Naveed Aman Khan
SINCE emergence, Pakistan, throughout, has faced political turbulence, myriad challenges and tumultuous incidents. The completion of the term of constitutional government marks collective achievement of democratic parties in Pakistan. Because of all odds and fragility of the system, Pakistani democratic system hardly survived. This is pitiful state of political history of Pakistan. The driving force behind the functioning of federal government should always remain objective of reconciliation and negotiation. Long years of dictatoral rules have brewed various types of divisions, bitterness, and animosities in the society. As a result, many political parties are at war against each other and a culture of intolerance, revenge and violence have emerged. Prevailing political environment of hostility, faded vision of reconciliation, intolerance and non-accommodation will cause unfortunate political instability and unrest.
In our country dictators have always purposefully divided political parties to extreme to sink democracy in one pretext or another. They continuously maligned the public representatives and projected them in a negative way. The democratic leadership has always been pricked and provoked. Dictators either confined their political opponents or get vindictive while the true democratic leaders always show maximum restraints and defend themselves within the law and constitution. I am not arguing that democracy has solved all the problems in our country but it truly has the capacity and surely can. Undoubtedly, Pakistan is facing many challenges like energy crisis, inflation, water-shortage, food scarcity, illiteracy, poor health conditions, unemployment and law and order. Nonetheless, despite all odds, restrictions and limitations, the democratic rulers tried their best to rescue the marginalized, through empowerment of provinces and constitutional amendments.
The present spate of political anarchy, social violence and religious bigotry are the poisonous legacy of the dictators. Despite their brutal and barbarian cruelties, the democratic governments have always been opposing and challenging these powers. The stands of the PPP and PML-N as the leading political parties have not been vague or compromising to placate the violent outfits. For the attainment of peace military operations against terrorists in Swat, North Waziristan and Karachi are the successes of democratic regimes. By dealing this menace, the PPP and PML-N leaderships have always relied on vision of tolerance which could make Pakistan a pluralistic and progressive society. The true democratic leaders never give up service to the nation. Democracy in Pakistan has offered ultimate sacrifices for this cause. These sacrifices include, Liaqat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and many others. The Sharif family also has long been facing hardships and maltreatment from anti-democratic forces.
Since 1988 BB and Nawaz Sharif have not been allowed to politically work and complete their terms. It doesn’t mean that they governed extraordinarily. Because of their political shortcomings, enmity and influence of non-political elements all of their democratic terms were dismissed. After the assassination of BB, PPP won the elections and hardly completed its fourth term with two Premiers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Pervaiz Ashraf. Likewise PML-N completed its third democratic term but with two Premiers Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. For the attainment of deep rooted democracy and political stability both PPP and PML-N need to learn lesson from the past. Because of personalized political gains the current PDM struggle seems to meet disgraceful end. The political parties of the country don’t represent themselves in all of the provinces. For the safe future of the country and the nation the most noteworthy responsibility of all the political parties is to create culture of tolerance, patience, forbearance, non-violence and mutual respect.
After first round of political power shows PDM at this stage reflects unclear and shallow spirit. PPP and PML-N are playing games in PDM struggle. It is true that in past political culture introduced by PPP, PML-N and PTI have not been praiseworthy at all. The politicians are reaping crops they have sown. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz has inherited indecent political legacy from their family elders. Before establishment of PDM both Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz have been seen using same inherited indecent and beneath political dignity language for elders of each other. It looked they have not learnt any lesson from their elders. But during PDM political movement response of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz reflects decence and mutual respect.
Is this cosmetic change or they have learnt lessons and permanently transformed themselves? If their political treatment for each other seems transformed and gracious, for Pakistan it would be not less than a blessing in disguise. On the death anniversary of BB, Bilawal has sent invitation to Maryam Nawaz and her acceptance reflects groomed and polished response. Leaving indecent political legacy behind, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Asifa Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz can serve the country and the nation in a better way. On the occasion of death anniversary of BB, any Karachi hotel room type incident will definitely be an awkward attempt to create misunderstanding amongst different political parties and air serious mess. Such situation if occurs should be tackled with high level of tolerance to defuse mischief. In the past BB and Nawaz Sharif couldn’t strive to implant democratic values in Pakistani society and polity throughout, even they themselves couldn’t honour Charter of Democracy.
Twice BB has been in power and throughout, she headed the party. She believed that the democratic process is the real and longstanding solution of all of the problems. She was determined, committed and staunch believer of democratic values. She didn’t take revenge from murderers of her father and brothers and who launched lethal campaign for her character assassination. She courageously challenged dictatorship and defeated their designs. She demonstrated a very high degree of resistance and resilience. Today for the best of country and the nation all of our political leaders should reflect same level of resilience because forgiveness and resilience is the need of the time. Personal political lust caused disintegration of the country in 1971. Same push and pull will definitely cause irreparable damage to the State. None should be allowed to play with the fate of the nation and the State at any cost. Presence of PDM leadership in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on the death anniversary of BB reflects positive gesture. Leaders shouldn’t be fatalistic and ignorant. All the political parties including those in government need to forget hatchets and work collectively for harmonious Pakistan. Today nation needs amity, not enmity.
—The writer is book ambassador, columnist, political analyst and author of several books based in Islamabad.