Imperceptible changes



March 15, 2023

Changes occurring in the country indicate that Pakistan is going through a crucial phase whereby the process of redesigning the governance matrix has rendered topsy-turvy the current arrangement. The process probably was overdue but it has taken long to take place primarily pushed by the massive unbalance caused by the hubris of concentration of power in selected segments of the polity. It is often emphasised that Pakistan is unraveling but with two distinct differences: unraveling process appears to be tilted towards positivity and it is largely indigenous. The Pakistani matrix possesses an uncanny ability of discerning rational from irrational and history is witness that it finally takes the rational road. The resilience of Pakistani spirit is widely acknowledged and the main reason of steadfastness is the belief in eternal optimism and fairplay. The progress of change in Pakistan is undoubtedly slow but it is very rewarding as it is based on profound principles of justice.
The current struggle between decisive bastions of authority in the country has ultimately reached the highest levels of judicial portals and that is the right way to do it. This is precisely the moral pretext underpinned by the rule of law. The forces involved in the current conflict are clearly distinguishable between those who follow the precepts of law and those who believe in locking up opponents and throwing away the keys.
The practice has been in vogue in Pakistan to justify arbitrary actions in terms of national exigencies and glorify its perpetrators. This approach has always been held in contention by the segments who believe in consensus building and arriving at decisions that may be against the perception and strategy of arbitrary forces. The tug of war has seen a consistent disruption of governance and the history of the country has been accordingly divided in almost equal timeframes during which both segments have had alternate sway. Ironically the arbitrary rule always reverted to democratic rule signifying that political governance was too cumbersome for the arbitrary forces to handle and they had to invite their so-called opponents.
The see-saw of governance pattern should have been enough for any sane segment to arrive at a convincing understanding but the difference in Pakistan is that the arbitrary forces have not accepted the principle of democratic ascendancy despite suffering setbacks over an unusual period spanning more than half-a-century. This probably is quite a record in modern governance patterns indicating the level of institutional interest acquired by the arbitrary forces. The notion however could not be ignored that they are also convinced about their indispensability in national affairs. This combination is generally described to be harmful for any institution in the longer run and that is what the current situation points out to.
The situation has come to a pass where the portrayal of a given situation by the arbitrary forces has been questioned indicating that such justification is now open to challenge by other segments of the polity. This is usually the first step towards the erosion of conceptual ascendance of the prevailing thought-process in a country and is symptomatic of the end of the proverbial suspension of disbelief prevalent in a social structure. The contention is indeed healthy from consensual point of view ultimately reflecting the general will. The pluralistic forces have done well to steadfastly adhere to the tenets of rule of law though they have been badly mauled in the process.
Another silver lining is that the pretence of acting democratic cover may not be the ideal method of holding on to the levers of power. It is now clearly recognised that in Pakistan democratic cover ultimately results in personal alignments rather than institutional functionality that have the tendency of ending as abruptly as they are formed. The outcome weakens both; institutional viability and democratic maneuverability, considered harmful in the longer run. These are harsh truths but have a ring to them and should be heeded. The overwhelming grip on power structure correspondingly erodes the professional skills of institutions and exposes them to basic weakness and flaws.
Despite all recent clamours it is heartening to see Pakistan slowly but surely inching towards maturity and, in the process, developing a sense of fairness and equilibrium. It has taken time to determine its direction but the country now is sturdy enough to face the challenges of governance in terms of duality of authority and multiple sources of power. Its people are ultimately learning to put their weight behind the segments that are ultimately accountable to them and are, by nature and disposition, accessible. It may take some more time to untie the knot of arbitrary arrangements put in place wrapped under some quite tough defence mechanisms such as dual system of justice imposed in the accountability cloak but such arrangements have always proved flimsy once the rational forces come to ascendance. TW


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