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June 10, 2019

Constitutionalism is the solution


June 10, 2019

The people of Pakistan are surely convinced more than ever that the country may not tread on the linear trajectory of progress and development till all the state institutions scrupulously functions within the framework of the constitution. Bangladesh and India’s significant strides in all major walks of national life, attributed to the continuity of the constitutional rule since their independence, are catching up the imagination of the people of Pakistan as the unfortunate downward spiral of this country had been continuing notwithstanding a few hiatus. Their achievements are being quoted frequently in the media of Pakistan that is amenable to, objectively and rationally. People are staunchly now on the side of constitutional rule as the only way forward to get the country out of the vicious cycle of socio-economic backwardness. The scintillating examples in this part of the region and beyond are sufficient to rally around them that the key to the national successes lies in the rule of law and its strict observance. The trichotomy of power may be the bed-rock of the state institutions’ functioning in this country and the curse of institutional domination should be abandoned to save the country from the prohibitive cost of the juggernaut.

Pakistan was not lucky in this count because of the insatiable marathon of institutional domination. These had been the bad patches of the country’s politics throughout and the prognoses were hardly surprising. Accordingly, Pakistan remained struck in a rut for decades. It may remain so as long as the state institutions do not operate impeccably within the ambit of the constitution. The history of the country bears witness to this dereliction that had inflicted irreparable losses and humiliations on the nation. The alacrity to transgress the space of the other institutions in perpetuity had definitely triggered the political instability in the country wrought with grave dangers juxtaposed with putting spoke in the wheel of the economy of the country. Economic development and political stability are intrinsically intertwined like the rule of the thumb and universally accepted as such. The sustainable growth of the political economy hinges on the political stability and its continuity. The domination of one institution over other institutions proves as liability than an asset at the end of the day. The chequered history of this country proves the point without an iota of apprehension of contradiction.

The positive image of India and BD may get the larger acceptance among Pakistani people if the former reciprocates the recent dialogue offer of Pakistan to settle all issues on the table. It may also stops the brutalities against the Kashmiri people and violations on the (LoC) to create an enabling environment to take up the long standing and complex issues later. Bangladesh should also not hold Pakistani nation as responsible for the atrocities on the people but the system that was mired in exclusiveness and therefore was anathema to people’s empowerment. The common people of the West Wing were no different in any measure then than the people of the East Wing in terms of political and economic alienation. The elite were exploiting their vulnerabilities in their insidious quest to stay put in power with no inclination of sharing the country’s resources with the people no matter they belonged to the West or East Wing.

The infliction of heinous injustices by India against the people of Indian Held Kashmir was responsible for keeping the people of the two countries at loggerheads devoid of living like good neighbouring countries. India may surely now come to the definite conclusion that it had not succeeded in suppressing the Kashmiri people with the heaviest concentration of its military might in the Valley and surely will not succeed in future as well. It’s appalling brutalities could not extinguish the burning flames of independence ”Azadi” among the Kashmiri people as the resistance has been intensifying right across showing no sign of abating. It is not possible for India to circumvent the people from writing their own destiny when they have decided to do so with their blood. The use of the strongest arms tactics may delay but cannot put it on hold in perpetuity. Mr Vajpayee’s vision, optimistically, may revisit the incumbent (BJP) leaders, though a remote possibility, but dynamics of peace and the full-throttled resistance of the Kashmiri youth may force the leadership to come out of the tunnel vision and sincerely endeavour to seek out the solution close to ex-prime minister’s formula based on ‘Insaniat’ Kashmiriat and democracy. Also, hoping against all odds, the brute repression by India may jolt the conscience of the international community from the slumber enough to shed its burden of commitment handed out to the Kashmiri people through the instrument of the resolution of the UN Security Council.

Stephen Cohen of the American Think Tank in his essay on Pakistan’s future has stated that the international community would not let Pakistan go down not because of its strength or weakness but because of its nuclear power status relevance to the peace and security of this region and beyond. But, the problem here in this country was that the despotic mindset is notorious of rearing its head in different forms and manifestation at different times seeking to drive from the rear seat thus diluting the focus of the legitimate government leading to free fall situation. The elected government’s survival strategy overtakes the upward mobility agenda of the political economy. The PML-N government faced with similar situation as the PTI sit-in politics, presumably with the support of the covert forces, kept it under immense pressure with the fear swirling around whether it would be able to complete its tenure or not. The economic meltdown of today is the collateral damage albeit the economic outlook was quite promising. The PPP government led by Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was under intense pressure also from the judiciary when he clamored in an interview that his space was usurped by the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and the Prime Minister was left to face the heartless vituperation coming from all the directions.

No well-established democracy has collapsed in the contemporary world though dictatorships have been falling like ninepins. The dictators tend to build their edifice on the ruins of the aspirations of all and sundry and therefore are doomed inexorably. All despots also fall prey to the fallacy of indispensability and as such the times comes when the course of history reduce them from the self-created status of sublimity to land crashing of pitiable proportion. On the contrary, democracy is the system that is imbedded with an automatic system of adjustments and corrections and as such the journeys of development remains on course with the continuity of the system. It ensures political stability that is the condition precedent for sustainable socio-economic development. Dictators’ inherent suppression and persecution to browbeat his people to submission is definitely not tenable for long in this digital age in particular. The current crisis in Sudan is likely to end in favor of the people who are bound to fight out the mindset of status-quo.

In Pakistan’s perspective, civilian elected prime minister made Pakistan nuclear power whereas another prime minister, now in jail, proved the nuclear credentials of the country to the world in 1998. Yet another prime minister, assassinated by the forces of authoritarian and terrorism, ensured the culmination of the full-spectrum defence narrative of the country by inducting the state of the art missile technology in the country’s arsenal. Imagine without the nuclear status of the country backed by state of art missile technology Pakistan would have surely been reduced to the status of the other regional countries no matter more than with million troops at its disposal. The civilian prime minister purchased Gwadar from Oman by paying a nominal amount to add this jewel in the crown of the Pakistan federation. Today, it is the linchpin of Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the center of gravity of the all powers of the region in general and of the superpower in particular. The attainment of the enviable status of prosperous Pakistan seems within the reach. CEPC project was envisaged during PPP government and vigorously pursued by the PML-N democratic government keeping in view the strategic and economic vital interests of Pakistan. PTI leadership tried to sabotage the project as the Chinese president had to reschedule his visit due to the cacophony of sit-in.

On the other hand, dictators only think in terms of longevity of their illegitimate rule for which they are generally willing to pay the unforgiving price. General Ayub Khan imposed martial law in the country to deprive the nation from the constitutional rule as the elections were going to be held under the 1956 constitution. Besides, his abrogation of the constitution eroded the basis of unity between the East Pakistan and the West Pakistan resulting in acute political and economic alienation among the people of East leading to the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. General Ziaul Haq jumped into the Afghan war to consolidate his illegal and despotic rule of the worst kind. General Musharraf brought the same war to our doorsteps after Richard Armatage, State Department Junior official, made a threatening telephone call. The country had been paying heavy price since then both in terms of blood treasure and still counting.

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