Social and economic justice and rule of law are the most vital ingredients of peace and progress in a society and state. The prevalence of these elements within a state nurtures the sense of belonging and patriotism amongst its citizens, strengthens state institutions, reinforces national unity and integration, curbs the emergence of fissiparous tendencies within the society, helps in warding off the external threats in all their manifestations and promotes the well being of the people; the main objective of the social contract and establishment of a state.

Unfortunately, we in Pakistan, even after 67 years of independence have not been able to establish justice and rule of law in the country which is the root cause of all formidable challenges including the existentialist threat that it is confronted with at the moment. That state has failed to deliver necessary services to the masses; the system of governance is heavily tilted towards promoting the interests of the elite classes, promoting a culture of graft and entitlement.

Military dictators share the major blame for destroying state institutions, mutilating the constitution and making Pakistan a security state instead of the welfare entity that it was meant to be and envisioned by its founding father. They encroached upon civilian territory and developed a mind-set of disdainful patronage of the civilian leadership among the top echelons of the military command. So even when they are not ruling the country, they relentlessly indulge in arm-twisting of civilian leaders by refusing to relinquish civilian territory and pressurizing them to pursue their security paradigm. To keep their ascendancy over the civilian leadership, they have been instrumental in fomenting political instability in the country and installing governments of their own choice, preventing democracy to take root in the country.

The political leadership has also remained criminally oblivious to the necessity to reform the archaic colonial system of governance, ensure social and economic justice and establish rule of law in the country whenever they got the chance to rule. They never made a serious and honest effort to change the fate of the masses and instead built their own fortunes. And regrettably, these forces have invariably used politicians to orchestrate conspiracies against sitting governments.

The country however, took a hiatus from its unenviable past when for the first time power was transferred from one government to another through ballot. However, after only 14 months of the elections and the installation of a government mandated to rule for five years, we are back to our old ways. Some forces within and outside the country have again made their move to create political crises in the country through long marches and sit-ins.

If General (retd) Aslam Baig is to be believed, the current crisis surely has foreign dimensions, and Imran Khan too, has been lured to join the conspiracy to undermine the democratic process in the country probably on the promise of being made Prime Minister. When standing on his container, he repeatedly gave deadlines with regards to the umpire raising his finger to bring down the Nawaz government, and the majority of the people started believing that democracy was surely ending. But it proved to be a false impression, thanks to the current Army leadership. Thanks also to all the political forces represented in the parliament, media representative bodies, the lawyers’ community and even judiciary for showing solidarity with democracy and constitutional order.

Needless to say, the country was passing through a critical phase of its history and was faced with grave dangers to its security besides an economic meltdown that threatened the collapse of the economy. It was time to forge impregnable national unity to surmount challenges. All the stakeholders in the future of Pakistan as an independent country must understand that the only way forward for achieving our cherished goals is sticking to democratic order and establishing justice and rule of law.

It is a known fact that Pakistan as a nuclear Muslim state was not acceptable to some global forces and they in connivance with some of the countries in our region, were relentlessly engaged in fomenting political instability in the country. This challenge could only be thwarted through the unswerving support for strengthening democracy and building economic strength good enough to change the economic situation of millions of people living below the poverty line and to construct a deterrent defence capability. That surely needed the continuation of the democratic process, uninterrupted. Those elements who are trying to create chaos and anarchy in the country, vying for mid-term polls and making false and unachievable promises with the people to ameliorate their lot must revisit their thinking. Their right to raise their voice against systemic maladies and inadequacies and the economic woes of the people, is beyond reproach, but that right needs to be exercised within the constitutional and internationally recognized norms of democracy. The government which has been given five year mandate to manage the affairs of the country must be allowed to complete its term and the people of Pakistan allowed to give their verdict on its performance in the next elections like they did in the case of PPP in 2013.

    The writer is a freelance columnist.