Sharif’s faux pas
The legendary Henry Ford left quite a legacy behind himself. Yet, despite the rich legacy of the assembly line, the term “Fordian” refers to an answer of his to a journalist. When asked why the wildly successful Model T only came in black, the industrialist is said to have replied that he didn’t mind any colour – as long as it was black.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has long been accused of being Fordian. He is for the democratic system as long as it elects him. Any other result, and he will “come out on the streets.” Though he has been chastised for this attitude by many, including the PML(N), it appears the latter will find this tougher and tougher to do so. For their own Quaid has taken to giving some rather Fordian statements of his own. By calling for immediate elections the other day, the League supremo fits neatly into the category of those without patience for the democratic process.
This democracy business takes time. Not only is the governance and legislation aspect of this form of government dreadfully slow and sloppy, the “turn”, as it were, is also rather lengthy. Yes, if he feels that tenures are way too lengthy to be sat through, he can urge for a constitutional amendment: cut the tenure of the governments from five years to four. There actually is a school of thought within the PPP interested in that. There are advantages to having a full five years as well. A case could even be made for an amendment lengthening tenures to six years.
The above are all with their pros and cons and the parliament is the correct venue to weigh in on these. Yes, this debate could also be initiated beforehand in public discourse. But to ask for resignations implies immaturity on the ideological front. Asking for resignations is all good in the UK or even India. But nascent democracies like Pakistan need sustained, continuous democracy, despite how bad the circumstances supposedly are.
The PPP government has a lot to desire for on the governance front; it doesn’t have its act together. There seems to be little attention given to public policy. But there is a particular allegation made by its detractors that actually is its best defence. This government, goes the allegation, is only interested in completing its term. If it indeed does that and nothing else, it would have been the first politically elected government (even the Q League doesn’t count 2002 anymore) to have completed its term in office. This is a bigger deal than it seems. The fluency of democracy will take care of a lot in the long run.