The haze cleared

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The DG ISPR has finally come up with a categorical denial of any nexus between the dharnas and the army and said that it only facilitated the commencement of dialogue between the government and the protesting outfits, reiterating that the army stood for democracy and constitution. 

This clarification actually should have come much earlier. But, as they say, it is never too late. The haze stands cleared. However, a proper probe to find out the truth and initiating action against the elements who orchestrated this campaign against the army at a time when it needed unqualified backing of the entire nation for its fight against the terrorists would be justified. The media also needs to show better professional judgment in reporting about the issue. 

 It is really regrettable that ever since the launch of the marches, a deliberate attempt has been made to soil the image of the army by creating the impression that the present crisis was choreographed by the khakis. 

All kinds of allegations have been hurled by different political and non-political characters to reinforce this impression and even the foreign media has come up with stories aimed at rubbing in this notion. 

The political turmoil generated by the marches has surely led to some positive and encouraging developments on the political landscape of the country. The threat posed to the democratic system and constitutional rule in the country by the antics of the Imran-Qadri duo acted as a catalyst for rare unity and solidarity among all the political forces to defend democracy and constitutional rule. 

The other positive outcome of the political upheaval is that it has strengthened the national aspirations for the need to reform the electoral and governance systems, which have promoted a culture of graft and entitlement and hindered the path of real democracy in the country. There is a universal consensus on this issue and the government has also shown commitment to this cause by agreeing to form a judicial commission to establish the veracity of the rigging claims or otherwise and by forming a parliamentary committee to reform the electoral system.

These two developments have provided a big opportunity to address these issues and, if the politicians are able to reinforce these gains, the country would surely be better off than before. 

If we look at the history of the developed nations and those who got independence just about the same time as we did, two things stand out as a major difference between them and us. They achieved success due to political stability and evolutionary changes within the ambit of their constitutions. It is a proven recipe for all the political and socio-economic maladies.

The founder of Pakistan also saw the future of the country in democracy and constitutional rule. The situation that our country is presently confronted with is a sequel to deviation from this prescribed path -- for which the blame lies equally on the shoulders of the military dictators and the politicians, probably more with the latter for their criminal apathy to change the archaic colonial system which has inbuilt avenues of corruption and an anti-people bias.

Their attempt to perpetuate this system and their failure to deliver actually invited interventions by military dictators. Had the politicians risen to the occasion and followed the script written and envisioned by the Quaid, the country could very well have avoided political instability. The most painful thing to note is that some of the frustrated and disgruntled political elements are still openly inviting the army to intervene and scuttle the gains of democracy. 

The politicians must learn to resolve political issues through collective wisdom and unqualified allegiance to the constitution, imbued with the spirit of serving the masses and earning a respectable place in the comity of nations. If the objective is to serve the masses and strengthen constitutional rule in the country instead of mob rule, the solutions to all the ills afflicting our body politics could be found through constitutional means and universally accepted democratic norms.

Dialogue and flexibility are the essential ingredients for the resolution of political conflicts and issues. The government has exhibited a lot of flexibility in accommodating most of the dharna demands of the PTI and the PAT. 

However, the much anticipated breakthrough still remains elusive due to the inflexible attitude of Imran and Qadri on their demand for the resignation of the prime minister, which is decidedly an unconstitutional call. 

Parliament and the entire civil society have vehemently rejected this proposal. Nobody believing in democracy and constitution would ever agree to such a preposterous proposition. Conceding to any such demand would add an element of perennial political instability to the system. 

Both Imran and Qadri need to extricate themselves from the clutches of their egos and allow sanity to prevail. Our salvation lies in sticking to constitutional rule and upholding its sanctity.


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