Baghi Vs. Daghi
Why the attempted coup in Turkey was doomed right from the word Go
The word “Baghi” or “Rebel” has a certain appeal to it. In Pakistan I personally attribute it to a century of racist colonial rule. During those days little acts of “rebellion” were considered heroic. Pakistanis have a passion for rebellion. Cartoonist Javed Iqbal is sometimes “rebellious” against injustice in his artistic and positive way whereas Mullah Fazlullah’s FM radio in Swat at the time rebellion in a different and negative way. PTI has used the termed “Daaghi” (stained) to clarify the difference between “Baghi” rebels and “Daghi” rebel.
History of coups d'états is as old as the history of civilization itself. Fathers have killed and have been killed by sons, sons by mothers, mothers by sons, brother by brother (most often) and the history of conspiracies is as comprehensive as coups. We remember Shah Jahan for his love for Mumtaz Mehal and the resulting Tomb(Taj Mehal), the monument of love. We rarely recall that he was eventually imprisoned by his own son; the much celebrated Aurangzeb to save a collapsing empire, and died in house arrest near the very Taj Mehal after 8 years in confinement. Wife of Jahangir, daughter in law of Akbar Nur Jehan(real name Mehr ul Nisa) once ruled India through her husband. It’s a matter of legends and it’s said she ruled India through Jahangir’s heart. Even coins were minted on her name. She was probably the most powerful woman in the history of Sub Continent. Her niece being Mumtaz Mehal, her step son being Shah Jehan. Her brother Asif Khan sided with her step son during a power struggle afer the death of Jehangir and imprisoned her. She spent her last 17 years (1628-1645) in relative seclusion. She wrote poetry with the pen name of “Makhfi” (meaning hidden). One of her verses echoes in one’s ear when one visits her tomb.
Bar mazar-i-ma ghareeban, nay chiraage nay gule,
Nay par-e-parvana sozad, nay sada-e-bulbule
On my grave, there are no candles, no flowers.
Neither any moth's feather are burnt, nor any nightingale sings songs over here
In Lahore. One can drive towards Shahdarra using the Saggiaan Bridge, and witness history for oneself. There is Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s tomb. Then there is Nur Jehan’s Tomb whose grave is alongside her daughter. Then there is the Tomb of her brother Asif Khan. Despite inefficiency of department of archaeology it is a great piece of history. A reminder that Allah alone is all mighty, the once mighty of the world eventually always fall. It is interesting to note that the real grave of Noor Jehan is actually under the structure erected upstairs. If you talk to the guide, and he feels generous (or u grease his palms) he would take u down stairs and show you. The verse I quoted above echoes in one’s mind when one is there. Do offer Fatiha.
Anyway as usual I am writing as I think and have deviated from topic a bit (not a lot). This IS human history. It is inevitable that when there is a possibility of a Government being taken over by someone it would be.
From Ancient Egypt to Greeks to Romans to Khilafat it happened. Sometimes there is a political coup, when an elected leader is replaced by his own party through political maneuverings. A coup due to very basic human nature is inevitable. Except of course when the Government leave no room for one. The change through institutionalized means has been incorporated in modern day world, but it still happens. Kennedy was murdered. Four sitting US Presidents have been assassinated since the inception of US constitution and there are more then 20 known attempts to assassinate a sitting former or President elect. That figure does not include Presidential candidates.
No other party has had the strongest grip on power then the Nazi Party. When the Nazi Germany was staring at an imminent defeat there was an attempted coup. They tried to use the reserve German Army to take control of the SS after assassinating Hitler. And negotiate favorable surrender with Allies when they still had bargaining power. The assassination failed, however the plotters thought it had succeeded and went on with the plot anyway. The plot failed but it was inches away from removing Hitler from power(one year before the end of World War), and it came down to a Major named Otto Ernst Remer. To arrest second most powerful man in Europe(Goebells). Major realized he is being played when Goebbels connected him to Fuehrer (Hitler) and didn’t arrest him. The plot eventually failed after Hitler recovered from his non life threatening injuries and many senior plotters refused to go ahead. And the plot was a failure once the plotters had no Army at their disposal.
For coup to occur there are some essential requirements. A weak government. Strong conspirators, preferably part of the government but discontent. A public which has grievances. A leader which is disconnected with public and probably a whole lot of other factors.
In Pakistan it is wrong to call military take over a coup. In effect they are mini revolutions. Justice Munir correctly wrote in his decision in favor of Ayub Khan that when a coup is successful and people accept it, it becomes a revolution. Invoking doctrine of necessity ‘that which is otherwise not lawful is made lawful by necessity'. The system in Pakistan rotten, there is no doubt about it. It is rotten to the core and even the most dedicated future leaders would have to work overtime to replace it and make a system work. Every time there was been a military takeover in Pakistan there was indeed widespread discontent in Public. Economic growth, job create, reduction in poverty, reduction in crime rate and many other macro indicators are an easy argument and I choose to go with them since specific incidents would take too much time. In 1958 politicians who were corrupt to the core where running successive governments alongiwth the never changing bureaucracy. An argument which I find very appealing is, all of the politicians who were disqualified through EBDO after Martial Law have been forgotten by the history and people (Electected body disqualification ordinance). Please note initially even Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah welcomed Martial Law.
In 1977 the sentiment of people was a lot like the sentiment of Turks who are against the coup. Bhutto had clearly rigged the elections (some even filling ballot boxes at home). Bhutto did not have a majority in undivided Pakistan in 1971, he massively rigged the elections in 1977 and PPP has never had a clear majority since. If what Bhutto did in 1977 was not a coup I don’t know what is. At the time Gen.Zia took power country had been at a standstill for weeks. For days it was barely functional, if not dysfunctional at all. Offices, schools colleges even essential services were not able to function. When their time for Oathtaking PPP “elected” members had to be hauled on helicopters instead of roads due to condition of law and order. Just before Bhutto was removed he had ordered army to use force if necessary. This has happened twice in history when Pakistan Army has been asked to fire on innocent civilians. Once in 1968, then in 1977. Both times governments were replaced. In 1968 after an unfortunate series of events, Pakistan Army came eye to eye with civilians on civilian government’s orders(Ayub was President Gen.Yahya was CNC). They drew a line and announced anyone crossing it would be fired upon. An old man dared and was shot down, after him two shopkeepers of Antalkali Bazaar were shot. Commanding officer in the field had enough of his superiors and went against the orders he had received through chain of commands ordering CEASEFIRE and a retreat. Second time it was 1977, many officers refused to carry out the order and many including a few Brigadiers were sacked. In 1968 Gen.Yahya intervened, applauded by Bhutto and other politicians (YouTube videos are available). And much to the relief of people Gen.Zia moved in 1977. The question is, should they have allowed the country to the fate of eventual civil war?
Imran Khan, a famous politicians with a cult like following claims (for many years now) that Pakistan has hit rock bottom and we can only go up from here. He claims it every year and also mentions how situation is worse than last time he held a procession. Maybe he has no idea what hitting the rock bottom is like. Instead of flying to his favorite retreats in London or five star hotels in Asia he should fly to Baghdad. He should go to Aleppo, he should go to Sudan. Maybe then he would refrain from using this argument.
Then in 1999, Indian narrative was building up in the world media, we were near to an economic collapse. There was great resentment in Pakistan due to his friendly moves towards India despite Indian nuclear tests. Economy was struggling, corruption and nepotism was extreme. The tipping point came when Prime minister issued a summary dismissal of Army chief overriding the chain of commands posted Gen.Butt who started issuing orders from PM house. The then little known Army Chief was in air heading to Pakistan from a conference in Sri Lanka. Only time in our history where the most dangerous situation occurred, generals getting contradictory orders. Thankfully, core commanders followed protocol and disregarded orders from Gen.Butt following orders from GHQ. Thus avoiding a catastrophe. PM also issued orders to air the news on national television and divert Army Chief’s plane. The plane of Army chief was allowed to land when military took over the airport, apparently with little fuel. People were tired of the system, they (like the previous take over’s) distributed sweets and celebrated in joy. Hoping for a better future.
Coming back to the Baghi or Daghi debate, as Justice Munir observed when a coup is successful and people accept it, it becomes a revolution. That was not the case when Musharraf declared emergency in 2007. People did not distribute sweets, Musharraf had to reverse the decision, restore the Supreme Court and transfer power shortly after that.
Military in Turkey has a long history of intervention in politics. Ataturk, a Pasha (general) once himself prohibited the role of military in politics in 1930. However Turkish military (reformed after the collapse of Ottoman Empire saw itself as the guardians of “Kemalism” or “Attaturkism”. Attaturkism is basically separation of state from religion or in essence the transition from Ottoman collapse to a modern secular state with a broad spectrum of reforms and Turkish nationalism. In 1960 the PM had an apparent tilt towards Islam, Military staged a coup, PM along with senior ministers were charged with treason to constitution and executed. Constitution was amended so military could intervene legally as they saw fit. In 1971 and 1980 there were two more legal coup.
I knew in hearts of heart that a coup in Turkey would fail. When I first heard about it I read about Prime Minister Yildrim's defiant statement. There and then I was sure the coup has failed, I was sure at least a large part of Government is not under arrest, or to be honest dead. I hoped Erdogan would be alive and when I saw his facetime message my belief was reaffirmed. Looked to be without the support of masses or armed forces some group is attempting a coup. Looked like they were following a playbook from the 70s. And in the end elected Turkish Government backed by people and majority of military succeeded in a swift counter coup.
Erdogan called for public support and lead the response by putting himself in the line of fire by landing in Istanbul air port. In a few ten minutes the coup had backfired and confused soldiers, most of which believed it was a military exercise surrendered.
In the aftermath Tayyab himself participated in civilians and other martyred and recited Quran during the burial of some. And I am sure state would take care of it.
In Pakistan due to sheer incompetence and corruption government with their born entitlfled attitude is unable to even provide 24/7 electricity. When you go to police in case of a crime in Pakistan (God forbid) they would be asking you for petrol to arrest the criminal in case you yourself can spot them. In a government hospital you can see the overcrowded patients and half asleep doctors and corrupt administrators of hospitals.
To cut a long story short, the coup plotters in Turkey are Daghi not Baghi. In Pakistan is there is super constitutional change backed by military, civilian Government would be Daghi.