The writing is on the wall and the bell now tolls louder by the day. Hopelessness overshadows hope. Despondency is on the increase. Whenever any nation is gripped by the kind of gloom that exists in Pakistan these days it is time to think of what needs to be done to get out of the quagmire. For Pakistan the one-point agenda must be to have a constitutionally administered country.
Having walked through the corridors of power long enough to understand what goes on there, I am sure the government is being given feel-good reports by sycophants who can never muster the moral courage to interpret hard realities for their political masters. These accursed sycophants get deeply embedded in every government and in due course trigger the undoing of the government and its leaders. When the undoing occurs the sycophants disappear. Musharraf must now be wondering where his court jesters have disappeared though he should know that quite a few of them are now embedded in the current dispensation, which ought to be wary of them.
Currently, Pakistan is fragile and has just witnessed a very threatening situation in Swat and other parts of the NWFP. That the situation has been reversed from one of complete despair to some hope indicating that the NWFP, the land of the proud Pakhtuns, may, eventually, revert to peace and stability has been a direct result of a military operation. The Army deserves kudos from the nation for having restored some sanity to the situation. Complete return to absolute peaceful conditions is still a long way off and will require a political effort which is presently absent. The military gains can be made permanent only if a political consolidation of those gains is made; something that is not the job of the Army but that of the political dispensation. If this does not happen soon matters can drift backwards once again and this time around there will not be much that the Army will then be able to do.
The heartening aspect in the otherwise gloom scenario that we witness is that, undoubtedly, Pakistan will now onwards be ruled by nothing but the law and the Constitution. A new and bright Pakistan appears to be emerging despite the resistance from the feudal status quo. The lawyers and civil society movement between March 2007 and March 16, 2009, has set the pace for the future shape of things. Musharraf’s illegal sacking of the chief justice on March 9, 2007, triggered the birth of a new Pakistan that will now onwards be ruled only through abiding with the law and the Constitution.
The people of Pakistan for the first time were vociferous in their agitation against a ruthless dictator when the politicians and the political parties were in a state of disarray. It is these leaderless people of Pakistan, bereft of any support from the political parties, that brought Musharraf to his knees and took Pakistan away from his misrule and handed it back to the politicians through the February 2008, general elections. On the politicians’ part, let there be no mistake in assessing that the people of Pakistan are now watching them intently. The people of the emerging Pakistan want the politicians to comprehensively understand that the new dynamics of governance through law and the Constitution that were brought about by the events of March 16, 2009, are not cosmetic but are here to stay under the vigilant eye of the Pakistani people.
The feudal and exploitative Pakistan has to now fade away, making room, voluntarily, for the new Pakistan ruled by law and the Constitution. The flow of the current leading towards the making of the new Pakistan based on justice is now too strong for anyone to swim against without, eventually, being sucked into oblivion by a whirlpool. Wisdom now lies in recognising the dynamics of the new Pakistan and those dynamics clearly revolve around adherence to the constitution. Non-recognition of this aspect will have to be at a considerable risk.
The people of Pakistan triumphed over the unconstitutional actions of a dictator after two years of relentless struggle. At this point it must be said that Mian Nawaz Sharif has, to his huge credit, the fact that he provided the requisite and bold leadership to the lawyers and the people of Pakistan on that fateful day–i.e., March 16, 2009. Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf and the Jamaat-e-Islami of Qazi Hussein Ahmed also deserve full credit for the fact that they stood by the people of Pakistan when the first bricks of the new Pakistan were being laid. This is history and cannot be denied.
Pakistani politicians at the helm today and those to come to positions of authority in the future need to read correctly the pulsating change in the dynamics of the new Pakistan that is being carved out of the demise of the exploitative Pakistan of yesteryears. The good of the country and the politician is embedded in reading the emerging dynamics correctly. If the birth of the new Pakistan is now resisted by the exploitative feudal and other status quo forces the end of everything will not be too far away. Beware. Let us not axe our own feet.