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  • Writer's pictureSaleem Qamar Butt

The Delusional Governance


A brief overview of Pakistan’s Political history with focus on consistent failure of all types of governance modules makes one wonder as to who is the real power wielder in the country. The ousted civilian rulers tried and mostly convicted on various charges with corruption on top of the list keep blaming the establishment till they manage to get back in the comfy chairs of the parliament; and in turn military rulers keep coming back in control under the projected motivation  to save the state from the brink of complete failure. The vicious circle has continued unabated.

In Pakistan, if the country's three main political parties, namely the PPP, the PML-N and the PTI, have each failed to govern well (especially with reference to economic revival), we need to ask, why? Is there a problem with the stated three political parties or with the three main organs of the state i.e. Legislature, Judiciary and the Executives; who are mostly found attempting to function out of the respective constitutional orbits and on whose machination? Or is there a problem with our stars or with us? Or is there a problem with the system of governance or with the unfair and self-serving men in the system? Or is it due to the lack of competence or due to the frail character of licentious power grabbers? Or is it a case of “like people, like rulers” or “jaisaa raja waisi prajaa”? Or is it a backlash of failure to learn from the past experience of others and even from our own major national strategic blunders e.g. October 1958, December 1970/71, July 1977, April 1979, October 1999, September 2001, April 2022 and May 2023? A democracy is a society in which the citizens are sovereign and control the government; did it ever happen in Pakistan? We need to remember that had the political magnanimity been our national culture, there would neither have been four unconstitutional military takeovers, nor frequent dismissal of civilian governments. The current political acrimony and mayhem in Pakistan smacks of 1970/71 and 1977/79 distressing environments and must be avoided. Since PTI had got a chance to rule for only 3.5 years as against decades of repeated misrule by PPP and PMLN, therefore their performance comparison cannot be realistic. Nevertheless, I have addressed the above queries in a series of articles published earlier and for any honest, aware and keen reader, finding answers to above questions won’t be a challenge.


The global political history testifies that, “Power doesn't corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” In its checkered history of 76 years, Pakistan has had 32 prime ministers. There have been thirteen Presidents of Pakistan since the introduction of the post in 1956. Six presidents have been members of a political party and four of them were active party members of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP). The first president was a retired military officer; four others were incumbent military officers of which, three gained power through successful military coups in Pakistan's history – FM Ayub Khan (27 October 1958 to 31 March 1969: left ZA Bhutto, PPP, and Gen Agha Yahya as a legacy…accumulated aftermath was loss of former East Pakistan), General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (16 September 1978 to 17 August 1988: left Nawaz Sharif and PML(N), and millions of disillusioned Jihadi elements as his unrelentingly haunting legacy) and General Pervez Musharraf (20 June 2001 to 18 August 2008: left behind PML(Q), MQM, vicious NROs and consequent boosted turncoats culture; besides, inexorable backlash of embroiling in a so called War against Terrorism, playing as a second fiddle to USA). It is said, “When plunder becomes a way of life, men create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.” Obviously, the illusory as well as transient economic stability and development during these stated military rules is attributable more to the flow of American dollars paid for playing the self-destructive Cat’s Paw roles assigned to Pakistan; highly profitable only for the ruling elite and their fraternity of multiple hues and colours.

On the internal front, the pivotal reasons for the continuous ‘so called democratic regimes’ failure in Pakistan may include all or some of the following: a corrupted electoral system that thrives on abundance of filthy money, ability to buy votes and electable/ turncoats, meddling by the invisible power brokers, isms/ schisms executed by ‘rent a crowd companies’ in the name of sectarian, tribal, clans, religious and social biases, immoral and illegal practices to suppress the political opponents, lawlessness, no induction as well as further grooming criterion for the politicians/ legislature as in the case of Judiciary and the Executives, politicized Election Commission and the compromised whole of the electoral machinery. Consequently, such a lopsided election system results in the unending bad governance by the poorest human resource continually getting in the helms of affairs. Thus, the overawed public unavoidably continue to suffer from rampant corruption, political victimization, worst human conduct and shameless pomposity, reckless extravagance by the stoic elite, lack of accountability, weak writ of the law, desperately slow judicial system, suffocating unbridled inflation, addiction to foreign loans at the cost of compromises on national sovereignty and decision making, adjusting to foreign influence or even interference, and unstoppable slide down of economy.

 

Nevertheless, the frequent regime changes in Pakistan have less to do with incompetence of so called democratic or military governments and more to do with execution of the ‘Economic Hit man’ policies managed through embedded slaves i.e. Trojan Horses and likes of Lawrence of Arabia in updated versions. Mr. John Perkins’s books on the subject make it abundantly clear that Pakistan has been made an unfortunate but classic example of being a prime target of “Economic Hit Man’s” malicious maneuvers. No amount of distortion of history and whitewash can hide as to how and who always created conducive environment and choreographed events, which were made to be seen, heard and believed by the wretched public and even academia, media, chosen political pygmies and the well rewarded elements among all the pillars of the state. Sadly, these elements still continue even with greater vigour to project the undying menace as a messianic reward; as late Henry Kissinger said, “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” Nevertheless, it has been experienced umpteen times that as soon as the meticulously managed elected or selected civil or military rulers appeared to have served hidden agenda, or they were found to be getting out of the crease in a fit of nationalism or something else, their immediate political or physical elimination was ensured by the not very invisible masters, not only in Pakistan but in many other parts of the world e.g. Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria, Tunis, Turkey, and so on and so forth. Though, authoritarian rule always looks more organised, better managed and in the short-term relatively more focused on developments with corruption somewhat under check. Ironically, the downfall of dictatorial rule starts as soon as the same old corrupt political elite manages to join hands to serve and rule indirectly as puppets; with flak directed at the overjoyed and even flabbergasted military rulers and the military institution, and most of the appreciation managed for the evergreen ruling clans. Lately, it has been termed as a Hybrid government… unholy, unconstitutional and counterproductive by all standards of governance nevertheless. The mortals keep wondering, “If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?”

The leaning on the Army by all institutions of the state on any drop of a hat, has made the bureaucracy, political elite as well as the general public addicted to the use of Army as an indispensable antibiotic for the quick fix and for the cure of minor and major national syndromes. Pakistan’s brief history confirms that this injudicious practice has always proved fatal in the long run for the state as well as for the military institutions; just like use of antibiotics proves fatal for treatment of dengue fever. Needless to say that “no nation can survive politically free, but economically enslaved”.

 

The path forward requires bold actions. The Military in cooperation with judiciary will do great service to the nation by playing role of an honest umpire (desirably one last time); and enable much preferred holding of free and fair general elections in the country to take place under absolutely apolitical judiciary and Election Commission with all parties and leadership including PTI given equal and fair playing field. Any elections short of that will be seen as farcical with cataclysmic repercussions. Let the hatred, prejudices, grievances and dark past be buried and take a fresh and positive start where a genuine political process inevitably ensures a gradual cleansing procedure. Ensuring ‘Protection of People and the Constitution is the laconic message for the Armed Forces of Pakistan being the most organised and dependable national redeemers. That is considered the finest remedy for restoration of the image of all state institutions as well as for highly desired political and economic stability in Pakistan, which can function and govern beyond delusion.

Pakistan Zindabad!

 

 

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