By Amir Abbas Turi
I wish I could quote Elbaradei; “The time is right for a political solution and the way is negotiations.” But still it’s never too late. In politics and, especially, in democracy, there isn’t a everlasting deadlock and the doors for negotiations are always opened for the political foes. The current political turmoil between the ‘democratic’, ‘partially democratic’ and ‘undemocratic’ forces has resulted in the chaos; which might hamper the growth of democracy in the Islamic Republic.
The ongoing protests and marches by the cricketer-turned-politician Mr. Imran Khan’s Pakistan Movement for Justice – PTI and Canadian cleric cum politician Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan People’s Movement – PAT, in the Red-Zone area of the federal capital, aren’t earning a good name for the country. But, at the same time, according to the political thinkers, peaceful demonstrations are ‘constitutional and democratic’ rights of the political parties’ as well individual citizens. Coincidentally, both Dr. Qadri and Mr. Khan have, with exceptions, almost similar demands. Starting with the resignation of an ‘elected’ Prime Minister – Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the latter has urged the public and his cliques for civil disobedience and not to pay taxes till the resignation of PM. Keeping in view, the bone of contention behind PTI’s march is about election rigging, according to them, in the May 13’s elections.
Since a decade or more, the land of pure pride itself for having a ‘free-media’, however, unluckily, it seems that nearly every political party has send their own analysts to different media channels; who give their version of information. This favoritism has seriously murdered the gracious profession of journalism and left the people mystified. Coming to the ongoing protests – Azadi (independence) March and Inqilab (Revolution) March – by the PAT and PTI, has no different circumstances. The same news happened on the ground has been reported by diverse interpretations by these private tv channels. One could hardly find an impartial and unbiased political commentator who could enlighten the masses about the chief culprit of this episode which resulted in the mayhem.
The question of who is right and who is wrong is rotating in the minds of average Pakistanis. It would be unfair to call anyone of them wrong, but the point is that; Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif or Dr. Qadri are the only stake-holders in the country of more than 180 million people? Obviously, not! There are parties such as PPP – having a long history of sacrifices for democracy; The Wali Khan’s ANP – which has been forcefully refrained from election campaigns by the Taliban and received many coffins of their workers and senior leaders; MQM – voice of thousands of middle-class people; and so forth.
Moreover, it would be iniquitous to ignore the sacrifices of great leaders like Ghaffar Khan alias Bacha Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Nawab Akbar Bugti, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Benazir Bhutto, Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and Bashir Bilour. These were those people-centered leaders who gave their lives for flourishing democracy and participatory governance.
Coming to the resignation of an ‘elected’ Prime Minister, majority of the political thinkers are calling it ‘unconstitutional’. I have a simple question for them; “where were they when an elected PM – Mr. Yousaf Raza Gillani was sent to home by the then ‘selected’ Chief Justice of Pakistan – Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhary?” If we start a crook march of history, we could find many examples of such forceful resignations. Nevertheless, in today’s session of the National Assembly, PPP’s MP Ms. Shazia Marri, elected MNA from NA-235 Sanghar last year, gallantly and bravely defended the democracy. Bravo to her!
Our differences with Mr. Khan apart, but, his demand of opening four constituencies was a legitimate one. Similarly, we shall not forget BNP Mengal when it comes to rigging in general elections. Likewise, Dr. Qadri criticizing the obstinate rule of Sharif brothers truly said that it isn’t democracy, but their family rule.
Nonetheless, according to political scientists, politics shall not be played at the cost of democracy! Mr. Sharif announced special committee of honourable Judges to investigate if there was ‘rigging’ in the previous general elections to satisfy the furious Kaptaan. Where we condemn Mr. Khan for widening chaos and anarchy on the country, we shall also criticize Mr. Nawaz for his stubborn attitude since one year. Had he formed the committee before, the situation would be dissimilar from what the state is witnessing now. In-short, Sharif brothers are facing what there were doing with the ‘elected’ President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari.
I hate this hypocrisy when politicians, political scientists, journalists, experts and analysts criticize Military and ISI ’s role, not in an open way, but murmuring all the way with nicks such as ‘Pindi Walas’, ‘Farishtas’, ‘Aabpara walas’, and so forth. This duplicity has further confused the general masses – particularly the youth which left them directionless. Let’s be honest and clear! I study in one of the most prestigious institute of the country, National Defence University – NDU, where I debate on political issues with my classmates from Armed forces on almost daily basis. We may have disagreements; I raised questions over Baloch rights and military operations in FATA. I have had never been responded with an irrational answer, but, we had logical discussions. Furthermore, there are two extremes in politics as well as media; one channel spew venom against Pak Army; and the other one defend illegitimate, ‘strategic-depth’ policy, political indulgence, and so forth of Defence forces. For instance, why ISPR give political statement? It’s a long debate!
In democratic countries, decisions are made inside the bicameral legislature not on the roads. Regrettably, Mr. Sharif and Mr. Imran’s attendance in the National Assembly is almost zero. This is one of the major reasons what we are witnessing on the roads of Islamabad. However, I urge all the democratic forces and political forces to play their role in this current mayhem. Even after World Wars, talks are carried out to resolve issues. As negotiations is the ultimate solution for this deadlock.
The writer is a student of M.Phil of Leadership and Management Studies (LMS) at the National Defense University. Hailing from FATA, he occasionally writes for magazines, blogs and newspapers. He tweets @EngrTuri (https://twitter.com/EngrTuri)