By Omer Kamal bin Farooq
To begin with, I absolutely loathe generals in uniform running countries. No matter how incompetent the politicians are, how relevant the doctrine of necessity is and how much of a messiah the man in the boots is, there is something very corrupt and amoral about the whole thing.
I remember watching Ziaul Haq’s martial law speech for the first time as a teenager during the peak of the lawyers’ movements. As a child who grew up in Musharraf’s martial law, I, for the first time, was discovering terms like ‘judicial independence’, ‘supremacy of the constitution’, and the ‘primacy of democracy‘. I was caught up in the romance of all that.
Then I saw his speech in which he shamelessly went on about how “Mr Bhutto’s” government has been brought to an end, assemblies dissolved and ministers removed.
What flabbergasted me was how could a man say all this in one sentence and never stutter for once. How could he tell his “aziz humwatno” (dear countrymen) that they are inconsequential and their elected institutions and people are nothing more than fragile toys left to the whims of a badly brought up child?
But he did all this, never being weighed down by the burden of his own words. Heck, he even talked about the constitution in the last part of the sentence. So the constitution, head of the government, provincial and national assemblies, ministers and governors, all went in the same sentence and the man did not even show a modicum of remorse. Despite this, we all know who was hanged in the wee hours of the morning and who got the much celebrated state funeral only fitting for a national hero.
A lot has changed in the last five years since I saw the video of his speech. The lawyers are upholding the law by banning Ahmadi-owned soft drinks and showering cold-blooded murderers with rose petals. Even judicial activism has been harbouring on the fringes of judicial martial law, but one thing has remained constant; my disgust for what Zia has done to my country and what he stood for.