The Government of India Act 1935 declared “Pakistan” only as an independent dominion. Then in the constitution of 1956, the state was named as the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” However, when the constitution of 1962 was promulgated, the state of Pakistan found a new name, “Republic of Pakistan” with the prefix “Islamic” dropped. The same was restored to its original position in 1963. Down the road, the constitution of 1973 retained this nomenclature for the state of Pakistan; so the name resonates to this day.
But one question has perennially been raising its head through the 7 decades of the history of Pakistani state: Did this naming, renaming, i.e. conversion and neutralization of the state of Pakistan make any difference to the life of the ordinary citizens of Pakistan? Has the politics which produced, abrogated, suspended or put in abeyance these constitutions been able to provide the ordinary citizens with what a state is in any case is required to provide them with as its first and the foremost duty? Did the state of Pakistan regardless of its nomenclature protect life and property of its citizens? Did it help them live a life of their choice? Did it help them live in freedom? Did it help them realize their dreams?
The answer to all such questions is a big and desperate NO! In fact, from the very beginning, the politicians set to build a kingdom of their own. This was despite the controversy which entrenched its feet even earlier than the death of the Father of the Nation. This controversy survives to this day and revolves around the crucial question concerning the nature of the state of Pakistan, i.e. what kind of a state Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be? After about 68 years, this question is being debated probably more forcefully now than in the early days. What is strange and rather magical is that both the politics and polity of Pakistan are oblivious of that debate; what little difference it could make and made may be seen written in the constitution and other books of laws, which are again have nothing to do with the real day-to-day life of the ordinary citizens.
How this political kingdom came to be established is a long-winded story which may be summarized thus: Political parties monopolized politics by politically enslaving their workers, sympathizers, and voters; this they do by inculcating in them personality cult of their leaders; the political leaders in their power politics never espouse any values and principles and these characterizations of their politics trickled down not only to their lower cadres but found a fertile soil in the populace also; political parties solely focus on their own party interests (read personal agendas of their leaders) and they never think of political evolution of Pakistan which is borne out by the unfinished debate about the nature of the state of Pakistan; political parties divided the country into their political principalities (read geographical delimitation of vote banks) and use them as the support-base of their political kingdom; political parties use all of their politics just to keep their hold intact on their political principalities so that they are always able to seize political power; political parties always befool their workers and voters under the guise of deceptive slogans which never come to serve the interests of the people; political parties always opt for the politics of non-issues such as problems of personality, family, larger and bigger shows and processions, etc; political parties never do the politics of real issues which the people miserably face daily; they never tell the people how they would be taxing them and regulating their life, and how they would be spending their tax-money; etc.
No doubt, if one deciphers that manual of Paki political parties some of the rules of which have been listed above, one may see how the political kingdom was built and maintained, and how it perpetuates. All this trickery is performed under the pseudonym of Democracy. This magical democracy provides politicians with alibis to violate morality, rules and laws and social values. It is this character of the political kingdom which this specialty of the politicians explains well: they live, behave and act like kings and princes with no fear of accountability; they submit to no rules and laws; whenever such a fear takes shape, they would manipulate the relevant rules and laws; they put themselves above all rules and laws and morals, and in their ultimate existence they are law unto themselves.
This political kingdom of Pakistan seems like a fantasy, but it’s more than real. Its existence was very much noticeable a few weeks earlier when the Azadi and Inqilab Marches of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek respectively were making headlines in the newspapers and TV channels. Actually this political kingdom has no vital and reciprocative relation with the ordinary citizens; it descends down only when it is in an emergency in the face of challenges (read threats) from the elements external (read security establishment) to it; but this kingdom’s ambivalent relationship with the security establishment is too obvious to be legitimized; it needs to be understood in the context of a power tussle, and not in the context of what the constitution of the country dictates. That highlights the unconstitutional character of this political kingdom.
It is in this perspective that the politics of all the political parties needs to be explained and understood. No matter it is Muslim League-N, Peoples Party, Muslim League-Q, PTI, Jamat-e-Islami, Awami National Party, Jamiat-a-Ulema-e-Islam-F, or others, all of them are part and parcel of this political kingdom. And a kingdom can never be devoid of intrigues and conspiracies on the one hand, and treacheries and betrayals on the other; that is what History tells. Who’s a friend today may be an enemy tomorrow, i.e. the parties which support democracy today may be undermining it tomorrow. Asif Ali Zardari who is standing with Nawaz Sharif today may be abandoning him tomorrow in his bid to conquer back PPPP’s principality in the province of Punjab. It’s a political kingdom, where nobody knows what’s going to happen the next moment; it’s not a constitutional state, where whatever is going to happen tomorrow is constitutionally predictable!
This article was completed on October 13, 2014, and was originally posted in November 2014.