By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
Most Pakistani politicians suffer from verbal diarrhea: words fall from their mouths without any control. As a result of this widespread disease, one can never believe in what they say. They issue ultimatums and deadlines, they form and break alliances, they accuse each other of various crimes, but one can never know if any of this is true. None of this can be considered politics, no matter how one defines politics. It is, in fact, moral decay which has permeated to such an extent that it has become a norm, an acceptable mode of behavior which carries no consequences or so they think.
Pakistani politicians have no vision for the country; they are not trained in any school to run a state; they are poorly educated and their corrupt lives have made them walking disasters for the nation. There are a few exceptions to the corrupt herd, but even those do not stand out when it comes to what falls from their mouths. Imran Khan, for instance, has never been blamed for corruption, but all he has to offer to this unfortunate nation is froth and foam. He issues deadlines which mean nothing; he announces long marches which never start; he repeats himself ad nauseam; he has shown no strategic planning. One wonders why he is stuck in a cul-de-sac? Why he shows no leadership for a decisive match? What ails him?
Suppose, the general elections are called in the near future. What would be his response to the urgent need of finding candidates who can actually stand out from the herd? Who will be with him? There is hardly any plan visible in his politics; it is an unending array of angry statements. Elections cannot be won by empty rhetoric; thus, one wonders if he has condemned himself to remain a failure.
The next general elections are inevitable; the only question is the date on which they will be held, but there is not a single political party which has started to plan for a corruption-free election which will restore some degree of faith in the choice offered by the ballot box. This includes the so-called most organized political party of Pakistan, the Jamat-e Islami. What prevents them, for instance, to go to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and lodge a reference against the existing voters’ list, which according to Imran Khan contains millions of bogus votes? What are they waiting for?
One cannot hope for any good from the ruling party; its only interest will be to return to power. It has proven its inefficiency, not to talk about corruption. It has been able to defeat the opposition on every single issue so far, but at the expense of country’s future. The presidency is occupied by a man who is partial, not to mention his other “qualifications”; he is the de facto head of a political party on which he has family monopoly. This is in violation of the constitution, but no politician is able to challenge this effectively. Only once in a while, they are able to foam about it with their mouthfuls. The ruling party has also made a joke of all other demands so far put forward by the opposition; it follows the letter of judiciary’s decision, but beats them through ill-intent which kills the spirit of the decision and renders it ineffectual.
There is not a ray of hope in Pakistan’s barren political landscape. It is a wasteland, resounding with empty diarrheic bombast. What these men and a few women say means absolutely nothing. And the masses know this; they have been cheated so many times that they now have no faith in politicians but since they do not have any choice and they are fond of fun and drama packed with emotions, they continue to play. But the game is at the expense of the country.
In the absence of good management and honest leadership, the country is rapidly sliding into an abyss; every single day increases its problems: the entire infra-structure is under tremendous pressure. From hospitals to educational institutions, and from roads to water management, there is no area of national life free from chaos and mismanagement. If nothing changes, the country will implode with this weight.
Change can only come through two means: a military coup and a change through elections; both options appear bleak. In order to have fair elections, a transparent pre-election process needs to be in place; there is no indication that this will happen. Thus, those who are demanding mid-term elections are simply emptying their mouthfuls into a vacuous hole. If they are serious, they must first insist on the establishment of an impartial body which will conduct the next general elections. They must do their homework and examine the voters’ list. They cannot just state a number and claim that so many million bogus voters exist, as Imran Khan did the other day; they must produce dependable and defensible evidence and bring the issue to the judiciary so that a credible process of genuine representation can begin.
Realism dictates that we must come to terms with the fact that Pakistan has no political culture which can produce credible, honest, dependable politicians. Those who now hold political power will never tolerate a genuine political leadership and hence there seem to be no way out of the present bleak scenario. Imran Khan made an exceptional entry into this wasteland, but made nothing out of it. This is a nightmarish scenario for anyone imagining Pakistan’s future. The accumulated weight of a failed political leadership will eventually invite a military dictator who would claim to be the promised messiah, only to deceive and be deceived by his own falseness.