Birds are flying
11 April, 2011
By Amjad Malik
Mr. Zardari despite all reservations and his past was duly elected by the Parliament on 6 September 2008 and it was a good sign for democracy that all at sundry were responsible for his taking office. Opposition legitimised the show and outer forces did not object hence courts, Election Commission, Intelligence agencies put up with it. Zi could have let bye gone be bye gone and restart a new chapter in Pakistan with an aim of parliamentary sovereignty, rule of law and economic alleviation in the country which was at the verge of institutional and economic collapse, but old habits die hard. The job which required sheer wisdom and consultation to serve the nation if he could lift himself above his party interest. He could have ventured to work jointly as envisaged in ‘Charter of Democracy’ by his knightly wife Benazir as working single handedly was impossible to remove the dark clouds on the civil system which carry a history of four decades. I foresaw five main issues which may take him from 5 months to 5 year rule which were a) his impartiality promoting Federation, b) Pakistan’s foreign policy, c) the judges issue d), COD and e) the issue of a popular slogan of ‘roti kapra aur makkan’ the manifesto of PPP to ease the suffering of ordinary people of Pakistan.
Looking back at all fronts he failed miserably. A word of wise to the President was said to him in his ears that complacency is a very dangerous thing in politics and he must learn from that of the coup de tat against Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. When General Musharraf took over on 12 October 1999, Mr. Sharif’s premiership had a two third majority, his own party supported President, his brother as Chief Minister and he had his governments in almost all remaining provinces including his speaker and Chair of senate. But we witnessed that a junior ranking officer implemented the orders of his seniors by pointing a short range gun on the prime Minister and his own appointed COAS. The lesson from it was clear and unambiguous to initiate a ‘charter of democracy’ by both former premiers to avoid a similar situation in future and form a policy of civilian co-existence. Absolute power is nothing, the key to save the system is in partnership of civil and military and collective collaboration of political forces until we are out of a real threat of a war and trust deficit. People wholeheartedly welcomed PPP led coalition for being duly elected which had a chance to either change the history from here onwards and stop the future of military dictatorship in Pakistan or become a victim of history yet again. It could either be a villain a don of yesterday or be an originator of a new dawn for the poverty ridden, institutionally weak, segregated, and truly traumatised Pakistan. The decision was easy but it was not meant to be.
In the past, Long term military dictatorships, shorter civilian rules, where accountability of politicians takes place on the name of corruption with the nexus of judges with civil & military establishment, remained a destiny of Pakistan. Thanks to our rulers as this notion is and will remain alive due to their inefficiencies and we are still one direct or indirect direction away from the revival of that nexus. People came whenever the true leadership called. They came in 1947 on Quaid’s call. They came for Bhutto senior on his call against the dictator. They came for Benazir when she landed at Lahore from exile in 1986. In near history they came for Chief Justice when he said ‘no’ to General. Musharraf. They again came on 18 February on joint call of political parties and rejected the dictatorship. Finally they came on the call of Sharif’s when Zardari was adamant that justice is no more desired under Iftikhar Mohammed Chowdhary. On 16 March 09, they came like a flood and made an impression, so we can never underestimate the people’s power, and in future too one man one vote must remain the solvent way to decide who to govern Pakistan if it wishes to prosper, and retain democracy, rule of law and justice in the society, otherwise lawlessness breeds lawlessness.
But to my utter dismay, on the historic day of 16 March, this year (2011) when all the stake holders have seen off Raymond Davis quietly leaving the whole nation in a shock and despondency, I must say it has promoted the worst example of slavery, hampering any rule of law drive in Pakistan. A drone attack on the following day killing dozens was a top up, and an insult to injury and our leaders could only provide lip service to denounce it. This brokered dispensation failed miserably, and if civilian opposition does not move from its stated position and turn tables soon, then I am afraid time and tide wait for none, and it is an ideal opportunity for the gang masters to yet again repeat their old story. Nation needs a leader to lead from front using all available resources, segments of society, political forces and strength. That may even including the voice of the likes of Imran Khan , Achackzai, before it is manipulated yet again. If late, we may see a 7 point agenda again and later after 9 years NRO (National Reconciliation Order) leaving us to wonder and regret.
My faith in rule of law and justice in Pakistan though did not shatter but we are at a critical juncture as a nation. Institutions if are strengthened can chunk out a true leadership if the system is not reversed. It is ripe to the stage of delivery. Cleansing the parliament by Election Commission is possible by filtering the voter registration through NADRA. A viable accountability process may root out the corrupt and undesired. Party elections may promote fresh blood and new leadership. Policing may bridle the law and order horse and basic justice system at the door step of common man may address smaller anxieties of a common man. Tax net may generate revenue. On top of it, vibrant media may transmit and transport information exposing and questioning the vires speedily and can contribute ensuring a possibility of basic civil rule and structure in Pakistan. Yes, it can happen, only a political will and patience is the basic ingredient.
I am afraid it may not suit to some, as it may end their tyranny and dictatorship. We are stuck in between dictatorship and civil autocracy. But strong vibes are coming and may God save Pakistan from yet another autocratic dispensation whether through court order, or a direct assault as shaukat Aziz & Moeen Qureshi’s are ready to rule yet again as the system is at the verge of one step away from the last call. Birds are flying, time is up, pack your bags, leave or resort to what was promised to the nation in February 2008 (elections) and in the Charter of democracy though it is like drowning man catches a straw, but you never know a stitch in time saves nine.