Dire-straits democracy | Pakistan Today

Dire-straits democracy

The sudden departure of Pakistan’ President Asif Zardari for medical treatment in Dubai and confusion among government circles about how to put up a brave face after this ‘sudden’ departure has forced the rumour factories in Islamabad to work overtime.

It is a fact that present government is under siege by a coalition of right-wing parties, a hostile judiciary and military. The government has been facing one crisis after the other, some genuine but also some cooked up to discredit the government or to express simple hate for a civilian setup in Islamabad. But as the same time, the government’s performance has been hopelessly not up to the mark, leading to a general disillusionment among the masses about the very democracy for which they struggled for years.

There are a number of scenarios on which our establishment could be working: another military coup to put the democracy in its coffin for this decade, go for Bangladesh model wherein judiciary to take over the government for a year or two as front-man for military, or field a political party/candidate who can discredit others with full financial and tactical support from agencies.

Let’s see, what is going to unfold in these trouble weeks to come for Pakistan’ fragile democracy.

It’s unfortunate that the actions of opposition parties are also not doing anything to sustain democracy. Apparently, Nawaz Sharif’s writ petition in the SC on the memo scandal, while very well knowing the superior judiciary’s differences with the government on every other issue, might result in a heavy blow to the very democracy which has brought him in power in Punjab. It may plunge the country in another crisis (as if we are short of crises!).

The SC’s verdict on Memogate can be very well predicted from the way another judicial commission (the one on OBL’s presence/May 02 operation) is proceeding. In an un-called for press conference, Dec 08, commission questioned the very presence of OBL in Pakistan, let alone his elimination on May 02. This view may please many in Pakistan (among those who believe 9/11 never happened) but will we get any buyers in international community. I am quite doubtful on that count.

If we want a stable democracy to take root in Pakistan, then all progressive forces have to come together to fight the unholy alliance of the forces of dictatorship. But at the same time, the democrats need to deliver and perform.

Otherwise, murder and exiling of elected leadership will continue. Unfortunately we never learn from our mistakes and knowingly or unknowingly become a tool in the hands of agencies to destabilise the governments. The Zardari government should stand up and fight back from Islamabad not from Dubai. Otherwise, another exile is waiting for them.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail, Saudi Arabia



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