Imran Khan won democracy and Pakistan defeated
THE 1973 Constitution is the great gift of Z A Bhutto to the Pakistani nation. This Constitution has withstood the test of time, it has seen its trials and tribulations and has been systematically violated and abused by two famous dictators General Zia Ul Haque and General Pervez Musharraf.
On the 3rd of April Imran Khan stunned the entire nation before the vote of no-confidence against him in the National Assembly with his well concealed trump card and he now takes his place along with the famous dictators in our constitutional hall of shame.
Nobody in their wildest imagination could dream that the democratic process in Pakistan will be derailed and shot to pieces by an elected Prime Minister who claims to be a democrat and the savior of the nation.
The parliamentary process has been shattered by the undemocratic antics of a political leader with scant respect for democracy and consequently the country has been plunged into the dangerous realm of a very serious constitutional crisis never experienced since the promulgation of the 1973 constitution.
This rude shock for the nation was something that the PM had planned all along after losing the numbers game in the Assembly, but at the same time it is a shameful act for the self-appointed fighter who had promised to fight to the last ball.
Imran Khan has dealt a near fatal blow to democracy and the rule of law proving that he is totally unfit to hold public office in a democratic civilized society.
Imran Khan’s latest ploy has proved again that he holds strong contempt for parliament and the democratic process.
All the happenings in the National Assembly on 3rd April were in complete violation of all rules governing proceedings of the House, especially those dealing with the motion of no-confidence tabled against the Prime Minister.
Supporters and spin doctors of the PTI are now trying to convince the nation that by asking the President to dissolve the National Assembly their leader has executed a master stroke and defeated the efforts of the combined opposition.
The dissolution of the Assembly on the day of the no confidence vote against the PM is being touted as an analogy to the six hit by Miandad on the last bowl of the last over to win the match for Pakistan.
Fact of the matter is that this negative master stroke has done tremendous damage to our very fragile democracy, to our image in the world community and to our prospects for peace and prosperity in future. The entire drama in the Assembly on 3rd April was very well scripted and staged.
By the time the assembly was convened it was crystal clear that the opposition had the required numbers to get rid of the PM but Imran Khan struck a ferocious blow to the surprise of every one.
Just before the motion could go to vote, the Law Minister rose to record an objection on the basis of Article-5 of the Constitution that states clearly that “Loyalty to the state is the basic duty of every citizen.
” The Deputy Speaker in the absence of the Speaker himself facing a no confidence move, accepted the objection of the Law Minister with undue haste.
This objection did not have a shred of evidence loyalty to the state of any of the movers of the resolution nor did it have any proof of an international conspiracy against the Prime Minister.
The Deputy Speaker proved more loyal to the throne than the king himself hastily dismissed the motion on the absurd grounds that it contradicted Article-5 of the Constitution.
The ink had not dried on the ruling and the entire nation was still in the process of absorbing this shock, when the PM, who was absent from the assembly moved with some indecent haste to address the nation on television.
In a telecast that was preplanned, scripted and rehearsed the Prime Minister congratulated the nation informing them gleefully that the motion of no confidence has failed and he has now asked the President to dissolve the Assembly and the country should prepare for fresh elections within the next ninety days.
The matter is now before the Supreme Court to decide and the nation waits with abated breath for this historical decision.
Some believe that since fresh elections have already been announced matters should stand as they are.
The big question is will this crisis and confusion make Pakistan a better place to live in? Certainly not. Society has been polarized. It is a deeply divided nation. The nation will now see a long period of political turbulence.
Elections like always will be organized and party tickets awarded, funding and election campaigns conducted and then there will be claims and counter claims of fraud and rigging.
No party will win a majority resulting in a hung parliament and once again there will be horse trading related to appointment of ministers, special assistants and advisors.
The country has been pushed far back politically, economically and socially. It will take us a lot of time to recover. It is a fact that Imran Khan may have won but Democracy and Pakistan are the losers.
—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.