Personalized Politics in Pakistan
By Major(R)Khalid Nsr
The politics of Pakistan is extremly personalized. Democracy is still a distant dream in this land because personalities and pressure groups are more powerful than the institutions. The vision less politicians form their own political parties and use them as tools to ascend to throne to rule over the public in order to fulfill their long-lasting feudalistic hunger for authority. Thus the politics of Pakistan revolves around the commanding hammer men and the influential bunches while the fate of democratic institutions is hanging in the balance. It is rightly said power is intoxication and who are obsessed to abuse cannot live peacefully without it as persons having oil burner habit feel remarkable discomfort when they fail to get the dose.This is the loophole through which brass hats and bureaucrats enter in the politics. TheGrains of feudalism were present in the genesis of the country. The father of the nation kicked the bucket during the formative phase of the nation state. He didn’t get sufficient time to groom the nation on democratic lines. PM Liaqat Ali Khan had no political constituency in Pakistan. Therefore, he relied on the clergy and the feudal lords for his political support. After his assassination on October 16, 1951 at Company Bagh Rawalpindi the boiling pot of effete burst resulting in political wrangling among the deep-seated bureaucrats, power starving palm-pressers and overzealous generals. Seven cabinets were formed in East Pakistan and Governor's rule was imposed thrice between March 1954 and August 1958. This political wrestling to gain authority culminated in the dark period of Martial Law that was imposed by President Maj General Iskandar Mirza on October 7, 1958 by scrapping the first constitution of 1956 that was framed after nine year of arduous effort but it was abrogated only two-and-half years after it was enacted. Thus all constitutional efforts went down the drain. Martial Law conked out the democratic process by driving the first nail in its coffin and crippled it before taking firm roots. On October 27 Ayub Khan seized all powers by expelling Iskandar Mirza who lost the morning line. He issued Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) and 'Public Offices Disqualification Order' (PODO) on October 7, 1959 to eliminate and punish the main political figures and top bureaucrats so that no one can challenge his oppressive rule.In October 1959 he also introduced four tier system of Basic Democracy through an order in which 8000 Basic Democrats would be elected from both wings and ultimately they would elect the President. The clandestine intention was to jockeying the elections instead of empowering the public at the grassroots level. He framed a new constitution in 1962 in which all powers were concentrated in the hands of the President and in this context he was like the clock tower of Faisalabad. Ayub Khan maneuvered and rigged the Presidential election of 1965 to defeat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.After political protests in the late-sixties Ayub transferred power unconstitutionally to general Yahya Khan who was more interested in drinking & womanizing than the population welfare. Ayub’s industrialization had resulted in the concentration of resources in 22 families belonging to West Pakistan that generated a sense of deprivation in the eastern wing resulting in dismemberment of the country due to Indian intrigue on December 16, 1971 and drew permanent lines of separation between the two halves of the Quaid’s monument. Z.A.Bhutto became the leading political personality of the truncated Pakistan.The alleged rigging of the 1977 elections and their repercussions in the form of ceaseless protests by the PNA provided vacuum to the army to intervene.Once again military pushed the country towards the darkest and the longest period of Martial Law. Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979 although he was the most popular leader of Pakistan after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam but his charisma haunted Zia like a ghost. General Ziaul Haq ruled the country for more than eleven years with a steel rod like a true autocratic ruler.Pakistan is still paying a dear price for the legacy of Zia period in the form perpetual subversive activities ignited by the miscreants to create instability. Four civilian governments changed the driving seat during 1988-99 but no government was being permitted to complete its tenure. The two elected governments of Benzir Bhutto and the first regime of Nawaz Sharif in power were ousted by the incumbent Presidents by using their discretionary powers under Article 58-2(b) that is another award given by Ziaul Haq so that democratic processs can never take firm roots and smooth course. It hangs like Damocle’s Sword over each civilian government. Both Prime Ministers during their tenures endeavored to curtail the powers of the President and tried to undermine army whom they consider great threats for their rule. They moved heaven and earth to concentrate all powers in their hands. Ultimately army retaliated when Nawaz Sharif after clipping the wings of the President and disempowering judiciary attempted to let the rug slip under the generals’ feet because he unduly promoted the then ISI Chief General Ziaudin Butt as COAS by replacing general Musharraf who was on an official tour in Sri Lanka. Thus the civilian government with heavy mandate terminated on October 9, 1999 and once again army came to power to rule the roost. President Musharraf created King’s Party in the form of Q-League to legitimatize his rule by establishing an engineered democracy.Pakistan is at the crossroads of formidable challenges.The public trust has been badly shaken and cracked in the well-fixed politicians due to their continuous betrayal of the public.The flushed hot shots should give up the politics of vested interests if they want to correct their image. They should join hands to uplift the public rather than safeguarding their self-seeking interests.The political parties are deprived of true democratic culture. They should conduct regular elections within their ranks to become genuine democratic parties.In this way personalized politic will make a shift in the direction of institutional politics and true democracy will automatically take its course.We must select our political leaders who have a vision & agenda other wise Pakistan would continue to be ruled by stupidity , fear and greed.May God protect our sohni -dherti from these opportunists & carpet baggers.