Can Nawaz Sharif save the establishment?

The establishment can be beaten

It is widely believed that a chain is as strong as the weakest link. After a long time, the powerful establishment is on the back foot desperately in need of a saviour. It was the first usurper who introduced corrupt politicians to maximize their influence and to exercise control. He created his own brand of Pakistan Muslim League (Convention). Ch Zahoor Elahi, a dismissed Police Constable, was given an important position in the new party. After the fall of the dictator in March 1969, the party had to bite the dust in the first free and fair elections held in the year 1970. With the surrender in the Armed Forces in the Eastern Wing the establishment was in disarray and cornered. Taking advantage of the situation, Zuklfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) consolidated civilian authority. The 1973 constitution was also a gift of this democratic era. Unfortunately, it was short lived (1971 to 1977), the anti-democratic forces connived to get rid of the Quaid-e-Awam, pushing the country into the Zia Dark Ages from which it is still to recover. Those in barracks moved in to the corridors of power.

Zia tried to neutralize the popularity of ZAB’s party. He discovered the Sharifs of Lahore, who were then propelled into the corridors of power. Mian Muhammad Sharif was the brain behind the ‘ Sharif Group ‘. First it was Pakistan Muslim League (Junejo) from which emerged PML(N) after Junejo Sahib revolted against the third usurper.

Unlike ZAB’s Pakistan People’s Party which had an ideological base, Nawaz Sharif’s cobbled an alliance of interests that was interested in increasing its wealth. Corruption was institutionalized during this period. The party was bestowed with all kinds of favors including absolute majority not once but twice (1997, 2013).

Their insatiable lust for power led to confrontation with the Armed Forces. In 1998, Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister pushed out Gen Jehangir Karamat as COAS and replaced him with Pervaiz Musharraf. On his second shot at removing the COAS within a span of a few months he was deposed and captured.

The dream of the founding fathers for a free land seems to be close to fruition. As the first-born free generation, we too have lived and struggled for this freedom by deposing not one but four usurpers and effectively dealing with the fifth hidden hand. Another free and fair election can bring back the long derailed democratic order paving the way for a prosperous and vibrant republic as envisioned by Iqbal and Jinnah. The legendary ‘Parwaz of the Shaheen‘ (flight of the eagle) now seems inevitable.

Due to Abba Ji’s astute approach he managed to reach an agreement to stay in exile for ten years. After the Lawyer’s Movement in 2007, NS managed to stage a comeback through a controversial NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance). The infamous ‘Dawn Leaks’ again disturbed the balance of power between the corruption-laden political party and the establishment, paving the way for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf (PTI) to come into power

PML(Q) was promised election victory in 2008 but the assassination of Benazir Bhutto brought her party into power. Asif Zardari managed to become the President after ousting Pervaiz Musharraf with the help of Gen Parvez Kiani, the then COAS. In the 2013 elections PTI emerged as a major political force but was denied victory due to the connivance of the establishment with the PML(N). Imran Khan called foul and decided to fight back.

Again, in the 2018 electoral contest PTI was denied outright majority. In order to gain power IK had to rely on a coalition partner and remained at the mercy of the establishment. The vote of no-confidence was the last attempt by the deep state to tarnish the credible image of IK, but it backfired.

The return of the corrupt to power created a huge public backlash. IK’s valiant fightback resulted in his mass public support. Today all dirty players stand fully exposed. An operation ‘ Clean-up ‘ is now unstoppable.

After 1971, the establishment has again been cornered by an honest political leader. All attempts to tarnish his image have failed. The corrupt are now on the run. With the help of his mentors NS did manage to escape his jail term but his reputation followed him. The chants of ‘Chor’ are a daily routine outside his hideout in London.

After the recent defeat of PML(N) in the provincial assembly elections despite the support of the establishment, the writing is on the wall. This time even the establishment cannot manipulate the electoral process to ensure the victory of the corrupt that suits them. The battle lines are clearly drawn, the corrupt and the establishment on one side versus the honest on the other led by IK. Return of NS will be the last-ditch effort by the establishment to counter the popularity of Kaptain but the tide is against them.

The corrupt will be in jails soon while the Khakis will return to the barracks for the first time after crossing the line in July 1977 followed by the judicial murder of ZAB the most popular political leader of his time. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan will finally emerge as a constitutional democracy which IK has termed as Haqiqi Azadi (Real Freedom) which was usurped by those who were meant to serve in the barracks, not rule in the corridors of power.

The dream of the founding fathers for a free land seems to be close to fruition. As the first-born free generation, we too have lived and struggled for this freedom by deposing not one but four usurpers and effectively dealing with the fifth hidden hand. Another free and fair election can bring back the long derailed democratic order paving the way for a prosperous and vibrant republic as envisioned by Iqbal and Jinnah. The legendary ‘Parwaz of the Shaheen‘ (flight of the eagle) now seems inevitable.

Dr Farid A Malik
Dr Farid A Malikhttps://www.pakistantoday.com.pk
The writer is ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be contacted at: [email protected].

Must Read

Politicians of all hue dub decision to ban PTI ‘childish and...

Ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says govt has no mandate to impose ban on a political party PPP’s Rabbani stresses banning a political party...