Slaves of necessity
Courtesy:- MALIK MUHAMMAD ASHRAF
And politics of opportunity
Forming alliances is a democratic right of the political entities, desirous of orchestrating strong opposition to the policies of the sitting government and resisting its indiscretions contemplated not to be in the public interest, with the underlying purpose of strengthening democratic culture in the country. We in the land of pure have not had an enviable experience with the politics of alliances which were mostly formed to dislodge the incumbent elected governments or prevent certain political parties from winning the right to rule, with the connivance and backing of the anti-democratic praetorian powers. The result is that even after more than six decades of our existence as an independent state, we are still groping in the dark to find the avenue that could lead us to our cherished destiny of a truly democratic polity.The most sordid aspect of this phenomenon is that these forces are still at work and refuse to back off despite the disastrous consequences of their previous manoeuvrs which have pushed Pakistan almost to the brink of a failed state. Even more painful reality is the existence of the slaves of necessity and city criers (dhandorchi) on the political landscape of the country who are ever ready to oblige their string pullers to either derail democracy or at least keep the elected leadership under pressure and scuttle their ability to deliver. It is not just a coincidence that whenever democratic norms seem to take roots in Pakistan, these elements activate themselves and conspire to derail democracy and drag the country back into the dark alley. Seen through the prism of the foregoing realities, the alliance stitched at London between PML-Q and Dr Tahirul Qadri and the reported return of the latter to Pakistan in June to nudge what he claims the people’s revolution against the present system of governance, is an ominous development and yet another indication of the fact that the anti-democratic forces have not abandoned their antics and are again making a desperate attempt to achieve their nefarious designs, not withstanding the fact that the people of Pakistan have put their faith in the continuation of the democratic process through elections in 2008 and 2013 and smooth transfer of power from one elected government to another elected government. Other elements which lend currency to the notion of a conspiracy and moves behind the scene to destabilise the system, are the persistent claims on the TV channels by another town crier, Sheikh Rashid, that there would be many sacrifices before the Eid-ul-Azha. He may be uncouth in his manner and act like a loose cannon but his reputation of being the man of the establishment gives some weight to his convulsions. He is also the one who has always used the shoulders of others and the lap of the dictators to remain in the vicinity of power corridors. The PML-Q, known as the King’s party during the Musharraf regime, was badly routed in both these elections and Tahirul Qadri’s entry into the political arena like a paratrooper fifteen months ago, which had all the trappings of a night raid, also failed miserably due to the resolute resistance put up by the major political parties of the country and the government. His so-called revolution did not go beyond making a hissing sound like a damp squib and he perforce had to seek a face-saving exit. I wonder if Qadri and his cohorts really know the meaning of a revolution. A revolution denotes spontaneous uprising throughout the length and breadth of the country against the prevalent system. Another feature of the revolution is that it is brought about and triggered by a revolt of the proletariat. Both these ingredients are not there. But the danger is these agent provocateurs could create a law and order situation, providing an excuse to the anti-democratic forces to make their move. One redeeming and reassuring factor in the prevailing situation is that the major political forces in the country have expressed their unflinching resolve in defending democracy and not to allow adventurers Qadri and his mentors to make the whole nation a hostage to their disruptive antics. It is also a matter of record that the Supreme Court, in a petition filed by Workers Party seeking electoral reforms, remarked, “There is no place for any other system except democracy in the country and there was a need to strengthen it and the state institutions.” It is an irrefutable reality that ever since the restoration of democracy in the country since 2008, things have certainly changed for the better. We have an independent judiciary and an independent media in the country which is playing its watchdog role exceptionally well. There is a unanimity of views on continuation of democratic process and need for reforms in the system. The economic horizon, as a result of the imaginative steps taken by the present government, also looks very promising and the best possible achievement in view of the diabolical challenges inherited by it. In view of the formidable challenges confronting the country, the best way to winch it out of the quagmire is to strengthen the democratic process and rule of law in the country. Differing with the policies of the government and desiring for a change in the policies and system of governance is a democratic right of every individual and political, religious and other entities. But they need to understand that no matter how noble the cause may be, one has to adopt legitimate means to realise them. The legitimate means in our situation are reforms through legislative acts of the parliament. Qadri and those who have formed an alliance with him must have the spine to seek mandate of the people through elections for the changes that they contemplate to bring into the prevalent system or convince the political parties sitting in the parliaments to have necessary bills introduced in the parliament. The must adopt the legitimate and constitutional means to achieve their objective. There is no doubt that the country still has a long way to go to have a truly representative government and a governing system geared to promoting the wellbeing of the masses. But it is also a reality that it cannot be achieved sans democracy and rule of law. That is the course envisioned and chartered by the founding father. The people of Pakistan who are the real stakeholders in the matter must reject such elements and support the present government and all other democratic forces in thwarting their designs.