Friday, January 25, 2013

Next elections next month

The sort of politicking being hurled around in Pakistan proves with ample evidence that the next general elections are at hand.

Somehow, the latest episode of politicking started with Parvez Elhi (Pakistan Muslim League Q - Oh, Quaid-e-Azam!) giving a press briefing to the effect that Moonis Elahi, his son and young politico of the same party, would be back home in a week’s time to face the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the courts which were adamant to quiz him regarding his alleged involvement in the National Insurance Company Limited ‘Scam.’ (Every entity working under the aegis of the state in Pakistan sooner or later has to have this suffix.) Parvez Elahi was cool and calm and it seemed Moonis Elahi would soon be available to the investigators to clear his name from the list of accused in the said scam. Had this happened, another opportunity of politicking would have been lost to the hunters.

Then there was the Raymond Davis episode that proved to be a blessing in disguise to each and everyone fond of trying his / their hands at politicking. Both provincial and federal governments are making political hay while the Raymond Davis’ sun shines. This long queue also includes so many of those who are determined to fight and defeat US the Super Power in Lahore. What a great opportunity they have got to wage the 3rd World War against the last Super Power! (These politicos plan to be the next themselves!)

Some instances give a glimpse of the parties and preparations for this war: provincial government is intent upon trying Raymond as a ‘killer.’ Are they always so sincere and law-abiding or at this time only is a question that lends support to the view that at the back of their minds they have a predilection for securing campaign points to be used in the next general elections! Ah, I envy how Pakistan Muslim League (N) would boast while campaigning for its candidates how bravely the PML (N) stood against the American Super Power, and how Pakistan Peoples Party’s government had to cowardly release Raymond!

It was extremely surprising and forced me to check with the online newspapers whether the election campaign was going to end tomorrow when I heard on a TV channel some of the local leaders of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in a protest meeting shouting and demanding the government to handover Raymond to them and win the 3rd World War against US the Super Power. The headlines of a few days’ later newspapers congratulated PTI on its land-sliding victory in the general elections and Imran Khan the next Premier-designate.

Many of other politico players both inside and outside the parliament and provincial legislatures and all of the arch “rivals” (“not enemies”) of America which include Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (F) found in Raymond a sort of catchall thing, and just in days after the fall of Salman Taseer. How fortunate they are! I wish Anne Patterson were once again back in Pakistan to negotiate the “extraditing” of Raymond with JUI (F)’s top leader! Wouldn’t he ‘round up all Taliban along with Raymond and hand them over to her!’

Another ‘big’ player of politicking is some TV channels. It may still be guesswork, or not at all, whose game they are in for. That sheds light on certain secret involvements also, and the bad omen is impending elections sooner than later.

For the time being ‘the breaking episode’ in the present sequel of politicking is PML (Q)’s Shujat Hussian’s press conference in which he castigated PML (N) for making Moonis Elahi a target of political vengeance and willfully involving him in the NICL scam. He was grim, wistful and looked desperate. He talked of future politicking in the same coin to PML (N) kiddy politicos. It appeared in between the lines he pleaded restraint and broad-heartedness on the part of the provincial PML (N) government, and maybe in view of this scam he would be thinking of his party’s and Moonis’s precarious fate in the next general elections. The pragmatic side of this politicking is homecoming of the PML (Q) and contesting these elections from the platform of PML (N). If wishes were horses!

The politicizing of and politicking over these two ‘events’ both by the state and non-state actors is symptomatic of a chronic disease Pakistan is afflicted with. We have no moral principles to follow and direct our behavior. That’s quite ugly and cannot be remedied with cosmetic surgeries but requires a longer term treatment the first and the last dose of which consists of strict and blind implementation of rule of law. That’s why we urgently and desperately need rule of rules, laws and the constitution of the country. Had we had in our midst the rule of the law of the land and constitution of the country reigning supreme, neither the NICL scam nor the Raymond’s case would have been vulnerable to politicking by anyone, and both of them would have been being dealt with by the police and the courts, and relevant state institutions.

The lesson we never learn is that in the absence of the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law every thing is open not only to politicking, politicization, election-mongering, but criminalization also. Purging these requires sticking to rules, laws and the constitution which should be our guide in whatever circumstances we find ourselves entangled with, be it NICL scam or Raymond’s case.

[This article was completed on February 13, 2011.]

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