Drift towards chaos and anarchy

It is an unfortunate reality that since its independence, Pakistan has failed to change its crisis-ridden profile, which is a sequel to taking a detour from the path envisioned by its founding father. The blame squarely lies on the military dictators who violated the constitution and repeatedly derailed the ongoing democratic process as well as on the politicians who, during their power stints that interspersed the military regimes, never made an earnest effort to put Pakistan back on track.
It has been a never-ending story of power politics and self-aggrandisement. Our history is replete with the emergence of demagogues and self-serving politicians whose only concern has been grabbing power and clinging to it by all fair and unfair means. Changing the fate of the people in line with the vision bequeathed by the architect of Pakistan has never been their priority. To the chagrin of the hapless masses, even now, they are not prepared to retract and engage in course-correction efforts.
Raising the edifice of a nation at ease with itself requires unflinching commitment to the objectives of independence and internationally recognised norms of democratic behaviour within the confines of the constitution and the law. If we look at the permeating political situation in the country at the moment, all these nation-building ingredients are missing. The political polarisation in the country seems to have been stoked into political enmity, having no respect for the law and the constitution. Violence and foul play seem to be the order of the day.
The ouster of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan from power happened through a constitutional process. However, he adopted all means to obstruct the constitutional course, inviting intervention by the apex court whose five-member bench unanimously declared the rejection of the no-confidence motion by the deputy speaker and the consequent actions taken by Prime Minister and the President, as unconstitutional. Regrettably a campaign was unleashed on social media against the judiciary, instead of accepting the decision ungrudgingly. Then in Punjab, the PTI governor has shown unprecedented stubbornness and defiance of the court verdicts regarding the election of the Chief Minister and administering the oath of office to him. The Judiciary is the ultimate arbiter in constitutional matters. Defiance of its verdicts means violation of the constitution. It is a perfect recipe to drift towards chaos and anarchy.
The best way for resolving the permeating political crisis is to implement the court verdicts ungrudgingly and sit together to evolve consensus on the contentious issues. Any approach contrary to that would precipitate the crisis further and might lead to the derailment of democracy. Immediate elections are not the solution to arrest the burgeoning political instability. The government and the opposition must develop a working relationship with each other, setting aside personal egos for greater national cause.
The situation has divided the nation. Imran Khan, contrary to his contention that a leader must play a role for uniting a nation, is doing exactly the opposite. He must realise that it will ultimately harm his own political career. He is a leader in his own right and his opponents have also come to the parliament with the mandate of the people. It is their collective responsibility to winch the nation out of the quagmire that it is stuck into. Even now things can be rectified before it is too late.
My suggestion to Imran Khan would be to remain part of the parliament, engage in a dialogue with the present government and try to work on the reforms in the system of governance, particularly the mode of elections and their transparency. Let us suppose that instead of adopting this suggested course he creates a crisis situation and elections are held as per existing laws by the ECP, whom it does not trust and he fails to sweep them as he perceives at the moment, will he accept the results? His track record suggests otherwise. In case he wins, does he expect the opposition to accept it and let him rule unruffled? Surely the opposition would also not accept the results in the backdrop of the unmanageable political polarisation that haunts the political landscape of the country.
It would be an act of insanity to hold the elections in this controversial environment. Before the new elections are held, it is absolutely imperative to plug the avenues of horse-trading and buying of loyalties, which apart from international conspiracy, he blames for his ouster from power. He needs to realise the ground-realities, look for democratic solutions by treading the constitutional course. PTI can be a formidable opposition in the parliament and during the one and half years that are left for next elections, it can surely force the government to hold dialogue on the reforms that are needed to resolve the debilitating issues. The Parliament is the best and constitutional forum to tide over political crises and reforming the system of governance. These issues cannot be settled on the streets.

Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at ashpak10@gmail.com.

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