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Tolerance – key to democracy

Fazal Tanha


The Writer is a Lecturer at Govt College Pashin.

History once again repeated itself by proving that public aspirations have no value and they don’t deserve political stability as well. It is a well-known but worrying fact that, throughout its tumultuous political history, Pakistan never saw an elected full-time premier. Pundit Nehru once made fun of our political system by saying that: “I don’t change my dhotis as often as Pakistan changes its PMs.” In the political history of Pakistan, Imran Khan became the first premier to be ousted by a vote of no-confidence and Shahbaz Sharif was sworn in as the 23rd premier of Pakistan on April 11, 2022. Congratulations to him.

Indeed, Imran Khan had a razor-thin majority in parliament, so unwillingly he had to rely on allies and independents. However, the last straw that broke the IK’s back was “electables”. Electables and independents are opportunists and political wanderers. They run after cash profit all the time. Political allies, independents and electables have no interest in national affairs, foreign policies, economic crisis and good governance. Such allies and electables go bananas whenever their vested interests are put at stake by implementing the rule of law. In such a situation, accountability becomes stagnant or at least unilateral. When culprits and criminals side by or seek safe refuge in any political party, they bring irreparable harm to the party and the nation too__ PTI’s recent humiliation at the hands of such allies and electables is the case in point.

Imran Khan’s two decades-long political struggle culminated in his humiliating ousting. He could have resigned in a polite manner, but he opted to do so. That is what which makes IK distinguished from his contemporary politicians. It is said that disciples never see the wrongdoings of their Pirs. In Pakistan, to voters, all the political leaders, except their own are corrupt, dishonest and liars. Political intolerance has swelled to the extent that the followers of PML-N are called Patwaris; the voters of PTI are called Youthias; and the devotees of JUI-F are called Zebras. The followers of PTI are considered fascists and the followers of PDM are called thieves and traitors. On the one side, populism (cult) is on the rise and on the other side, hereditary politics (dynasty) is on its peak. Social media is blistering with obscene and indecent language. Both the PTI and PDM followers try their best to humiliate each other and celebrate each other’s loss. There is neither loss nor victory. If there is a loss, it’s Pakistan’s loss; or if there is any victory, it’s an individual’s victory.

Political and economic analysts consider regime change a sigh of relief on the one hand, but on the other, they acknowledge such daily premier-changing activities bad omen for democratic political development. All political parties and political leaders complain that no elected prime minister has completed his 5-year tenure so far. They are right. Zul Fiqar Ali Bhutto was executed by the court; Yousuf Raza Gilani was ousted by the court; Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for life by the court; and now the same is being repeated by the courts. It is noteworthy that politicians against politicians have sought the courts. It is also noteworthy that the courts and their decisions have never been in the favour of democracy and politicians. Regarding politics or parliamentary issues, court decisions have always brought far-reaching negative political effects. Judicial activism or judicial interference has never been in the favour of democracy. It is the politicians who drag the courts and army into politics and strike the axe on their own feet.

Legal experts say that assembly proceedings and rulings given by the Speaker are not challenged in courts. However, to them, the ruling of the deputy speaker to nullify the vote of no-confidence did not hold water. They say the ground on which the ruling was based, was invalid. Notwithstanding the Islam Abad High Court orders, the last cabinet of IK’s government made the ground (the letter) public to some particular authoritative personalities. National Security Committee has expressed serious concerns regarding the letter long ago. DG ISPR has declared the letter as “interference, but not conspiracy.” Imran Khan considers the letter as the aftershocks of Russia visit. PDM says it is IK’s own political ploy to avoid ousting. Whether the letter was real or concocted; whether the conscience of electables and allies woke from deep slumber or they sold it, Imran Khan remained prime minister no more.

Now Shahbaz Sharif is our 23rd prime minister and IK is busy with joining mass public gatherings after giving resignations en masse. Shahbaz Sharif is trying his best to bring the country back on the track and move the system ahead. Shahbaz Sharif is lucky; he became prime minister on the day he was to be indicted. PML-N leader Javid Latif has expressed satisfactions over the national health system of Pakistan and announced that their supermo Nawaz Sharif will be back soon. Ice on the cake is that Ishaq Dar will be accompanied by him. Welcome to Pakistan__this is your own country. You may go whenever you want and you may come back whenever you wish. Now under the auspices of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, democracy (dynasty) would flourish.

We are so enthusiastic to see such a peacefully-combined political set-up and to benefit from it. It was my dream to see such an inclusive political set-up comprising of PML-N, PPP, MQM-P, JUI-F, BNP-M, BAP, JWP and ANP. My dream materialized; but, I am afraid that this combined government will end soon. I am a person who is afraid of happiness. I am a cherophobic person. When I recall the past of this combination, I become disappointed. However, I hope, from the day now they will not call each other “disease”; they will not tear each other’s bellies; they will not drag each other on the streets; they will not wear black coats against each other in courts; they will not buy sweets from bakeries to celebrate each other’s failures; they will not sprinkle salt on each other’s wounds; they will not use rough language against each other; and they will not do horse-trading against each other. I hope against the hope that this combined political system would last long and new prime ministers would not be ousted.

Imran Khan in his three-and-a-half-year ruling tenure did nothing except bringing whole the opposition together; enabling the courts to work on Sundays and late into nights; and exposing our status as beggars. IK neither controlled inflation nor eradicated corruption, but his measures against Covid-19, global warming and Islamophobia are appreciable. Single National Curriculum, Ihsas Kafalat Programme and Sihhat Insaf Card were pro-poor initiatives of the IK’s government. I hope the new prime minister would keep such all pro-poor and pro-environmental measures continue.

Imran Khan is a player-turned politician. Ego, arrogance and stubbornness run deep in his blood. Before his arrival in politics, there was not the concept of ‘last ball, third umpire, neutral umpire and wicket’ in politics. Before IK’s stepping into politics, people (especially the youth) had no proper interest in economy, foreign affairs and accountability. Although, he himself has not been a successful political leader to many, yet he has definitely made the youth aware to elect a successful leader. IK does not belong to hereditary political system. In Pakistan, it is a strange and unpleasant event that a non-hereditary politician becomes premier. For a political status quo, such an event becomes no less than a death-knell.

Recently, Islam Abad High Court has ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide the fate of PTI Foreign Funding Case within a month. To analyze, it is said that PTI’s days have been numbered. IK’s future looks gloomy. PTI workers and supporters will find new vistas for the next general elections and some of them would make a new party with new name. Some of them will become Lotas. Some of them will be disqualified and some of them will be behind the bars. I mean that PTI will dissolve or be dissolved. Whatever happens, it will be the loss of Pakistan. Let’s promote political tolerance. History always repeats itself. If one regime goes out, the other will come in. In Punjab, the political atmosphere is deteriorating by each passing day. In Balochistan, it is said that regime will be changed once again and preparations for Local Body Elections are in full swing. In such a hot and politically-charged scenario, what becomes the need of the hour is to adopt tolerance. Tolerance is the key to democracy. Political differences should be tolerated. Don’t disrespect yourself by disrespecting others. Don’t expose yourself by exposing others. No one is absolutely wise.

Tailpiece: Eidul Fitr is around the corner. What is to happen, will happen. Don’t let the joys of Eid endanger with frivolous discussions. On Eid day, forget politics and share love.

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