Those who cast votes decide nothing  Those who count votes decide everything.

In Pakistan the ballot has been used to launch bulls into the China shop of politics. As a result every institution has been smashed to pieces and only the Khakis have survived as they were able to protect themselves.

A country in its formative state is like a China shop that is delicate and has to be nurtured and not run over by the bulls that come out of manipulated ballots. These out of control beasts belong to cattle barns not corridors of power. The question is how to get rid of them as every institution including political parties have been over run by them. In 1958 when Ayub Khan took control of the country he promulgated an ordinance call EBDO (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance) under which military tribunals were established to disqualify corrupt politicians. Although corruption was widely under control at that time, the unwanted Khaki cleansing was carried out.

Today the country faces both internal and external terror. Zarb-e-Azb promised to clean the country of imposed terrorism. Once this phase is over the Khakis can then focus on the in-house terrorists who continue to erode the very foundations of the state. Political cleansing is needed today. EBDO, followed by military tribunals, is required to try all politicians elected since the 1958 party-less elections when the floodgates of corruption. The bulls have to be grabbed by their horns and only the Khakis under honest, professional leadership can do it. Messers Ayub, Zia, Musharraf were ordinary but ambitious soldiers who should not have risen to the top. General Raheel Sharif has made it on merit, which should now be expanded across the board to get rid of the political beasts launched through the tainted ballots supported by the incompetent Khaki leadership.  

Hopefully the judicial commission (JC) will be able to detect and then expose the manipulation of these political bulls that control the arena. A positive outcome of the ‘Dharna’ is that the sanctity of the ballot has returned for the first time since 1970 but a lot needs to be done for a credible electoral exercise. Constituencies have to be redrawn and voter’s lists updated. Establishment launched parties (PML-N, PML-Q and MQM) have remained unchecked for decades. The evil networks of the bulls are well entrenched. Asif Ali Zardari rightly pointed out that Kaptaan has complained of one rigged ballot whereas for PPP the number is ten.

The election commission of Pakistan (ECP) does not have the muscle to deliver an honest ballot without the support of Khakis, Qazis and Baboos. The media has been playing its role but it cannot directly intervene. The Khakis under General Raheel Sharif favour a credible electoral exercise. Qazis under Justice Nasir-ul-Malik cannot be predicted till the JC verdict is out. Baboos are the weakest link as they have been reduced to the status of personal servants; their neutrality has been compromised as they owe their loyalty to the Chief Ministers. Interprovincial transfers will be needed to avoid political punctures.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) the first Awami leader of the country has written a lot about political awareness in the sub-continent. Freedom movements started soon after the British established control in the area. The partition of India and the creation of Pakistan was a result of a democratic struggle not manipulated ballots or bullets. The foundations of a separate motherland for the Muslims of India were laid in the Lahore Resolution of 23rd March 1940. The resolution was presented by Sher-e-Bangal Maulana Fazal-ul-Haq and unanimously approved by the participants of the mammoth gathering at Minto Park currently Minar-e-Pakistan.

Pakistan was designed to be a democratic state. Detours have been disastrous. Ballot could have saved Quaid’s Pakistan but instead bullets were used. Since then establishment became shy of the ballot and opted for manipulated electoral exercise to produce ‘Bulls’ instead of genuine political leadership. The election-monitoring cell within ISI has tons of data covering every election since 1977 which can be relied upon.

Political terrorism must be contained for Pakistan to move forward. Extra ordinary circumstances demand out of the box solutions. Military courts have been set up to deal with the scourge of external terror imposed by super power rivalries in the region. APC has already endorsed these courts, now their scope has to be expanded to cover the internal threats also.

Common law is too soft to contain white collar crime. The acquittal of Asif Ali Zardari has proven its weakness. The National Accountability Bureau has also been ineffective. After the Charter of Democracy (COD) the bulls are protecting their barns while the nation suffers. Testimony of Zulfiqar Mirza against his own leader is an eye opener.

In principle every organ of the state has to operate with in its domain. Both internal and external terror has to be contained at all costs. Civilian institutions are required to run the state. Self-correcting mechanisms like democracy can then set the course of the nation. As the country stands today, the bulls have eroded the writ of the state, which has to be restored. A neutral interim government can initiate the process of political cleansing through EBDO and then follow it with an honest ballot. True representation is the basis of democracy, which has been denied to the people of Pakistan by these ballot generated bulls. It is time to contain them in their barns. Casting not counting of votes should decide the ballot to avoid the disastrous fate of Stalin’s Soviet Union. Now either the JC should lock harms with the beasts or the Khaki driven EBDO should come to the rescue of the suffering masses. Pakistan must come first.