Rana Eijaz Ahmad
Pakistanis are talented and dumb at the same time. They are talented because they know how to live a happy life in all crises. They are dumb because they never rise against injustice prevailing around them. Nawaz Sharif is a convicted person who has all his property outside Pakistan. He has no stake in Pakistan except ruling over the most talented and dumb group of people in the world. After the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the brutal assassination of Ms. Benazir Bhutto, the Zardari clan shares the same attributes that PMLN used to have.
Zardari and the company are having contentment in controlling and monopolizing Sindh. Karachi provincial capital of Sindh is the largest contributor to Pakistan’s revenue-generating sources. Therefore, Zardari and company know the value of Sindh easy to control, people of interior Sindh are living still under the thumb of feudal lords. The same is the case in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Baluchistan where tribes are controlling the fate of the people.
In Punjab especially in Southern Punjab same feudal lords who monopolized the agricultural lands, they overpowered after partition in 1947 or took as a reward of their loyalties towards British Sarkar against the services they paid to the British government against Muslims of the subcontinent. Thus, this country is full of slaves and those slaves are slaves by mind and heart. It may take more than a century to quit this slavery.
The British Legacy
The British legacy gave the people of Pakistan the second tier of imperialists who wanted to ventilate their deprivations upon the people of Pakistan; feudal lords, civil, and military bureaucracies. All three segments of second-tier were greedier as compared to their masters. They wanted unjust control over all economic resources of the country. Meanwhile, after the partition and early demise of Quaid-i-Azam, another kind of breed came to the surface known as politicians who keep beguiling Pakistanis through their glib of the tongue. Politicians adopted the easiest way of accumulating wealth and keep flourishing their businesses in and outside of the country. It also influenced the civil-military bureaucracies and they followed suit. After General Ziaul Haq’s era, another kind of wave emerged in Pakistan who were taking assistance from the Afghans popularly known as Mujahideen or Taliban. They became well-off and powerful through American financial aid and arms which they earned during Soviet intervention in Afghanistan by fighting a proxy war against Russia.
The Wave of So-Called Terrorism
The wave of so-called terrorism came to Pakistan in the Musharaf era, he was a de facto ruler like his other military predecessors, used the incapable judiciary against all odds, and controlled the dysfunctional political system. The dumb and self-centered nation remains silent as always and few opportunists were always there to flatter the generals. The PMLQ this time assisted the ruler. He intelligently ruled over Pakistan from 1999 to 2008. He introduced decentralization, and devolution plans for all provinces but relied upon IFIs and WB for sustaining the political economy of Pakistan. besides that, he kept looking for legitimacy from the USA and other neighboring countries like China and Iran. He was willing to keep Pakistan prosperous through a strong economic system of sustainable human development. Owing to his de facto status he always remained unsettled in his era. He decided to give people a way out to think differently and started giving TV and FM radio licenses in abundance. Such media outlets created employment as well as a source of ventilation for the politician on one hand and appreciation to Musharraf for giving freedom to media. The same media became a mouthpiece of PMLN, PPP, and PTI with its unbridled reporting. The PPP and PMLN keep greasing the palm of media through advertisements and other such tactics.
Musharraf decided to uproot terrorism from Pakistan and started some operations in the northwestern provinces of Pakistan to liberate Pakistan from the wave of monopolism that was intentionally popularized as religious extremism. He took stern actions against Lal Masjid and other Mudrassas who wanted to take their share from the money governments took from the USA in the name of war against terrorism by exploiting the Mudarrasa students in the war. Therefore, those Mudrassa owners have the legitimate right to take their financial share. It was all right if they remained up to taking their financial share. But they wanted a share in the governments too. This thing created a panic in the military establishment as it never wanted to make such groups as powerful.
The previous military generals created some groups to control different strong parties in any province, for example, Zia created Muhajir Qaumi Movement which is presently known as Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Jamait Islami, JUI, and other like parties that were working under the cover of religion started demanding their political share. From ZAB 1972 to Nawaz Sharief 2018, all so-called religious groups were bestowed with few seats in the parliament of Pakistan. In 2016, Lashkar-i-Tayyaba went at the back burners and Tehriki-Labbaik Pakistan came to the front as a tool for establishment. A TV channel clearly showed the military man was distributing the money among the members of TLP. Not only this since then to date TLP is finding a third or fourth place in capturing votes in Pakistan leaving behind all other so-called religious parties. The Pakistan establishment knows it very well that people in Pakistan can easily be integrated into the name of religion and could be exploited as per the narrative of the establishment.
The Judicial Downfall in Pakistan
From 1988 to 1997 Nawaz Sharief and Zardaris started bribing justices of different courts of Pakistan and appointed the advocates as judges in the high courts and supreme courts beyond rules and regulations. It created a judiciary in Pakistan which was loyal to individuals instead of delivering justice to sustain sustainability in the society. After Musharraf and the Supreme Court of
Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary the judiciary in Pakistan was more popular as far as its remarks in different cases were concerned instead of delivering decisions based on justice. Not only this owing to the against the rule elevations and out-of merit appointment of judges at different levels made the whole judicial system a total hassle for the citizen of Pakistan. where common people are waiting for court cases’ decisions for decades, on the other hand, political elite and political cases are heard on daily basis. The judicial system of Pakistan is ranked at the number 120 in the year 2020.
“The WJP Rule of Law Index measures rule of law performance in 128 countries and jurisdictions across eight primary factors: Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice. The Index is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law. Pakistan’s overall rule of law score decreased by less than 1% in this year’s Index. At 120th place out of 128 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, Pakistan fell one position in global rank. Pakistan’s score places it at 5 out of 6 countries in the South Asia region and 25 out of 30 among lower-middle-income countries.”
The Emergence of the PTI
The PTI emerged and caught the eye of the establishment as the consequence of PMLN’s anti-Pakistan rant at the national level. Nawaz Sharief was a security threat to the country when his business was spotted in India along with scores of Indian nationals were working in his sugar mills in Pakistan. Otherwise, the PTI could never make an impact in national politics from 1996 to 2011. It was the two major parties PPP and PMLN who remain to loot and plunder the country and influenced the civil and military bureaucracies in the same domains that obliged the establishment to have another party in the dysfunctional system of Pakistan.
The PTI was the best option with its crowd-pulling leader Imran Khan who spoke well during his campaign against the corruption of all previous political parties in Pakistan. Not only this he also challenged the power of the military establishment in the country. It made him very popular among the dejected masses of Pakistan. he injected hope in the entirely disappointed nation with eye-catching slogans of rule of law, one Pakistan, New Pakistan, and corruption cleaned Pakistan. His all slogans were so attractive and bewitching that the educated, as well as semi-educated people of Pakistan, started siding Imran Khan. Pakistan media which was totally in control of PMLN and PPP started giving more air time to the PTI leader Imran Khan except for a few channels who were very much greased by the PMLN.
Fragile Mandate as well as a Flimsy Opposition
In 2018, PTI came to power with a fragile mandate as well as with a flimsy opposition. Imran Khan won the hearts of the people by two means, number one he became the PM as was not expected by the big wigs of the country, and two, he went against the elite corruption. Gradually the PTI started crumbling owing to its unpreparedness, against her false claims used to brag during general elections and deplete the national treasury. It was shocking for the top elite of the PTI that the treasury was in a total mess and the whole bureaucracy was in the hands of the PMLN as nobody was ready to leave old bad habits of protocol and other privileges which the bureaucracy has been observing since the partition. The unnecessary privileges, the colonial power used to exploit the resources of the subcontinent was a real source of a burden on the national exchequer. Today, the PTI government needs to eliminate all protocol privileges to give relief to the people of Pakistan. unfortunately, the PTI government did nothing in this regard and used the public purse extravagantly. It is one of the reasons for an inflation in Pakistan, the parliament and other top echelons of the civil and military bureaucracies have been utilizing the public purse for personal privileges.
The fragile mandate of the PTI government in the center and Punjab and absence of across-the-board accountability started divulging the incapability of the PTI government. The friable opposition adopted the reverse psychology and started furnishing the speeches of PMIK that how he had been claiming big in the GE 2018 about the condition of the political economy of Pakistan. He used to make this political economy one of the best economies in the world and the people from abroad would wish to work in Pakistan.
Initially, the PTI government decided to stay out of the influence of the IMF. It raised the inflation in Pakistan because of the absence of in-time reforms and non-cooperation of the bureaucracy in running the affairs of the state at the federal and Punjab level. The 2020 pandemic Covid-19 also contributed to the bad production of the economy but also facilitated Pakistan in rescuing itself from international Financial Institutions’ pressures. The pandemic could not damage Pakistan as much owing to the belief system of the country. People did not get panicked and behaved normally. This attitude and body language of the majority of the people kept Pakistan away from the severe damages of the pandemic. Contrary to this the privileges of the civil and military bureaucracies, uneven salary structures for the judiciary, and bureaucracy put real pressure on the common people and inflation surged up to 12.9% by the end of December 2021. It would be 8.5 % to 11 % in the year 2022-2023 as per economic pundits of the world.
Hiring the Foreign Qualified Elite
All previous governments in Pakistan used to rely on the foreign qualified elite for the resolution of their political, economic, and cultural crises. The same is happening in 2022. Although that foreign elite could never get out of Pakistan from any of the above-mentioned crises yet exacerbated the situation. To date, not a single government ever resisted hiring foreign qualified people. Who always proved white elephants for the national economy. It also reveals the slave mindset of the ruling elite in Pakistan that it usually claims about the talented Pakistani youth but recruit foreign qualified people on high salaries. Such foreign qualified people never pursue the national interests of the country but always have their axe to grind. They stay here to fulfill their agendas and resign after some time, claiming, their policies are not being implemented per their wishes.
Maryam Nawaz Syndrome (MNS)
The MNS was the advantage and assistance for the PTI government to sustain because she was supporting every move of the government with her apolitical actions. For example, she never came up with masses issue but with her father’s punishment from courts. She was not criticizing the policies of the government but noticeably protecting the skin of his father. The MNS kept supporting the fake narrative of his father regarding, give respect to vote,” proved false when the Senate chairman was the PTI supported candidate instead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s supported candidate.
Her personal Calibri font case was enough to prove her a liar but the sycophants around her were boasting and realized that she would be the next PM of Pakistan. Unfortunately, she started thinking in the same way. It hurt Shahbaz Sharief who has been leading the PMLN since the dismissal of Nawaz Sharief as the PM of Pakistan. It also made angry to his son Hamza Shahbaz. They both went to jail and Shahbaz Sharief himself denied his bail and opted for the jail to escape from MNS’ unwise political attitude. He successfully did it and came out when different circles in the PMLN made her understand the declining condition of the party. The damage was already done. The way MNS destroyed the PMLN as a party, in the same way, few goofs in PTI are devastating the PTI. The hope is hanging in balance since the PTI did not come to the expectations of the people. The same style of politics that Pakistanis have been observing from 1948 to 2018. Imran Khan is a rich elite who successfully beguiled the educated elite in Pakistan. He did not come up with any reforms, pretending for his insignificant mandate in the parliament. Although the same can be beneficial for him if he comes up with political, economic, police, judicial, and other social reforms. It must have unveiled the member of the so-called opposition who makes a roar for the love of the country. In the case of Electronic Voting Machine, the PMIK did its best to introduce it in Pakistan. it was only in the favor of the sham political elite in Pakistan, has nothing to do with the people of Pakistan.
Out of 25 amendments in the constitution of Pakistan, the majority of them are only for benefitting the ruling elites. Hardly 2 or 3 amendments may be directly or indirectly in the interests of the people of Pakistan. it uncovers the obvious designs of the so-called representatives of the people. The majority of the people are living in the comfort zone and who leave their comfort zone and struggle for the government corridors, find it for future comforts. The offspring of the ruling elite inherit it and rule over the lethargic masses. Therefore, it’s not the ruling elite but we the people of Pakistan are responsible for our troubles. Our behavious of subjects and parochial is undermining the country and supporting the ruling elite.
The Way Forward
Only naive can be afraid of Nawaz Sharief and his party or Asif Ali Zardari and company. There are many ingenuous out there but those inexperienced are great support for the survival of the PMLN. Like other countries in the world, where few people sit in parliament, civil and military bureaucracy, doing nothing but making people fool in the name of security, religion, and nationalism.
Nawaz Sharief may go to the KSA which is his second home and prefer to carry on his business and politics from there. The New KSA is the best option for the Sharief family. Maryam Nawaz may go to Jail. Shahbaz and Hamza may be opposition leaders in the center and Punjab respectively. The PTI will rule the country for the next 5 years. The PPP will rule over Sindh for the next five years. There would be a coalitional government after the 2023 general elections. The KP would also have a PTI-dominated government with the help of JUIF. It is in the best interest of the establishment.
People need to think about a very simple question. What is the reason that Pakistan is going to bankrupt with an empty treasury but all stakeholders; the military, PMLN, PPP, JI, JUIF, and PTI all are dying to rule this devastated country? Monopoly and power are the ingredients that give pleasure to the ruling elite to make fools to the majority of the people.
The people need to get out of their deep slumber and participate in politics to make policies for their betterment otherwise the stakeholders would keep making the same for their benefits instead of the people.
— The writer is Host Director Confucius Institute Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab Lahore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org