Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mafia politics

Pakistan is a victim of political parties whose motto is: politics of the mafia, by the mafia, for the mafia!

Every moment and every day the citizens of Pakistan are being inescapably entangled more and more in the tentacles of mafia politicians. Sometimes in the name of Revolution, sometimes in the name of Religion, sometimes in the name of Democracy, sometimes in the name of Enlightened Moderation, or such other traps, these mafia politicians fool and exploit the people. But they never talk of what the Pakistani citizens have desperately been wanting from the day one, and what they really need at the moment also. This is Rule of Law, which was introduced first by the British in the sub-continent. Tragically, though the British are still reviled both by the Left and the Right equally, unfortunately with their departure, the Rule of Law also departed - at least in the sub-continental Pakistan.

Living through the six decades of the so-called independence, Pakistanis are yet to witness the establishment of the Rule of Law in their country. Instead, what exists before their eyes is such a great dust that does not let them see and distinguish clearly crime from politics. Ironically, crime, religion and politics have all compounded into one – and inseparably. Whether it is the case of politicians transforming into criminals, or criminals relaxing into politics, it is certain that politics has already been pervaded through and through by mafias. Or, it has acquired the ways of the mafia!

It’s not that long ago, but only a few years back, that someone wrote to the editor of an English daily: "My generation - one that once lived under British governance - knows what the rule of law meant. What we have today is anarchy. People like me, who are not affiliated with a political party, the bureaucracy, the army or the press, are treated as though we are not even citizens of the state. And yet we are the majority, the teeming, toiling citizens of Pakistan............"

The departure of the Rule of Law with the British benefited all those who do not flourish under rules and laws. Of course, these include criminals, but noticeably the political, religious, military, business, trade, intellectual, media elites. Let me add that as with time the absence of the Rule of Law entrenched, these elites converted into mafias. With time, not only their number increased, their range and scope also expanded. Land mafia, estate mafia, trade union mafia, medical mafia, (and such), are the new additions. There are other waiting in the wings to be enlisted. Sure, this does exclude the real criminal mafia! And last but not least, the corruption mafia, which lives within and without all these mafias - like a super-mafia.

A distinction may be made between two types of mafias existing in Pakistan. The one which cannot do without living and working without being a mafia; and the other, which has to adopt and adapt to the ways of the mafia because in an environment replete with mafias it cannot survive, at this or that level. However, the incidence of both is linked to one symptom: the absence of the Rule of Law. One can enumerate hundreds of small and big, and ever newer crimes, and other unethical practices, that took root and flourished in an environment where no Rule of Law prevailed. More important than all such things is the fact that under such circumstance a new “creature” took birth in Pakistan. It is devoid of any norms, manners, etiquettes, and moral and ethical principles, and regards any rules and laws with extreme arrogance. Its population is fast on the increase under the present favorable circumstances.

Finally, there comes the Supreme Mafia – the state, the government of Pakistan! As other mafias do not like rules and laws since they hinder their growth, likewise, if a government does not like rules and laws, and violates them with utter disregard, it transforms itself into a mafia. Rather, it proves to be a fertile ground for all types of mafias to grow and flourish. Ours governments have been so, and the present one is more so - like a mafia government.

The greatest crime the state and governments in Pakistan have throughout and always been committing is that they did not establish the Rule of Law in the country whereas it was their first and the foremost duty. Still, as regards the present government, it has nowhere on its agenda the establishment of the Rule of Law in Pakistan, let alone on the top of its priorities. Contrarily, it espouses a Policy of Reconciliation which in real terms amounts to a Policy of Reconciliation with the Mafias. In plain words, this means a ‘Policy of Live and Let Live’ – which translates into a policy of no wrangling with any mafia!

Is it this what a government stands for? Isn’t it the first and the foremost duty of a government to establish Rule of Law? Isn’t it the Rule of Law that ensures protection of life and property to each and every citizen? Isn’t it the Rule of Law that secures personal freedom and justice to each and every citizen? The citizens of Pakistan have never tasted such a government whose top priority had or has been to establish the Rule of Law. Nor the present government has had such an agenda.

So far as the manifestoes or programs of all the political, religious or other pseudo-political or religious, parties are concerned, no one talks of (and means) the Rule of Law to be established in Pakistan. No doubt, they should not; this is inimical to their politics and survival. But the question is: for whom these parties exist? Aren’t they there for the benefit of the citizens of Pakistan? Obvious enough, if they consider the benefit of the citizens of Pakistan as their top goal they must put the establishment of the Rule of Law at the top of their political program. Not only that, they should start right now a campaign for the same, and instead of ‘saving democracy,’ ‘calling for Revolution,’ build pressure on the present government to establish the Rule of Law, which may prove their sincerity to the cause of the citizens of the Pakistan!

Also as much important, it is for the citizens to use the notion and value of the Rule of Law as the only yardstick to judge the government and its institutions as well the politics of all the parties, political or religious. The value of the Rule of Law is such a touchstone that helps not only weigh the quality of the government but the quality of those parties, or better say mafias, also which aspire to be in the government. So, in order to make Pakistan a country which is not ruled by mafias, but the Laws, every street, every road, every café, every home, every meeting place, every radio and TV channel, every private and public institution, every educational premises, and finally every mind and heart, should echo but with one Slogan: We want Rule of Law! First and foremost, the Rule of Law!

[This article was completed on January 31, 2011, and was carried by various newspapers in Pakistan.]

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