Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Pakistan is heading for a disaster, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Pakistan is heading for a disaster
Dr Shabir Choudhry          12 August 2014

Imran Khan and Dr Tahir Ul Qadri need dead bodies for the success of their Long March. Dead bodies, blood of innocent people and chaos will win them public sympathy; and will increase chances of success of their Long March. This is not to suggest that they will successfully topple the government. Their role is to create conducive environment in which intervention of other players could be justified.

Despite efforts to appease him and reason him, defiant and stubborn Imran Khan wants to go ahead with his illogical policies designed to create anarchy in Pakistan. He seems to have distanced from the wise council, and have gone under the influence of a megalomaniac preacher, who seems to be on fire; and wants to take revenge by promoting violence, hatred and bloodshed. This policy will not only divide the Pakistani society it can also divide PTI as well.

If they had made inflammatory statements full of hatred, incitement to violence and murder in a place like Britain which is known as mother of democracy, they would have been arrested and charged with appropriate laws. But, this is Pakistan, where powerful get away with everything, even when they commit treachery.

No government could allow an attack of tens of thousands of people on its capital, which come with declared intention of toppling the government. In order to fool innocent people, they and some anti government leaders say it is their democratic right to protest. True, they have a right to protest, but this thin cover of democratic right does not entitle them to change a government by a mob rule.

If this precedent is set that people defeated in elections could change the government by mustering 30 -40 thousand people in D Choke then no one in future will be able to rule the country; and all stake holders and champions of democracy and human rights must understand that.

Imran Khan is a cricketer and a social worker. It was better for him to continue with his social work; but lust of power blinded him. No doubt he has a charming personality, confidence and a big mouth to accuse and attack everyone who disagrees with him. No doubt he was a cricketing star and a man with with controversial international reputation, but these characteristics are insufficient to make him a Chief Executive of a nuclear country with troublesome geography and important strategic position.

His politics lacks wisdom and consistency. His emotionalism and illogical politics have won him a title of ‘U Turn Khan’, because of frequent U turns in politics. What is driving Dr Tahir Ul Qadri and Imran Khan is not any principle or welfare of people, but their injured pride and ego; and in order to satisfy their ego they are fooling innocent people of Pakistan in name of rigging and accountability.

In corrupt society of Pakistan it is not possible to have totally rigging free elections. However, all foreign observers and political analysts agree that elections of 2013 were less rigged than the previous elections. Rigging did not take place in Punjab only; it took place in all provinces of Pakistan. Then question arises why so much agitation in Punjab, whereas there is no agitation in other parts of the country.

Is this a power struggle between political elite in Punjab, which is endangering democracy and future of Pakistan? Is this not illogical and uncompromising demand that the government must resign (what will take its place, he is not clear on that) and then Commission be formed to investigate. Question is what if the Commission finds Nawaz Sharif innocent, is he going to be re installed as a Prime Minister again? Does he think Prime Minister of Pakistan is one of the Director of Khanam Shaukat Hospital, which could be changed by its founder?

Well before Dr Qadri was ‘launched’ the second time and before Imran Khan announced his Long March with intention to topple the government with a mob power, I said to a Pakistani journalist in London that in near future Punjab will be the new battleground. We were discussing what India would do under PM Modi. I said his priority is economic development, peace and friendship, but if situation warranted he would not hesitate to go to any extremes.

He wanted me to explain this further. I said I can visualise 1970 like situation emerging with Punjab being a new battleground. He did not buy my logic and changed the topic. Last week when Punjab had practically become a battleground, Professor Ejaz Pracha, who was present in that meeting, complimented me on my prediction, but insisted that I must have had some information from somewhere.

Without saying anymore on this topic, I want to assert that issue is not electoral reforms or rigging in some constituencies. The mission has many targets; and satisfaction of ego is one objective. Both revolutionaries want to take revenge from Nawaz Sharif for their own reasons. Nawaz Sharif shattered Imran Khan’s dream of becoming the Chief Executive of Pakistan, and this was perhaps the last opportunity for him. In the next elections, if they are held constitutionally on time, PTI will not even get 30 seats, as people will be more familiar with his game plan.

Also, it looks that the agenda is to prepare ground for some other experiment in Pakistan; and it is important that Punjab is invaded or subdued for this purpose and Nawaz Sharif ousted and defamed. What the men behind this game need to understand is that it could lead Pakistan to a disaster.

No doubt Nawaz Sharif government has also committed blunders; but all governments make mistakes, and this doesn’t warrant toppling of an elected government. Flaws in the electoral system could be improved and relevant laws could be passed to ensure that in future elections either there is no rigging; but that is not the real agenda of the two revolutionaries who want to create anarchy.

Now that government’s olive branch and agreement to set up a Supreme Court Commission to investigate the rigging allegations is rejected by the revolutionaries, it is clear that they don’t want a peaceful resolution. They want chaos and bloodshed for the success of their agenda, and the government must not allow them this opportunity; as first responsibility of the government is to protect life and property of its citizens.

Both revolutionaries and their senior colleagues should be taken in protective custody. The government must understand that once they start the Long March with thousands of people it will be difficult to control them, and reluctant and ideologically divided police will not be able to control the frantic mob.

The government also needs to understand that the army will only protect certain sensitive positions, especially those with military importance, but surely they will not shoot at a Punjabi crowd. I know some people will accuse me for using regional card, but history proves my point. Pakistan army never hesitated to shoot Pakistani civilians in other provinces, East Pakistan, Balochistan, FATA, KPK etc but when they were ordered to shoot in Lahore they fired in the air and preferred to resign. If the army is asked to shoot at Punjabi protestors, and moreover, Sunni crowd, they will not shoot; and the government must avoid reaching this quandary.

The government also needs to understand that just like members of police force and other secret agencies, men in army also have religion or faith. They are also influenced by religious leaders; and history proves that despite claims to contrary many Pakistani senior army officers had extremist tendencies and worked against the army discipline.

In view of the above, if the two revolutionaries are allowed to create anarchy, and which result in deaths of civilians then the danger is that Pakistan will enter a new phase of civil war that will have far reaching consequences not only for Pakistan but for the entire region.

Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

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