Deep introspection called for


Zaheer Bhatti

THE impropriety of the country’s political divide in particular abandoning the platform of Parliament meant for tackling national issues, and taking to rallies and luring people for whom they have themselves delivered nothing, has been the principal cause of political instability as myopia of the Treasury and wrong-footed approach of the Opposition; both blaming each other, have put spanners in the development wheel of the country. Notwithstanding the Gujranwala Opposition rally managing a sizeable crowd, its leadership indulged in familiar polemics but offered no recipe of relief for the masses whose sentiment it was exploiting. But it was a sad day for Pakistan when a few days back, Khwaja Saad Rafique; an otherwise sane leader of PML(N) the largest political party in the Punjab Province mounted the podium and out of nowhere threw the gauntlet at the Government and the Establishment for challenging the Punjabis; a ploy thus far only used by smaller Provinces. A sad day because ironically, he was using the Punjab Card against a Government which was led by a Punjabi PM and the Army Chief, while addressing an insignificant crowd kicking off the Opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement.
Rana Sanaullah vainly tried to justify the thin gathering at Lahore which in any case does not represent the entire Province much less the country, as one of the PML(N) supporters provided comic relief by chanting ‘Go Nawaz go’ several times and no one correcting him. The Opposition once again at the start requiring Maulana Fazlur Rehman ousted from Parliament in the last elections, to lead the conglomerate clearly indicates that its main component Parties lacked street power possessed by the Maulana who still somehow commands his religiously motivated followers which were required to give momentum to such Movements.
A common question is why the Opposition went into a slumber after an aborted Maulana first round showdown against the Government if indeed the 2018 election had been stolen. Rather than accusing the Military Establishment for political engineering, which instantly gladdens enemies of Pakistan even though it had always asked not to be dragged into politics, what had stopped the Opposition to pursue the democratic course and muster support in the House to bring a Motion of No Confidence against the Government! Failing such an attempt, why did they allow things to precipitate and what stopped them from resigning en-block at that time to force re-election!
But worst still, the reaction and counter-reaction from both the Government and the Opposition has been that of an over-kill. Thoughtless use of phrases like ‘Selected’ and ‘Rejected’ for each other are nothing but statements of fact because those who win an election are selected, while those who lose stand rejected. It is a pity that the political leadership freely confers the title of treason upon each other for what actually at worst is impropriety in the choice of words by political leadership in careless indiscretion, allowing Pakistan’s avowed enemy India to distort and make political capital out of such utterances against the State, whose independence it has never reconciled with from the very start; openly boasting of having severed its Eastern Wing. If one dispassionately analyses the role and actual performance of all national institutions, there indeed is a lot be desired of, be it the political divide, the Judiciary, Executive or the defence forces; each one blaming the other rather than deeply introspecting whether it were itself doing their job according to their mandate.
Each time the Political leadership has used its whims over the laid down rule of seniority-cum-fitness in promotions; particularly while installing command in the defence forces superseding seniors, the superseding individuals have invariably shown the door to civilian rulers but the political leadership refuses to learn and continues to commit the same mistake repeatedly, hoping to cultivate their obedience beyond lawful means. For all one knows, Military Establishments in countries all over the world put their foot down where they sense compromise in their national security paradigm, because they are the only ones guarding Geographical and ideological frontiers of respective countries with their blood, and so does Pakistan Army and its Agencies, and nothing beyond that.
Notwithstanding adventurism by ambitious Generals in their individual capacity which is supported by its in-built system of the Chain of Command since the Adventurer also remains the COS in Uniform, it is again the opportunist political leadership which gives them currency; worst still, the country’s Apex Judiciary rubber-stamping legality under a so-called Law of Necessity, which is another brain-child of the legal community courtesy some names better not mentioned. That whether General Ayub Khan, in supporting President Sikander Mirza to impose Martial Law, did so to eventually boot him out and replace him with a coup in 1958 or did so to stem the rot which was setting into the system with infighting and polarization among politicians endangering national security, only history will conclude. Even though he struck popularity with the masses after the 1965 misadventure against Pakistan by India suffering humiliation at the hands of the valiant Pakistani defence forces which established their superiority over land, air and sea despite numerical and military enemy odds, he had committed the cardinal mistake of falling into the American lap located several thousand miles away in preference to the Soviet Union in its neigbourhood.
With Tarbela and Mangla dams irrigating lands across the country and creating a green Revolution, generating cheap electricity for rapid privatized industrialization, Ayub Khan’s decade long rule which controlled prices and brought economic prosperity, eventually saw it crumble in favour of another Martial Law only to see Pakistan lose its Eastern Wing to Indian machinations with Russian support whom Pakistan had alienated, and desertion by the US despite supposed membership of the SEATO and CENTO Defence Pacts under which it was obligated to help but never arrived; desertions, which it continues to replicate till today.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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