Pakistan: Politicians at Crossroads

crossroads_newDr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

To progressive nations, the knowledge and information based 21st century ushers attractive futuristic imagination for change but not so to Pakistan. The Western industrialized nations have produced transformational leadership to envisage change and futuristic advancements – the framework for building a progressive nation. But Pakistan’s traditional political powerhouse is entrenched in family feuds and backdoor intrigues to perceive political change for the few, not to serve the public interest. The new educated and intelligent generation looks for change and opportunities to participate and shape anew future out of the ruins of individualistic absolutism and feudal lord’s oligarchy having stolen more than forty years of the national lifelines. Comparatively, other progressive nations and societies have capitalized on the phenomenon of change to embrace new generational political activism enriched with new thinking and new visions for change and development. But Pakistanis are glued to the old and obsolete theatre of nuisance and absurdity managing its political powerhouse. The new aspiring generations are excluded from the political activism that future is theirs to make, not for the old and hated feudal lords. One could think of piled junk history with a common emotion of fear and hatred toward the military-operated politics that has undermined the freedom, human dignity and progress of the nation. History speaks loud that nations captive of military dictators and martial laws lose the capacity to pursue sustainable change for future-making. All dictators and their collaborative politicians are a menace to societal change and progress.

Do Pakistanis need a slap on their face to understand the historical facts?  Most leading politicians are the by-products of military dictators. The ruling elite are devoid of the rationality of change and societal development. Speculations overwhelm the continuing governance of Nawaz Sharif being at a crossroad, which way to go for the future- another military coup or some sort of marriage of convenience between the much hated politicians and the new military Generals. The nation remains devoid of moment of peace and happiness. Talibans, MQM in Karachi and others in Baluchistan have erected fault lines where violence, killings of the innocent and insanity rages every day.  When critical problems are mishandled, more are created – the typical “right man” syndrome of the naked form of Pakistani politics. Pakistani politicians are known for their selfishness and stupidity otherwise what else is there to read the history books with lost time and opportunities for change spanning more than 40 years. Hardly anyone could imagine a miracle to change the course of forthcoming events marked on the board. The anxiety made former Chief of the Army and retired General Mirza Aslam Beg (“Gen Beg Warns of Egypt-like Change in Pakistan.” The Nation: 4/22/2014), to warn the fellow countrymen to be careful on continued blame game against the senior army officials. “The higher the tension, the easier the change”, said General Mirza Beg.  But such a change would be disastrous as accidental change does not offer stability and futuristic development but destroy all that is built by the thinkers and morally accountable people. Arguably, Nawaz Sharif lacks will and imagination to deal with any national crisis what to talk of making peace with the Talibans. All of the official machinery is following one-sided dictates to punish former General Musharaf – the dictator who ousted Sharif and imprisoned him for a while. To dehumanize the army Generals is unfair and a terrible one-sided naïve imagery. Bhuttos, Zardari, and Sharif should be held accountable too. They have committed heinous crimes against the nation and stolen time, wealth and opportunities which they cannot return to the nation. There is nothing new and good for the nation; otherwise, Nawaz Sharif would have done it to revitalize his family’s ambitions. Strange, why should an informed and mature Pakistanis vote for such politicians who are good for nothing?  

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Imagine the prevalent culture of political nuisance, only inept, crime-riddled and thumb-lickers come to political activism. American intelligence forecasts sketch out that Pakistan would collapse by 2016 or by 2020 at the latest, more with domestic flare ups and animosities as the people live in a distant 20th century’s culture of thinking and practices. There is no progress and new stories to tell to curious school children, grown-ups, and college graduates when it comes to change, national progress, its security and future-making. Do Bhuttos, Zardari, Sharif and Musharaf offer any plausible lessons to the present and future generations? Most books being used are written by foreigners, not knowing the freedom movement of Pakistan, its historical imperatives and cultural values. Youngsters are indoctrinated to imagine being in New York and London for hobbies, support and good times. Could Pakistani politicians and the martial law administrators develop the future of the nation?  Most politicians and their human instinct appear untouched that nation is in the midst of an unseen storm and it could well be swayed away unless a planned navigational change supersedes the status-quo maintained by the few. There is no substance or reliability that Nawaz Sharif or any Generals could facilitate a sustainable change for the future. Pakistan at its critical juncture of global affairs needs a transformational leader, new system of political institutions and governance and creative leadership that could build people’s trust and commitment to change, unity and progress.

America is a big game player in Pakistan and managing its security apparatus.  The AID gimmick has kept Pakistan interdependent on the policy making of the US administration and now Pakistan is viewed more liability than an asset to the American geo-political interests in that region. The US leaders allege Pakistani rulers (civilians and military) as “double dealers” paid, bribed but act contrary to the American dictates. The imagery that floats across the globe that Pakistani Generals and politicians are in the paid US basket and survive on its active support to rule Pakistan.  The beggar nation that continues to be living at the mercy of the so called US aid money – used clothes and dry milk, often defined as conspiracy to fighting proxy wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere. America and its paid allies have caused havoc humanitarian, social, economic and political conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The bogus war on terrorism and its ripple affects will not end in 2014 but will leave imprints for generations to come – the innocent men, women and children massacred and human habitats destroyed. Should America and its allies be not held accountable for all the war crimes and damages and drone attacks on the civilians?

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All that can go wrong have gone wrong with the system of Pakistani political governance. Bruce Ruedel, One of President Obama’s advisors on Pakistan, Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism (“Battle for the Soul of Pakistan” 1/4/2013, Brookings Institute and Centre for Middle East Policy) calls it “2013 could be a transformative year for the country, indeed it will be the battle for the soul of Pakistan.”  He explains:  “One measure of Pakistan’s instability is that the country now has between 300 and 500 private security firms, employing 3,00,000 armed guards, most run by ex-generals.”  What makes the ex-Generals to create a culture of fear and insecurity?  Is it the ex-Generals or the bogus War on Terror they have perpetuated? Is it that they draw their after service gratuities from such crime-riddled adventures?  He adds that “So, it is no wonder that the generals prefer to have the civilians responsible for managing the unmanageable, while they guard their prerogatives and decide national security issues….”

There is no political change, stability or national reconciliation in progress under PM Nawaz Sharif. Continuing political crises have destabilized all domains of public life. National security, trade, commerce, productivity and moral and intellectual domains are worst affected. Growing political fear and hatred outweigh the political governance. Nawaz Sahrif and his collaborators have no political imagination or planned policies for change and national development. The solution must come out of the new thinking and new visions of the young people and new generation of educated Pakistanis who are able to think independently and out of the corrupt box curtailment. This approach deserves an inward eye on the objectivity and purpose of political change and reformation of the neo-colonial dominated governance, an eye not merely to change the political faces but to be critically focused on the purpose and clarity of political change, institutionalized developments and holding corrupt politicians accountable for their crimes against the nation. The Hope for change and reshaping anew Pakistan rests with the ideas and optimism of the new, educated and intelligent young generation of Pakistanis.  As of now, the best option appears to be that the National Assembly should set-up a Government of National Unity under new and intelligent leadership with the task to evolve new public institutions and encourage new and educated people to enhance the working of democracy and national unity.  All segments of educated, informed and conscientious Pakistanis have genuine interests and priority to rebuild a strong foundation for the unity of a progressive nation. The ultimate aim of unity and its realization rests with the foundation of the freedom movement of Pakistan and Islamic values as powerful and articulating forces of change and sustainable development for the future of Pakistan.

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