Between the lip and the cup


Zaheer Bhatti
POLITICIANS in Pakistan have complained that they POLITICIANS in Pakistan have complained that they  are voted to power but remain powerless, are  discriminated over accountability and stay under incessant pressure of security agencies rendering it difficult for them to formulate pragmatic policies for Defence, Interior and Foreign Relations, run the affairs of the country smoothly and complete their mandated term of office. The civilian dispensation is about to complete its second successive term but not before showing the door to the elected Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif; a third time for him. The Military Establishment which is accused of being their Achilles heals, on its part blames politicians for being corrupt, inefficient, incapable opportunists often make compromises over national sovereignty with external powers, have failed to devolve transparent Accountability and Electoral Laws.  While there is a lot between the lip and the cup, it has to be said that the politicians are themselves to blame for larger part of the malaise they are confronted with. Instead of streamlining governance, prioritising issues and delivering to the masses, they are often seen calling upon the Armed Forces to shoulder responsibilities in which they have themselves failed due to corrupt practices. The Army role in calamities such as floods and earthquakes and rehabilitating the displaced, and now having to fight terrorism for internal security; Army Chief visiting and following up with the affected and political leadership nowhere in sight, people in general looking up to men in khaki, is a natural consequence. When Mian sahib and his team-mates ask why Musharraf charged for high treason has not been punished, he needs to answer himself why his Government did not put him on exit control to make an example of him through proactive prosecution rather than let him leave the country and falsely assert that the courts allowed him out. That he succumbed to pressure of the Military hierarchy to unwind against Musharraf, points to inherent weakness of the Parliamentarians half of whom have always been ready to file-in behind usurpers. The military Establishment on the other hand which ought to wash its hands off any extra-Constitutional steps by any of its ranks rather than strive to save them is the real tragedy. The khakis also need to realize that this is the only blot they need to erase from their otherwise impeccable credentials.   There is no denying the fact that the nation’s security had been put on the line by military dictators, the fall out of which Pakistan continues to bear till this day. While the self-styled Field Marshal Ayub Khan who landed Pakistan in the Imperial Camp and antagonized the then Soviet Union which eventually cost the country its eastern wing precipitated by his alienation of and discrimination against Bengalis in the majority Province and myopic external policies, despite having erected Tarbela the World’s largest earth-filled dam besides Mangla and brought a Green Revolution with abundant cheap energy and irrigation.    Ziaulhaq 37 years ago welcomed a breed of holy warriors called Mujahideen recruited from all over the world by the US; his abettor against the Soviet invasion of the same land playing the sucker to the projected threat to Islam and in defence of Afghanistan a Muslim neighbour. It is argued that he allowed millions of Afghans who fled to Pakistan after the Soviet assault to wrongfully take refuge across the country unlike Iran which restricted them to a specified belt along its borders.        Pervez Musharraf, another dictator provided breeding ground for terrorism by failing to anticipate the resulting fallout and siding with the imperial misadventure of assault on Afghanistan where it returned to establish hold after having initially failed to install its puppet Zahir Shah after the Soviet withdrawal. The Mujahideen, allowed to stay back in Pakistan instead of returning to their respective homelands after completion of their mission gelled with the jealously independent Afghan Taliban and have since waged a relentless struggle to vacate the imperial occupation of Afghanistan. But planted miscreants have used the inhospitable terrain bordering and shared between Afghanistan and Pakistan to destabilize both sides, although Pakistan on its part has largely cleared its side through comprehensive Operations. But it is unfortunate, that the US which refuses to accept defeat despite a 17-year long aborted     mission in Afghanistan, insists on using India as its proxy to keep the region burning by blaming Pakistan for not accomplishing what the 45-Nation strong NATO could not, continuing with its carrot and stick approach (a lot of stick and little carrot) rather than finding a graceful exit and letting the Afghans find a solution themselves.  The worst is that Pakistan having brought itself into the eye of the storm with the gilt-edged opportunity provided by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor leaving the imperial troika of the US, India and Israel weary of the development, rather than bracing up to meet the challenge having seen through the game is unable to unravel it to the world because of its own lack of internal unity and failure to prioritise the vital issue of internal peace and national security which is a pre-requisite for any measure of development. The political divide is obsessed with power squabbles, erecting false milestones of progress and pretending to be serving the masses and playing ball to external pressures by drowning the country further deep into borrowings mindless of the noose being tied around its neck, while the enemy is gleefully making the best of Pakistan’s predicaments.  Neglect of external threats and machinations against Pakistan is the sole point of divergence between the Political bureaucracy and the men in khaki where the people would naturally side with the ones laying their lives, and not those resorting to exploit the masses with unfulfilled promises and failure to provide them with respectable sustenance and justice. That the rulers complain of miscarriage of justice is only a reflection of what the ordinary Pakistani has inherently faced since the birth of the motherland and must make them introspect as to what they have actually delivered to their subjects. If one had any say in the current spate of judicial activism, those accused of meteoric multiplication of their personal fortunes ought to have also been questioned why they did not bother to apply the same magic to beef up the nation’s kitty, and instead drowned it further into the colossal debt burden mortgaging the country’s sovereignty without accounting for how the borrowed funds were utilized. Should it not be mandatory for any Government to seek authorization from Parliament for any future borrowing(s)?—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director  Programmes.Email: [email protected]