Note: The author does not represent the views of PTH. Pak Tea House is a secular blog where people of all ideologies have freedom to express themselves with in the boundaries of logic and tolerance.
By Obaidullah Khan
Good systems and strong institutions are the signs of a strong and a cohesive society. You cannot build an institution without an appropriate atmosphere to nurture the system. For example you cannot establish a fire station without the availability of water. Or your first priority should be an elementary school in an illiterate society rather than building a library.
On the other hand, if a system is designed to progress without the fundamental prerequisites it suffers not only by itself but those who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of that. If its fundamentals are fertile and laid on established norms and principles then it gradually evolves and heals itself against all odds and impurities. But the evolution period could be quite painful and cumbrous. We are facing the same sort of democracy in Pakistan in the past and till now.
Our national politics has been going through the same stage of struggle but now the current situation seems to be a breath of a fresh air against the prevailing political suffocation. It seems the true democracy is reacting against impurities in the system and fighting against the forces that are blocking its natural progress. The present situation is hopeful and bearing healthy signs for the nation and country. A friend attributed the current situation, which apparently seems to be a political turmoil, as the pangs of labour for the birth of a better Pakistan. Our politics is healing itself and showing the signs of immunity against impurities.
We have seen two successive complete terms of our National and Provincial Assemblies before this one. First term by the Musharraf supported system and then the PPP era. We are going through the third term. Unfortunately this was the reality that our present regime failed to notice and they kept themselves in the 90’s, where they left the scene. They failed to comprehend the political evolution during the last one and a half decade of political awareness in the public, in which key roles were played by the local government system during the Musharraf era and the vibrant media we have been enjoying for a time enough to mature a generation. Thanks to a “dictator” for both of these blessings.
Due to the understandings in the Charter of Democracy by Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto it seems Nawaz Sharif misunderstood it as a deal and underestimated this evolution miserably. With this deal Sharifs were satisfied enough for having no real opposition in their upcoming term of five whole years. This delusion led them became the omnipotent for an open ground to play without real contestants. But you cannot leave an empty space. So someone was to fill the space left by PPP in a politically conscious society. Now that is the real sign of progress now. A vicious reaction by the awakening of the public was inevitable. Musharraf somehow perceived this phenomenon in advance and tried his luck by coming to Pakistan despite all the apparent adversities. Status quo beneficiaries succeeded to do away with him politically. But they overlooked the public awareness and their inapt attitude to tackle the uphill tasks wanting a mature and befitting role. The public reaction needed a director or a driver to drive their reaction against the backward and tactless approach blended with a swaggering gait of Sharifs. This vacancy was filled by Imran Khan for a considerable faction of society. Sharifs missed the train once again by overlooking the potential outcomes of neglecting public anger in the guise of IK.
Now Imran Khan and Tahir Ul Qadri are not gaining space due to their own capabilities but the incompetence and wrongdoings of Sharifs who have yet nothing positive, morally as well as politically, up their sleeves to hold the due space their status deserves. It is unfortunate that we do not see a true leader or politician with a potential to overcome the tribulations we are facing and who could address the real issues skillfully. In a running bus whose driver accidently becomes unable to drive anymore, a cab driver is more preferable than a bike rider. Imran Khan and Tahir Ul Qadri also have no experience or any practical political achievements in their curriculum vitae. They are grabbing the space Sharifs and other political parties of status quo are losing or could not hold due to their corruption and incompetence. But they cannot run a state by mere rhetoric or political slogans.
Another new and unprecedented aspect of the current crises is a religious cleric preaching against sectarianism and in favour of democracy, equality for all without discrimination and without the cliché of implementation of Islam. This is the real change and in fact a new Pakistan. It is the true democracy claiming its due space which shows a political wakefulness in the general public. The issues for the upcoming future politics are going to be the ingredients of the true democracy. Tahir Ul Qadri is only trying to ride the upcoming popular narrative. Imran Khan, on the other hand is merely addressing the flaws of already running system and those who are running it, which is not bad either. Now if their roles, apart from their rhetoric and an attractive slogans and manifesto, become adverse to the true democracy and the system or if they try to exploit the system for their vested interests like other politicians, then the system will find its own way to strengthen and heal itself rejecting their politics as it dealt with PPP in the last elections and is treating Sharifs for their misdeeds now. It will find someone more suitable for its sustenance and Imran Khan will become history.
Now it is time for the true democracy to set in. Gone are the days of the so called dictatorial democracy and exploitation of democracy and religion for vested interests. Greet a new era which neither belongs to Sharifs and Zardaris and other beneficiaries of the present status quo including religious and sectarian based politics, nor it belongs to Imran Khan and Tahir Ul Qadri anymore if they intentionally or unintentionally harm or try to derail democracy. Even if Army intervenes in current scenario it would be in no position to control the upcoming revolution of democracy for which now ground is ready. However Army’s role, direct or indirect, cannot be ruled out yet. But it will be reduced and temporary. It would be merely an electric shock required to thrust life in a dying body or a reboot is required for a computer that is stuck or not working properly. Our Army is not the same army of 90’s now and as an institution it has also evolved itself. See is it not interesting that all the religious political groups and parties, even sectarian outfits, are supporting the current setup by all means.
The author can be reached at @Obaidullahkhan