The menace of the Mian’s continue unabated. Like the 19th and 20th century mafias they seem untouchable. All state institutions have been run over by them, only the Khakis stand out, and lately they have learnt to mind their own business leaving the nation at the mercy of the Charter of Democracy (COD). The next electoral exercise is around the corner. If the stranglehold of COD signatories continues the results are written on the wall. Garbage traders will continue to rule over us (note the garbage collection contract for Lahore Rs. 3-4 billion, Karachi Rs. 6-7 billion).

How will we get rid of this mafia that rules over us? Since 325 BC when democracy was born in Athens, only once those who came through the bullet went by the ballot. In the eighties the revolutionary Sandinistas in Nicaragua took control of the country through force but were voted out. It is the only known instance of peaceful transition from revolution to democracy. Those who landed in corridors of power riding on Khaki vehicles will never give up power through a credible electoral exercise. They have to be dislodged for a free and fair election to take place history is a witness to this fact.

We, the students of the sixties, came on the streets to force a free and fair election, the only one in 70 years. General Yahya Khan first removed the first dictator Ayub Khan and then kept his promise of holding the first and free elections in 1970. The establishment had to bite the dust. Since then it was decided to manipulate the ballot, Zia used the term positive results, which meant electability of the desirables. It was during this dark period (1977 to 1988) that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was launched first in Punjab in 1981 and then at the centre in 1990 through Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) against which there is a Supreme Court verdict waiting implementation.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is not the only ‘Military Mian’. There is a long list as under: Mian Ameeruddin, Mian Salahuddin, Mian Arif Iftikhar, Mian Tufail, Mian Aamir Mahmood, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Hamza Shahbaz, Mian Shaukat Aziz, Mian Muhammad Mansha, Mian Zahid Sarfraz, Mian Azhar, Mian Shuja-ur-Rehman, Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Mian Yawar Zaman, Mian Ata Maneka, Mian Yasin Wattoo, Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Mian Afzal Wattoo, Mian Afzal Hayat, Mian Khurram Wattoo, Mian Abdul Sattar Laleka, Mian Afzal Bodla to name a few.

These Military Mian’s deserve to be sunk politically in Miani. The city should now organise political funerals for their elected representatives who get elected through rigging and then cheat their mandate by building their empires.

For a free and fair election major electoral reforms are needed in which no one seem interested, not even the Khakis and Qazis, while the Baboos have become private employees of the parties in power. In the recent blockage of the M-1 Motorway by Punjab Police no organ of the state was able to un-block it. The Khakis were keen to ensure passage of the first CPEC convoy while the Supreme Court reluctantly agreed to hear the Panama Leaks case, which has now been delayed. Such blatant constitutional violations should not go un-checked.

Biometric verification of every voter is the bare minimum that can be implemented to ensure credible electoral exercise. Supreme Court has asked for census to count the voters and update the lists. NADRA, the custodian of citizen data, has to be under strong, autonomous leadership. The last independent Chairman Tariq Malik had to flee the country to save his skin. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has to be neutral and functional for the will of the people to prevail.

The next election is critical to bring the electoral process on track. With ten disputed ballots it is not an easy task. The administrative machinery is firmly in the control of local political leadership and ballot boxes can be stuffed at will. The Returning Officers (RO) and the vote counters came from the local administration and are loyal to them. In 2013, the first time voters were greatly disappointed, a spontaneous ‘Dharna’ followed at Lalik Chowk in DHA Lahore which continued for several days. PTI leadership was divided, Kaptaan was hospitalised, and there was no one to lead. Otherwise a movement against rigging could have been triggered similar to the one in 1977.

With their entrenched menace the Mian’s have become impregnable, they did not enter the corridors of power through the ballot as such they have no respect for it. In the nineties Mian Nawaz Sharif agreed to resign on the condition that the President is also sent home with him. Abba Ji was not happy with this decision, Mian Sahib was firmly advised never to resign again and hold on to power. Zia ruled for over eleven years with the misuse of his uniform and support of pseudo politicos. Musharraf created his own Mian’s who could not save his government and was removed through street power by the civil society and the lawyers. His parting gift to the nation was the NRO that revived the Political Mian’s. He was unable to get his party elected as he was out of uniform by then. The Chaudhris of Gujrat were very disappointed with the collapse of PML-Q and decided to part ways with him.

In 2017/2018 Pakistan desperately needs a credible election as was carried out in 1970 for the will of the people to prevail. The entire electoral exercise was carried out under Khaki control and neutral players. Ayub Khan’s machinations were not allowed to manipulate the ballot. The nexus of his BD (Basic Democracy) members and police was shattered. Zia’s approach of positive results was based an evil intent to deny the mandate of the masses which has continued since then. Democracy has its own dynamics, which cannot be steered by dictators or manipulators. The Ballot has to be in neutral hands to be credible. All ROs should be flown in from other provinces and the process should be stretched to make it fool proof. Both ECP and NADRA have to be non controversial to be effective. The plight of the 200 million people calls for major reforms, which can no longer be denied or stalled. Mian’s have to go for conscientious leadership to emerge preferably through the ballot. Revolutions are bloody and should be avoided but for how long? The sufferings cannot continue for an indefinite period.