Abdul Basit describes the fresh spate of political turbulence of Unending problems
Turmoil Unending problems has revisited Pakistan yet again with TV shows full of venomous political figures and roads blocked by agitating crowds. The country is abuzz with steep political uncertainty as a bunch of senior opposition lawmakers finally submitted a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan after weeks of speculation and rumour-mongering. With this act began the unending spate of chicanery associated with political governance in the country as, to begin with, the no-confidence motion was presented to the NA secretariat as speaker, Asad Qaiser widely reputed to fancifully altering rules and procedures in favour of the government party of whom he is the member of, conveniently absented himself from his office on the occasion.
The most galling aspect of this whole exercise is that it does not pertain to the failure of the incumbent government in respect of nationally important strategic issues but just about placement of few individuals on key positions and prevent some from them. This exercise also brings to fore the sad fact of present times that no elected civilian head of the government has been allowed to complete their respective tenures of office. This dubious distinction is associated only with this high office whereas other high offices of the state not only prematurely interfered with but even enjoy extensions given in tenures of their holders.
This sorry state of affairs reflects the abject failure of governance in the country that has resulted in endemic political instability. This unfortunate tendency has relegated the essential job of providing much needed economic sustenance to the people on the perpetual backburner with no one apparently bothered about the painful state they exist in. Such political instability certainly suits the ruling elite’s privileges and hold on power but on the expense of welfare of the hapless millions. The consistent turmoil has also negatively affected the country’s ability to weather global and regional geopolitical storms and this failure has given rise to fragility of the state apparatus ending in emaciating Pakistan.
It is Unending problems visible clearly that the powerful segment controlling the country earnestly prefers perpetuating a permanent crisis of governance as it suits them to hold all relevant cards. This state of affairs gives an impression of a vast gap between the modern state and traditional society, between institutional design and practice and between Western governance practices and Islamic frames of authority. For the perpetrators of such policy, however, the chaos generated by it proves constructive as it can freely use it to its advantage though on the broader national level it has consistently proved to be destructive and extremely restrictive. If viewed in the light of the fact that all politics is about conflict then the Pakistani arbitrary forces consider it to be kosher and workable.
The decisive forces in Pakistani devise specific contentious points and then dwell on carving out the policies heavily laced with an inbred contention that will finally provide them chances to arbitrate thereby strengthening their bargaining position. They willfully avoid the fact that by following such self-servings course of action they are determining the evolution of the country and that too on wrong and convoluted basis. This perpetual clash of interests pitches them against the middle class and civil democratic forces that are usually mired in the quagmire created by the self-perpetuating elements leaving little room to maneuver.
The high-handed situation created by the arbitrary forces has resulted in a bifocal nature of state authority both representing opposing outlook, vision, worldview and policy orientation. It falls to the lot of the middle class to press for making national interest supreme but the self-absorbed arbitrary political class’s ideas and practices invariably highlights and served public interest and that too determined exclusively by it. This conflict is at the core of incessant conflict in the perceptive and practical aspects of the country. Over the years it has been amply witnessed that the arbitrary political forces have tried to promote, support and impose its preferred leadership through the electoral process denuding the country of genuine public representatives. The country has a long and unfortunate history of rampant manipulation of the electoral process that has completely lost it meaningful utility. What has now emerged is the establishment’s preference for client parties contributed enormously to a weak and vulnerable party system in Pakistan.
This Unending problems arbitrary attitude has created multiple faultlines in the country and has become overly cynical providing a sweeping view that accords the establishment more controlling power over the political system than is merited. The obvious outcome is hampering democracy with people fast losing faith in it. It is often observed in the context of Pakistan that while the constitutional tradition has been too weak to stop military takeovers, it has been too strong to allow generals to rule in their own name for long. This is a strong wake up call for all advocates of civilian democratic elements in the country. TW
Abdul Basit works in finance and industry and is well versed in commercial affairs