Reactive politics and decision-making
LEADERSHIP throughout Pakistan’s checkered history soon after the premature departure of its founding father, has prospered at the cost of the people and the State instrument it has mercilessly weakened in the process with its mission of justice and equity obscured, its economy at the mercy of international money-lenders calling the tune, and its institutions meant to deliver, in total disarray.
This has been largely due to the myopic mindset of the rulers, be they civil or military; each trying to outsmart the other.
Rule of law, its enforcement and people’s compliance have been the bane of the Pakistani society with perpetual mis-governance as of the late seventies since when, Pakistan has largely been in the reverse gear, particularly when Nawaz Sharif during his shortened stint in power a second time fell victim to his own conduct and confrontation with the Establishment after the Kargil fiasco which was blamed on each other by Nawaz and his Army Chief Musharraf, only to be shown the door by the General whom he had sought to replace.
Civilian set-ups which followed Musharraf’s nine-year military rule, have largely been remote-controlled by the khakis apparently taking a back seat ever since.
With Musharraf made to step down as he became redundant after granting amnesty to over 8000 accused of corruption under what he had styled as the National Reconciliation Ordinance; (in-)famously known as NRO, in the hope of winning their favour and influence to continue in Power, it in actual fact opened the floodgates to large-scale corruption as successive civilian governments tailored self-serving relaxation of rules aimed at tax evasion and making quick bucks while playing the pied piper for external Imperial forces.
This made governance, rule of law and justice the main casualties with the common man of Pakistan on the receiving end.
One keeps getting sermons from over-rated analysts about democracy being the best system of political governance in Pakistan.
But for all one knows through experience, no system in vogue in a country will deliver without a clear goal of fulfillment collectively as a nation and a proactive approach suited to the genius of the people you are dealing with and pretending to serve.
Pakistani politics thus far, has been reactive; losing track of its moorings springing from the Islamic faith it was supposed to follow.
It has capitulated to expediencies of the man-made systems in preference to what has been divinely passed on for their guidance; and therefore the dilemma which not only Pakistan but the entire Islamic world faces today.
Had the leadership been honest to the State, it would have drawn a road-map following the cardinal principles of Faith, Unity and Discipline coined by the Quaid-i-Azam, and based its foundations upon the complete Code of Life passed on to the Muslim fraternity in particular and mankind as a whole, through the last of his Prophets in the shape of the Holy Quran testifying to all revealed scriptures.
But those left at the helm of affairs by the Quaid, ignoring the divine course, preferred following the colonial diktats and laws of the departing British which India chose to continue following because of its ethnic diversity, but strangely still in vogue in Pakistan despite proving to be averse to Islamic jurisprudence.
Our leadership has been fruitlessly toying with what is styled as democracy; its parliamentary form derived from Westminster in Britain, and its presidential form followed by the United States.
In Pakistan, it is unfortunately a potpourri of infirmities of the parliamentary system.
The President supposed to be the nominal figure head of the State, Speaker of the Lower House, Chairman of the Senate and Governors of various Provinces; even though contested, invariably come from the ruling party and are required to forego their party affiliation in order to function impartially but act as rubber stamp for the sitting Government at the whims of the Prime Minister, and the basic unit of Local Government kept at bay.
This very false start sends the system for a six, where under the table deals, buying loyalties of Independents who by their very nature are out for sale and bulldozing amendments in the Constitution through Ordinances without a proper debate in Parliament, have become the order of the day.
Party manifestoes promising the moon and justice at the doorsteps of the people are a mere mirage for the electorate as providing security and delivering affordable goods and services to them have become a far cry.
The Government’s game changer Ravi Urban Project in Punjab after so much of planning and investment ought not to have been frustrated by a Court Order had the Government taken care of the objections when first announced.
Had timely action been taken against illegal construction of the Tasla Tower in Karachi before the violator had managed to entice customers committing their lifetime earnings for a shelter, they would not have been rendered homeless by its demolition for no fault of theirs.
Why could the Court not have ordered confiscation of the property in favour of the Government; thereby protecting the allottees, and penalizing the culprit and the Government functionaries responsible for the NOC.
These are only just a few among a plethora of ill-conceived disasters in the form of governance being currently followed in Pakistan.
Transparency International points to the absence of rule of law and writ of the State, as being the reasons for Pakistan’s corruption index rising 16 steps from 124 to 140 in the current Government, but the Pakistani Premier says his Government had eliminated corruption within three months, and in the same breath sacks his Principal Advisor on Accountability Shehzad Akbar for failure to press home the accountability process, whereas his Information Minister Fawad Choudhry concurrently lauds the services rendered by the ousted Advisor.
This state of affairs not only corroborates TI’s view but points to a dismal lack of coordination among important elements in the Government, who do not compare notes before making a statement on the same subject.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.