Pakistan Can Only Flourish As A Constitutional Democracy

Pakistan Can Only Flourish As A Constitutional Democracy
When it comes down to our politicians and their 'sometimes' unfathomable ways of doing politics, there is no better explanation to describe the current situation than the popular expression ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned.’ The dual meaning of this expression is more fitting to this leadership sitting on both sides of the fence, which was that Nero being a non-effective leader could only ‘fiddle’ as he had no panacea to offer for the ills of the people of Rome.

As they say - two wrongs do not make a right. Here, the situation has been quite dramatically wrong from all angles. The PDM took over the government at a time when the PTI was already falling under its own weight, a consequence of Imran having made a plethora of hollow promises in his spirit of populism branded as ‘change’ and ‘Naya Pakistan.’ The rather spectacular display of poor governance would have doomed the PTI’s electoral chances had Imran been allowed to continue; but the PDM has breathed life into their opponent by removing him from power.

Prolonging the PDM’s rule and not announcing quick elections after the budget and constantly making difficult decisions to repair the economy was another mistake. The PDM government continues to tank in popularity by the day, and replacing Miftah with Dar was yet another mistake. No one can pull a rabbit out of a hat, except maybe a magician; Ishaq Dar is many things but certainly no magician.

There is no easy way to fix the country’s economic woes; it seems like there is no way to avert the looming debt crisis and it appears that an imminent financial meltdown is in the offing. Yet, our politicians are busy squabbling with one another to keep themselves engaged in the power play.

Lastly, accepting resignations of almost all of PTI’s MNAs, when there was an indication that some sense was about to prevail and that the PTI leadership was contemplating a return to Parliament was another epic fail. This insolence will only lead to anarchy. The arrest of Fawad Chaudhry will only add fuel to the fire – regardless of whether the poor man’s stove burns or not.

Errors of similar magnitude were committed by the other side as well; after the 'no-confidence' vote back in April of last year, the PTI taking to the streets to start agitation was a tactical error from Mr. Khan. After wasting almost a year, and continuously talking about coming back to Parliament and readying the party to sit with the same people he has been accusing of being crooks for decades, and blaming the establishment for the PTI’s debacle is another series of erroneous actions. It is now too little too late; Imran’s moves reek of desperation.

All in all, everything that was done in the past year was wrong – strategically and otherwise. To add to the country’s misery, rather than trying to learn quick lessons and saving some face, all sides in the political quagmire are bound to end up embarrassing themselves. Clearly our politics is not the best show of political awareness and sensibility.

A general election is the only solution, however with the prevailing security situation, the state of affairs will get out of hand very quickly unless things are not brought back under control quickly.

On the one hand, Pakistan’s politics is facing a very perilous situation. On the other however, this could be a crucial juncture where the nation’s politics can be saved for good from any potential ‘external’ interferences. The change of guard could serve as a turning point and the only way is for the establishment to not to pay any heed to any overt or covert references to intervene, interfere and mediate in politics. By the same token, no political entity should expect the establishment to assist or to mediate in clearing their political differences with other political parties.

We have seen numerous calls made by the PTI chairman Imran Khan and other political parties which consider themselves close to the establishment for interventions and for support, but the generals did not oblige. This is a good sign; the muteness should continue.

This time around, the establishment ought to remain ‘apolitical’ and live up to their word, where they have declared several times that they have decided not to intervene in the political process and let democracy prevail on its own merit. Pakistan can only flourish under a civilian led constitutional democracy.