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May 22, 2018
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Reconciliation not collision course

National

May 22, 2018

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National interests as defined in the Constitution are supreme of all other considerations of politics or politicking. These must not be compromised at the altar of power politics, party politics or even politics based on the petty narrative of your losses are my gains. Sadly, this seems to be not the case in the country’s politics as some have insatiable appetite to jump from the above into the corridors of power by hook or crook utterly devoid of the constitutional imperatives. Others have sharpened their craving to make the political arena as Augean house to spoil it, by default, with little chances of rejuvenation. The political uncertainty is already asphyxiating the political environment of the country to the collective chagrin.

Unfortunately, the experienced politicians are fighting like gladiators beyond redemption whereas they are expected of taking the stock of the situation with the spirit of peaceful co-existence instead of treading on collision course. They may rectify the situation for good by collaborating and standing up the anti-democratic forces those may be out there with vengeance to harm the constitutionalism in the country. They may pre-empt this formidable threat by gelling together for the salvation of democracy that has already ‘hit the wall’. Their looking to the other side may pave the way of their becoming the victim of the same forces turn by turn like during the past history. Make no mistake.

PPP had these traumatic experiences time and again while PML-N and others had such experiences sporadically though with far less intensity. People of the country are opaque and frustrated wondering as who will fix the country’s ever festering problems. Their hopes are seemingly may be shifting to the very younger leadership of the country that understands the aspirations of the youth that is more than the half of the country’s population. But, the seasoned politicians may not disappoint the people. They may make qualitative difference if they follow the ‘policy of reconciliation’ as advocated by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto to get out of the prevailing crippling political crisis. Only policy of reconciliation may lead to the national collective redemption. The policy of confrontation will certainly pave the way to the political hell beyond recognition. The visionary leadership turns adversary into opportunity no matter how hostile ground realities may be. It is a challenge that the politicians of substance may accept and prove their mettle.

Co-Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, while talking at the Iftar dinner in Lahore last week has reportedly held out an olive branch to PML-N leadership for talks with conditions that they should first come clean because their past is reeked with illicit practices like horse trading, amassing of unaccounted for huge wealth including the politics of opportunism to grab coveted positions without caring for the legitimacy of means and ends. The change of heart may hopefully prove as a prelude to stem the dangers to the much desired cause, democracy. The leadership, as follow up, may open line of communications to strive for finding common grounds leading to convergence of views focused to save and strengthen democracy on sustainable basis. Their cooperation is direly necessitated because the future of democracy is at stake. Their coming closer may also encourage the other myriad pro-democratic forces to extend their support for thecommon cause -- constitutional rule in the country. PPP may take the lead in this regard.

Their unequivocal resolve to defend democracy as their top preference will instantaneously and surely take out the thunder from the shenanigans of the anti-democratic forces those are relentlessly and perfidiously engaged in pitting the politicians against each other. The two parties are the architect of Charter of Democracy (COD) with binding obligation to ward off all dangers to democracy as the top priority of their domestic politics. Secondly, adherence to COD will be like paying rich tributes to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto who sacrificed her life during the struggle for the restoration and promotion of democracy as a mean to empower the people of Pakistan. God forbid, if ugly sight of derailment of democracy does revisit Pakistan, the great Bhuttos may turn in their graves regretting with anguish that their blood has gone waste. The PPP leadership and workers can ill-afford their great leaders’ soul in distress. PPP owes a non-negotiable responsibility being the custodian of the legacy. It may and will defend the invaluable legacy at any cost. This is very reassuring after all to the vast majority of the people who are heavily in favour of the constitutional rule in the country.

Unfortunately, the recent unguarded statement of PML-N Quaid have thrown spanner in the works. The challenge has become indeed daunting for building the bridges. He has been subject to severe criticism, rightly so, because he damaged the country’s vital interests. The enemy country got the rare ’casus belli’(justification) to accuse at the top of the voice Pakistani state’s failure in preventing the non-state actors wreaking havoc in the neighbouring country. The statement also implied, as projected and substantiated by foreign media, that non-state actors were created and supported by the state institutions as their proxy for carrying out country’s strategic and political objectives. So, it has also badly hit country’s counter-terrorism policy envisaging unwavering commitment of the state of Pakistan to fight out terrorism indiscriminately and that its soil will not be allowed to carry out terrorist activities in other countries. Indictment of Pakistan by the international community as terrorism sponsoring country may be the foregone conclusion after the controversial interview by the deposed prime minister. Nothing can be more hostile to the country than this under the prevailing circumstances the country is embroiled in.

The Pentagon spokesman only last Friday in her briefing made a startling observation when she said;’ Pakistan is victim and sponsor of terrorism at the same time’. This is the direct and immediate collateral damage of the PML-N leader’s interview to the local TV channel that was being perceived as the testimony to by a leader not less than three times prime minister of the country. It therefore carried the credibility which was extremely difficult to undo when the country had been facing almost diplomatic isolation due to the flawed foreign policy that is almost at the dead end. The enemies of the country would be emboldened to further strengthen the screw around Pakistan that had been grappling to keep floating among the tempestuous waters. The internal politics mired in chaos and cleavages may further add to the predicaments of the country as the political leaders are reluctant to find pathways out of the political labyrinth leading to national unity.

The furor over Nawaz Sharif’s interview divulging as why the people went from Pakistan to kill 150 people there’ (India) was a much desired and out of blue bombshell news for Indian media. It projected vociferously as allegorical to confession of Pakistan in the Mumbai attack attributed to not less than the persona of three-time prime minister of Pakistan. A large section of Pakistani electronic media, looking for breaking news, without according due diligence to the objectivity picked up the lead of Indian media and started Nawaz Sharif’s bashing by telecasting live statements of opposition leaders who were, not surprisingly, carried away by the politics of blood sport in the wilderness of the country’s politicking.

The well-known political opponents, considering it as political bonanza at the expense of PML-N, decried Nawaz Sharif as ‘traitor’ demanding he should be prosecuted under Article 6 for compromising national security. The anti-democratic forces also unsheathed their swords to murder country’s politics through their propped up proxies. Ironically, General Musharraf was leading in his demand to prosecute Nawaz Sharif under Article 6 of the Constitution who himself was facing the trial under the same article but managed his escape from the court proceedings.

Surprisingly, the PML-N reaction to their Quaid’s remarks was essentially a damage control exercise when it attempted to distance itself and clarified that the said interview had been misreported and misinterpreted by media. But, it could not stop an iota of the intensity of the fiery debate in the media describing it as epic-bumbling enough to erode its popular base in its bastion of power, Punjab. Nawaz Sharif dug in his heels when he vindicated his position by arguing that he did not utter something new as it was all said so by Major General (R) Mahmood Durrani and General Pasha, former DG (ISI). But, the damage has been done to the country that may have been easily avoided by not string the hornet’s nest.

Nawaz Sharif, according to news and views, seemingly has dampened the electoral prospects of his Party in the country in general and in Punjab in particular. The desertions in the PML-N have picked up the momentum since then because it became easier and convenient for those who were notorious of changing loyalties, and also for those who were sitting on the fence to take plunge. It seems the staggering poor judgment of the PML-N Quaid may make difference between victory and defeat in the forthcoming general elections. The news of difference of opinion in the Party rank and file is appearing in the media. Chaudhry Nisar openly disagrees with the political strategy of the deposed Prime Minister. Fault does not lie in their stars but in them indeed.

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