Sunday, 4 March 2018
Democracy under squeeze, Afrasiab Khattak
The civil military row or to be more precise the wrangling between PML (N) led elected civilian government and the military establishment is quite open and public by now. But the dark prophesies about complete derailing of democracy, postponement of the Senate election and general election haven’t come true so far. In fact polling for the Senate election will be taking place as you will be reading these lines. Preparation for general elections are also in full swing. Even then unlike 2013 general elections, one can’t confidently think or talk about a smooth transition from one elected government to another in 2018. The reason for this uncertainty is the naked political engineering by security establishment through administrative, judicial and political instruments. By now it is an open secret that aggressive political agitation by test tube political outfits for creating conducive conditions for raising of “ umpire’s finger “ wasn’t spontaneous.
Several onslaughts on Islamabad by a variety of putschists had the unmistakable signature of expertise accumulated over the years by the permanent state. Even the post Panama JIT-led judicial activism has tended to reveal the long arm of security establishment behind it. The extremely selective nature, weak legal grounds and justice not appearing to be done in accountability has seriously undermined credibility of the process. Totally different decisions in similar cases have given rise to questions in minds of the people. Unfortunately, our higher judiciary has the historical baggage of upholding unconstitutional military coups and taking oath under PCOs of the usurpers. Its failure in prosecuting General Pervez Musharraf for abrogating the Constitution and its recent controversial role in deciding political cases has created the impression of perpetuation of the so-called Doctrine of Necessity. It is disappointing for the people of Pakistan who have always struggled for the independence of judiciary and rule of law.
But this policy has reached a dead end and is dramatically leading to international isolation of the country. The FATF’s decision on February 23 in Paris about putting Pakistan on a grey list from the coming June is the latest indication of the failure of Jihadist foreign policy. More important than the increasing US pressure is the growing symptoms of Chinese fatigue syndrome in protecting Pakistan from adverse action by international community. It’s high time to take bold steps for getting back from the precipice. Going ahead on this dangerous path will be following in the footsteps of Saddam Hussain’s Iraq and Gaddafi’s Libya. It’s urgent and corrective measures on this front can’t wait for complete restoration of democracy.
The Nation March 03, 2018