Washington: Stating that the powerful Pakistani army is currently calling the shots and has marginalised the Nawaz Sharif government, a renowned human rights activist has warned of a popular revolt in the country in case of a military coup as people are not prepared for instability.
"As far as the current situation is concerned, the army is calling shots (in Pakistan). They simply do not want to see (Prime Minister) Mr Nawaz Sharif," Asma Jahangir, who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told a Washington audience on Wednesday.
"I do believe that this time the army would have to understand that the system cannot be derailed every few years, that instability in Pakistan is something that people are not prepared for. We had it for too long," Jahangir said at the Hudson Institute, an American conservative non-profit think-tank based in US.
Regardless of the mistakes of the Pakistan Muslim League and Sharif, there is a breathing space that people have got. Economically things are more stable, load shedding is better.
People are beginning to see that there may be a future in the country and the civilian government itself has not been vindictive with people, she said.
"So I think we are maturing is some respect and hope that our friends and our brothers in uniform would allow us to mature. If they do not, I am afraid that this time the dictator would be most unwelcome from day one. There would be no liberal (Pervez) Musharraf has come so let's give them a chance," Jahangir said.
Taking a dig at the "so-called" popularity of army chief General Raheel Sharif given his posters all over the country, Jahangir said he needs to shed his military uniform and join electoral politics if he wants to rule Pakistan.
"We have a wonderful army chief who I am told is loved by everybody and I am sure he is. We also know that we have a dearth of political leadership. So I do absolutely hope that he does retire this year and come to political arena where we have a dearth of leadership and since we all know from posters all over Pakistan that he is such a loved man and people do not want him to go.
"He does not have to go. He simply has to change course. From military leadership, he should come, take the vote of the people who are dying to give him the vote. And then we would have a wonderful political leader," Jahangir added.
Pakistan has witnessed three successful military coup since its independence from India in 1947. There have also been unsuccessful attempts....