What’s Next For Pakistan?

When the state starts to abuse this authority of legitimate act to control violence, people start to reclaim back the liberty it had granted to the state in the first place.

What’s Next For Pakistan?

There will come a time in the future when analysts will argue that the Pakistani State lost its way when it stopped listening to the voices of the people. Historically, Pakistan’s armed forces capitalised on their relationship with the people. It was repeated time and again by representatives of the Establishment to the point that nobody could separate the people of Pakistan and the armed forces.

This assertion is true to the extent that the people of Pakistan have always looked up to the stronger institutions as lenders of the last resort. Whenever a natural calamity or otherwise, hit the country, state and society have turned to the military for a helping hand. And true to the fact, the armed forces of the country did lend that helping hand. 

However, coming to the aid of people in times of natural calamity was never enough to improve the lives of millions living impoverished across the country. It is not just the role of playing the rescuer in times of natural calamity. The essential role of the military institutions has always been as protectors of the ideological foundations of the country. And understanding the ideological foundations is not as simple as it seems.

Pakistan’s founding ideology has its foundations in the doctrine of Islam. The whole political program of Islam is based on protecting the weak. In fact, the political constitution of a representative body has no other reason to form except to protect the most vulnerable and weak segments of society. Be they women, children, men, minorities, or travellers. 

The main reason for establishing a political body which assumes state power as a legitimate tool to coerce aggregate behaviour into acceptable social conduct is to protect the weaker segments from majoritarian tyranny. 

This assumption alone guides the formation of a state that is given the right to legitimate violence by the people under its suzerainty. In fact, it is the voluntary giving up of the right of self-preservation by violent means into the hands of the state that makes for political beings. It is this vacation of the right of self-preservation through violent means that then becomes the duty of the state to be executed with utmost responsibility. If, however, the state starts to abuse this authority of legitimate act to control violence, people start to reclaim back the liberty it had granted to the state in the first place.

On February 8 2024, people of Pakistan spoke with unanimity in favor of Imran Khan to form the government. However, when the Establishment realised that it is losing ground to tech-savvy PTI workers it resorted to blatant rigging of the election process. Fictitious Forms-47 were created out of Form-45s to steal the elections in favor of client candidates of the establishment.

People who came out to vote in large numbers were stolen of their votes and their democratic right of choosing their own representatives was wholly rejected by the state machinery. What is more pathetic is that the political representatives who got the seats after massive rigging were too weak to accept their defeats. Instead, Pakistan now has a government on the same lines as previous PDM government which is tainted by massive allegations of rigging. 

This government will suffer from the same malaise as the previous Imran government that it will not have any legitimacy to rule in the name of people. Rather it will be a client government working at the behest of the deep state. 

On February 08 2024, Pakistan took another large stride toward more instability and chaos. It was the same process of not respecting the mandate of the people in 1971 that led to the breakup of the country. 

The international media around the world name-called the stronger institutions of the country and called them as the losers of the whole exercise. If one reads the headlines from across the world one understands how much the world is watching us and how much we are oblivious to our own situation. 

It is written on the wall that young people are losing trust in the excessive responsibilities that the stronger institutions have taken upon themselves. Not only are they unable to carry out these responsibilities but also it is not their constitutional role to do so. They must retreat back into their barracks and concentrate on their job of protecting and defending the country.

In trying to control everything, they are losing control over everything. This is not how modern states function in an age of social media and artificial intelligence. It is not possible to keep up with the world just by relying on the wisdom of one person. It never works like that. It has never worked like that. This kind of intrusion into the political process constitutes a fundamental discrepancy in the way the whole state structure is constituted. 

The state is held together by the constitution. And those who are responsible to protect the constitution and by extension the state that it embodies must not be the one to subvert it. If they do so they are essentially violating the oath they took. If they violate the oath they took, their word will not be any good compared to the word of an inveterate liar.

When people lose trust in the state making moral choices by virtue of the responsibility that rests on its shoulders, since, people have given it up themselves, the social contract holding the state and the people together comes under a lot of strain. And when it gets to a point where it cannot any longer hold it breaks. And we have seen in the past that state dissolutions are bloody businesses. Stealing the mandate of the people is a step in that direction. History tells us so.

Writer—Economist—Poet—Tweets @uzairbinfarid1