Written by admin on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Selected by Olivier Immig & Jan van Heugten

The widening cleavage in Pakistan’s political topography
SOURCE: Daily Times
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

*As the incumbent assemblies and the government come to the end of their tenures, the divisions in Pakistan’s political arena continue to widen

24 May 2018 would be remembered in the annals of the history of the tribal areas of Pakistan as a day signalling the emancipation from the remnants of the British colonial area, which envisaged direct control by the president and governor as per the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation. Any western observer brimming with the virtues of democracy would be aghast that such an area existed in the modern-day world, especially in the midst of an otherwise democratic country — at least in theory.

There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Nevertheless, one must praise the initiative of the Abbasi Government and the across-the-board support given by other parties in ensuring the passage of the FATA bill from both houses of the parliament. Whether this bill passes through the final hurdle at the KP assembly is yet to be seen.

In the meanwhile, our erstwhile prime minister, who has recently become adept at setting the cat among the pigeons, has started a new business — that of letting the cat out of the bag. The nearer his impending conviction draws, the more panic buttons he seems to be pressing. Mr Sharif has ‘revealed’ that his demand to put General Musharraf on trial for treason was instrumental in his disqualification campaign; that the military establishment sponsored 2014 dharna; and finally that he was demanded by a former spy chief to quit the office.

His reservations and apprehensions about the institutional interference in the business of the government may be partially true, but the timings of these so-called revelations raise serious doubt about his honesty and sincerity of purpose. One also cannot condone the fact that Mr Sharif and his political empire owes a big deal to the patronage of a military dictator himself. The role of Mr Sharif, along with the military establishment of that time, in ensuring an election victory for the Sharif-led coalition has now been laid bare by the judgment of the Supreme Court. FIA would only put the last nails in the coffin of the political fiasco. So, when this institutional interference suits you, it is good; and when it doesn’t, it becomes a secret to be revealed!

On the other side of the political landscape of Pakistan, PTI seems to be welcoming a plethora of old horses of the established political parties.

A tabdeeli-driven hardcore worker of PTI may ask that how is PTI going to build a new Pakistan with the recycled bricks; that too, at the cost of the long-standing and loyal workers who have borne the brunt of the struggling times in order to see PTI as one of the favourites to win the coming elections. Recently, Fauzia Kasuri, one the founding member of PTI, has decided to leave PTI, clearly perturbed by the inclusion of the so-called tried and tested electable in the party.

PTI, on the other hand, insists that it would welcome everyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon of PTI. However, the tickets for the respective national and provincial assembly seats would only be given on merit and not on the basis of the candidates having a bigger stature in their former parties, or for that matter, being old and loyal guards of PTI.

The recent news of undertakings/affidavits been taken from the aspirants that they would toe the party line even if not given the tickets points in the right direction. However, the political ramifications of ignoring the so-called electable in their respective constituencies would only become apparent once the general elections draw near. It is very difficult to keep an opportunist along when he no longer sees the opportunity.

The principles of management also focus upon various factors other than the long-standing devotion for a society, system or an organisation to bring about a lasting and sustainable change. Long-term associations, no doubt, are also important in this regard, for a milieu devoid of emotional connections and relationships lack the necessary spiritualism needed to spur transformation. However, the major part is played by a principled and charismatic leader, who leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that only capable people with the necessary cognitive and non-cognitive skills are part of his team. The incapable people, whether from inside or outside, have no place in such a motivated and charged milieu.

Another possible justification for letting all and sundry in the fold of PTI could be that when one wants to bring about the change by remaining within the ambit of the existing system, he has to adopt the tricks of the trade of that system as well. This is the principle of evolution, which envisages a slow and gradual transformation within the system by utilising the resources and wherewithal of the very system one aims to change. One would need the likes of Fawad Chaudhary, Aamir Liaquat, and Baber Awan in the fold of PTI to lock horns with Talal Chaudharys, Abid Sher Alis and Daniyals of PML-N.

In the same vein, one would also need resourceful electable to win the number game in order for PTI to come into power. It could be that after coming into power, such electable are brought under the party discipline.

However, the responsibilities would only be given to the capable people.

On the contrary, a precipitous change to be brought about by a revolution intends to employ external means and resources. This seems to be the ideology of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri, who does not have enough faith or trust in the existing system of governance; and thus his over-all focus being on wrapping up the system and supplanting it with his own system of governance — what-ever that may be.

All in all, as the incumbent assemblies and the government, come to the end of their tenures, the cleavage in the political topography of Pakistan seems to be widening — with the prime minister and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly failing to come to a consensus candidate for the care-taker prime minister; the impending conviction of Mr Sharif drawing nearer day by day; the eye-opening allegations against military establishment not only by Mr Sharif but, more dangerously, by the likes of Ex-DG ISI, Asad Durani; the growing isolation of Pakistan in the international arena; and finally, the uncertainty whether or not the upcoming general elections are going to take place or not.

One can only hope and pray for the well-being of Pakistan for the time being; however, come the day of the general elections, we can the transform this blessed country by the power of our vote.


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