By Dr. Haider Mehdi
“It is time to stop raising the Islamist threat in the face of those clamoring for change and revolution…even the term ‘fundamentalists’ is a fabrication of the western media, which exploited their existence in ‘several Muslim’ countries for vested interests…The so-called Islamist danger which is talked very much about is in actual fact a nasty trick used by ‘Muslim ruling elite’ in cooperation with the West to threaten…and to unnecessarily frighten the people, and this has to stop.”
Faisal Al-Qasim, Doha-based Syrian journalist
The Pakistani public at large and selective revolutionary movements such as Imran Khan’s PTI have to come to grips with the fact that the present ruling elite, including the traditional ruling parties and opposition along with their supporters, the so-called urban liberals, are so deeply dependent politically and psychologically on Western patronage that their continued presence in this country’s political spectrum is an existentialist threat to Pakistan. An impending and necessary future political revolution in this country must be aimed at the absolute removal of this Western-obsessed ruling elite from the political landscape. The moral-political-psychological reform of this group is an impossible task and their continued participation in the country’s political processes must be eliminated.
Let me conceptually explain how the dysfunctional political mind of our present political elite operates: Cognitive perceptual biased views or disposition is a socio-psychological ailment having reached epidemic proportions in the Third World, most specifically in Pakistan. This attitudinal trend is empathetic in rejecting nearly all indigenous social, cultural and political norms while according preferential acceptance to pro-Western values and ideas in all spheres of life – may they be in any field from technology to fashion to politics. The origin of this attitudinal miasma is the continued legacy of the long colonial period of Western dominance. The residual effects of this experience of subservient existence have caused the development of several complicated modes of complexes including symptomatic self-denial and the failure of self-recognition on a broad spectrum of contemporary realities. Consequently, the spill-over outgrowth of this psychological state of mind has resulted in partial or total rejection of indigenous conventions – especially so the explicit rejection of political and social innovation needed for development of the country against the dominant pro-Western trends.
No wonder then our entire political existence, starting from Ayub Khan to the present ruling junta, inclusive of military and civilian rules, has been one continued sad political saga of US-Western dominated domestic and foreign policy stalemates. The list of our political faults has been long painful, and yet some of the recent examples must be cited for illustrative purposes: Consider the political fallouts of the US-Britain brokered NRO regime, Musharraf’s “enlightened moderation,” and the resultant so-called war on terrorism, drone attacks, military operations against our own people, the missing and disappeared persons, the CIA-implanted mercenaries in every nook and corner of the country, the near genocide of the natives, the IMF loans, the ever-accelerating mass poverty and deprivations, and the unfortunate and inevitable dependence on the West’s financial and political patronage.
Considering the nature of the subservient/dominant relationship between Pakistan’s ruling elite and the West, the former has accepted the West’s ethnocentric and self-seeking explanations as a logical elucidation of an unfolding contemporary political phenomenon. The Western media and successive US administrations have maintained a consistent barrage of assaults against our social-cultural indigenous development to an extent that no small amount of resistance is capable of undoing the mass damage that has been incurred by our historical and political nationalistic aspirations as a free and independent country. In this respect, total political solecism (or rather, political impropriety) exists in Pakistan largely because of an absolute lack of sagacious thinking inherited in the psyche of our dependency mode.
The entire foundation and purpose of a democratic system are rooted in a social contract between the people’s elected representatives and the voters in which the former, under all circumstances and prevailing conditions, are obligated to serve the overall interests of the public – failing to do so morally revokes the people’s mandate. It is for this reason that an elected government, when they are in a period of inefficiency and incompetence and unable to deliver the essentials of the democratic-social contract expected of them, should resign from the office of the political management affairs of the country. As such, midterm elections in a parliamentary democracy are the basic part and parcel of the system. It is the vent-valve in the process that restores the elected representatives and voters’ confidence in the democratic process and steers the political system to safety and fulfillment of its democratic mandate. A continuation of a dysfunctional regime for a specific time period is contrary to a democracy’s principles and norms. And yet, the main opposition party, the PML (N) insists that it does not support midterm elections in the country fearing that it would derail the democratic political system – an ironic and a most crooked argument at best.
When the ruling PPP and the rest of the political parties in Pakistan should be offering the domestic audience and voters blueprints of their political platforms in sync with the democratic aspirations and demands of the public, proposing ways to deal with and resolve vital issues such as high unemployment, food price inflation, police brutality, the energy and electricity crisis, and conducting conflict-management in Balochistan, stopping drone attacks, ceasing military attacks against its own people, and bringing the US massive interference in the country’s domestic and foreign affairs to an end, the entire political establishment, inclusive of the incumbent regime and the opposition, continues to raise the Islamist bogey.
There is not a day when the incumbent PPP regime in Islamabad does not own the so-called war on terrorism as Pakistan’s war – implicating common Pakistanis as Islamist extremists. What is happening is that, in fact, the political elite in Pakistan has been using the Islamist scarecrow to remain in power and continue to have the US-West’s patronage for their political survival.
In the dismal political existence which common citizens experience in their daily lives, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is the lone voice demanding midterm elections , an end to the war on terror, political settlement with the Taliban by mutual dialogue and a reconciliation process, and the need for a principled, ethical and moral democratic set-up in the country. “The youth of this country think politics is entirely rubbish,” wrote the columnist Fasi Zaka. “Therefore, (Imran) Khan’s message of bringing about a ‘revolution’ appeals to young people turned off by traditional politics.”
The trouble is that traditional political leadership in the country still suffers from the psychological ailment of seeking the West’s patronage for its political existence and they cannot escape from it. “When compared to the other personalities in Pakistani politics, he (Imran Khan) is a saint,” says Zaka.
Imran Khan’s rising popularity can be attributed to the fact that he is not seeking US-Western support and partnership for the success of his political ascendency and political agenda: “Khan made ‘often pointed and critical statements on US policy which he characterized as dangerous and in need of change’ in a meeting with former US Ambassador Anne Patterson last year,” reported the Christian Science Monitor. At last, Pakistan’s problematic and difficult political past has given birth to a leadership which is independent, nationalist, rational and forward-looking, and free of US-Western bogeymen.
In addition, the PTI entire political agenda is being written in bold script acknowledging the prime importance of the social contract in a democratic set-up – the ultimate goal of serving the masses’ interests!!
For the last 6 decades, it has been the failed social contract that has plagued successive political leaderships and consequently failed Pakistan!!
Now, it is in this social contract that PTI will have its success – and create a revolutionary democratic Pakistan!!