By Mohammad Jamil
People of Pakistan desire a change in the system of elections and governance and not mere faces, as they have no choice but to vote for corruption-tainted politicians who in league with corrupt bureaucracy plunder the country’s wealth. The situation is that there is so much is to be done by every pillar of the state. So far as judiciary is concerned, it has tremendous backlog of cases in higher and lower courts. Of course, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has the will to revamp the judicial system. Parliament has to legislate to effectively deal with the threats to Pakistan’s internal and external security, and also to rein in those elements that are fighting proxy wars of foreign countries’ intelligence agencies. Parliamentarians – members of assemblies – have hardly done any legislative business because they are presently taken up wholly with their power games, and secondly poor citizens and hapless millions do not figure in their power permutations and scheme of things.
In view of the extreme indigence and extreme opulence, our society is an extremist society. Hunger, starvation, disease, crimes, extremism and terrorism are results of the unjust socio-economic order. Though feudalism does not exist in its classical form in Pakistan, yet jagidars, vaderas-cum-pirs and sardars hold the majority of the people as hostage. There is a messy showdown between the ruling and the opposition parties and also tiff between the executive and the judiciary, which is reflective of the feudal mindset that has fueled the crisis. Every patriotic Pakistani is pained to view the prevailing national scene, as he had expected that after 2008 elections, the PPP and the PML-N would learn from the past mistakes and work in unison to meet the challenges facing the nation. But that was not to be. The problem is that these two major political parties and plus PML-Q are being run as ‘dynasties’ or private limited family companies, and their chiefs never allow any outsider to head the party even if he is more erudite, more competent and better cerebral faculties.
They are not inclined to establish democracy in their parties, therefore it is not likely that democratic traditions would flourish and new leadership will emerge. They consider themselves as kings and do not give importance to even capable bureaucrats and officers of the army as their personal servants, these remarks we often listened on the TV channels. It is true that government servants and army personnel have to obey the orders of the government, but it does not mean that they are idiots and they do not have the right to suggest. In democracy, the system of civil service had been tailored because more often than not rich feudal or industrial robber barons make to the assemblies who run their affairs using visceral instincts as they are often below average creatures. Under the present system of elections, only the rich can afford the luxury of contesting elections, as it is a costly affair. After they reach corridors of power, many of them not only recover what they spend but also make additions to their wealth – often ill-gotten. Anyhow, Pakistan has seen democracy, controlled democracy, basic democracy, Islamic socialism and during Zia era only Islamic punishments in the name of Hadood Ordinance, because Islamic system of socio-economic justice was never given a chance. During Cold War era, there were two systems of governance democracy and communism, and in Scandanavian countries social-democratic system was in vogue with combined features of capitalism (democracy) and socialism. In Pakistan, the ruling elite tried various systems without realizing that for every system there has to be an infrastructure to build up a superstructure on it. On semi-feudal semi-colonial base, it is not possible to build superstructure of democracy.
Here we must discuss the rising power of the media, which in popular parlance is said to be the fourth pillar of the state. Except some honourable examples, media persons, basking in the glow of the newfound independence, have crossed all the limits of decency. They consider themselves as voice of nation’s conscience though they look inexperience, sound shallow and have either little or no knowledge. They do not highlight the real issues and problems faced by the people of Pakistan, and are no more than jesters in the political circus. Instead of adding to the information and knowledge of the people they create sensationalism. They play leader of one party against another, one organ of the state against another and do not realize the extent of damage they are causing in the process.
Anchorpersons and professionals are not supposed to be swayed by the sentiments because by doing so their credibility is lost. At this crucial juncture when Pakistan has challenges to its internal and external security; when people are suffering from price-hike and inflation; when dubious Americans are roaming around in Pakistan’s cities as if Pakistan is their colony, these anchorpersons and analysts instead of putting in efforts to forge unity in the nation try to polarize the society. The question arises what should be done when almost all systems of governance have been tried, tested and failed in Pakistan? It is true that democracy is the best system so far known because we do not see any Islamic, socialistic or other model in the contemporary world. In fact, there should be a national debate if the present system of elections, which again and again sends those politicians into power who are involved in corruption, frauds, loot and plunder of national exchequer, and those self-anointed champions of democracy who have aided and abetted the dictators and amassed wealth much beyond their source of income and assets. We will not defend the president for his failure to meet his commitments, but the fact remains that many leaders of other parties are no less ‘sinful’ than him. It is not being suggested that he should go scot-free but to bring all other culprits to justice irrespective of their past and current status.
Intellectuals, political analysts, philosophers and media wizards should put their heads together to find out the ideal way whereby people can vote for good, honest and intelligent people instead of godfathers of land mafia, jagirdars pirs and corrupt politicians who have kept their haris and voters in servility for decades. For this purpose, top leaders of the PPP, the PML-N and PML-Q should be barred from taking part in politics, otherwise whenever elections will be held, we would see the elements rotten to the core, reaching assemblies and corridors of power with the result that the status quo and stalemate would never end. Media can stop it with its enormous power provided the owners of media groups stop acting as media advisors and propaganda wings of the political parties. Should they decide to rise to the occasion to cleanse the society, they should also keep an eye on their anchorpersons and so-called analysts so that they do not sell themselves out to local or foreign vested interest.