Pakistan: Why the Political Instability?
By Mahrukh A. Mughal
A day before the Eid festival, a suicidal bomber blasted in a courtyard of a mosque in Quetta, where high police officers were gathered to offer a funeral prayer for a slain Police Officer. At least 35 police including some high officers were killed in this incident.
This is not a new incident in Quetta, Balochistan or elsewhere in Pakistan as suicidal and bomb attacks on military installations, security force personals and public have become the daily routine in Pakistan for the last two decades. Targeted killings on sectarian grounds are another misery, which have become an endless tragedy for the people. There are a number of reasons for this miserable situation, which the people of Pakistan have been continuously facing for a long time. The major cause of this situation is the political instability, which has plunged the country in the deluge of a number of serious affairs.
The creation of Pakistan on the 14th of August, 1947 was a great achievement of the Muslims of the subcontinent. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had directed the track of governance for this country just three days before the official announcement of independence in his famous speech in constituent assembly on 11th August 1947. He survived for only 13 months after the creation of Pakistan and died on 11th Sept 1948. Unfortunately his right hand and the second import founding father Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated on 16th Oct. 1951. The death of Quaid and assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan were the irreparable loss to the newly created country. After their death, the ruling elite not only forgot the sacrifices of our ancestors but also the state structure envisaged by the founding fathers. They adopted the path based on opportunism just after his death.
So it can be said that negation of democracy and federal structure of state has given birth to the issues, which the people of Pakistan are facing now-a-days.
With the celebration of the 66th anniversary of our independence, we are also celebrating the freedom to expression, which includes free practice of religion, faith and speech. But unfortunately we remained under the strong hold of civil and military bureaucracy from the very beginning as the politicians proved themselves incapable and inefficient. The second tragedy of Pakistan was that it could not eliminate feudalism in the start. As a result feudal politicians become stronger and stronger day by day and control the power corridor. Four martial laws and unending string of weak governments, how can one expect political instability in such a volatile political scenario?
India, which also got independence with us but due to strong hold of politicians of great vision, started its journey with great enthusiasm. Though Mahatma Gandhi was also assassinated in 1948 but leaders like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Walab Bhai Patel put India on the path of progress and prosperity. Under the well versed leadership of Nehru, India took three decisions, which not only strengthened the democratic institutions but also set the direction of economic progress. The decisions taken by elected Indian government were: firstly, the drafting of constitution and its implementation on 26th January 1950, secondly elimination of feudalism and thirdly, nonaligned policy in the bi-polar world.
Now while talking about the Constitution, in Pakistan, we could not draft a constitution till 1956. As constitution is the chain of state, most respectful authority, as all citizens are bound to obey and believe supremacy of constitution. Pakistan got his proper constitution in 1973 and that was a quite delayed constitution if we actually realize the year of independence as 1947. So Pakistan got a delayed constitution which couldnâ€™t help in bringing the political stability in Pakistan. However India got his proper constitution after one year to its independence in 1948, which helps a lot in bringing the political stability in India. So a delayed constitution could not help in running a country properly. When a constitution was formulated and implemented on 23rd March 1956. General Elections were scheduled in February 1959 but Martial Law was imposed on 7th October 1958, which objurgated the constitution without its proper implementation. The second misery was the creation of one unit, which was a negation to the concept of federalism. This step decreased the voting status of Bengali people, created misunderstanding between the two wings of the country.
For nearly 100 years before independence, different political leadership developed the political consciousness among the people of India, which helped them to fight for their independence. Contrary to India, Pakistan could not develop democratic institutions and went under the strong hold of military. In the history of Pakistani politics, the intervention of military has destroyed political stability in the country. First marshal law hits our country in 1958, and this military intervention continuous yearly up-till 1999 (Musharraf â€˜s Period). Unfortunately from the day of independence military was hungry of powers, they crossed its jurisdiction and take over democratic political process.
Another factor, which could not be a biggest but it, is one of the major problems in Pakistan and that is a feudal system of Pakistan. Today the feudal elite of Pakistan have migrated into politics, where it exerts huge influence on the people of Pakistan and politics by their power, money and pressure. This migrated feudal society has ruined the politics of Pakistan, they are so indulged in their corruptions that they forgot that this country has some means to its nation. This disastrous feudal system is so badly flourished and so immensely affecting the basic pillars of Pakistan that itâ€™s seems impossible to get rid of this. Pakistan is so unlucky that it could not diminishes the differences between the rich and the poor, And yet this feudal system (Zamindari system) is existed in the present day and hence promoted. But if we talk about India, their you can find that this system has been abolished so well that Indians recognize this feudal system as a weak system and an unworkable system so they abolish it in 1948-1950.
Another very important and concerned factor in the political instability in Pakistan is the Weak Electoral System of Pakistan. Repeatedly rigged elections in Pakistan have eroded already weak public confidence in electoral institutions and fuelled domestic alienation and violence. Pakistan has never been gone through fair and transparent elections. We are well aware of our corrupt political culture of Pakistan that through our weak electoral process such factors are promoted like Morossi system in Pakistan which we call as the â€˜inheritance of power from family to family basisâ€™ is well promoted in this system. Bad and corrupt election system in Pakistan promotes poor, incompetent, incapable and corrupt leadership in Pakistan. So how could one expect a Change in Pakistan if such leadership could be given a chance again and again in Pakistan, so it could definitely make it to our end. Through this bad electoral process, new leadership couldnâ€™t be given a chance to come in front of the politics of Pakistan. This weak electoral process in Pakistan only promotes incompetent leaders in the parliament, which only serve their minds in corruptions and in getting development funds from their Prime Minister through blackmails. If in a country where through money, power and pressure you could find heavy seats in parliament, and where your interest is not serving your country and your interest is only to bless your own self than do you expect that in such a country a political stability could be expected?
Pakistani leadership is spoiled because there is a strong influence of army over our leaders. Majority of leaders in Pakistan comes through an Army Nursery. So itâ€™s not possible that they could ever bring political stability in Pakistan. Undoubtedly, Every Government in Pakistan came by-design whether a President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister or a cabinet, every element comes by design. International conspiracies have always been a part of every new change in Pakistan. So if nothing could be in a democratic way than itâ€™s not possible to have a political stability in Pakistan under such circumstances. Every leader in Pakistan comes through international forces. So such worse and ridiculous international forces have a great influence in running the leadership of Pakistan. So this leadership in Pakistan works under such forces and depend upon them. So how could the leaders work independently and for the people of Pakistan? If you work under someone, you should have to work for their sake, not for your own sake.
Itâ€™s not that Pakistani leadership could not bring political stability in Pakistan but itâ€™s that, the Present day civilian government does not implement local government bodies which are majorly responsible for protection of persons and property, local transportation, planning and development, public utilities, local social-welfare services, parks, recreation, and culture. So the wealth is concentrated upon the upper layer and hence not distributed anywhere in Pakistan because this local body system is not promoted. So the wealth remains in the upper hands to our politicians.
If local government system could be implemented than decentralization of power could be done, which could facilitate and stimulates local sustainable development throughout all regions in the country. If local government system could be implemented than through the usage of development funds, local areas could be rebuilt, and local public issues could be sort out. Decentralization could also facilitate the tailoring of solutions for local problems to local conditions. Since each region will be empowered to manage their own affairs, they will be able to tailor solutions to local problems to reflect the special circumstances or preferences of their respective localities. So if local government system will be implemented in Pakistan properly than it will help in bringing the government closer to its people, thus it will enable citizens to be better informed and to better understand the conduct of public concerns. But unfortunately the leadership of Pakistan is not implementing the local government system which is one of the reason in the political instability in Pakistan.
It is possible that the Political Stability in Pakistan could come through one way and that is through â€˜â€™revolutionary forceâ€™â€™. Youth all over the world through history, has been a revolutionary force. It is the precious asset and opulence that can revive a nation going through hard time. As youth is the backbone of every country. So Pakistan is lucky that demographically it consists of approximately 54% young people. So a big change could be seen through such a platform called as â€˜â€™College and universities Unionsâ€™â€™. Through such a platform new political leadership could arise in our country. By such a union, young intellectuals, strong policy makers, remarkable strategy makers and curious and inquisitive decision makers from youth could come out, which are a need of Pakistan today. The youth of Pakistan has miraculous capabilities which understand the present day situation of Pakistan and hence making efforts to change the downturn of Pakistan. But besides all the efforts of youth this College and University union is unluckily misused by different political parties or banned badly. So how a political stability could come in Pakistan in such circumstances where such platforms could be misused or banned?
Today a big miraculous change in Pakistan is needed to take this country out of crisis, whether they are financial, economical or energy. If in the presence of this corrupt political culture which includes feudal and inheritance system, corrupt, incapable and incompetent leadership and leadership through an Army reference, than no change could be expected in such a system. The strong hold of bureaucracy over the parliament has paralyzed the independence of this august institution. The second ill of the country is the strong inheritance system based on family system has also damaged the free development of political system. We couldnâ€™t expect any remarkable change in Pakistan by this family system. This kind of politics is not only spoiling the political institutions but also the damaging the country.
Finally, to democratize state, society need to be democratized. It is only possible when the politics should be liberated from the clichÃ©s of ruling elite and the feudal aristocracy. For a genuine federal system, the powers need to be devolved to the grass-root level up to the Union Council. All decisions should be on merit and transparent, so that the involvement of the people should increase.