M Fazal Elahi
THE Pakistani nation is gearing up to elect new Federal and Provincial Governments in the country. ‘Election 2018’, scheduled to be held on July 25, 2018, is speedily approaching its zenith after five tumultuous years of quasi-democratic rule in the country. The response of both, the electorate and the demagogue, towards the forthcoming general elections that was initially pretty lukewarm is now gaining momentum with every passing day. An air of ambiguity and dejection however can be markedly seen among both the electorate and the demagogue vis-à-vis the outcome of the upcoming general elections. What is known for sure is that after the culmination of the elections none of the contesting parties will succeed in getting two-third majority, resulting in a hung parliament and formation of coalition governments. It could, therefore, be predicted with a high degree of confidence that the upcoming General Elections scheduled to be held on July 25 will be devoid of any surprises, as people are already aware of its outcome.
Who is calling the shots, for whatever reasons, is a non-issue as the matter has been and continues to be overtly highlighted at all forums by different political factions and the media. What, however, is very important and a matter of grave concern is how badly will this game that has been going on since the past three years would ultimately impact the country and the people? Without mincing words one could say that a hung parliament, beyond any shadow of doubt, would prove to be catastrophic for the country. Predictably, a concoction of political parties is bound to emerge from the upcoming general elections. Having totally diverse philosophy vis-à-vis vital national issues they would, for sure, fail to achieve consensus on matters of vital national interest. With none of the political factions being able to obtain a simple or two third majority, and smaller political groups and independents making space for themselves in Parliament of the country, anarchy is bound to become the order of the day. It could be foretold with certainty that initially the formation of governments at both federal and provincial level will be an uphill task, and ultimately when the governments are formed governance of the country would become an extremely difficult phenomenon.
The king makers, named as ‘Aliens’ by the PML (N) leadership, and lately named as ‘Angles’ by the PPP, if they are at all playing a role in the ongoing political squabbling in the country, seem to be oblivious of the fact that their endeavour to bring a fragmented group of politicians at the helm to govern this country may cause irreparable damage to the security and integrity of Pakistan. It would also cause inconceivable damage to the already crumbling economy of the country. Pakistan has already been grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This arbitrary measure, regardless of its biased intent, is bound to have serious ramifications on Pakistan’s relations with the international donor agencies and its economy. Good or bad, Pakistan’s image already stands badly tarnished in the comity of respected world nations; let’s abstain from doing things that would, for certain, make it even worse in times to come.
Politics in this country has undoubtedly become extremely messy. Things definitely need to be given a complete turnaround on the political front. The politicians of this country too need to bring about a complete change in their highly questionable behaviour. There is a glaring difference between what they do and what they preach. They must immediately cease to dupe the people who vote them to power; only to be cold shouldered and deceived later. In order to be able to attain this vital objective, the politicians will have to be made accountable for all their deeds. And this would be possible only if there is a strong and unbiased accountability process in place in the country. Those who have plundered, looted, stashed national wealth and built empires within the country and abroad must be held accountable. They should not only be given exemplary punishment for their misconduct, but must also be compelled to bring the looted hard-earned tax payers money back to the country. However, in doing so, it must be ensured that accountability is done across-the-board. It should under no circumstances be selective. Selective accountability will be considered as ill-motivated. It would tantamount to victimization and prove to be an exercise in futility.
Pakistan is passing through a critical phase in its history. Since its creation, Pakistan and the Pakistani nation has hardly seen good times. If there were some good times, at all, the duration has been very short-lived. Anarchy and political wrangling has unfortunately been the order of the day, always. This has done colossal damage to this country and brought dishonor to this nation. The external forces, the powers that be, too have always been and continue to be hell bent on weakening Pakistan in every possible manner. Unremitting internal chaos and infighting has, in fact, provided fillip to the ill-intent of Pakistan’s detractors to muzzle Pakistan, in whatever way they can, to attain their nefarious designs. This is all the more reason why we should make resolute efforts to establish unqualified unity among all our ranks, rise above self, completely eradicate the menace of prejudice from our society, and work in unison, with unfathomable dedication, to build and make this country stand out conspicuously among the affluent and venerable nations of the world.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.