Dissident General Declared Unfit for Election to Mayor's Office
M Afzal Khan
Sept. 21: A retired Lieutenant General of Pakistan Army, the former
Chief of General Staff at the GHQ who was about to be named the
Army Chief in 1976 and who later joined politics and became a
senior minister, has now been declared unfit to become a District
Mayor because "his educational papers appear to be suspicious."
a sensational development an
official of Musharraf's Election Commission, District
Election Officer of Chakwal, has disqualified Lt. General (Retd)
Majeed Malik from contesting the election of the District Nazim
although he has been contesting for Parliament for years and was
elected member of the National Assembly for 4 times.
is also the senior-most Vice President of the ruling Pakistan
Muslim League (PML-Q) but has defied Chief Minister Punjab Choudhry
Parvez Elahi’s nominee for the slot.
treatment given to General Majeed Malik demonstrates in the most
vivid terms the bankruptcy of the elections being held by Musharraf
and confirm repeated allegations by the Opposition that the whole
process was thoroughly rigged. It shows that if even a retired
General stands up against Musharraf, or his cronies, he will be
thrown out of the process summarily.
The then Lt. General Majeed Malik,
was tipped as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in 1976 before the then
Prime Minister ZA Bhutto changed his mind to appoint six steps
junior and later his own hangman, General Ziaul Haq as COAS.
81, is pitted against the government-backed candidate and a PPP
turn-coat Sardar Ghulam Abbas. He has spurned all pressures from
the party, the Prime Minister and PML Chief Choudhry Shujaat Hussain
for withdrawing from the contest. He is supported by an alliance
of Opposition-backed councilors besides his own formidable group
which makes him the most likely winner.
son-in-law, Tahir Iqbal, is Minister of State for Environment
in the Federal Cabinet who earned displeasure of the Chief Minister
for objecting to his pet New Murree Project and a cement plant
being set up in the area on environmental and ecological grounds.
Malik did his matriculation in 1935, joined the Royal Indian Army
in 1940 and rose to be a General before retiring in 1976 along
with six other senior generals when Zia superceded them to become
Army Chief. At the time of retirement he was Chief of General
Staff, the second most office in the army after COAS.
joined PML in 1980s and thrice served as a Federal Minister in
the governments of Mohammad Khan Junejo and Nawaz Sharif. He has
also been elected member of the National Assembly four times in
papers were first accepted by the Returning Officer but his opponent
Sardar Ghulam Abbas appealed to the District Returning Officer
Mirza Rafiuz Zaman. Malik alleged that Punjab Government has exerted
pressure on the officer. He was earlier threatened that his son-in-law
may also lose his cabinet post.
defiant General is fighting back but the system is loaded against
him. He has sent a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner
accusing his opponent of blatantly presiding over meetings of
police and administration officials to use them for manipulating
the elections. He has moved the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore
High Court against rejection of his papers. As a precaution, Malik’s
son had filed papers as a cover candidate and would contest the
election if his father fails to make it to the polls due on October
has also made an unsuccessful bid to garner support within the
PML. During a recent meeting of the Central Executive Committee,
only one party leader, Syed Kabir Ali Wasti, backed him while
others kept a discreet silence. Wasti is known to be a person
who takes unpopular and sometimes not so politically correct decisions.
In a related development, police
have registered a case against opposition candidate for key Rawal
Town Nazim in Rawalpindi, Rana Tanvir, who is contesting against
nephew of Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed. Police have
arrested Rana’s brother who himself has gone underground.
members in the National Assembly Monday night raised the issue
in the house and staged a walk out after the speaker ruled out
writer is a senior Islamabad-based journalist and writes for The
Nation and Khaleej Times