'Leftists' in the Rightist PML-N

(Abu Hassan, )

Muhammad Asif

Being aware of his feelings and views about the Army, I think that none other than Pervaiz Rashid could be behind both Dawn Leak and Nawaz Sharif's recent anti-state and anti-army statements. I know him and his views from our college days. When I got admission, in August 1969, in the 1st Year class at Gordon College Rawalpindi, Pervaiz Rashid was a student of 3rd Year there. Sheikh Rashid also got admission in 1st Year.

It was a time when the 1970 general elections gave birth to the most serious political crisis in our history. The main reason for this crisis was Gen Yahya Khan, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who refused to hand over power to Sh Mujib-ur-Rehman who had won the overall simple majority to form government both at the Centre as well as in Dhaka, by sweeping polls in the East Pakistan. Pervaiz Rashid, an active supporter of PPP, was arrested by the Martial Law regime because of his involvement in anti-Army activities. After the fall of East Pakistan, Yahya handed over power to ZAB in December 1971. Pervaiz Rashid, after his release from jail, again took the admission in 3rd Year, and thus became my classmate. At that time Sh Rashid and I were holding the appointment of President and Secretary of the Students’ Union, respectively. Though both of us had similar views on political issues, we developed serious differences probably due to personality clash.

Pervaiz Rashid a founding member of PPP Rawalpindi was tasked by his party to neutralize Sh Rashid who was enjoying the support of Ch Zahoor Elahi. Exploiting my differences with Sh Rashid, Pervaiz tactfully trapped me to launch an anti-Sheikh Rashid campaign in the college. Due to a common opponent, Pervaiz and I became closer. Though he failed to win my support for PPP, yet our friendship led me to know the views, beliefs and activities of the so-called leftists in Pakistan. I also got the chance of meeting the PPP leaders, big or small. Another reason for our friendship was my Vespa scooter; Pervaiz did not have any, so he depended on me for his mobility.

Raja Muhammad Anwar (another leftist and pro-PPP student leader, who was later involved in the hijacking of a PIA plane along with the elder son of ZAB, Murtaza Bhutto, during Gen Zia’s ML) was appointed as an advisor to Begum Nusrat Bhutto. Reportedly, he is currently occupying an important government post due to Pervaiz Rashid’s influence in PML-N. Pervaiz was also appointed Personal Secretary to the Chief Minister of now KP. He served on this position till the removal of Bhutto's government by Gen Zia. Pervaiz remained politically inactive during Zia’s rule from July 1977 to August 1988. He resurfaced in mid 1990s as a close aide of Shehbaz Sharif. He was introduced to Shehbaz by Nazir Nagi, another founding member of PPP.

Before his appointment as PS to the KP CM, he always boasted of being an ideological Marxist. Che Guevara, a Latin American Marxist revolutionary, and Meraj Muhammad Khan, who left PPP after resigning as a State Minister due to ideological differences with ZAB, were among Pervaiz’s ideals. I am not sure what compelled a die-hard leftist to join PML-N that has always been known as an anti-PPP and anti-Marxism party. Whether it was change of political views due to some disillusionment, being sidelined by Benazir Bhutto for showing disloyalty to the founder of PPP during Zia’s regime, or simple opportunism and pragmatism necessitated by some personal and monetary interests. I cannot comment.

I don't want to comment on Pervaiz Rashid's religious views and faith, but basing on his political and ideological background, it is not difficult to conclude that he is one of those figures who joined the PML-N to achieve their political agenda by creating a wedge between the Army and people of Pakistan. Despite his anti-Muslim League political background, he has been practically controlling the policies of PML-N since his induction in the party. Because of their trust in his loyalty, capabilities and political acumen, the entire Sharif family accord more weightage to his opinion than the views of senior and ideological members of PMLN. As I know him, Pervaiz Rashid could be behind Dawn Leak and Nawaz Sharif's recent anti-state and anti-army statements. I also have a feeling that the October 12, 1999 mishap that derailed political and democratic process, was the outcome of miscalculation of Nawaz Sharif’s advisors like Pervaiz Rashid. His removal from his post as a minister even before the completion of JIT report, and remarks of Ch Nisar Ali Khan, the senior most PML-N leader, that Pervaiz Rashid's views about the Army are not different from those of the Indians, validate my conclusions about this dubious character. If I say he is the Hussain Haqqani of PML-N, it won't be wrong.

No doubt Pervaiz Rashid, Raja Anwar, and other outsiders, who are currently occupying important positions in PML-N, and some supporters of Nawaz like Mehmood Achakzai are clever and cunning players, how highly experienced and seasoned politicians like the Sharif brothers have not been able to understand the game plan of these elements, who have always been opposed to the Ideology of Pakistan and Army, which is entrusted the mission of guarding both geographical and ideological frontiers of Pakistan by the nation.

Nothing can be more damaging for a country than choking the active support of the nation to the army that is engaged in war against terrorism. Pakistan is fighting for its survival. Our Motherland is surrounded by hostile forces from all sides. Never before nation’s active support to the army was so vital to counter the nefarious designs of our enemies. After the disqualification of Nawaz by the Supreme Court, a systematic campaign has been launched by PML-N to malign the army. Besides politicizing the charges of corruption against the Sharif family, weakening the state institutions appears to be the sole objective of this campaign. It is virtually a war declared against Pakistan, waged with the support of its internal, regional and international enemies. It is far more serious crime than violation of the constitution. It is the collective responsibility of the nation and the state institutions to convey a resolute and unequivocal message to the black sheep among the politicians that they will have to account for anti-state activities, launched in connivance with our declared enemies to undermine the State of Pakistan.

(The writer is a retired officer)

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