Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri
Politicians in Pakistan are back to their erstwhile business of foul-mouthing. The marriage of connivance is, thus, unravelling. The so-called political reconciliation, which was thrust upon the nation on the crutches of a reprehensible ordinance, is on the rocks.
And surprisingly enough, the boat has been rocked by no less than a person of President Asif Ali Zardari, who for incomprehensive reasons thought it appropriate to lambast the toothless opposition with venomous personal attacks. The day that he picked to do so was adequately improper the birthday of slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto, which hinted at the non-seriousness and immaturity that are at work in the rank and file of a party that the deceased leader had upheld in all adversity.
The subsequent biding of adieu to the corridors of power by the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement, on a flimsy pretext of seat arrangement in the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly, could be the ultimate for a change in the making. Whatever may be its fallout, one thing is for sure: the edifice that was built in the drawing rooms at the behest of shady characters for the corrupt and the culpable is extricating.
Yet, not much is at stake as far as the incumbent government is concerned. With the establishment now at the beck-and-call of the ruling party, which has surprisingly belled the cat, there is no immediate threat to its remaining tenure of one and a half years. The military’s Abbottabad fiasco has served as a long-awaited blessing in disguise for the civilian setup. But if that is the case, then the ruling elite and opposition are both in it.
For the first time in the country’s political history, no body wants to dislodge this government. The armed forces that were traditionally looked up to for ensuing a change are petty happy queuing behind the mess that is at work in Islamabad. So is the case with the opposition under Nawaz Sharif, which lacks the capability and the conscience to distance itself from being the sleeping partner in power. The provincial government of Punjab under its belt is too big a price to be paid for manoeuvring change at the national level.
The minions: the MQM, the Quaid-League, the ANP and the irresistible independent parliamentarians all have a price tag, and they have been taken care of by a generous Zardari-Gilani combine!! So far so good…
So who is this Machiavellian talking about a change in the wings? Frankly speaking, this power constellation articulately brokered and put to work by General Pervez Musharraf has robbed Pakistan of its present and future, and the nation is in a despicable state of shock and awe. Plummeting economy and erosion of faith in the system of governance has left them wandering in the darkness of their very own.
With politicians shamefully obsessed with rhetoric, millions in the republic have no recourse but to smile away on their lost destiny. The odd 1,000 or so elected representatives, be they part of treasury or the opposition, and down the line a battery of sycophants, have swindled billions, and are still counting. Similarly, the embezzlement of $20 billion, from 2001 to 2011, that came the Islamabad way from Washington under the pretext of war on terrorism is a whodunit phenomenon.
This is one of the greatest disservices that have ever been done in the name of democracy and security for the sake of politics of ‘forge alliances for forgery’.
The result is obvious: governance chaos at home and a disjointed stance on the foreign front. Spiralling inflation, neck-high unemployment, paralysed economic assets, zero-investment culture, a crumbling infrastructure and disillusionment of faith in national institutions points out the deed-line of this juggernaut.
With the judiciary walled to the corner, and whatever resilience is left in the civil-military bureaucracy, in the name of nationalism, contemptuously coerced by vested interests, the future of the nation is squarely compromised.
Something out of the box is in need of being done. Another intervention from the trumpeted 111 Brigade cannot help. The salvation lies in bringing to book the con artists of Pakistan’s political dispensation and making them pay for their misdeeds. That is not possible as long as people are content with television talk shows (callous in content as there is no point in getting to hear analysis from the so-called leaders who were supposed to serve than indulge in rhetoric).
Yours’ truly is of the considerate opinion that Pakistan is in need of a Tahrir Square wherein the vision of Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, for a pluralistic and welfare state is re-enacted. In doing so, there is no need of the herd that we have in the name of conventional and hereditary politics. The turks and the thinkers have to lead from the front.