It was quite an extraordinary way of celebrating the 67th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence when believing that they could usher in freedom/revolution by bringing their supporters out on the street, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri succeeded only in creating polarisation and instability in a crisis-ridden country.
The two marches organised by these leaders have evoked strong reactions from political observers. A large segment of pro-democracy opinion views this show of force as an extra-parliamentary move by the opposition that could derail the democratic process and open the door for military intervention. There have also been allegations of collusion between the agitators and elements in the military. Others have defended the people’s right to protest against government excesses. The speculation of regime change has been intertwined with an ongoing discourse on the military-civilian role in politics.
A grim political battle is being waged among major players. On the one side are PM Nawaz Sharif and almost all political parties in the parliament. On the other side is PTI and Pakiastan Awami Tehrik. The huge crowds behind them are their major force.
Imran Khan has threatened to implement his plan C that he will shut down the country if his complaints, that the 2013 general election were especially rigged to defeat his party, are not addressed in the manner proposed by him. His unprecedented sit-in (dharna), lasting over 110 days and attended by large faithful crowds, has given him a bigger than life stature in people’s mind. When he speaks the entire news media, barring a few channels, report. They have made him look like a formidable challenger.
In contrast Nawaz Sharif has virtually been on the defensive. Claiming that these protests are a conspiracy against him hatched by some forces, he threatens that he will not allow PTI to hold protest demonstrations. But he has been powerless to enforce his government’s writ. Imran’s slogan “Go Nawaz Go” has been hugely popular throughout the country.
What is apparent here, is that the people have no role to play. It is like a personal game of politics.
But none of the parties concerned in this political scenario is offering a clear agenda on how to prevent rigging, or on how to prevent conspiracies against governments.
Imran asks in his speech that why he is the only party protesting against rigging even though everyone else knows that it happened?
This fight between the ruling parties, which so far appears more as a personal fight rather than a fight for the people is actually weakening the very system that all involved politicians are trying to protect. Of course they are oblivious to this fact. They are all trying to snatch power with the belief that their party can protect the system better. They do not see anything wrong with it. They only think that the problem of the country is because the system is not being run well by their opponents.
The truth is that the system is the source of all problems. This system is capable of turning even angels into Nawazs, Zardaris, etc. It is so undemocratic and unrepresentative, that only conspiracies can run it. Only supra constitutional measures can protect it.
The people need social justice, but social justice entails redistribution of property. None of those involved in the present political show is speaking about the redistribution of property.
All involved are a privileged class that would like to remain so. All of them want the people to remain the servants of the ruling elite.
The returns of the natural resources of this country must be equally divided amongst the people. But all of those on the scene are exclusively entitled to the returns of our natural resources.
Imran Khan speaks about decentralisation of power in his dharnas, but power cannot be decentralised without social justice. How can we empower people if we do not let them own their homes or the land they till.
How can we empower people if they are enslaved through an unjust labor system that competes who can give them lower wages, and consequently does enable them to own anything. How can we empower them if they cannot have unions to organise themselves so they could engage in a political process to redress their grievances. The poverty of our masses is not because God wishes so. The poor are so because our ruling elite wishes it. Our masses are practically being enslaved. They are forced to cater to the luxuries of the rich because of the lack of other options. There have been no recourse to justice or any services like health, and education. Unless and until this skewed access to property is not redressed, nothing is going to change. It is important that the people are made aware of that so they themselves can demand it.