hein

  7. Assalam-0-alaikum : – botath Afsos hota ha ap logo ko ak dosra sa larta dekta hoa. you all must be shame of yourself. that’s what the teaching of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H)

    Allah hum sa naraz ha as ummah and nation.

    Because we as ummah and nation are not follow Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).

    We is the solution of ours, yours problem ????

    The Real solution whether you AQKhan, Tareen etc like or not.

    is Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).

    You are following, trying and doing everything for the solution of your problem but you are noting following the real solution to your problem is Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).

    Wakeup before it’s too late

    Watch Dr Israr Program on utube.

    Prgram : – Dr. Israr Ahmed – Pakistan kay Khatamy ki Ultee Gintee.

  8. The notorious Gen Chishti Says “The today’s champions of Politics have started their politics by setting in the foot of Generals, including Jamaat-e-Islami.”

    In order to make the record straight, ” Jamaat-e-Islami was formed when the General’s Army used to be called “Indian Army”.

    Jamaat-e-Islami as a party supported General Zia thinking he might be different. They misjudged Zia and though he would prove helpful toward the basis of Pakistan. But that was blunder and soon the realized that Army General is General whose commitment towards Islam and Pakistan is retained to the extent of slogans. Actually the people like Chishti who are recruited in Army from protecting the borders, Chaukidari job, have looted Pakistan for fulfilling the lavish lifestyle of their wives.

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