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National

March 13, 2018

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Looming and imminent threat

Bare-knuckled world of politics’ manifestations in their worst form are juggernauting the country and that too without the slightest compunction. As if the hurling of insult and wild allegations juxtaposed with brawls and slur by known politicians were not enough.

The throwing of shoes on the political leadership lately has replaced the already widely prevalent obnoxious utterances bordering to foolhardiness. If this ugly tendency is not nailed down sooner than later then cascade of such incidents targeting turbans, caps, wigs, black gowns, shawls and so on so forth may not be ruled out as the rot is destined to come to the full circle.

The rot has audaciously started rearing its ugly head in the recent past. A ruthless action against the culprits and their cohorts is urgently called for. It will be easier at an early stage to crush it with the force of the law and social resistance which is there in abundance. Such perpetrators may not be allowed to continue their loathsome activities. If there are hidden hands behind the despicable misdeeds those may be exposed and twisted to submission.

It may give some consolation that the political leadership of all spectrums has condemned the incident in the strongest terms. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the incident and termed it as ‘an ugly trend threatening the respect and sanctity of the political leaders in the country’.

The condemnation of other leaders was equally intense by any measure. The media also accorded high key treatment in the news and views to the statements of condemnation of the political leaders on the heartfelt incident at Jamia Naeemia, Lahore, on Sunday where former prime minster went to address the religious gathering.

The political leadership may take this sad incident with matching seriousness to consider devising a strategy, collectively and immediately, to ensure that no such abhorrent occurrences take place in the future again.

The PPP had suffered hugely in the hands of this mindset that deprived the nation of the exceptionally dynamic leadership of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto because forces of extremism and authoritarianism were after their blood. Their crime was the arduous struggle devoted to empower the poor people of Pakistan. The Party has been continuing traversing the same path to accomplish the mission of the founding father. It is for this reason that the PPP will be resolutely willing to cooperate with other political forces to stem the hateful practices by misguided and intolerant elements. It may be recalled the Party was not allowed to conduct its election campaign by the TTP in 2013 that incurred heavy political loss to the Party in the elections. That threat may not revisit the country during the forthcoming general elections.

The Election Commission of Pakistan may take decisive lead in this regard because permeation of the criminal inclinations may prove as a stumbling block to fulfill the purposes of the constitution. The prospects of holding peaceful elections may be eclipsed due to this, with horrendous predictable implications for the country and for the democracy. For, it has the potential of vitiating the political environment in totality that may put the whole electoral process in double jeopardy to the glee of the anti-democratic forces. The Election Commission of Pakistan is suggested to spearhead the initiatives to frustrate the designs of those who want to wreak havoc with the collective destiny of this nation. Their callousness is known to be limitless as the political chapters of the country bears witness to this through the annals of history.

The Election Commission of Pakistan may turn the tide if it resolutely moves to ward off the looming and imminent threat. The Commission is under constitutional obligation to hold free, fair and transparent elections. There is no doubt that all the political leadership will be forthcoming to fully cooperate with the ECP because their political fate is attached to the continuity of the political system. The Commission may therefore get in touch with the political leaders to convene an All Parties Conference (APC) to formulate the code of conduct to be followed scrupulously during the election campaign. The recent incidents may be taken as a wake-up call to take corrective measures as stakes are high.

Such untoward incidents did take place in other countries as well. But, we may not seek consolation in it considering a run-of –the- mill using it as a pretext for inaction. It is time to remove the wool from the eyes and act without losing any time. Any delay to rectify the situation may make the tailspin situation to the utter overall disadvantage to the nation.

Pakistan may be known that does not lower guards quite off and on. The country may not be mind-blowing known only for bad reasons like where gender imbalance is grotesque, where 44% children are stunted, where major chunk of population is deprived of safe drinking water, where half of the children are out of school -- lowest in this part of the region --, where international community has well-entrenched perception of the country as continuously playing double game to hoodwink the world.

The state of affairs needs honest introspection, and quick reversal is desperately required for redemption. Treading on the beaten trajectory will only reinforce the failure.

As mentioned above, the elements responsible for such erratic behaviour may not be spared and should face the consequences of their misdemeanor of shameful nature. Letting them go scot free may embolden other such extremist elements to repeat the same in the face of perceived culture of impunity and illegality. Politicians are respectable people because they represent vast majority of the people. They play critical role in the formulation of public opinion and highlight the problems of the people urging the government to improve the governance and delivery of services. They are voice of the people. They also educate them through mass contact movement by using multimedia and other available tools. Their role in making the society and political system robust cannot be overemphasised. They infuse dynamism in the political system in the country based on consensus and aspirations of the people.

In this context, it is equally important that the politicians may desist from crossing the red lines of decency and acceptable standards of democratic politics. They are expected of serving as role model for the people and leading by the example worthy of emulation. The politics of fighting to the bitter end or dog eating dog will inevitably create an abyss that may devour them indiscriminately in political sense. Be-aware of.

The repetition of the repulsive incidents in quick succession also gave rise to the doubts if these incidents have the background to serve the ulterior political motives. This angle may be investigated regardless of the fact as who is the beneficiary or who is at loss. The back to back happening of such disdainful incidents may alarm the democratic loving parties of the country because these might be executed to upset the holding of forthcoming elections paving the way for despotism.

The political leadership may not lower their guards and watches the moves of the miscreants who must be out there to strip the dreams of the 200 million people of the country. They are eager to usurp the control of their lives. On the other hand, the people do not want at any cost to be deprived of their inalienable right to choose their representatives as per the constitution. The investigations leading to exposing the interlocutors of tyrannical and hidden forces may be the only option to put cold water on their evil designs against democracy and the people of Pakistan.

Undoubtedly, these are the manifestations of dictator Ziaul Haq’s legacy. Its apologists refuse to back off. He injected in the society the venom of extremism, intolerance and bigotry. The mob’s killing of Mashal Khan unfolds as how much hate speech has sunk deep into our society even among the educated people. The freedom of expression and creative enquiry is prohibited one the issue is flagged as a religious issue. The bigots know that to silence the dissident voice.

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