Elements In Judicial Establishment Fervently Supporting Imran Khan, Absar Alam Alleges

Elements In Judicial Establishment Fervently Supporting Imran Khan, Absar Alam Alleges
Pakistan's ongoing political crisis and deep social polarisation is the result of decades of effort invested by the Pakistani establishment or 'deep state' in nurturing a generation that believes in lies and conspiracies, and has become a majoritarian cult today. These views were express by veteran journalist and former chairman PEMRA Absar Alam, in an exclusive interview with Dr. Awais Saleem and Javaid ur Rehman on Naya Daur TV.

Absar Alam said that this effort penetrated all segments of Pakistani society, and even infected the powerful institutions of the military and the judiciary themselves, with the latter still being divided - at least in public perception - along this ideological fracture.

The hard-hitting episode commenced with the most pertinent question from host Dr. Saleem: why is Pakistan's political environment so polarised and so vitiated? Absar Alam answers, "it is unfortunate that friends have become enemies and politics has become the art of vengeance". Alam says this is the result of decades of effort invested by a few people who used the media in the name of 'fifth generation warfare'.

"Hatred was drilled into the minds and hearts of people constantly for 10-12 years; the molding of people's minds done under this scheme is longlasting and very damaging. The minds and opinions of at least 2-3 generations of younger Pakistanis have now been solidified with the conspiracies and hatred they have been fed under this entire project, now they have become completely invested in a cult and they will never be able to escape from it," Alam explains. Previous iterations of the military and judicial establishments, at least since 2010, played an active role in the pursuit of a "hybrid regime" whose remnants still exist to this day.

"A positive change can only come when even younger generations develop their own frame of reference, but it should be clear that any transformation will only help Pakistan if it is organic and comes from within society, not if it is manufactured and imposed from above," Absar Alam said.

Explaining the mentality of what he defines as a cult, Absar Alam says, "these people don't want to believe in the truth, and they are a large quantity of people, they are not a minority". But he blames the powerful elites and the shadowy forces who created this monster. "Instead of guiding our younger generations towards the future, like machine learning or enterpreneurial initiatives, they have been directed towards darkness; they will keep going down and down in this, and might never be able to rescue themselves from it," Alam opines.

Dr. Saleem also asks whether the ongoing crackdown on PTI social media 'warriors', who are now apologizing, would be effective or damaging as a strategy on part of the government. Absar Alam refutes the notion that there could be any damage from this approach. "There will be no damage. The law has to take its course, and to some extent this could be effective, but it is not a long-term sustainable strategy," Alam clarifies.

He reiterates that, "people's minds have already been made, a few people saying they will mend their ways is not going to change that. There is no more time left for a major disaster to be avoided; that disaster is imminent and we should prepare for minimizing it".

Absar Alam goes on to say that, "the way to avoid the national disaster we are faced with, is to identify and penalize the architects, planners, implementers of these policies which have caused massive state failure and divisive polarization across Pakistan. At least they should be asked what was the purpose or the benefit of this approach," Absar emphasizes, and then makes reference to the tenure of PTI in power in KP province for 9 years, and at the federal and Punjab levels for 3-4 years.

Alam believes that a counternarrative to Imran Khan and PTI can only gather legitimacy if the nation realizes that this policy has caused immense damage, and those who are responsible for it are held to account. But this will not be possible if the superior courts keep getting bullied and appear as if they are fulfilling every whim Khan has. Alam adds, "once Hitler and Goebbels were proven wrong, that's when Germany's youth began believing the truth, otherwise they wouldn't have".

Dr. Saleem notes that Absar Alam is pointing towards the role of the establishment, as he has done consistently, but asks an "obvious" question: who will bell the cat? How will this 'accountability' of those, who have destroyed the country's institutions and social fabric, happen? Absar Alam responds, "it should happen everywhere, at every level: within the establishment itself, in the military, the judiciary, in media, in parliament; in all our institutions and all aspects of our national life".

But as this self-reflection is going on, "it is the responsibility of our politicians to come together for the greater good of the country, and agree with each other on major issues without any ill-will," Alam reiterates. Absar Alam also notes that this would require the all-powerful establishment to not only take a step back from its overbearing role in Pakistan, but also surrender itself and its powerful members for actual accountability. Such a sea change seems unlikely, as the powers that be are more concerned with maintaining their power, than stabilizing the country and minimizing the effects of the ongoing crises.

"If such divisions existed in a superpower like the US, even it would be seriously threatened; this is the kind of deep division that now exists in Pakistan," Alam laments. "This internal threat is absolutely existential for a poor and weak country like Pakistan," he says, as he wonders why smarter and more knowledgeable people than him don't see this as a problem.

In a veiled reference to the current judicial establishment, Absar Alam says that the ongoing constitutional crisis will not be resolved by exonerations or punishments, "this needs to be tackled wisely and comprehensively". "There are disagreements in politics, and there should be a divergence of political views, but there should be limits of decency, every line should not be crossed, only then will you be able to bring the nation together," Alam clarifies.

"We are not each other's enemies, we haven't even made a decision that we will fight each other, so what is the point of all this animosity and division," Alam asks.

But he also notes that former premier and PTI chairman Imran Khan has never been serious about negotiations with his political opponents. Instead of having a 'give-and-take' approach like seasoned politicians, Khan is an absolutist whose singular stratagem is 'win or die', Alam explains.

Absar Alam remembers the 2013 general elections, when Khan's predecessor Nawaz Sharif went to the hospital to inquire about Khan's health immediately after winning that election. Alam also points out that when Khan fell down from a crane and got injured, Nawaz Sharif immediately stopped his election campaign and went to the hospital to see Khan, where Sharif was 'welcomed' with insulting slogans.

Javaid ur Rehman refers to former president Zardari's remarks that dialogue should happen with PTI, and asks Absar Alam if he though dialogue was possible in such heated conditions. Absar replied that dialogue has happened in the past and lines of communication were always open, but the issue now is sincerity of intent. "If there is no sincerity or sportsman spirit, we as a nation are doomed," Alam says in an other thinly veiled allusion to former premier Imran Khan. "An honourable captain shows sportsman spirit, and accepts the results so that the tournament proceeds, instead of sullying the match and destroying the pitch after a loss," Alam says.

In this sense, Khan 'sabotaged' general elections that were going to be announced by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif in May 2022, by pre-empting the announcement with his infamously unsuccessful 'long march' of May 25, 2022. "Since Khan has always maintained that he will never 'sit with crooks', and now Shehbaz Sharif has also said Khan must first apologize to the nation, and then there will be negotiations," Alam purports.

Alam argues that general elections for the National Assembly and the provinces should be held on the same day, otherwise Pakistan will be plunged into further crises because both levels of government will be alternating between elected leaders and caretakers. Absar Alam also explains how and why some powerful elements within the 'judicial establishment' are backing Imran Khan, despite reports to the contrary.

Watch the full episode only on Naya Daur TV.