So to say, in about 70 years, the political gains Pakistan’s polity has been able to make are dismal! Pessimistically, it’s NOTHING! Optimistically, it’s merely the Constitution that itself came to be agreed upon about 25 years after the country’s emergence on the map of the world. That casts a heavy doubt on the credence of Pakistan’s polity. Politically speaking, things stand in the same mould now they stood on the first day. The final verdict on the quality of the Pak polity may thus be worded: The citizens still live at their own risk in a country which is consuming itself by its own pseudo-nationalist, religious, militarist rhetoric!
No wrangling, the fact is that no politician and no political party find the constitution and its provisions tolerable to their will and temperament; they trample them whenever they see any of it obstructing what they want to do or to achieve. Not only that, they make use of it against its spirit; amend it at their will; or suspend it whenever they do not need it; ignore it when it doesn’t serve their purpose; and validate any amendments stuffed into by the military dictators. To the Paki politicians, the constitution is like a toy!
The latest example in this regard is the ruling party’s attempt to weaken and tame the higher courts whose newly obtained sort of independence proves to be a thorn in their heart. One parliamentary committee is already busy formulating such proposals which may help cut the judicial panel down to size. No doubt, all the parliamentary parties will be on the same page to bring the judges back into their pockets. Hopefully, if the civil society organizations especially lawyers fail to stop this onslaught of politicians against the judiciary, once again there will emerge judges of compliant character inside the High Courts and Supreme Court. There is one more hurdle to it; it’s the Supreme Court itself, which may send back the amendment (thus passed) to the parliament for review, if it does not find sufficient grounds to annul the same.
Hence, one very important gain obtained by the citizens of Pakistan, i.e. sort of independent judiciary, which is in fact an essential part of the constitutional scheme for the country to run, is going to be lost to the politicians’ lust for absolute power. That speaks volumes about the state of the polity in Pakistan! That leaves no hope alive that the Paki politicians and political parties will ever learn one or two things. How unfortunate! After about 7 decades they are still intent upon running a country of more than 180 million citizens like a principality! Everything, be they moral or social values, or rules and laws, is like something they must break and trash in their Ashraafist vein. That’s their way!
In 2013, for the first time one civilian government completed its constitutional tenure, general elections were held and a new government sworn in. No doubt, it should be a matter of routine in a democracy, not something both notable and noticeable; however, given the Pakistan’s political history where no civilian government was allowed to rule for its full tenure, it’s a Herculean achievement. In the midst, another event of unprecedented magnitude and significance took place: a usurper general was brought to the court for the highest crime allegedly committed by him, i.e. of suspending the constitution of the country; the case is sub judice. Both of these happenings may be overlooked or underestimated in the heat of the moment; which otherwise must be reckoned as the steps forward, no matter how small, as far as political evolution of Pakistan is concerned.
It is in the above-discussed context that both Inquilabi and Azadi Dharnas which took the capital sort of hostage this August need to be seen and explained. Whatever both of these parties, i.e. Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf of Imran Khan, and their allies, in or out of the state, aim to achieve and for that to achieve whatever they do and are doing need to be weighed against the gain of political evolution for Pakistan. Will that especially what the PTI is aiming at help Pakistan’s polity to evolve or not? Or, will it push it backwards? That’s the crucial question which must be answered by all having any concern for Pakistan!
Although the PAT concluded its Inquilabi Dharna at the end of last month, it is still not out of the game; and no doubt it has declared its parting of ways from the PTI and Imran Khan, it may join the 30 November call of the PTI to stage another Dharna in Islamabad, and be back in the game. That’s the same politics like of which both have been playing in the month of August this year when they were planning their marches to move together and when they landed in the capital and played their tricks in unison, till the PAT left the capital late in October. Under the circumstances, it may be conjectured that they may join hands again. That means the race to the corridors of powers is intact, and that there is no doubt about it this struggle is non-political.
How this struggle for power fares vis-à-vis the political evolution of Pakistan is the real problem to be dealt with! In addition, regardless of the apprehensions of majority of political analysts about the sponsored nature of the PAT and PTI’s offensive struggle, it may be suggested that what is more important is not who is behind them but what impact they are having and may be having in future on the political evolution of Pakistan. As to this, the writer’s considered opinion goes like this: The way PAT and PTI are conducting their fight is certainly impacting the polity of Pakistan extremely negatively: first, it’s distracting and confounding the constitutionalities; and second, it’s presenting no competitive challenges to other political parties including the ruling ones in a positive sense to move forward, it’s detracting them instead. That’s pushing the Pak polity race backwards!
Note: This article was completed on November 19, and was originally posted on November 27, 2014.