…Or a quest for better alternatives?
The dynamics of the existing inter-institution crisis which has already sent a prime minister packing can be traced to the infatuation of the ruling coalition to save one person from any possible prosecution. How, otherwise, can the matters of governance be allowed to grind to a halt and all institutions, energies and resources of the state directed to bring ridicule upon that one institution that is spearheading the battle for the ascendency of accountability and the rule of law?
The job has been rendered simpler through the conduct of the main opposition party in the national assembly. On the ill-conceived plea of not providing any chance to the military to walk in, the Sharif brothers have virtually allowed the reign of loot and plunder to continue unabated and have reaped their own equally lucrative harvest in Punjab. Their fake people-friendly claim has been amply demonstrated by their recent refusal to appear before an accountability judge hearing corruption cases against them on the plea that they are leaders of ‘national calibre’. Grossly insulting that the plea is to the sensitivities of the people, it is tantamount to demanding the promulgation of two laws in the country: one for the ordinary plebeians and the other for leaders of ‘national calibre’ like the recipient of dole-outs from the establishment to topple a sitting government and his younger brother – the epitome of one-man rule in Punjab. They are the very same leaders who go hoarse claiming irrevocable commitment to the toiling masses.
Pakistan’s politics - or at least politics that has been practised so far – has been a crude combination of deceit and cunning. It is based on the premise that all men are equal, but some are ‘more equal than others’. There is an unspoken consensus among leaders of all political mafias sitting in the legislatures about this – be they part of the government or the opposition. It is all about further advancing the cause of those who have used the instruments of power to vanquish any prospects of relief for the suffering multitudes.
Through decades of ‘democratic;’ and ‘dictatorial’ rules, we have been the unfortunate but silent witnesses of the advancement of this draconian and barbaric prescription. Does it reflect an acceptance of fate as ordained? Is it indicative of a malaise that runs deeper than that? Or, is it a combination of both maladies, thus readying ourselves to be consumed by its evil infusions?
One could continue in this vein, but the inevitable reality is that those who have traditionally controlled the citadels of power in the country have seldom initiated or allowed any remedy for the benefit of the underprivileged and the down-trodden. The system has been modelled to work solely for advancing the cause of the rulers of all hues, shapes and sizes at the cost of the ruled, plunging them further into the dungeons of darkness. That’s where they have been incarcerated generation after generation and, in all probability, shall continue to suffer the same fate partly because of the devilish machinations of those whom they have deemed worthy of their votes and partly because of their own impotence and lack of the fighting spirit. This is the classic but evil combination that only perpetuates the status quo to the exclusive benefit of a select few and the detriment of the vast majority.
In a television programme recently, when there was critical comment on the corruption of the political leaderships from both sides of the divide, a representative of a leading political party asked me to stop criticising on the plea that angels are not going to descend from the heavens to rule this country and that we’ll have to make do with the lot that is available.
In other words, it was a plea to accept the debilitating components of deep-set corruption, stark incompetence, woeful inefficiency and the likes because the likelihood of the emergence of better leadership was scant. Putting it differently, this is what the combine of political mafias which has ruled the country from time to time would want the people to accept. This is tantamount to pleading for the acceptance of the system that is driving more and more people below the poverty line. The current poverty index figures put the numbers at around fifty percent of those who are deprived of two basic meals in a day and are irremediably moving closer to starvation.In effect, no real remedy appears in sight. Things are on a downward slide with the manipulators of the instruments of the state becoming crueler by the day. They are focussed on aggrandizing their personal accumulations showing scant sensitivity to the increasing deprivations of the poor. Yet, there is widespread clamour for continuing the system with the hope that in the next one million years or thereabout, it may after all change for the better. The question is not as much whether the system would change and when. It is whether the country has any more resilience left to withstand the criminal onslaught of the ruling political mafias and their corrupt cohorts.Of the many erroneous assumptions, one is that democracy is the only means to progress and thinking of any more beneficial options would be inviting the military intervention. A system that works by denying reform within and spreading the fear paranoia about every effort that is directed at finding a more meaningful alternative is understandably afflicted with incurable weaknesses.
The quest for remedies is an inherent right of the people and they cannot be deprived of it. Its need is increasing by the day as also its relevance. It is the only choice the people have to begin the struggle to extricate themselves from the tentacles of exploitation and slavery imposed on them in the name of democracy. Not a day, not a moment should be lost.
The writer is a political analyst and a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He can be reached at [email protected]