Azad Kashmir and its politics

Dr Ikram Azam

THE nature of Azad Kashmir’s politics is determined by several concurrent — convergent factors. They are: (i) Azad Kashmir’s Constitutional Status; the Constitutions being both of Pakistan and of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, itself. What is more meaningful is the True Nature of this Status: its Reality vis-à-vis its Ritual-Rhetoric. (ii) Pakistan’s National Islamic Ideology and Interest. (iii) The True nature of Pakistani politics. AJK is, fortunately, not a colony of Pakistan. That is unlike Indian-captive Kashmir, which is a tragic bleeding reality of the Indian Hindutva Colonialism. And so the current just and justified jihad in Indian-captive Kashmir –– which is comparable to the Western ideological-cum-strategic concept of “Just War.” AJK is also not a Province of Pakistan. The stark reality remains: that AJK is Pakistan’s one and only pliable client state. Like a lovingly dependent son, daughter or grand-child.
The reason for this is that AJK is totally dependent on Pakistan for everything essential for its existence and sustained – not just sustainable –– survival. These critical dependency factors are: (i) Pakistan’s patronage: general goodwill, sponsorship and ideological approval–appeasement. (ii) The budget as full financing––despite the local taxes’ revenue and overseas’ remittances by the AJK citizens –– of a dependent city-state. (iii) Administrative control by the Pakistani bureaucracy and well-trained and experienced career civil servants –– who are experts in delivering as per the Pakistan Government dikta.
It is the well-documented and historically proven reputation of the Pakistani Civil Servant that the person (man and woman) is a good servant but a bad master – governor – leader; especially, the former blue blooded elite class, the CSP, and now the DMG. They proved this historical verdict in the former East Pakistan. In fact, they have done so all over Pakistan, wherever they were posted and ordered to deliver in Pakistan, including AJK. Top examples of earlier Baboo Bureauerats are: Governor General Mian Ghulam Muhammad, Prime Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali and President Iskindar Mirza!
Their role and contribution in the adult franchise democratic electioneering is of two kinds: pre-election and during the elections, by bogus vote-listing, printing, stuffing and counting, reflecting ‘ghost voters’, every-where; also by the demarcation of constituencies to favour decreed winners, against targeted predetermined losers; above all, by corrosive capitalistic corruption to buy votes and trade loyalties. That is trite, tried and tested political election tradition which always works all the time in Pakistan as well as AJK –– ceaselessly. That is the current reality, also –– despite all of the hypocritical raving rhetoric against corruption.
The Partisan political parlance in Pakistan is “Bazari” –– street-stinking –– of course with notable exceptions. The ruling party sets the pace of this petty puerile practice. In the latest instant case of the July 21, 2016 AJK elections, while Imran Khan displayed the genuine good grace to concede the victory to the Muslim League (N) and congratulate it, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif snubbed him with stinging sarcasm. What a pity! He seems to be simply incorrigible. There is a saying Pahari that: ‘the dead do not speak. But when they do, they shout to tear open their shroud and Coffin’. Also: ‘milk barrels being guarded by Tom cats’ – who only devour them lustily. That is what happens when business-men turn into politicians. Pakistani partisan politicians – of the Government and the Opposition – need to learn coolly calculated true tact, and use the polite and courteous language of diplomacy and statesmanship.
One of the targets of political and media sarcasm is old age –– quite forgetting that all are getting old all the time. There is just no substitute for the wisdom which comes with experience and expertise of age. Human history, East and West, North and South, offers numerous excellent examples of the wisdom of the aged leadership. Street smart language, cunning conning, cleverness and provocative rhetoric just won’t do and deliver any desirably decent result –– but only decadence and degeneracy. The most malevolent streak in Pakistani politics is of dictatorial absolutist authoritarianism. It is traceable to all the three, alike: the politicians, themselves, as well as the civil and military bureaucracy. When actualized in real life practical terms, it means absolute decisive dictatorial control, by means of a minimally two-third majority in the Legislature – in order to tame and tether the Opposition, and reduce it to a pliable puppet, by hook and by crook – by corruption and controllable coalitions; but above all, to steam roll authoritarian Legislation; hence, the collusively shadow boxing and match fixing in the Pakistani politics. All of the foregoing are the root causes of ever continuing Pakistani political destabilisation causing invasive instability.
The absolutist authoritarian government of Pakistan –– whatever be the ruling political party –– seeks to and succeeds in imposing its will, and if possible, writ in AJK, also. That is why the ruling party in Pakistan is also, always, the ruling party in AJK. Thus, the genuine AJK political parties are invariably at the losing end, because the Government of Pakistan controls the Government of AJK –– by means of massive master-minded politico-bureaucratic manipulation from Islamabad.
Futuristically speaking, the Future belongs to the youth as well as the yet unborn future generations, ad-continuum. The Muslim Leagues are a spent force, despite their raving rhetoric. Their collective leadership comprises the ‘by-passed’ sick, ailing and utterly exhausted individuals. It needs stress-free restful retirement, at home or in safe havens abroad. What is the alternative? The Tehreek-e-Insaf, the PPP, the Jammat-e-Islami or Maulana Tahir-ul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek. I have mentioned him by name because he has become the most controversial spokesman of a self-proclaimed ‘peaceful democratic Islamic revolution’.
A word about Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. It is natural for him to be inspired by his personal and party peers: the duo ZAB –– BB, and the solo Asif Ali Zardari, his father. But he can reach his best only after he deliberately weans himself from his manifest moorings, and emerges as an independent Bilawal, standing firmly on his own feet and in his own right as a person per se, a charismatic personality. All said and done, we simply cannot forget that the most youthful, healthy and patriotic collective leadership is in the Pakistan Armed Forces. Failed political power play in Pakistan invariably creates a power vacuum which attracts the most powerful patriots. Both Pakistan and Turkey are critically in need of crises management as well as damage control and repair, by means of national integration, defence and security and Islamic Tauheed.
— The writer is co-founder Pakistan Futuristic Institute, Islamabad.

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