Guest Blog by Amjad Malik
This could be one of the most uncertain elections in Pakistan where there are hundred of doubts whether they will be held as scheduled, and if yes, will it be fair and the atmosphere is not conducive either. If people come out of fear, and went to vote on the poll day then rest assured despite all the odds the next Parliament will be a mix of pro and anti Musharraf forces who will be deciding very crucial issues and one of them would be reinstating the deposed judiciary and future of Pakistan. If these elections are rigged, it will open a Pandora s Box which may sweep a lot of things with it as Pakistani elections have many stories within.
In the gloomy atmosphere which is saddened by the death of Be Nazir Bhutto, election process could not really attract lay men, women and children who are scared as well as the government machinery under instructions to do or not to do their job casting spells on its fairness. Being a human being I sometime feel the pain of incarceration of family members of Chief Justice & others who are blamelessly detained and are not able to run their lives as other normal human beings like going to school, shopping meeting families etc. It reminds me of the colonial past where family members were arrested in order to make an arrest in order to try the main accused and even today our black masters could not exit from that mind set even in 21st century. Mr. Justice Iftikhar Choudhary could be the main man desired to be detained by the General, however his familys house arrest is unimaginable, and the shameless quietness over it is unforgiveable.
The remaining election is overshadowed by sleazy campaign of individual criticism and people who have spent 5 years are without proper policies to give road map to take Pakistan out of the mess it is in economically and the recipients on the other side, rather than showing a promising scenario to masses are in fact buying the bait and showing the red rag to a bull and thus tit for tat exchange of fiery allegations. Alas, politics of personalities in Pakistan may wipe out the possibilities of ever having a public serving leaders. People may still have to bear the brunts of the inefficiencies of our elite mafia who is draining all resources to store the grain for their rainy days, for their clans well being and for their children and familys welfare. Politics in Pakistan is a elite club of families devoid of Quaids vision and spirit. If Quaid had wanted what our leaders are practising, then his daughter would be running for Presidency, and his sister would have been next Governor General upon his death but did he ? no sir, but have we learnt anything from this practice of the leader of the nation, again no sir. Common man is hardly near to their natural share of those resources and on top of it the overseeing machinery (judiciary) is wiped out as well with a twitch of a finger due to mala fide advice of a few to save their skin and livelihood and we are helplessly watching the onslaught on the top law men of the state and the concept of innocent until proven guilty is tarnished. Above all, detention of chief lawyer barrister Ahsan beyond 90 days, media bashing, and expulsion orders of national heroes from one province to an other is fatal for the federation and rule of law in the state of Pakistan and national government is not in the offing as we could not develop the tolerance level required. People genuinely need tolerance and reconciliation nationally which is not mirrored from the above actions of the regime.
Nationalism is a trump card used by agencies to declare even the most loyal of the land as traitors and worst enemies as allies. I for once foresee bigger problems emerging from these elections as when the basics are not right, then the outer product would be befitting to the origin. We all are devoid of encompassing the ground realities, that free media and judiciary is unavoidable in this day and age and emerging realities forces us to rethink how to run Pakistan and army must pave way for truly elected leadership of masses to run the country under a closely monitored institutions and the job can be better done by media and judiciary to bridle the unbridled politicians of Pakistan who have looted the dreams from the eyes of newly born children of Pakistan who all are born with heavy debts on their shoulders. Institutions are crumbling, and this system on the pattern of colonial regime is not going to survive any longer, and we need to emancipate people and engage them to think for themselves, like they did when we achieved this statehood. This apathy is killing the original thinking of a man which is never preserved in Pakistan. We need to encourage people to say no freely, rather than keep clapping on same old stories of turning Pakistan into a dream land, we neither saw street of Paris in last 60 years nor we have eliminated poverty and have brought revolution of education in the country and in this national crime we all are guilty as charged.
Musharraf regime failed bitterly when it came to delivery on his own set 7 points so miserables have added misery further. One thing for sure army rule can not be the future and only public rule is the way forward and how we achieve that is a national issue for all including politicians, civil society and army men of today and the past as we must not disappoint Mr. Jinnah who must be thinking the very question why did we achieve Pakistan, was it to see people without flour, gas, oil, employment without education, health and above all at the mercy of only few who were lords then and are lords now, and where does the working middle class fit who could never get out of their daily life worries. We must ponder as to why India is able to shelter so many languages, cultures, and so many different people under one roof, is it on one man one vote principle which we ignored and free judiciary and media which we bashed & gagged. We must think why cant we, if the country was made on the same principle. Just think for once and then vote.
Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK