Political crisis in Pakistan must end
SINCE March 2022, Pakistan has been constantly undergoing political crisis and uncertainty without any hope for a positive outcome.
The last episode was the election of Chief Minister of Punjab, Hamza Shehbaz, who was elected as the Leader of the House.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan later reversed the decision and Pervaiz Elahi was declared as the Chief Minister of the Province since he secured 186 votes against 179.
The coalition government of PDM severely protested the decision, constantly targeting the judiciary over the decision.
The decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan about the Chief Minister of Punjab is being seen in the context of political manoeuvrability rather than constitutional bounds.
Indeed, the decision of the Deputy Speaker of Punjab was as unconstitutional as it was the decision taken by the Deputy Speaker of National Assembly in April 2022.
The unconstitutional dissolution of the National Assembly of Pakistan and later decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan was criticized by PTI where Imran Khan was defeated through a vote of no-confidence on April 9, 2022.
There have been exchanges of unconstitutional statements by the leadership of all political parties against the Supreme Court which is a clear indication that political parties consider their party interests more important than the Constitution of Pakistan which is really a very sad aspect.
While this all is taking place, the state and the people of Pakistan are in a fix and suffering from all uncertainties.
There is no central authority to control the situation and economic crises are further deepening in Pakistan.
There are rumours that Pakistan may head towards default any time. Pakistani Rupee is at its lowest in comparison with the dollar (1 USD=236 Rupees).
Though the governance system has been at its lowest ebb during the Imran Government, it has reached to a new low in the backdrop of on-going political crises and uncertainty.
Since these crises are the outcome of the violation of the Constitution by political parties, therefore, they should be held responsible for the chaos and connected crises in Pakistan.
Had they followed the constitutional procedures, a smooth transition would have taken place upholding the democratic norms and adherence to the Constitution.
How can the violators of the Constitution claim to be legal, its protectors and have the right to rule the state.
The ongoing situation in Pakistan is an unfortunate state of affairs which needs immediate solution and political debate among all political parties of Pakistan.
The politicians need to understand that the state is more important than their political parties.
Indeed, the state is the basic unit in an anarchical international system and has to be strengthened internally through the political system and by upholding the Constitution.
At domestic level, the political, economic and social activities of its masses revolve around the state and its interests.
The political forces (political parties) pursue the state’s interests through a political system while making judicious use of all elements of national power.
In domestic politics, the activities of political forces in any state are bound to follow some set rules, values and procedures which are known as political ethics.
Indeed, “Ethics and politics are inseparable” hence must be practiced and demonstrated accordingly.
The relationship between ethics and politics is deeper and intimate for the states like Pakistan which follow an ideology of a Divine religion – Islam.
In the wordings of Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal, “jalal-e-padshahi ho ki jamhuri tamasha ho, Juda Ho Deen Sayasat Say To Reh Jati Hai Changezi”.
This clearly reflects the picture of politics where there are no values (since religion is all about morality and values) and in the absence of values, it is all the ‘law of jungle’.
The law of the jungle depicts a situation where there are no tenets, no rules and people use force to get what they want.
The Constitution of Pakistan is based on golden principles of Islam which is an advocate of morality, values and ethics.
The leaders of political parties should be specimens and true reflection of the values and ethics for the rest of the masses and society they represent.
Indeed, they derive power from the masses and the people whom they governed subsequently.
In order to be effective leaders, the political parties must demonstrate ethics which give them moral ascendancy over the law of the jungle.
Unfortunately, almost all political parties in Pakistan are publically demonstrating a culture which has no values, no ethics and no morality.
This is in fact a violation of their written party constitution and manifestoes.
Their publicly demonstrated activities during the current crises give a wrong message to the general masses, especially the youth, which constitutes over 60% of the total Pakistani population.
Whereas, the power should come from the people, the demonstrated brand is that, it comes from violence, mayhem, use of force, abusive language, money, political bribes and immoral practices.
The political forces should demonstrate the compliance of law and its enforcement through fair-play and ethics.
But, the practices are totally different and indeed, contradictory in nature. Practically, the political forces are promoting a system of political violence and antipathy, social fragmentation and intolerance and religious bigotry and revulsion.
While, state and its interests and adherence to the Constitution of Pakistan should be the focus of all political parties, the demonstrated practices are otherwise.
National interests and masses are the missing links in the power politics of all political and religio-political parties of Pakistan.
Their immediate aims are to grab power (through any means may be unconstitutional) and the subsequent objectives are to remain in power even though on unjustifiable grounds.
Away from state-centric national politics, the political parties of Pakistan are individual based family-centric, irrespective of capability and potential of members of these dynasties.
The unethical and indeed unconstitutional politics in Pakistan cannot be expected to nurture a political culture in the country which brings morality, values, rule of law, fair-play and ethics.
Similarly, the dynastic politics of contemporary political parties in Pakistan is not anticipated to encourage democracy in the wider political spectrum of Pakistan.
Besides, there are cartels (interest groups) of virtually all types who firmly support the current format of immoral politics in Pakistan.
Under the ongoing crisis, the people of Pakistan desire an end to the on-going political crises from the country with a clear roadmap for future politics as per the Constitution of Pakistan and economic revival of the country.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.