By Dr. Haider Mehdi
It is a common observation: Fools turn opportunities into disasters; the wise learn from their mistakes and transform their calamities into opportunities for outstanding accomplishments. The fact of the matter is that given human ingenuity, there is nothing under the sun that cannot be fixed in humanity’s existence provided rationality is applied with a keen eye to the management of problematics and their resolutions. It is particularly true in the case of socio-political crisis that societies face during the course of their evolution where they are turned into viable economically and culturally advanced civilizations. Only fools do not understand the dynamics of such human management, equations, aspirations, and their spiritual vitality and force.
The vital question in the context of present-day Pakistan and its crisis-laden existence is: Is contemporary Pakistan a fool’s paradise? It seems that it is a nation that has lost its bearings – it is a country that is radar-less at the moment. Indeed, given the ground realities, there is absolutely no doubt (that is, if rationality prevails) that the political stage is being set for an irreversible incapacitating national exigency. In fact, we are already at a critical conjuncture of our crumbling and crippling socio-political reality. The introverted psychopaths and political fools at the helm of our national political management affairs are to be held responsible for our ever-expanding disasters. There are no two opinions about it.
Should “the Wise” act now, this country could be helped out of its impending national abyss into a future that will not only assure its survival, but transform it as well into a viable socio-political progressive, politically mature and advanced civilization. But things need to be fixed now – “the wise” need to act – the curtain needs to fall on this continuing charade of political foolishness – the comedy of errors that has been our fate for so long needs to end. This nation has worshipped ignominious political leadership for far too long: our history is witness to the fact that the major political forces in the country and their respective civilian and military leaders have time and again betrayed and failed this nation. The contemporary national political culture and to the leadership to which it is wedded needs to undergo a radical and revolutionary transformation. Without constitutional-political acts of sweeping change, in fact, a constitutional coup d’état, this nation stands at the crossroads of an ultimate disaster.
The Supreme Court is empowered with the constitutional prerogative to ask the civilian administration and the armed forces to intervene and carry out its orders to remove the dysfunctional, incompetent and inefficient political management establishment at the helm of national affairs. That is how the Supreme Court of Pakistan ought to act now in the national interest to avert the on-going political crisis in the country. Be mindful that it does not stipulate in any way that the armed forces should step in for the country’s political governance. On the contrary, the Supreme Court would have to see to it that the army and its commanders are explicitly instructed not to interfere and are barred from the political management affairs of the country. My perceptive view is that the Supreme Court, having restored its credibility and endowed with enormous public support during the Musharraf debacle and in the on-going Zardari-Gilani unconstitutional “hassling,” would have the immense backing of the masses to restore political stability and law and order, make radical constitutional reforms and begin a peaceful political transformation in the country.
An interim government of politically non-affiliated civil society leaders, technocrats with impeccable reputations, progressive academics and intellectuals, foreign-policy and specifically conflict-resolution experts (to urgently deal with the internal ethnic and external security conflicts) would have to be put in place with the task of organizing national elections as stipulated in the timeframe of constitutional provisions. The Supreme Court directives would have to channel the entire process of the next elections with flawless and irreproachable perfection. This does not imply, by any means, that Pakistan needs to construct a rigid structural political-legal system that could stifle its socio-cultural-political growth. What it implies is that the election process, in itself, would have to become a political management instrument of “cleansing” the contemporary political culture of its impurities – resulting in the demise of the political elite that have steadfastly prevailed in pursuing the political status quo in the country for the last 6 decades and have had an absolute monopoly over the affairs of this nation, which they have used for their ever-expanding self interests. This is the prime condition of our survival – the PPP, the PML (N), the PML (Q) and all the rest of them (the entire traditional leadership cadre) will have to go and become disenfranchised from the political power that they have wielded over this nation for so long.
The sanitization and purification of the present political system and its power-structure will be the most difficult task in the process of democratization in the future elections that are being proposed here in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s constitutional coup d’état. After all, human institutions are not analogous to automobiles where it’s possible to change old spark plugs with new ones. The functioning of social-political organizations in a nation is a far more complex and complicated process that requires the introduction and application of systemic ingenuity to bring about desired socio-political change. Hence, the setting up of an independent Election Commission will be the most important initial step in the process of political transformation in the country.
In this process of national purgation, every candidate in the national elections will have to publically declare their and their family’s wealth and assets, sources of income, domestic and foreign-held properties, bank accounts, inheritance, foreign affiliations, educational and career credentials, legal and criminal (if any) records, past and future party affiliations, and public service record. Most importantly, each candidate should submit a public document based on an entire political platform illustrating how proposed tasks are to be accomplished, their modus operandi, exact financial requirements to complete proposed projects, the justification of these plans, and among other things, a substantive list of the most pressing national issues and an organizational and political approach envisioned to resolve these issues.
The Election Commission shall have the overall responsibility to most carefully scrutinize all the candidates and evolve an organizational, systemic management process for the cleansing of Pakistan’s ailing political culture and its power-structure. Let it be said here that without purging our present national political culture, this nation faces an existential threat to its survival.
National policy-making is serious business. It requires steadfastness, unwavering determination, and utmost devotion and commitment to public welfare. The prerequisite capabilities of national policy management are short and long term planning, highest level of analytical processes, setting goals and objectives, planning alternate strategies to problematic resolutions, and to understand the predicaments that this nation faces. And, of course, selfless commitment to serve the people – not to govern and have brutal power over them. Indeed, national policy-making cannot be entrusted to fools. We have to admit that, as a nation, we have cherished the ignominious political idols (read leadership) far too long.
The sad thing is that fools never learn… But will the Supreme Court act now?
The ball is in the court of “the Wise.”