Keeping in view the sluggish journey of our country despite swift moves of the people, one can suspect it is a haunted house ruled by selected spirits which work on their own agenda instead of the people. Renowned poet Munir Niazi has given a pen picture of present day Pakistan in one of his famous couplets in which he mentions ironically that the journey of our country is sluggish despite swift moves of the people. The poet suspects it haunted or the ilk. One can blame that the curse of Bhutto’s judicial murder has spanned over the decades, and also eclipsed the future of this country. As a matter of fact, Bhutto’s illegitimate dethronement and subsequent assassination qualifies to become the theme of Shakespearean tragedy since it has changed the political visage of Pakistan for good. The country has turned from democratic to dictatorial, moderate to immoderate, tolerant to fanatic, noninterventionist to interventionist and so on. The dictator Zia-ul-Haq has created a black hole in which Pakistan has been trapped. The more the country tries to be rid of it, the more it slips and sinks.

This is not the country in appearance, the founder of the nation, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal had dreamed of. In Faiz words, “Ye Daag Daag Ujala, ye Shab Gazeeda Seher, Woh intezaar tha jiss kaa, yeh woh seher toe nahin” (This tattered raiment of darkness, this sputtering of dawn. This is not the dawn we longed for, so long). Unfortunately, Quaid e Azam found too little time to steer the nation out of the crisis. It was none other but Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto who came forward to fulfill the dream into reality.

The state and non-state actors have grafted such type of people in parliament which feel no qualms in disgracing this sacred institution. In this way, parliament is losing its importance with the passage of time. Despite the fact parliament comprising the representative of the people should be the place to discuss importance issues relating to national security and the likes. But they take arbitrary decisions without consulting the representatives of the masses in the parliament. While claiming to be democratic in their dealing, they adopt non democratic measures: preventing true leadership to flourish, closing the doors for negotiations, clipping the wings of free media, using abusive words during political talks and believing not in dialogue to proceed ahead. Now, one can clearly mark a dividing line between political forces and fake political forces in the arena. They work as puppets moving as per direction of invisible forces. The Zia’s imposed martial law was proved more fatal than the one imposed by Yayah Khan who became the cause to disintegrate the country as Zia’s martial law made the country’s foundations hollow. He closed the doors for fresh air and damaged the country’s vision to perceive. The very act damaged the freedom of expression in the country and helped cultivate narrow minded cohorts who are not able to distinguish right from wrong or good from bad.

Throughout his life, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto struggled against this damaging attitude of the ruling elite. She tried her level best to fashion politics based on political ideas instead of wealth, caste system and so on. Corruption, intolerance extremism and terrorism are the gifts of General Zia’s rule. The Zia’s legacy in the form of incurable damages to national unity and progress was furthered by General Musharraf. Now the incumbent government has shown their tilt towards the dictators’ legacies. They are at variance with the political forces which are committed to fashion the Jinnah’s agenda in the country.

After passage of long, long time, still there are efforts to bring democracy in chains. The institutions are not in habit to work in their constitutional limits. Despite the fact, the public opinion reigns supreme in a democratic government, but, here, it is not given due importance. It has long been decided by founder of Pakistan that democracy would be the destiny of Pakistan. The questions arise: Why is democracy not allowed to flourish? Why do civil liberties remain in chains? The idea of controlled democracy is being fashioned here. For this purpose, the political leadership is being maligned. There are deliberate efforts to control the media, judiciary and other institutions. You are not allowed to utter “selected” but you are free to use abusive words even at democratic forums. If a judge appears to fulfill the demands of justice, you send a reference against him. In fact you need judges who take suo moto too much but decides only the fraction of cases they give hearing.

Here we need to have a glance at history. During pre-partition era, the state institutions were working not for the freedom of the people but to serve the queen of United Kingdom. Bureaucracy, law enforcing agencies and judiciary were there to fulfill the demands of colonial government instead of serving the native people. These institutions did not come forward for the freedom of our country. They have no role in getting political, civil, financial and fundamental rights from the colonial government. Instead they were abusing the rights of the local people. The political leaders along with their supporters started freedom movement and got Pakistan at last. The founder of Pakistan declared parliamentary democracy as polity of Pakistan. However, the hindrances were raised in the way of democracy in the country.

With their decades long experience, the political leaderships can steer the nation out of crisis. But they have been put behind the bars. The people who disintegrated the country, violated the constitution, surrendered before the enemy, damaged the national image, created rifts in society, fashioned and flourished sectarianism should in fact be kept in chains but they are allowed to go abroad or else. They put a ban on Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission lest the morale of an institution should not be got down. Is putting the politicians behind the bars not an act to demoralize the patriot politicians? This is not the service of the nation and society by any definition. The people are taught that the political leadership is corrupt and they are losing hope for continuation of the political process in the country.

It is time to move forward without being stuck at this critical juncture. The best way to move forward is nothing but to form the truth and reconciliation commission for a dialogue to go ahead. The imperative of truth and reconciliation cannot be denied. If you are to punish; punish all without any discrimination and if you are to let loose; then adopt the same criteria for all. This is the way to meet the ends of justice. We know Asif Ali Zardari has been imprisoned for 12 years previously but the courts exonerated him from all baseless and fabricated charges leveled against him. How long senior politicians like Asif Ali Zardari will remain target under the pretext of accountability while others will remain above the law despite their crimes like violating the constitution, tearing upon the social fabric and even breaking this country.

How long you can make hostage to this country and its people. You cannot make good by saying bad to others. Hazrat Ali said, “An un-Islamic government may stay in power, but the government based on injustice cannot last long at all.”