Is this the right way out?

Politically, matters are getting worse

Pakistan was created in the name of Islam with Islamic teachings where Muslims were to be live their lives in freedom by having fundamental rights. We are blessed to have an independent country, but in the current political crisis, is it right to say that uni-knot practices are being practiced on the political ground, where the multi-purpose fishing knot is being used for attaching the fishing line to catch the desired target. Is it the right way out?

Going back to the Vote of No-Confidence Motion against the former PTI government, immense political turmoil is still going on in the political field and is getting worse day by day. On March 8, opposition parties filed a no-trust move in the National Assembly against the PTI government. The opposition required 172 votes to oust then Prime Minister Imran Khan, which was followed by talk of horse-trading. Twenty-four PTI lawmakers were identified in it, and later were given show-cause notices by PTI. On March 25, then Speaker Asad Qaiser summoned a no-trust session. After delays, on March 30, President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the advice of the PM, with the Deputy Speaker ruling out the motion by blaming the joint opposition for conspiring with the USA against the PTI. On April 9, the crucial NA session was called to vote on the no-confidence motion afer the Supreme Court had struck down the Deputy Speaker’s ruling. Speaker Asad Qaiser resigned, by declaring it unlawful to do any action which was affected by conspiracy, and asked Ayaz Sadiq to take up the chair to initiate the process at the midnight. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Supreme Court opened at night to intervene in the political crisis which seemed to be turning into the worst episode. The timely intervention by the Court protected the political field for an amicable solution in accordance with the Constitution.

However, on April 11, Mr Shahbaz Sharif was elected Prime Minister by securing 174 votes, under the joint coalition decision. Due to horse-trading, later on, the votes for Punjab CM were declared void based on the cancellation of membership of PTI members through which other parties were able to secure the desired seats to win. Till now, PTI is standing firm on its stance and organizing rallies all over Pakistan where huge crowds are being observed attending. Imran Khan is seen maintaining the momentum of his party through his firm stance as said “I will not accept an imported government– absolutely not, and ready for struggle”.

In reality, the political field is the name of continuous struggle, but when there is an elected government there should be given a chance to complete the tenure of 5 years instead of pulling and pushing friction in between. These sorts of differences were required to be sorted out face to face.

The PML(N) representatives were heard saying that Imran Khan’s government seemed to continue for nearly 15 more years, so there was a requirement to find a solution to oust the government. The PTI’s firm stance on corruption, mishandling of official funding, and court cases were affecting and making hindrance in the ways of other political parties. So far, if we put a glance into the past, not even a single Prime Minister was able to complete the tenure i.e. Benazir Bhutto (1988-99, 1993-96); Nawaz Sharif (1990-93, 1997-98); Raja Ashraf (2012-13); Yousuf Raza Gillani (2008-12); Shoukat Aziz (2004-2007); Chaudhry Shujaat Husain (Jun-Aug 2004); Zafarullah Jamali (2002-04); Nawaz Sharif (2013-2017); Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (2017-2018), and Imran Khan (2018-2022). History has been made when the very first time a Pakistani Prime Minister was ousted by a vote of no confidence by the claims of external interference.

In 2018, PTI took over the government with a collapsing economy, and the current government can be heard blaming the PTI government for the current situation. On the other side, there were always economic issues hovering over the head, an at a moment the dollar has reached the highest rate of Rs 209, petrol is at R. 249 per litre, and it is being said it will reach Rs 300 per litre in coming days to come up to the expectations of IMF.

The situation is still getting out of hand and a common citizen is struggling for survival. Apart from this, the raised voices on various issues are being tried to suppress by force. As seen in the recent arrest of journalist Imran Riaz Khan, who is being shifted to the courts of various cities. The case is shifted from court to court due to not coming into a jurisdiction, or being wrongly charged under the sedition case. In reality, it seems to be a fight between raising questions.

Nothing will be achieved but surely other external forces would get their way in, which is not acceptable or imaginable in the security and best interest of Pakistan. There is an urgent requirement and suggestion for an aggressive plan to move forward by shunning the differences among ourselves and moving towards a democratic way of elections for peace and prosperity.

At this moment, various FIRs have been lodged against many journalists who are keen to obtain answers and are being dragged into cases. The present scenario is giving the picture of raising civil war with the provision of a civil-military imbalanced governance issue. The acts are undermining national security and safety due to the widening disconnect between the people and military about them keeping their distance from politics.

The general impression is being taken that political forces are taking military patronage for their electoral prospects. There is an urgent need to sit together for holding a dialogue and taking the directions from the Army on national security as it is being undermined. This is even though the Pak Army as an institution that never compromised on these issues and always stood firm on national security and the national interest.

The current picture reminds us of 1971- the time of East and West Pakistan separation which was based on conspiracy and raised to develop differences between East and West Pakistanis. The criticism has been found in the history of depriving East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the West Pakistan/federal government of basic rights, discrimination on political grounds, economic disparity, the disparity in developmental planning, the disparity in civil services and armed forces, degeneration of the Awami League political party and the emergence of other Bengali parties, language issue along with the social and cultural differences led to the separation.

As stated in the book Witness of Carnage 1971 by Brig (Retd) Karrar Ali Agha the outbreak of civil war was witnessed by banning Awami League to suppress their voice for demanding fundamental rights. In that scenario, press censorship was imposed and political activities were banned in East Pakistan by West Pakistan’s Army. The civil war erupted and still was not affordable to India, where refugees fled for shelter. Eventually, the different hands in the conspiracy were observed successfully in their aim of a separate homeland for Bengalis. The chapter of the above book, ‘Ides of March’ stated that a military solution was not an amicable solution in this scenario which means a civil war without achieving any aim with the invitation of disastrous consequences.

However, the similarities of the same situation seem to be fanning the fire to create disturbance in the country. Nothing will be achieved but surely other external forces would get their way in, which is not acceptable or imaginable in the security and best interest of Pakistan. There is an urgent requirement and suggestion for an aggressive plan to move forward by shunning the differences among ourselves and moving towards a democratic way of elections for peace and prosperity.

Dr. Saira Asad
Dr. Saira Asad
The writer is a PhD from University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), an award-winning columnist, researcher, and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Riphah International University (Media Sciences Department), Islamabad, Pakistan. She can be reached at [email protected].

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