Of selection, election and revolution – 16 Sep 2022

By Raoof Hasan

The crime syndicate that was commissioned in April as a consequence of external conspiracy coupled with internal collaboration presents a pathetic picture of what it really has been. It never quite took off except in the morbid minds of those who shaped it together based on a number of assumptions which have all gone awry. Over five months, it has pushed the country to the brink of economic collapse and civil strife.

One must face the fact that over 50 per cent members of the federal cabinet comprise people who are wanted by various courts of law concerning cases of corruption against them from which they have been securing temporary relief under one pretext or the other. Shehbaz Sharif and his son were to be indicted on the day he assumed office of the prime minister. Their cases have since been held in abeyance and it appears improbable that these would be heard during the incumbency of the present cabal.

To implement the charter of permanent relief from corruption, numerous self-serving changes have been incorporated in the NAB laws and regulations. As a consequence, most of the outstanding cases are now being sent back to the bureau as the courts are no longer empowered to hear them. Given a few more months in their respective seats of power, they will walk away washed clean of their sins. This is the state of the justice system in the country and those who manipulate it ever so blatantly to their advantage.

Though incidents similar to these have been an integral part reflecting the sordidness of the state of governance through all the years of Pakistan’s independence, what is worrisome is that patronage of this criminal cabal continues unabated as more gruesome consequences with existential challenges stare us in the face. One is bewildered at the harrowing nonchalance with which this unmitigated disaster is being handled.

The meltdown under this cabal has been multifaceted. The economic relief that was being expected has turned into a nightmare with prospects of default increasing with each passing day. While the fabrication did not command any legitimacy or constitutionality from its very inception, its criminal conduct has washed away any measly remnants of relevance with the passage of time. Now that eight new SAPMs have been inducted in one go, a dubious record of sorts, it is likely that every member of the coalition would soon be flying ministerial flags on their cars. But then, such are the consequences of piecing together a criminal cabal in utter subservience to dictation received from foreign masters.

Ironically, the person who was displaced as a consequence of the conspiracy continues climbing the crest of unprecedented popularity as his support base has expanded with millions gathering across the country at a few hours’ notice in an unmistakable display of total and passionate solidarity with the cause that he has espoused – a cause of winning genuine freedom for the country so that it is able to take decisions of its own free volition solely on the basis of what would best serve its interests. This, in fact, was the reason that triggered the conspiracy and its disastrous consequences which the country is still suffering from and shall continue to do so until the incumbent aberration is removed and replaced with a government enjoying legitimacy and credibility secured by going through the process of free and fair elections.

But these elections appear nowhere on the horizon yet. The reason is not difficult to fathom. Ever since the illegal and unconstitutional removal of the government of Imran Khan, the criminal cabal has continued to touch new depths of degeneration. They have lost every vestige of political relevance. In all the elections held since, they have been routed. That is why, on the one hand, they keep postponing by-elections in various constituencies giving a host of hollow reasons and, on the other hand, they are scared of announcing general elections which is what Khan has been demanding so that a new government could take charge which is backed by legitimacy won through confidence reposed by the electorate.

With the continuing surge in Khan’s popularity among people belonging to all sections of society and ostensible failure to oust him from the political arena by resorting to fascistic tactics, what are the options that the government is left with? Hold free and fair elections without further loss of time, or face the consequences of a silent revolution?

Quite obviously, the former should be a preferred option but, gauging by the manner in which the incumbent cabal and its handlers are trying to eliminate the Khan challenge, the onset of a revolution seems the likelier possibility. But how does it move on after it gains momentum and whether it would be peaceful remains a question of conjecture. Given the circumstances prevailing in the country at this juncture which have rendered the lives of the ordinary citizens unbearable, the prospect of violence cannot be written off. In fact, it is likely that this would become part of the emerging dynamics. That could lead to serious consequences for the entire country which may imperil its survival.

At times, the simpler and easier things become difficult to understand because these do not fit into the agendas of the corrupt ruling concoctions. Same appears to be the malaise the crime syndicate is afflicted with. Holding general elections is like asking for their political obliteration, but not doing so would spark people’s scourge which, too, would result in their elimination. This is the dilemma that the partners in the government that was hoisted as a consequence of the criminal conspiracy are faced with. Quite understandably, they are not being able to decide which route to choose as each leads to their political demise.

Time for a decision is upon them. The person they wanted to eliminate has come back to haunt them. As a political leader, Khan commands more people power than anyone else ever did before him. His stature enhances with each day that passes. But each day also brings further ignominy for the incumbents who are reeling in unbearable pain and infamy. There is a question I want to ask of the orchestrators: what did you gain from this experiment? What did Pakistan gain? What did the people gain?

Nobody gained anything, but the country continues to suffer its horrid consequences. In the end, people are bound to triumph because electing their leaders is their prerogative, and not of characters which are deeply soaked in conspiracies, crime and corruption.

The writer is a political and security strategist and the founder of the Regional Peace Institute in Islamabad. He tweets @RaoofHasan

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