â€˜Image building exercise for Pakistanâ€™
26 January, 2008
By Amjad Malik
Slain Chief Justice of Pakistan still under house arrest with his colleagues, incarcerated Supreme Court Bar President, one former Prime Minister dead and other in waiting with a serious threat to his life, media gagging, Constitution avenue blocked for public, access to Supreme Court with special permits, lay Pakistanis are without proper services of main utilities i.e. electricity, gas and oil and are fighting on streets for proper flour distribution is a picture a lay man draws of an atomic state of Pakistan in the wake of President Musharraf’s second leg of European tour to re build the image of Pakistan.
Pakistan is facing one of the worst internal stability questions despite having a strong visible army infrastructure which is capable enough to safeguard the exterior boundary of the country. Instead of offering trade on equality level, tourism, and security President Musharraf will be asking his counterparts to continue aid packages, have faith in him, and not to ask their citizens and businessmen to leave Pakistan due to law and order situation despite the fact, that suicidal attacks are almost a common occurrence and after 9 years of his unchallenged rule, he returns to square one which begs the critical analysis of the situation as whether he is combating the increasing radicalisation in Pakistan or he himself is the cause of that increase as suicidal attacks are unprecedented in the 60 years history of the country. The fear is that radicalisation may increase while the weaker political set up runs the country, as it makes compromises with hardliners to make up for its lack of legitimacy. Only a civilian set-up can absorb these radical ideas, by addressing political issues through dialogue and stopping them from multiplying and simple democracy with justice where there is already a strong military present to safeguard the strategic assets can solve half of the problems in Pakistan.
In the whole power struggle, the common man is suffering and middle class conservatives are losing ground and patience too. The west, in Particular Britain must play its role to ensure free and fair elections in Pakistan under a credible caretaker set up with an Indian style fully armed & powerful election commissioner coupled with independent monitors. The sooner the nuclear-armed Pakistan returns to stage 3 process of democratic revival, the better it will be for the rest of the world as suicide attacks coupled with crisis over crisis whether its flour shortage or load shedding, oil or gas shortage, stock fluctuation or gulf between poor or rich, media gagging or judiciary’s bashing, draw a bleak picture of the state of affairs and it bottles down to mal administration and short sightedness of the regime where the country is internally jumping from one crisis into another whilst India is reaping the crop heavily from their miseries, and is safely sailing towards permanent membership of ‘National Security Council’ unchecked, and not alarmed at all. British Prime minister Gordon Brown topped it all up by declaring India a strong partner in trade and a worthy future member of G8. India’s continuous progress is the key of its public quietness on Pakistan’s internal affairs though contributing heaving in increasing Pakistan’s miseries on its rear border with heavy presence of its diplomatic units actively busy, yet our rulers are busy in their contemplations whether BB was killed by a sniper, shrapnel or a car lever and should her killing investigation be done locally or through United nations or should it be shelved similar to that of Liaqat Ali Khan, President Zia or Mir Murtaza Bhuttoo. Even if they get free from all these troubles, they keep are always busy in assessing whether Pakistani nation is ripe enough to make a fair choice of its leaders in an independent and fair polls.
One does not need to go abroad to preach the good of a country as actions speak louder than the words. Pakistanis are accustomed to clapping on fiery speeches, loud claims and prosperity dreams. However, when crisis hit the fan, all claims fall flat on the grounds as they are always without a substance, like the very claim of the President that ‘Pakistanis are eating cheapest flour in the whole of South Asia’ or ‘there is no crisis at all’ in Pakistan. I do share the view that these crisis may be minor, and may not pose any danger to state at all, however those who came to power to show lay politicians ‘good governance’ must come up to the task and must see the indefinite departure of their financial advisor Mr. Aziz as I believe those who deliver their promises return to parliament with 2/3 majority but they do not leave the country overnight for good. Ex servicemen have shown courage to share the views of millions of people of Pakistan who are silently witnessing the merciless treatment with the state brain just to save the clan of Q league and or the presidency, the seat of one man without caring the wider interest of the people, federation, and or state. The issue at front is how the President can contribute to the image of the country, the options are limited firstly, by remaining & attempting to preserve what he himself take credit of pre 9 March situation and holding free elections or alternately by resigning so he does not add further to the miseries of the victims of which army is on top of the list who have sacrificed many soldiers in these last years. Experience tells that in Pakistan we have not seen rulers ever resigning or admitting their mistakes as admitting fault is not their nature, though it is time to develop that culture. We must concentrate as to what engulfs us as a nation, as resolving this situation is a critical question begging for our attention as we are at a ‘crossroad’ to move forward to prosperity or backwards towards Afghanistan. We must not forget that Caliph Omer showed how best to secure dispensation of justice, the idea which followed by West in making their societies just, equitable and social welfare states and the like of Khumaini of Iran who showed the simplistic way to serve its people who used to offer a loaf of bread with lentil to those visiting foreign dignitaries who came to see the man who changed the mind set of an entire nation. How can our rulers sitting in million pounds bullet proof cars ever deliver the promise of democracy, accountability, and freedom.
People may remember our President with good words in future and it will lift our country’s image in the community of nations if at this juncture, he promotes public, judicial, and media accountability of our rulers and those who hold that accountability are properly regulated and administer their role fairly, justly and considering it their national obligation without a shred of doubt on the process they adopt. when our rulers say that we are new yet, and we need few hundred years to come at par with the democracy style of England, France and USA, it makes me wonder, as there is never a right time or right people available for the promise of democracy as if you wait for a promise of ‘never land’ it may never come true and now or never is the motto for revival of political process and democracy. West learnt this tricks of trade from our ancient rulers how to share, how to provide justice at the strike of a bell, equality of riding the camel with the servant, and simplicity of washing and sewing one’s own clothes and concept of social welfare state where rich cater the old and needy, but in order to achieve that one has to leave his luxury at some point and offer himself for public accountability in a style where people may ask a question , ‘Oh Omer, answer the people, where did you get your gown’
Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK –