Nabeel Zafar talks about a
The governance record is a sad commentary on the adversity the country suffered on account of endemic Causes of political instability in Pakistan. Even after the internal and international factors compelled Pakistani establishment to eschew from taking over the reins of governance, the internecine political conflicts have not died down keeping the ghost of instability haunting the Pakistani fabric. What exacerbates the situation is that these conflicts are always kept on the boil by covert tactics of the establishment that is always bent upon making its overarching presence felt on the national affairs. In this context the arbitrary forces take advantage of the experience they have acquired while running the country through frequent take-overs in the past. They keep up the pressure by employing legal tactics to avoid getting implicated in serious constitutional issues, repressing political opponents and manipulating local governance. In this situation, the civilian political apparatus is left with hardly any option but to struggle for democratic ascendance while its hands being tide giving rise to multiple causes flaming political instability.
Pakistani polity is still divided over the type of political system it wants to follow ultimately as the arbitrary forces have succeeded in creating serious doubts about the Westminster style of democratic governance though it was the system through which Pakistan came into existence and was unquestioningly followed by the founding fathers. This cause of conflict keeps on raising its head ever so often with proponents of presidential system sowing discord within the ranks of political elements. Keeping in view the abject lack of freedom of action, any democratically elected government falters in service delivery providing the pretext to the arbitrary forces to castigate it and the most frequent method they adopt is to encourage people to cry out for a messiah that the arbitrary forces always are more than willing to provide. The country, therefore, finds itself always in two boats increasing political instability.
The frequent military takeovers have converted Pakistan into a security state with the civilian political class finding itself under pressure to keep the security considerations established by the establishment at the forefront. This priority is made mandatory even at the expense of other development requirements and causes tremendous discomfiture to civilian governments that are left with no option but to sacrifice other priorities at the altar of national security. Following the footprint left by military regimes, the civilian setup is obliged to follow pursuance of policy aimed blaming everything on hostile neighbours and always harping on threats to internal security. A combination of the two keeps elected governments on tenterhooks while providing much-needed room to the arbitrary forces to keep on manipulating matters heightening instability.
Over the last six decades the administrative apparatus of Pakistan has become almost dysfunctional as the country has not been able to sustain the authority its administrative setup possessed at the time of colonial rule. Unfortunately, instead of re-creating authority the administrative machinery was virtually paralysed by ad-hoc decision making practices. It was all too obvious that consistent calls for long-term, structural reform were paid no heed in the past with the result that many consider the system to be beyond repair. The complete breakdown of the system has become manifest by its complete failure to handle disasters, both natural and man-made, and its inadequacies in almost all other civilian state functions with the result that the military authorities are depended upon in case of handling emergencies. This typical inability heavily contributes to political instability and causes widespread public dissatisfaction.
The hapless political elements are kept on a leash both by the permanent establishment and rising public expectations. Both these anxieties hamper their functioning capability and they remain worried about their re-election prospects. They remain engrossed in strengthening their connections and look for extra support from the establishment thereby diverting their attention from public issues. They also try to forge links with the trading class and it could clearly observed that the richer segments of Pakistani population usually gain rather uncomfortable clout in governance with their interests clashing with the policies of public welfare putting plenty of pressure on political stability.
Political instability is perpetuated by consistently increasing chaos in the country that is the outcome of public dissatisfaction, covert activity of the arbitrary forces, economic inequity and social inequality. The fact however cannot be ignored that political elements show little capability of prudently coexisting with their political colleagues. The political elements have also shown a marked tendency of intolerance against their political opponents and this is a mutual difficulty that seriously disrupts political stability. Then there is the question of the ability of political elements to successfully carry out the responsibilities they assume after the electorate provides them the opportunity to govern. In this context it is widely held that the political cadre of the country has consistently fallen short of public expectations that have made political instability perpetual. TW