The year 2007 is about to depart as I can witness the Sun of December the 31st outside my room’s window pan drifting slowly and gradually towards the west where it will set for one last time a few moments later. Like every year it is still a mystery for me where this one too will go but unlike so many of them 2007 brought with it some events which were gigantic in its magnitude and which of course had the potential to affect the very existence of Pakistan.
Most of the events occured in Pakistani body politic were unprecedented in its overall history like the one on March 9th when President Musharraf suspended the chief justice of Pakistan Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry blaming the latter of misconduct. The presidential decision triggered a country-wide protest by the lawyers, civil society and political parties for the reinstation of the deposed chief justice. Prominent lawyers like Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir.A.Malik and Hamid Khan were at the forefront of the campaign. They were able to lead a campaign which was participated by hundreds of thousands of people supported by online campaigns by the prominent Pakistani bloggers. Amid the judicial crisis, the law and order situation at the very capital were worsening up courtesy the angry duo of Maulana Abdur-Rashid and Abdul Aziz of the Lal Masjid who’d increased their activities in their demands for the imposition Sharia in the country. As often has been the case with Musharraf regime, the government decided to silent the voices from Lal masjid with a millitiary operation started on July 10th and which culminated with the annihilation of the mosque where more than 105 people were killed including Ghazi Abdur Rashid and hundreds of male and female students sheltering in the mosque. The senior cleric Abdul Aziz was caught fleeing in a ‘burqa’ which he termed was a result of a governmental conspiracy against him. Sentiments of the masses were wounded by the millitiary operation besides there started a series of suicide attacks in the federal capital along with a few other cities. Amid the gloom of chaose and turmoil a larger bench of the supereme court gave this historical verdict of the reinstation of the chief justice on July 20. The decision was a current of fresh air for all of those who suffered at the hands of a cruel millitiary regime and a severe blow for the credibility of the ruling junta. Optimists termed the verdict as the most important in the history of the nation and a general sense of pride prevailed in the masses. Rumors were spreading among the masses about a possible deal between Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto for a political alliance which were initially negated by both the parties but which became an open secret courtesy its exposition by the media. Another exhiled former premier Nawaz Sharif was arrested on Islamabad airport and was returned to Saudi Arabia from where he flew home encouraged by some favorable remarks of the supereme court. October 02, an ordinance called National Reconciliation Ordinance was promulgated by the government clearing all the politically motivated charges against national politicians in the past. Some thought the ordinance to be an effort on part of the regime to accept in its fold the former prime minister Ms. Benazir Bhutto who had been facing some serious charges of curruption and misconduct. In the meanwhile a pretentious presidential election ensured a term of next five years as president for Mr. Musharraf. The NRO encouraged Ms. Bhutto to land at the Karachi airport on October 19th with an ocean of her supporters welcoming her. There was an attempt to kill Benazir while she was proceeding towards Mazare-Quaid. She escaped while hundreds of people were killed in the brutal attack. Musharraf’s presidency were challenged and supereme court decided to reivestigate the whole process of his election. There were inside news that supereme court might come up with a decision against Musharraf presidency but a state of emergency was imposed on 3rd November which some argued was a state of martial law in fact. The sitting judges who declined to take oath under the PCO were sent home besides all the leading Private TV channels were banned and newspapers were regulated through a PEMRA regulation. There was a mass upsurge against the emergency ordinance and people from all walks of life came out on the streets to demand for its repulsion. The regime came down hard on all the voices of dessent. Jails were filling up not of criminals but of those who raised their voices for the rule of law. Amid the gloom and doom parliament completes its term of five years and a caretaker government was sworn in with the anoucement of the date of general elections; January the 8th. And in a strange twist of events Nawaz Sharif was allowed to come back home which he did on November 25th. General Ashfaq Kiyani was appointed as the new COA when Musharraf finally gave up his controvercial designation of the army chief. The state of emergency was lifted on 15th of December with a gradual easing of curbs on media. The political scene in the country was gathering momentum with both the political giants, the PPP and the PML(N) participating passionately to thwart the governmental favorite PML(Q) which was equally helped by the state sponsored PTV. Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf and Jamaat-e-Islami with a few other smaller parties bycotted the elections terming it illegal and biased especially in the presence of a dummy judiciary. Events were happening too quickly for one to keep track of all of them but what happened in the culminating days of the year will keep one wonder how could it be possible. It was December the 27th when Ms. Benazir Bhutto was assasinated after addressing a multitude of people in Liaqat Bagh at Rawalpindi. She was shot dead in a highly calculated manner along with a suicidal attack. The news was shocking as well as mournful which triggered chaos all around the country. People throughout the country reacted to the news with anger and agitation. Governmental and public property was damaged. Hundreds of cars were burnt, banks looted, and shops ransaked. There were reports of human loss as well.
All in all 2007 was a year which dented the image of Pakistan throughout the world to a fair extent. Law and order was non existent and an atmosphere of fear among the masses prevailed throughout most of the year. And the way it was culminated; its better go now.
(Let’s pray for tomorrow. May the year of 2008 bring us stability, peace and prosperity and may it be a year of rewards for all the sacrifices that we rendered as a nation in 2007)
A very Happy New Year to all of you out there!