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Military Takeover is not the Solution

24 July, 2016

By Saeed Qureshi


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There is lobby or section of the people in Pakistan that want the army to step forward, sack the incumbent PMNL government and start ruling. In this regard the most potent and raucous voice is that of Imran Khan the Chairman of his political outfit: “Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf”.

In his latest speech delivered in the wake of Azad Kashmir elections, he envisaged that the people of Pakistan would distribute sweets if the army assumes power and sacks PMNL government and also Mian Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent prime minister of Pakistan.

While demanding a military takeover Imran and his ilk should keep in view of what happened in Turkey when a faction of the army unsuccessfully tried to dislodge Tayyab Erdogan’ government.  There is a great deal of similarity between Mian Nawaz Sharif and Tayyab Erdoğan in serving their countries in the best possible manner. As far Panama leaks, an independent commission can look into the details and fix responsibility. But the demand is irrational that Mian Nawaz should resign for having offshore accounts and if he doesn’t do that the armed forces should depose him and take over the power. There is no precedent that elsewhere in the world, as a result of Panama leaks the army stepped in and sacked the elected government. 

Mian Nawaz Sharif has always adored Imran Khan as an outstanding cricket star under whose captaincy the Pakistan cricket Team won the cricket world cup in 1992. Mian Nawaz Sharif

himself is a great fan of cricket and plays this most cherished game from time to time. The recent victory of Pakistan cricket team at Lords that happened after almost 20 years, revives the distinction and clout of Pakistan’s Cricket Team’s caliber and prestige.

In an article published in the Washington Post on July 18, the columnist Max Bearak quotes some of the phrases from the AJK speech of Imran Khan” "All of you standing out there, tell me, if the military came [to power] in Pakistan, what would happen?" Imran Khan bellowed from a podium. He is Pakistan's main opposition leader and a former champion cricketer. Prone too provocative, even careless statements, he found his rhythm on stage while talking about this weekend's, "Sweets would be shared! People would be made happy! People would celebrate!" he answered on behalf of the crowd.”

When Imran Khan founded the PTI on April 25, 1996, with three wings namely student wing, Youth and women wing, the people of Pakistan saw in him a resolute and sincere young visionary and revolutionary leader who would build a new Pakistan with a genuine democratic order, excellent governance and which would be economically strong and corruption free. Alas these were mere hopes and aspirations which never saw the light of the day.

All these years in the political arena of Pakistan we have seen an Imran Khan who is whimsical, autocratic, childish, irrational and emotional person. He delves in blame game, threats and shouting at the top of his voice for change of government through unconstitutional means. His immaturity and knee jerk reaction is not only manifest in politics but has its sway in his personal life and his party as well.

His marriage in January 2015 with Reham Khan a showbiz celebrity and their subsequent separation in October the same year speaks for Imran Khan’s mercurial disposition. He has a whimsical, unstable and volatile temperament. With such a mindset while in power, he may change his decisions day in and day out thus making of mess in Pakistan and abroad. When he would be pleased he might take any decision good or bad and while in commotion he may reverse whatever he had done the previous day.

My co-columnist, an intellectual and a politician, Mr. Abdul Qayyum Khan Kundi is a very sincere and committed member of the PTI. He has been counseling the PTI all these years to be on the right track. He has been consistently trying to guide Imran Khan and beseeching him to adopt a democratic tradition and culture within the party in choosing the executive committee members and in making crucial decisions. More often than not he has been sidetracked and his wise counsels and precious and beneficial advice were seldom taken into consideration.

Mr. Kundi whom I met once in Houston(Texas) a few years ago, has been in touch with me through internet almost on daily basis. Being myself a journalist and an opinion columnist for over two decades now, I still imbibe Mr. Kundi’s views and opinions on politics and good governance in Pakistan. Of late, he has described the internal atmosphere, oppressive attitude and the dictatorial way of decision making within the meetings of the PTI. I quote a few lines from his emails. While comparing the recent Republican Party convention with that of PTI, he observed:
” Republican Party convention was an example of democracy inside the party. PTI convention was an example of autocratic tendency of my way or highway.”
“PTI of today’s convention does not represent either the party or the country. It is an elite club of those that have sucked this country dry in last 68 years. We have to liberate our party from the clutches of these elite and return it to the people of Pakistan so that it can bring real change.”
 Mr. Kundi has outlined three demands for consideration of the Chairman PTI. These demands inter-alia, are:

1. Uphold party constitution and respect it in making all organizational decisions.
2. Uphold merit in awarding party positions and tickets to candidates and
3. All political decisions should reflect party ideology
 

if a dedicated and core member of the party thinks that PTI was deviating from its manifesto and merely It is an elite club of those that have sucked this country dry in last 68 years” then what credentials of PTI and Imran are left to claim power and lead the country in a democratic way and with dedication.

It is a sheer display of frustration and immaturity that Imran calls for the army to snatch the reins of the government and impose military rule. Did he forget that the previous four martial laws had wrought a multi-dimensional colossal havoc in Pakistan? During the martial Law of Yahya Khan the country dismembered and in the Ziaul Haq ’a martial it was hijacked by the religious militants who are still busy in killing and maiming the people of Pakistan. The country drifted back to the dark ages. The people has yet to know what kind of system of government Imran Khan would implement in Pakistan when his own party is without any semblance of a democratic culture.

Jinab Imran Khan should try to eschew his overflowing tendency of achieving power through the proxies. He should realize that he has remained a non-starter ever since he entered into the political arena of Pakistan. Is he under the impression that if army seizes power it would be handed over to him? Or else fresh elections would be the priority with the army? It is not going to happen and thus whatever democratic tradition we have set and followed since the ouster of the last dictator Musharraf from power in 2008, would be watered down. Imran Khan and his party should gird up their loins for the 2018 elections. That is the only viable and constitutional course and must be adhered to for the sake of respecting the mandate of the people of Pakistan.

It is indeed most heartening that General Raheel Sharif has reaffirmed his resolve to retire from the army sometime this year. I would add and implore him not to be influenced by odd voices for enforcement of Martial Law. It would put another stumbling block in cultivating a democratic culture which is the best way to serve Pakistan and its people.

The incumbent PMNL government has been elected through the popular vote and must be allowed to complete its tenure until the general elections due to be held in 2018. Compared with other elected or non-elected dispensations its performance thus far has been laudable, productive and impressive.

By the time of holding new elections in 2018, most of the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor-2442 KM long) would have been completed. Thus a journey of prosperity as well as consolidation of democratic traditions based upon popular mandate would be accelerated.

In the meantime, PMNL has swept the Azad Kashmir elections by bagging 31 seats out of total of 41 seats. The remaining 10 seats went to Muslim Conference (, the PPP, PTI (2 seats each party) and JKPP(One) and one seat to an independent candidate.

This result should serve as an eye opener for PTI and PPP that PMNL was popular also in Azad Kashmir. It is good that instead of habitually blaming malpractices in elections, Imran Khan for the first time accepted these results besides congratulating Mian Nawaz Sharif.  That yardstick of PMNL popularity is also applicable in Pakistan.

 The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com

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