Confrontational politics


    Nawaz and the collision course



    Perhaps it is high time for our political parties,

    and their leaderships to understand and accept the rules of the game

    in order to take Pakistan forward in the league of developing nations.


    John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, an English politician, historian, and writer, once said that Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The aforementioned statement proves to be true, and stands out as one of the primary reasons that give birth to the politics of confrontation, particularly between state institutions; not just individuals. In Pakistan, unfortunately, confrontation has remained the defining element in national politics, and state governance, at all i.e. individual, political entity and institutional levels. It is, however, the latter (confrontation between institutions) that jeopardises democratic stability in national politics. To answer the questions as to why such confrontation exists in a society aiming to mature itself in democratic values; it is corruption stemming from the lust of state leadership, whether political or military, to acquire absolute power and authority, and attempt to violate their constitutional limitations and boundaries.

    Pakistani politics is a witness to confrontation between past leaderships and institutions leaving valuable lessons to learn from for the future leadership of the country. Where some have learned their lesson, others still seem ignorant, and resistant to change.

    One name of these would be Ex-Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, leader of PML-N who has been recently dismissed from the PM office on charges of corruption. From day one when the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed its verdict against the sitting PM, Sharif along with other PML-N leaders has been rallying, addressing public gatherings, and spitting venom against the apex court and its judges terming the decision as a conspiracy against him, democracy, and Pakistan. In his speeches and statements post the SC verdict, Nawaz has been instigating his supporters and followers against the judiciary, and seems to have taken the very collision course that leads to confrontation between the institutions, which ultimately led to the downfall of past leaderships. The sitting PML-N government, under the influence of Nawaz, has also rejected the Supreme Court verdict, moving ahead on the course of confrontation.

    Where the PML-N governments twice in the past have been dismissed / removed, for a third consecutive time Nawaz Sharif has been removed from the office of the Prime Minister (twice on charges of corruption) prior to completion of his designated term, yet there seems to be a lack of appropriate learning from the acerbic lessons of the past.

    Re-Living the Past

    They say learning from your own mistakes is smart, learning from others mistakes is wisdom. As opposed to this, what is one called if they don’t learn from their own mistakes? In our case, the answer might be PML-N.

    In wake of recent developments in the political arena of the country, it appears as if Ex-Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif is on the road to repeat the mistakes he, and other leaders from the past made back in their days as Prime Minister / President. We all remember the attack on Supreme Court back in 1997, during the PML-N tenure, when an unruly mob comprising of the party’s workers stormed the SC building forcing the then Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah, to adjourn the court proceedings on a contempt of court case against the then Prime Minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif. The nation witnessed similar confrontation when former President General Pervez Musharraf attempted to remove Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in an attempt to influence the court’s actions which gave birth to the historic Lawyers Movement resulting in restoration of judges, ultimately leading to Musharraf’s downfall.

    Confrontation is not a new PML-N dilemma, since the center-right conservative party and its leadership is apparently a slow learner, and have the tendency to succumb to confrontational politics. Our leadership at present attempting to re-live the past is not a fruitful idea for our amateur democracy, as it once again might de-rail the supposedly prospering democratic process, and values.

    It’s the Judiciary’s turn now

    Presidency, parliamentary rivals, military, and media, whereas PML-N has been confronting with these in the past, it turns around to be Judiciary that’s apparently on the latest hit-list of Nawaz League. It won’t be the first time though.

    With his recent disqualification amid the SC verdict, Sharif took to the streets addressing, and instigating the general public against the court, using the same old Negation of Democracy by state institutions card. Before the public, Sharif accused the Supreme Court of conspiring against his democratic government, disrespecting the public’s vote, and right to elect. As opposed to the apex court’s verdict, the dismissed PM called himself innocent of all allegations, rejecting the SC decision. The daughter, Maryam Nawaz, has also been tweeting on the subject maligning state institutions for conspiring against Nawaz Sharif, challenging the court by saying; Rok sako to rok lo.

    The sitting PML-N government under the current Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, ironically, seems to have taken the collision course following the footsteps of their formers. The party re-elected Mian Nawaz Sharif as the leader of PML-N in recent party elections, categorically rejecting the decision by the court.

    Time to bury the hatchet!

    The one thing all developed countries have in common is progression on the way forward. Going back in time is definitely the wrong direction to take, and is not an option. Perhaps it is high time for our political parties, and their leaderships to understand and accept the rule of the game in order to take Pakistan forward in the league of developing nations.

    Political stability can only be secured via politics of reconciliation, rather than confrontation. State institutions have their constitutional boundaries and bindings, and must be at liberty to perform their constitutional roles within their assigned limitations. Political leadership must give up the abuse of power to influence the performance of duties by state institutions in order to avoid confrontation, particularly at institutional level.

    Strong and independent institutions are imperative for strengthening democracy, and only a strong democracy can ensure political stability, failing which national progression and prosperity will remain unfulfilled dreams.