Don't Turn Pakistan Into A Banana Republic

Don't Turn Pakistan Into A Banana Republic
In a recent interview given to Financial Times, the former prime minister of Pakistan, who in recent months built a narrative around a purported ‘cipher’ from the United States, that allegedly triggered a 'regime change', said that he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power. This statement entirely destroys the basis of his continuous agitation against not only the incumbent government but specifically towards the military.

This change of heart also calls into question some of his later slogans which became part of his overall protest and have gathered huge public attention and sympathy both nationally and internationally.

From pledging to build a ‘Riyasat e Medina’ to doing ‘Azadi March’ to naming the campaign ‘Amar Bil Maroof’, to upping the ante by renaming the march as ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ and coming up with slogans like ‘imported hakoomat (government) Naa manzoor’ and ‘absolutely not’ in between, the PTI misled common Pakistanis through its empty, rhetorical slogans. This was no service to democracy.

The basic questions which pop up now are who this ‘haqeeqi Azadi March’ is against if not the US and if the US did not then who ‘exported’ the so-called ‘imported government’ which is ‘naa Manzoor’ to him and his supporters?

The politics of Pakistan have become so twisted that it is not easy to grasp how the affairs are being conducted. It is just simply perplexing.

The PTI has a government in two provinces, but they are still unhappy with their own governance, the one example is, not being able to get an FIR registered for the armed attack on Imran Khan.

If PTI leaders are so unhappy with their own governance, why can’t they dissolve both Punjab and KP assemblies and create a political vacuum so that the federal government would not survive either. Thus, a fresh election would become inevitable.

Not leaving the two provincial governments and still complaining does not make sense. One remembers some months ago, the KP government was ready to send provincial police to protect Imran Khan and his residence in Islamabad. The Punjab government committed contingents of the provincial police force to be sent to the federal capital to provide ‘security’ to the PTI leader.

Now the same PTI leaders are protesting and criticizing the behavior of the same provincial police force which was once committed to assist the PTI in federal territory. How unstable can things be? Are we heading towards a complete meltdown?

It is pertinent to mention that this police force is under the command of their own provincial home ministry. This is some warped situation only created by removal of a PM in a constitutional way.

Another recent development which questions our institutional indepence is the issuance of a 'diplomatic' passport to another former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif. He was serving a sentence when left for a 'shorter' visit abroad on 'health' grounds but never returned despite court orders, now he is getting a Pakistani government issued legal travel document. Obviously a background check if done would have shown his clearance blocked due to overstay outside the country while serving a sentence. This is equally appalling and seems like clear double standards for people in power.

The state is not owned by anyone, the state has to be neutral. Governments come and go, the defense institutions have professionals joining them and retiring, the bureaucracy has officers coming and going, the politicians are one day here the other day out of politics, retired gracefully or thrown out by legal or extra judicial means.

The judiciary has judges running the judicial affairs and retiring, there is no one ‘invincible’ in any country, they are just the characters serving the country and its people and eventually going to oblivion at some point, sooner or later.

We should end the stark divisive politics of ‘jayalas’, ‘patwaris’ and ‘youthias

What matters is the state and only the state which is here to stay. We should take lessons from the history of humankind, many powerful entities came, ruled fairly and unfairly, and vanished from the face of the earth, forgotten by all and sundry.

For the political parties there is a chance once again to get their house in order, we should come out of the stark divisive politics of ‘jayalas’, ‘patwaris’ and ‘youthias and become Pakistanis. Two wrongs do not make right, so rather than following the same path, try to right the wrongs of the last 75 years. All elements which throw the state's equation out of balance are to be blamed equally be it any political party or any other pillar of the state.

What we need at this crucial point is to come up with a better and bigger ‘charter of democracy’ where we define roles of politicians, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the military establishment. There is no ignominy in getting back to a drawing board after 75 years of existence and chalking out a new strategy on modern political dynamics. Let’s not limit ourselves to pledging only but ensuring the implementation of the agreed principles of democracy. Let’s not be bogged down in another blame game and only work together with healthy debates on the issues and not the individuals.

Do not let Pakistan become a ‘banana republic’.