Our fledging democracy has been able to ward off the threat posed to national security by consolidating the political will of the parliament, now in session. Writing about the threat I had said a week earlier, that “Politics will find a way out of this impasse, and will uphold the quintessential values of the democratic order.” The parliament has asserted itself; the judiciary has risen to the occasion to establish the rule of law; the armed forces, having realized the threat to their integrity are ready to act, as the parliament decides. All the political parties, including the opposition have demanded that hard decisions must be taken to clear the mess around the parliament. The parliament has demonstrated a unity of thought and action never seen before, and that is indeed a triumph of democracy over undemocratic forces.

It is for the first time that “a popular political party”, has joined hands with a maverick clergy and both are tormenting the nation with behavior repugnant to our national sensibilities. Imran Khan has charge-sheeted the judiciary without producing any proof, and has blamed it of being partial and biased. He is pinning his hopes on the assumption that the ‘umpire’ will intervene to dismiss the government, hold elections and hand power over to him. Unfortunately for him, it is not to be. The ‘umpire’ promised regime change but did not act, cheated both Imran and Qadri, and has brought disrepute to our national institutions. May be there was the need for such jingoism as entertainment for the oppressed Pakistani nation, much the same as WW wrestling with male chauvinism at its peak. Thanks, Imran and Qadri.

But “the real threat” to national security is the hidden agenda. Therefore, there is a need to discern the threat in its true perspective. A prominent political analyst writes:

“Five years back, the Americans and the Canadians decided to unite the two schools of Islamic thought under Tahirul Qadri’s leadership, as a counter to the emerging Deobandi and Salafi alliance in Afghanistan and Pakistan prior to the drawdown from Afghanistan. Qadri was picked up for this job and sent on a promotional tour of Europe, Denmark and Iran, where he recruited many activists to his cause. The book Kwarji Threat was published and circulated in thousands. Armed with this support, Qadri visited Pakistan where foreign intelligence and NGOs helped him develop his contacts into our media, security establishments, institutions and politicians. Thus the maverick Minhajul Quran clergy was launched in 2013 to sabotage the coming general elections but failed. He returned to Pakistan this year, further bolstered by his masters’ support and the support of the newly recruited Pakistani activists, to dislodge the elected government.”

No wonder then, that Qadri and Imran consistently called for the umpire to give the final decision but the umpire was far away and chose to turn a deaf ear to their calls, because it dared not challenge the national political will asserting itself.

Another conspiracy aiming at our socio-political values was highlighted in my recent article, “Our Long March Politics.” In it I stated:

“I have the feeling that there is a hidden politico-ideological agenda behind the movement. What happened in Algeria and Egypt in the recent past, to replace political Islam with Secular Islam may well be the objective of the movement in Pakistan. To recall, Qadri’s last visit to Pakistan in 2013 was aimed at forestalling the elections which Nawaz Sharif was sure to win, but withdrew after negotiations with the PPP government.”

 And that is the double jeopardy behind the hidden agenda. There are always two sides of a picture – the good and the bad. We have seen the bad side of the picture during the last few months and the good side must be discerned to fortify democracy, because these are the weaknesses and hard realities that this movement has highlighted. They demand immediate corrective measures:

•    The electoral system is defective and needs to be corrected on priority.

•    Holding early elections to establish the credibility of the system is necessary.

•    The present dynastic plutocracy must be replaced by liberal democracy, representing the middle and lower middle classes in particular.

•    A pool of experts must be created to advise the government on all matters of national life.

•    “There is no real threat to Pakistan, but there is definitely the need to change our attitude,” -Senator Haasil Bizenjo.

These are the defining moments, which have taken a positive turn, as the parliament asserts itself to correct the course of democracy.

The writer is a former chief of army staff.

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