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The Tide Has To Rise Again

It was being taken for granted in the early nineties of the last century that totalitarianism and authoritarianism had been thrown out of the window of the world politics for good and ever. The leading totalitarian-cum-authoritarian power of the world—the Soviet Union had finally collapsed. The Central Asian states had won freedom. The Berlin Wall having fallen, had heralded the liberation of many an East European state, and unfolded a process of democratization all over the world that seemed unstoppable. The Philippines and Pakistan too had finally been able to break free of the autocratic yoke. Even China had briefly attempted to reach out for the sweet-smelling fruit of freedoms.
The decade was well on its way to winning the distinction of being dubbed by historians as the decade of democracy. The most memorable moment of this decade came when in 1999 Nigerians did something remarkable. After 16 years of military rule and four decades of political and economic failure, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, held a free election.
But for the military takeover in Pakistan,—yet again—the century would have ended with a happy note as far as democracy is concerned. The percentage of democracies in the world had doubled in the last two decades of the century. Many of the remaining autocracies, seemed to be living on borrowed time.
Things since then have started changing. From Pakistan’s shift back to ‘autocracy’ in October 1999, to the fall of democracies in Thailand, Russia and Bangladesh, there is a rising trend towards negation of people power
Where lies the fault?
Are non-Western nations really unworthy of the freedoms that come with democracy?
Or those civilians also who run ‘democracies’ in the countries with long traditions of autocratic rule, get so infatuated with ‘the benefits and joys’ of unchecked authority that they start fiddling with the spirit of democratic rule in a manner that eventually proves suicidal?
Or some of the Generals happen to have an inherent fascination with the idea of enjoying monopoly on the right to rule?
Whatever the case be, Pakistan finds itself once again in a position where the master of its destiny wants to die not only as her President, but also in the uniform of an Army Chief.
The latest of President General Pervez Musharraf’s statements says he has every intention of getting re-elected in the Uniform. Meaning thereby that he is ill-prepared to relinquish his “right” to define democracy the way he wants to, and the way that suits him.
This leaves the people of Pakistan with only two options.
i) To resign to the Will of the Fuhrer.
ii) To prove to history that people are infinitely more powerful than an individual. As far as the military is concerned, it was, is and will always remain the people’s military. Our military has never fired at its own brothers and sisters.

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