By Saeed Qureshi
Imran Khan and his unruly and impulsive political cohorts should not demonstrate indecent haste in dislodging the incumbent elected PMLN government thus opening a corridor for the army to take over power. He should understand that by doing so he would inflict a deadly blow to democracy that has been barely in place for six years now. Is he mindful what could be the cost of holding fresh elections both financially and administratively?
Let us honestly admit that Imran Khan is not another Bhutto. Nor the conditions are as chaotic and desperate as these were way back in 80s. It is time to show political maturity and studied restraint to allow the democratic culture to sprout and take roots. The knee jerk acrobatics and incoherent demands and flashy slogans being stirred up by Imran Khan and other political contenders are outright uncalled for, amateurish and can derail democracy.
The most cherished and sublime form of government called democracy, has visited Pakistan after almost a decade of a military or quasi-military rule. Yet a part of the political leadership seems to be impatient to get rid of the PMLN government and thus is inadvertently creating conditions for the military to snatch the reins of the government once again. A bunch of political parties have whipped a smear campaign discrediting the incumbent government for rigging and thus pushing it to hold reelections on some constituencies or otherwise quit.
This tornado for reelections has been primarily hurled up by Imran Khan. The PTI and other small time politicians are trying to push the government into a corner in order to pave way for another bout of general elections. In the past such imprudent and expedient maneuvers and a kind of political insurgencies have finally landed Pakistan onto the military turf. One has to only look back if Pakistan ever benefited from a military rule? The answer is in negative.
We should not be short of memory to remember that unwarranted rabble rousing and a compelling propensity to dislodge the sitting governments have finally pushed Pakistan under the marshal boots. Why don’t Imran Khan a raw budding politician and relatively new entrant in the political arena and his ilk realize that such musical chairs replay has been detrimental to the consolidation of a democratic culture in Pakistan?
To ride on the crest of expediency and for ulterior motives may not harm the politicians but certainly would put a spanner in the march of democratic apple cart, towards the establishment and continuance of a popular rule in Pakistan. If the PPP could stay at the helm for five years with all the follies and insinuations then what is wrong with the ongoing set up that the amateurish saber rattlers as Imran Khan and of late Sheikh Rashid want it to be dismantled? Are they conscious of what could be the disastrous fallout for a democratically elected government to be stymied and cut short?
The PMLN government under Mian Nawaz Sharif is doing a decidedly much better job than what the previous governments have been doing. A government hoisted on the basis of adult franchise should be allowed to stay and complete its constitutional tenure. The choice should be left to the people of Pakistan to reelect the present lot or reject them in the next elections. The PMLN government has to its credit several far-reaching and milestone reforms and nation building policies channeled in a short span of a year or so.
Why don’t the rival politicians realize that when the present government took over there was a proverbial “Augean Stable” of diverse problems and Pakistan was plagued with an all pervasive mammoth mess? Mian Nawaz Sharif does not have a magical wand in his hand to straighten every wrong and to make the solid of Pakistan a paradise in days. But in all fairness he is doing his best to deliver for the good of the country and to streamline the systems hugely corrupted and turned dysfunctional.
The miserable plight of the teeming millions in Pakistan cannot be ameliorated overnight or in a short time frame even by the best of the mavericks, planners and reformers. The socio-economic landscape and political culture of Pakistan is disfigured and distorted that it would take time to shine it.
The non starter politicians like Imran Khan and false religious demagogues like Maulana Qadri may be adept in spoiling the show but it would be beyond their competence to reorder things and rebuild a prosperous Pakistan. The tribal justice system that is so precious and a kind of panacea for Imran Khan for all the ills in Pakistan could be a replica of what Taliban are doing. Their justice system is to kill by beheading their ideological opponents and thus strike terror and revenge instead of abiding by the established rule of law and fulfilling constitutional prerogatives.
During the past one year of PMLN’s government, the electricity generation has certainly improved. The economy that was almost in shambles is showing healthy signs. There is mega plan to build highways, link roads, dams and industrial estates, to recast the moribund railway system and so on. What else could one expect in one year? Mian Nawaz Sharif is trying to find a way out of a dark jungle of innumerable bottlenecks and detours and thus far he has been on the right track.
Among the eight agreements signed between China and Pakistan, one is the US $18 billion project to build a road and rail track, including string of tunnels in the mountainous track passing over a height 4,693 meters to be used as part of the Pakistan-China Economic corridor. This project alone would be a giant leap for an unprecedented economic uplift for Pakistan.
The PMLN government is trying a peaceful option to tame the unbridled murderous bands of Taliban with the use of force option kept open. The armed forces for the first time have cordial working relationship with the PMLN dispensation. It is a delightful development that would stand in good stead for a strong and stable Pakistan.
So let the politicians set aside their undue political penchant for fresh elections and instead bear with the present government to fulfill its mandate. The opposition politicians and parties should give enough time pace to the ongoing government to honor her pledges made to the people of Pakistan and to implement its plans for a great Pakistan. The incumbent government would have done her job if it can bring peace within the country and without, if the quality of life improves, civic amenities abound, social evils are nabbed, and crime and mafias are liquidated and it presents the model of a clean government.
If it cannot deliver let it be dethroned in the next elections. Let us learn a lesson from the neighboring India where political democratic culture is so firmly embedded that a kind of pariah in politics and an extremist BJP leader Narendra Modi can be chosen by the people discarding the Congress that has been ruling the roost for most of the time after 1947.
Such is the power of the electorate and that power should be allowed to be unleashed in Pakistan during the next elections. Pakistan cannot afford a military intervention any more. If that bleak development takes place then the entire responsibility would devolve on Imran Khan and his cabal and the opportunistic political outfits.
The writer is a senior journalist, editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat.
You can read this and other articles of the writer at his blog www.uprightopinion.com