Sit-ins in Pakistan mean ‘Old Wine in New Bottle’
The ongoing sit-ins in Islamabad Pakistan staged by Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf and another by a cleric Tahirul Qadri. Their followers have caused a severe political crises threats to democracy and are pushing the country on the verge of destruction. The country’s masses are already faced with terrorism, sectarianism and religious extremism. Above all, the worst threat to the country is downing democracy and its ‘vulnerable’ parliament that are toppled after every ten years. During the 67 years of its history, its army led uniformed dictators have ruled the country more than people-elected rulers. Even after 1947 of its emergence, Pakistan faced severe political, managerial and constitutional crisis. The country ran for nine years without any constitution. After the first takeover, by General Ayub Khan, the first presidential type of constitution was formed in 1958, which failed to serve the country people.
Later on, after the abolition of the 1958 constitution, during the Ayub’s epoch the constitution of 1962 was constituted. But it was also a pro-dictator and had had presidential characteristics which failed to serve the interests of Bengali, Pashtoon, Baluch, Siraiki, and Sindhi. Hence it was of no use to them. In the past, army dictators ruled the country through the so called doctrine of ” ideology of necessity” legalized by the then judiciary of Pakistan. the people of the country are more educated, politically aware, pro democracy and the presence of social media have obviously dabbed the army to come into power by overthrowing any elected government. Hence, a new doctrine of ” Mounting pressure” or ” Minus-one-formula” has been introduced by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary when he sacked two elected prime ministers of PPP led government in 2012. The same game is again played with present PML-N led government being kept under the pressure groups say PTI and PAT aimed to keep the government under pressure, unpopular and completely taking the control of the foreign policy from the elected representatives especially the relations with neighbors including Afghanistan, Kashmir and India. Secondly, the national question, cultural diversity and the due rights of other oppressed nations in Pakistan could also be overshadowed in a weakened democracy and controlled Parliament. the “doctrine of necessity” has a long history since the independence of Pakistan.
To have control on the internal matters and big share in the foreign policy of Pakistan, Pakistan army in the past directly ruled over thirty years in the country. Army and country’s intelligence agencies involvement was figured out backing every conspiracy against the democratic forces and changing the country’s governments. In late 60s, Pakistan army dictators and military establishment purposefully formed the so called ‘Parity’ based One-Unit in the Pakistan consisting of two provinces, the West Pakistan and East Pakistan. East Pakistan was pure Bengali province while to show dense population of the Punjab domain, Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa, the then NWFP, British Baluchistan ( not the present Baluchistan but the Pashtun belt of Baluchistan) , Sindh and Punjab provinces were merged into a single unite, named West Pakistan.This act of the establishment deprived the other nations of the country from their historical political identity, provincial autonomy, national question etc. which stirred raged and ill intentions in these nationals against the dictators. The Struggle of political leadership of Bangladesh got freedom in 1971. The West Pakistan was again restored to its prior position except British Baluchistan that was deliberately merged with Baluch areas to form present Baluchistan.
After cessation of East Pakistan and emergence of Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistani leadership (both military and civilian) started focusing on constructing a ‘Pakistani identity’ for five major nations in the country i.e. Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun, Baluch and Siraiki. This new identity construction was based on the discourse that Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam and this religion should be the symbol of unity of people in the country. For this purpose, in 1973’s constitution Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims and a narrative was propagated by the strong establishment that Pashtoon, Baluch, Sirkiki, and Sindhi nationalities and other citizens of Pakistan have to wash away their past history and cultural diversity where they should not be anything else but Muslims and then Pakistani .’ resultantly the oppressed nations felt insecure. They were deprived of their past history, rights and felt it a threat to their national question. That is why graveness in Sindh, Baluchistan, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunawa have intensified manifold. During army dictator General Zia ul Haq, an imperalistic approach of Islamizing the Pakistani society was adopted. Islamic law was imposed in the country. pro American Jihadi were trained and camped on Pakistani soil to wag war against USSR consequently more Madrassas were established in Pakistan-Afghanistan bordering Pashtun populated areas that were used as Cold war fuel in Afghanistan against USSR. The results were merely the destruction of Afghanistan and religious extremism and fundamentalism in Pashtun society in Pakistan. Secondly, at the level of masses, the question of implementing an Islamic system of governance created a non-ending and violent debate about particular system of governance which resulted in sectarianism. Thirdly, new generations born in Pakistan grew as confused youth searching for real identity. Fourth, these differences were also of prime causes why a democratic culture couldn’t develop in the country. Finally, security establishment became the main beneficiary of identity-constructing discourse, power, resistance, social conflict, confusion and lacking democratic culture. The same pattern of running Pakistan continues to-date and spill over of sectarianism, violence and religious-political narrative has contaminated social setups in the neighboring States as well.Precisely, this project of giving Islamic and Pakistani identity to the nations living in Pakistan was (and is) a complete failure. The basic idea of nation lies in language, culture, and scientifically speaking, a genetic code which is unchangeable.
In the era of another dictator General Musharraf who took over the country in 1998 dressed himself in the clothing of liberalism and moderation which was inwardly the policy of the Pakistani establishment to face the challenges prevailing in the region especially to mislead US and the international community in the war on terror. Hence we see these ‘hypocritical’ policies of the Pakistani establishment, not only kept the Pashtoon, Baluch, Sindhi and Siraiki deprived of their national identity and resources but It is also misleading the international community, the West, the US and the NATO forces in Afghanistan.
As discussed earlier, the Pakistani army dictators in the past, used judiciary as a tool in the cover of “Doctrine of Necessity” to authenticate the unconstitutional rules of dictators. But now it is over, neither the army nor the judiciary could pace such undemocratic step directly that is why a theory and conspiracy has been hatched. According to which the army may not come forward to step down the people elected government in days to come but the establishment, keeping in view Afghanistan and the other oppressed nations of Pakistan, the army establishment has shifted from the ‘doctrine of Minus’ one or ‘Mounting pressure groups’ including Taliban, Religious groups, PTI, judiciary and some media houses emerging the new “form of army dictators”.
The vicious nexus of judiciary, Pakistani media and military establishment must be rooted out to let the democratic institutions and democratic culture flourish and develop in the country. And after the post-9/11 era, Pakistan is facing major challenges of terrorism, and the question of its viability as a responsible nuke state is questionable. Pakistani leadership, whether military or civilian, at this crucial point of changing regional scenarios needs to understand that democracy accepting diversity, ensuring due rights and identity to people is the only option left.