Clear the streets – for another political festival! | Pakistan Today

Clear the streets – for another political festival!

A matter of “If’s” in the worst case scenario

 

The upcoming protests will die their own death. The history will repeat itself as seen in the wake of 1970’s.

With the wave of democratisation, judicial activism and the privatisation of the media, the “street march” has become the new culture and an everyday norm for the country. Pakistan has witnessed several large to small-scale street protests over the last decade.

Recalling the history, Pakistan has been a victim of a like agitation since 1975. From that till day today the protestors that thronged the streets with powerful demands did not subscribe to favouritism in many ways.

Yet again, the country is at a verge where the administration could be halted as the anti-government parties’ threat of launching a march has come into action. Weakening and discrediting the ruling government the opposition parties have re-entered the ‘dharna politics’.

Senior journalist Brig. Shaukat Qadir said in a conversation with DNA: “the upcoming protests will die their own death. The history will repeat itself as seen in the wake of 1970’s.”

“These politicians are not strong enough to come hard on the government,” Shaukat said.

The current wave of protest and agitation has put pressure on the federal government. The problem that beset the country is that after the prime minister family’s name appeared in the Panama leaks the joint opposition including Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf has asked for PM’s accountability through judicial processing. With delayed tactics used by the institutions and maintenance of an adamant posture on the terms of reference (ToRs) the issue has reached a deadlock.

On the contrary, the issue cleric stakeholders i.e. Pakistan AwamiTehreek tends to highlight is that the justice has been delayed on the brutal killings of PAT workers in Lahore’s Model town area.

The fact that the anti-government parties overlook is that a shaken political system of a country gains maximum international attention. This results in bringing a bad name for the country.

Senior journalist and anchorperson Syed AsimRaza while talking to DNA said that “these marches would not do more than defaming county’s image on the international front. Internally it would lead to a state of chaos.”

If the marches turn into a sit-in it’s likely to have a grave impact on the socio-political system and can play havoc with the country’s economy.

Syed Asim Raza while commenting on the economic repercussions said that the economy is the backbone of country’s progress and a state of anarchy could ruin it.

“The factories would be shut down, foreign investors would be sceptical from investing and depreciation of the rupee would have an adverse impact on the stock market,” Asim added.

The fact that the anti-government parties overlook is that a shaken political system of a country gains maximum international attention. This results in bringing a bad name for the country.

A widely accepted phenomenon is that the political conditions of the country have a reciprocal affect on the long-term commitments from foreign investors.

DNA spoke to a senior journalist and media researcher, Adil Ali. While commenting on the economic fallouts from the street march, Adil said that “in the beginning, the foreign investors will be reluctant to invest which will eventually pave the way for more poverty and unemployment.”

Moreover, social stability and development issues are directly linked to the economic sustainability in the country.

Syed AsimRaza while talking to DNA said, “the stable socio-political system of the country would fall a victim of these protests dismantling the state’s order.”

It’s an undeniable fact that staging protest is a democratic right of every citizen and merely putting a ban would be an attempt of derailing of a democratic system.

Senior journalist and anchorperson Habib Akram while talking to DNA said that “protest is a democratic right and cannot be denied to citizens and their representatives. It’s ‘violence’ that results in agitation among the protestors and the general public.

Presently, there reside two opinions in lieu to the upcoming street march.

One foresees that the government might go into doldrums if excessive pressure is put by the joint opposition.

However, others are of the view that the upcoming protests might not be very fruitful and army to stage a coup besetting the crisis is a far off cry.

Talking to DNA Brig. Shaukat said, “I don’t find the parties bragging huge crowd to the protest.”

“Pakistan army has said that they don’t intent to come into power and has categorically denied all speculations of staging a coup.”

All eyes are set on today’s rally,, the magnitude will decide what could happen in the worst case scenario.

Habib Akram while commenting on the PTI’s street march said that “all eyes are set on today’s rally, the magnitude will decide what could happen in the worst case scenario.”

Moreover, analysing the excessive media coverage, these anti-government protests receive, puts a huge question mark on reporting skills and code of ethics of the media organisations.

During the recent political turmoil, it was witnessed that media instead of following the journalistic principles, becomes a third party. Thus, denying of the element of neutrality and objectivity of the reporting raises questions.

Brig. Shaukat while talking to DNA said that “media is a hard resistant economic market, which sells news in order to gain maximum ratings.”

“Every citizen must be provided access to media but media in the wake of providing access needs to check the happenings.”

“Bashing or harming the image of a government or private institution through false or sensationalised reporting should be strongly condemned,” Shaukat added.

Another point of view is that media companies work on the agenda of its investors which in most cases are the political parties they are affiliated to. This allows political parties to gain maximum interest from the strategy in order pursue their own agendas.

Media houses have become corporate sectors; anyone (parties or groups) who will invest more will get more coverage. Eventually, money will decide who will get more coverage or no coverage at all.

While commenting on the issue Adil Ali says, “media houses have become corporate sectors; anyone (parties or groups) who will invest more will get more coverage. Eventually, money will decide who will get more coverage or no coverage at all.”

One view that the media’s role in the country needs to be evaluated otherwise people’s trust in the media groups will diminish while another view totally contradicts it.

Asim Raza disagreed to blame the media for covering events as it is, he said, “it’s media job to report the current happenings the way they are.”

“It’s the duty of institutions or political parties to revise their acts to lessen the agitation among masses.”

“Media can’t be blamed for showing news in an objective manner,” Asim added.

Similarly, Habib Akram said, “media is a social platform, hence, our work is to report real time happenings considering the public interests.”

With the media matter, social stability is another aspect that is greatly affected by the protests.

With protest being a democratic right the matter that needs to be taken into consideration is that the political stability must remain enact. It plays an important role in keeping society integrated and in maintaining legitimacy within the state.

To conclude, with odds stacked up against the federal government, from time to time, make it difficult for the government to devote full attention to other key challenges. Political uncertainty would continue to halt the civilian order.

Recalling the history, when government take too long to take up a decision the vacuum that is created allows for a military coup to be staged.This should be taken as a wake-up call.

Adil Ali while commenting on the results of a persistent deadlock says that, “It’s a vicious circle. After a dialogue among the political forces elections will be held and the army will remain the major stakeholder again.”

Hence, the political consequence is the need of time and is only expected when the aggrieved groups and political parties join hands. The united opposition and the federal government must immediately come on board with reasonable strategies to counter issue.

In worst case scenario, if Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz fails to adopt an up front approach to deal the deteriorating issue it might go like clock works.

A point worthy of pondering by all parties concerned is, would they prefer their personal interests over the prosperity and smooth administration of the country?



Related posts

Top