Politics 2018

I have often written that vociferous hatred against state institutions responsible for security or attempts to undermine their capacity to effectively do their duty is synonymous with undermining security itself and such activity by any definition is nothing short of treason. Institutions mandated to secure our external and internal borders are many, for security has multiple connotations relative to threats that range from violation of territorial integrity, acts of terror designed to affect national morale, poor law and order, hostile exterior maneuvering and financial/economic instability. These threats are intertwined and while even the manifestation of one is cause for grave concern, the appearance of all, is a crisis warranting deft leadership, courage and wisdom. It is under such conditions that leaders are tested and recorded in history. Pakistan is currently beset with such a situation, where our political leadership has been tested and found exceedingly wanting in qualities of head and heart.

Our politicians (barring a few untested ones) are small individuals casting large shadows. They are akin to the frog that saw a grazing bull and in a bid to match the bovine’s bulk, inhaled so much air that it burst into oblivion. We have been ruled by these ‘frogs’, whose bloated egos and gluttonous desire for wealth grows with each passing tenure. I await the day, when in their blind endeavor to become the ‘bull’ they will meet their end, much like the amphibian in our story.

We are indeed fortunate that we still have men of courage and sense of justice in our midst – men such as those that sit in the Apex Court; men who defend our borders and think nothing of laying down their lives for the flag; men such as those in the Joint Investigation Team, who finally dug out evidence against all odds, good enough to disqualify a sitting Prime Minister.

While on the subject of our former Head of Executive (and his coterie of sitting ministers), there appears to be a noticeable upsurge in their ravings and rantings against the Highest Court in the country and “those in Rawalpindi,” raising the interesting notion, whether the ‘spike’ is the final surge of the flame before extinction or has new vigor been injected into the concerned party by invisible friends and neighbors. Instructions also appear to have been disseminated to PML N legislators to defend the ex PM and his heiress apparent at all costs – even if such defense becomes hilariously ridiculous. We recently saw an example of this on a popular private channel where, a minority PML N stalwart turned himself into laughing stock, forcing the celebrity anchor to beg him with ‘joined palms’ to cease.

The Sharif’s have perhaps decided that the commendable tolerance thresholds of the Apex Court and the Armed Forces are signs of weakness. If that is so then it is a fatal error of judgment, for what is being displayed is not weakness, but adherence to an oath and commitment to the ideals of democracy. Much as they may brazen facedly deny it, PML N is at this point in time faced with an internal crisis that bodes no good for its integrity and may even cost the Party another prime ministerial tenure. It would therefore be better for the Sharif Family to come to terms with the fact that the political climate in Pakistan is undergoing a change, where dynastic politics may be the greatest sufferer.

As far as PML N’s archrival PTI is concerned, it is confronted with windows of opportunity equivalent to a political windfall, notwithstanding the fall of one of their core party leaders Jahangir Tareen. This may well be a defining moment as well as the acid test for Imran Khan’s political odyssey. To derive maximum benefit from events even now unfolding in Lahore and Islamabad, Khan Sahib needs to curb the tendency of shooting too quickly from the hip. He must therefore accentuate imbalance in his adversaries, by astute decision making.

Looking ahead, Pakistan’s political chessboard in the coming year is likely to be exciting, volatile and evolutionary. While a vast number of Pakistanis are more than likely to welcome a change for the better, they would, more than anything else, be overjoyed to bear witness to the beginning of the demise of dynastic politics in 2018.

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