Mockery of democracy

Daily: The Nation
Date: 29.06.04

As it seems so, the prevalent democratic system in Pakistan is essentially a President-
centered system. It appears less a Parliamentary but more a Presidential form of
government. The system calls for a dummy Prime Minister who has to appease
simultaneously two Presidents: Firstly, the President of Pakistan and secondly, the
President of Pakistan Muslim League (Q).

The former 14th Prime Minister (PM), Mir Zafarullah Jamali, seemingly failed to meet the
‘fixed’ expectations, as were envisioned before assigning him the task of PM under the
pretext of a ‘representative of a smaller province’. Secondly, the ghost of Junejo was also
seen surfacing inside him haunting the military establishment. Thirdly, he was considered a
useless commodity to bring success to the present system to cash the election-2007.
Fourthly, nearness to the MMA was a final straw that broke camel’s back. That was why,
perhaps, he became the common foe of the ‘two Presidents’. Hence, his fate was thrown
away to the dustbin of the Pakistani politics, like that of the former thirteen PMs.  

The problems of Jamali actually started when he accepted a role of a tailor-made Prime
Minister and started uttering the word “Boss”. Moreover, his fellow parliamentarians used to
consider him a stooge of the Chaudharies of Gujrat. From that stature of subservience,
both the Presidents could not allow him to assert his own position as a PM. He succumbed
to the pressure emanating from the both to get retire. Interestingly, before retiring, he made
sure that Humayun Khan, a common perceived political opponent of himself and the
Chaudharies would not make a way to the left-vacant post. Hence, one final success on his
part to save Punjab from another political power center is still less recognized!

After his resignation, the next fourty-five days of interim set-up are crucial, before a new PM
takes oath. In Balochistan, a feeling of deprivation may mount further. In Sind, both the
MMA and the Sind government are head-on with each other. In Punjab, the spate of
violence, as a duplicate of Sind, has been introduced through murder of Pir BinYamin. In N.
W.F.P, the stances of the MMA and Chief Minister have challenged the President-hovered
bodies like National Security Council (NSC). Moreover, in Wana, after the satellite-guided
death of Nek Muhammad, a sense of grievance against the center has deepened more,
besides against the Karzai’s government.

The way Jamali has tendered resignation has aired one message: for a PM, under the
existing system, a department of ethics should be erected with an assigned job of teaching
the out-going PM to address to the nation through radio and television to evaluate his
successes and failures alike, besides conveying the reasons of any such resignation. The
event cannot be justified as a part of democracy. He should have been delivered a charge
sheet to enable him to either defend his position or surrender. As the people of Pakistan
are not being taken into confidence, they are becoming least concerned about national
political affairs.

The departure of Jamali was not in a befitting manner, unlike his entry. A sense of
humiliation was visible on his face. While addressing the media, at the party secretariat,
when he was interrupted through a question, he forgot what he was speaking and said:
“now, please clap and welcome Ch. Shujaat ” (to address you). However, suddenly, he got
his senses back and found the lost end of his speech. A PM of Pakistan should not have
left his office in this way. If this happens to one, the same can happen to the next one.   

Jamali was also wrong when he said, at the aforementioned occasion, that the change was
an internal affair of the Muslim League (Q). In fact, the event has carved an ugly mark at
the countenance of the country and has once again proved that Pakistan is misfit for
democracy. It has reflected that Pakistani politics is, in essence, a politics of inclusion and
exclusion. It is deprived of a sense of tolerance and flexibility. Moreover, either inclusion of
Jamali was a wrong decision or his ‘accepted’ exclusion is a wrong step. Something is wrong
somewhere.

Another interesting aspect of the Pakistani style politics is presence of a standing-queue of
aspiring candidates to sit directly on the vacant chair of the PM. The people who cannot win
even one seat with out backing of the establishment are aspirant of becoming PM.
Moreover, the in-house change is a new tool to manoeuvre. Two reasons can be sorted out
for not opting for dissolution of assemblies. First, one can criticize that the installed system
failed within two years and secondly, the MMA can fetch more seats in the next elections
causing problem to all the participants of war on terrorism. Additionally, it is still to be seen
how good a technocrat PM, like in India, can run internal political affairs of a country like
Pakistan where, unlike in India, the political institution is not standing at a stronger pedestal!

It is obvious that the Pakistanis, as a nation, are still far from understanding the difference
between the evolved democracy and the maneuvered democracy. The lasting democracy is
the evolved one — the required one. The requisite attached virtue is to observe patience
and wait for one’s turn.

Today, even a newspaper hawker, while selling a newspaper of few pages apprising people
of Jamali’s resignation, is laughing at the system but at the same time is worried about his
own future. He acknowledges that the politicians and the establishment are powerful
enough to bring about change of their desire time and again. However, he asks a question:
whether the Pakistanis did sacrifice their men and material to get Pakistan for enjoying
themselves these political games? Rather clapping at the juggling, contrary to the request
of Jamali, he begs for one thing: please do not make mockery of democracy!

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