Misbah U. Azam, Ph.D.
The common problem among Pakistani is that – for 67 years — we rely and wait for messiahs, who, with their heavenly powers, would solve every ills of the country. It isn’t quite amazing for any outside observer when they witness how Imran Khan’s followers justify his actions and blindly follow his rhetoric without asking any question. Although, it is rather encouraging that a section of society, who have never shown any interest in the street politics, decided to participate in the politics on Khan’s call. To remind leadership that they are voted in, not for power play but to deliver, and in case of failure, they would be out, it is necessary that every segment of public to have a voice and opinion on the governance issues. However, worshipping the personalities just because they say what people want to hear is clear recipe of disaster for any nation. The following, which Khan enjoys, seems, predominantly, very personality centric and sometimes it gives the impression that if Khan is removed from the scene, large number of his followers will stop taking interest in politics. This problem is not only among the masses but it is also found among the sections of Pakistan intellectual community. Some elites support Khan for some understandable reasons and the pundits — who would like to be in the good books of such privileged — support Khan instead of educating masses, no matter they were critical about Khan’s politics not in very distant past.
Pakistan problem is not the individuals who can make or break Pakistan. Its problem is
1) That common Pakistanis – because of successive Martial Laws which takes away people’s right to decide – are not very confident on the choice they make in the elections. They elect a leader, but expect them to resolve everything within a year or so, but when people hear the opposition questioning the government – which is the duty of opposition – people believe that they might have made wrong decision.
2) The system of governance – not the governance. In the current system, even the best governor could fail to deliver
There are suggestion that the government term should be reduced to 4 years, but this may not solve anything. To deal with system of governance crisis:
1) Elect National Assembly.
2) Two and half years after NA elections, elect the Provincial Assembly.
3) One and quarter years after the PA elections, elect the Local Bodies and city governments.
4) One and quarter years after LB, elect the NA again.
With this process,
1) Every assembly will enjoy 5 years term
2) The MNAs would know that to form their governments in provinces, they have to deliver in two and half years.
3) Once the provincial governments would come in power they would know that to be in the Local Bodies – which really deal the grass-roots — they must work hard and deliver.
4) Elections after small intervals, not only train the people how to elect the leadership but also if they are not happy with government, in two and half years, they will have opportunity to remove the government from power.
5) The over ambitious leaders would know that they will have another opportunity after the short interval to form the government and demonstrate their capabilities to people, instead of waiting for 5 full years and they will not unnecessarily try to interrupt the governments in the office.
To start, middle of 2015 should be the year of LB elections, end of 2016, the NA elections, middle of 2019 the PA elections, end of 2020 once again the LB elections – and the cycle would go on.
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Politicians must also sacrifice for the country. If the system of governance will not be cleaned up, the common person will keep on searching for “Redeemers” and when someone convinces them about his/her “supernatural powers”, people put blind faith on the person and regret later. That is the phase Pakistan is going through now, where Khan has convinced the large section of his followers (I don’t call them supporters) that he is a man who is the messiah and people believe that he is incapable of doing any misconduct, no matter he stands next to and rely on political losers, changes his views over night, protests without offering any clear policy how he will run the state of affairs differently and does not demonstrate any political maturity and vision.