- The establishment doesn’t want to repeat past blunders
There is a famous Urdu verse Sab kuchh luta ke, hosh mein aye (What a pity, sanity prevailed after everything was lost). After creating several ‘political monsters’ like the Sharifs of Lahore, Chaudhrys of Gujrat, Wattoos of Okara, Saifullahs of KPK, to name just a few as the list is long, the establishment in Pakistan has finally realized its blunders. Now the land of the pure is on a course correction where the PTI with its limited dirty laundry is its logical pa,rtner. The tainted opposition is not reading the writing on the wall, their own creators and benefactors have turned against them. The honeymoon of corruption is over, the stables have to be cleaned. The big question is, will the democratic forces survive and eventually take the driver’s seat to steer the nation? Can the Turkish model of civilian rule be applied to the Islamic Republic?
In my personal analysis Khawaja Saad Rafique, the discredited son of a very credible father, Khawaja Muhammad Rafique (Shaheed), has been able to gauge the situation well. Air Marshal Asghar Khan remarked that the agencies know more about us than we can ever imagine. Their files are loaded with information and proofs of all kind which have not been revealed for reasons best known to them. Only a clean politician like the Air Marshal could see eye to eye with his previous employers. He challenged the formation of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) through which Mian Nawaz Sharif was launched as a national leader. The famous Supreme Court decision has not been implemented yet.
For the first time since 1977, Pakistan is now moving in the right direction with PTI and establishment being on the same page for common good of the nation
The 1985 partyless elections opened the floodgates of political corruption in the country. The intelligence agencies watched but remained silent. Civilian institutions came under attack, both from the Khakis and from their handpicked inept and corrupt politicians. Progressives were hounded, most of them either left in disgust or left politics to join NGOs, as opposition became a very hazardous business.
The first generation of Pakistan was divided into three segments. Those who became a part of the status quo and did not work for common good, then some of us who revolted and took the establishment head-on but were made to suffer, while the remaining opted for underground action or guerrilla tactics for long-term survival. In April 1996 when Imran Khan launched his movement for social justice under the banner of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the surviving warriors of change joined him. Despite political setbacks Khan did not give up. Finally the massive get-together of October 2011 jelled the movement. Today the party is in power at the centre and two provinces of the country (Punjab, KPK). It is perhaps the only national party left in the political arena today.
Khawaja Saad Rafique has finally come around to his father’s crusade, but after eating a lot of crow, as they say. He is talking about civilian supremacy which only clean and honest politicians can deliver. He is highlighting the past misdeeds of his own party. Unfortunately it is too little and too late now. A lot of water has flown under the bridge. Pakistan is in an insurmountable debt trap. Only the noble will survive, the rest will have to bite the dust.
The All Parties Convention (APC) held on June 25 was a big flop. Those who had been pushed out were trying to cling to straws that remain in the arena. Starting a movement without establishment support is an uphill task. It has been unsuccessfully tried many times in the past. Individuals and nations must learn from history. While virtue is everlasting, foul play is always short lived. Some smart individuals made hay in the sun but then quietly left the ring to pull strings from behind. They used their political offices to build empires but did not prolong their tainted innings. When the tide changed they remained silent as they were in no position to shout to expose themselves.
In Lahore, the playground of the Muslim League and its various brands, areas were divided to take control and develop. The Sharifs first established their 1400-kanal estate called Jatti Umra and then developed the area around it at public expense. Massive development projects were launched in the area that included network of roads, Adda Plot, water channels and so on which were built with public money. The Chaudhrys focused on Ferozepur Road and Gulberg. A park on M. M. Alam Road called Dungi Ground where I played several cricket matches was taken over for a Cineplex complex. The residents went to the court but the development was not stopped. Finally when the government changed the original development was cancelled, now it is a library and community centre. The mayor took control of the area around the canal to build his educational empire, which he now claims is the largest in the country.
Pakistan and its resources have been shamelessly robbed by the imposed political leadership. Their blatant misuse of authority for personal benefits stands fully exposed. Today PTI is the only hope of civilian supremacy but without the tainted political players of the past. Saad Rafique has rightly sensed the hard times ahead. His father and mother both left a legacy of honesty and resistance. But the Khawaja brothers are in deep trouble because of the misdeeds of the team they were part of: a fresh start has been made in which the corrupt will have no role to play. For the first time since 1977, Pakistan is now moving in the right direction with PTI and establishment being on the same page for common good of the nation.