In our beloved country, just pick up a subject and you have so much provocative material, so many concerns, disappointments and hopes to write about it. The approach may be different, analyzes at variance, conclusions divergent but all relevant to the subject and would help one move with certainty towards understanding it. All the writers will try to clear the layers of fog, craftily spread by vested interests on an otherwise straight and unencumbered issue. We have had a couple of articles in the leading news papers by known columnists and senior journalist venturing to dig out the real objectives of the Moulana’s current political adventure. They have looked at the dharna from different perspectives. It is well and good – to find out the motives of the leader who has been known for his complex character, political craftiness and penchant for limelight.
He is leading a large and old religious-political party whose mainstay remains to be the Madressah students, and which opposed the independence by tooth and jaw, and later jump on the band wagon to benefit from the independence. In elections, its share of votes has been less than 2 percent. The Moulana has been partner in power with all the governments since 1988. He ruled the roost in KPK for 5 years with Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) in power with the courtesy of General Pervaiz Musharraf from 2002-2007. In exchange for this courtesy, the MMA helped the General to amend the Constitution to regain the executive powers as President. He presided over the Kashmir Committee for over two decades. It is for the first time that the Moulana is out of a political appointment. Hence, he is adamant to undo whatever semblance of representative governance we have had as a result of the general elections of 2018.
The Moulana has been resorting to every religious slogan to malign Prime Minister Imran Khan – the man who has banished his party from KPK and is responsible for relegating him to political wilderness. The irony is that certain liberals and democrats as they claim to be are supporting his current drama. The question is why this hapless country has been always subjected to political manipulations, palace intrigues, agitations and abrupt derailment from the path to an acceptable political dispensation. Has this country not been a unique geographical entity to endure constitutional and political setbacks, ideological ambiguity, mal governance and mal administration at the hands of all civil and military rulers, autocrats, democrats and religious parties and sectarian outfits and the painful silence of the majority? Many a nation committed follies in their history incurring pain and misery but were quick in learning enduring lessons and mending their ways to secure their future. Today, they stand out as proud people in the comity of nations.
There has been no pause in the trajectory of adventures in our dear land. We have been indulging in political adventures and experiments, going through trials and tribulations – falling on our face and getting up with renewed hopes, plunging headlong in failures and then resorting to self serving interpretation of unwelcome truths gloating over our small successes and forgiving and forgetting shamelessly our blunders. Soul searching has always been out of the bounds of our social, political and ideological bounds. Everywhere we have reports of “all is well”. But what a researcher finds in our society is completely opposed to what has been fed to us to believe. Dishonesty, hypocrisy and falsehood have been pervasive in our society. Social and economic inequity has pushed millions of the population into gnawing poverty. We evade taxes, steal electricity and gas, pilfer public funds but contribute generously to religious organizations. We are a people, really made out of special clay.
We have bent the history of the country to suit our institutional and factional interests. We have rewritten it and introduced it in our national syllabus depriving our young generation to know what actually led us to this sorrowful state of affairs. We have to dig out old books, printed material to find out the truth – the truth which is bitter and educative at the same time. Do we know how the stalwarts of All India Muslim League who fought the battle of independence under the leadership of the Qaid were gradually maligned and reduced to political wilderness by the civil and military bureaucracy? Nehru was embracing his fierce opponents like Amedkar, Raja Gopal Achari, the Parsi industrialist Bhabha, Sir Modi, the leader of the Unionist Party Punjab, Baldev Singh, Sir Garja Shankar Bajpai and many a figure of Dalits, Sanghatanists, Sawarkaris, Unionists, Akali Dals, Communists and secessions. Amedkar, the leader of the untouchables, had fiercely opposed Gandhi and Nehru, was given the unique honour of writing the constitution of India.
The palace intrigues in our land began soon after the demise of the Qaid. The pace of these political manipulations quickened when the four bureaucrats – the sick and old Ghulam Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Iskander Mirza and General Ayub Khan took over the state affairs after Liaqat Ali Khan. The stalwart Muslim Leaguers like Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, Khwaja Nazimudding, Chaudhry Khaliqumman, Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Muhammad Ali Bogra, and Husein Suharwardy, Moulvi Tamizuddin – all were maligned, intimidated, disqualified under infamous PRODA and PODA. Moulvi Fazal-e-Haq, the architect of the Pakistan Resolution was termed a traitor and his elected government in former East Pakistan dismissed.
Muhammad Ali Bogra was forced at gun point to dismiss the Constituent Assembly; Chaudhry Khaliq was thrown out of the leadership of the party; Khuhro was thrice disqualified, cleared, used and again dumped. Ghulam Muhammad with an impaired speech – understood only by his Italian Secretary – jumped from Federal Secretary to Minister and Governor General; Chaudhry Muhammad – a noble man and a Federal Secretary – went straight to the Prime Ministership. Iskander Mirza had quick elevation as Secretary Defence, Governor and President. General Ayub, though Chief of Army Staff, remained active partner in these political manipulations.
The coup de grace against Muslim League came in 1954 after the formation of the One-Unit when Iskander Mirza as President formed the new Republican Party and coerced the legislative members to join it to bring Dr. Khan Sahib as the first Chief Minister of West Pakistan. Thus, the practice of breaking parties into factions, intimidating politicians on flimsy grounds – at least, there were no sound reasons to sideline the above stalwarts – manipulating the governments in power was firmly embedded in our political culture from the early years which continues unabated to this day. Our politicians so enamoured with power become tools in the hands of powers that may be. They suffer chronically from the lack of patience and farsightedness. They displayed their shortsightedness and impatience in 1970 losing the bigger part of the country. They have cast aspersions on the results of all elections from 1977-2018. They know that elections even in developed countries like the United States of America have also not been without flaws.
We have the third elected government after the dark years of long military government. They are once again out to destabilize the current government. They commit follies themselves and blame the ‘other forces’ to interfere in the political affairs of the state. They become tools in the hands of these invisible powers, if at all there are any such powers. Now, in their claustrophobia, the politicians of the ilk of Moulana Sahib are bent on making every institution controversial if it does not advance their purpose. This is one of their modus operandi to regain political limelight. The media always fuels this political scenario to add to the political confusion in the country. I think, this explains the reason of the Moulana’s political adventure.
In all these political manipulations and experiments, the masses stand nowhere. They face abject poverty; social and economic inequity; injustice, deprivation, remaining as always deprived of their constitutional right to education, healthcare, shelter and security of life and honour. The people and children are dying of aids, snake and rabid dog bites in one province and the leader of the party in power their boasts of the highest ratio of expenditure on health sector. He castigates the current federal government on every count without realizing how the government of his own party in his home province has been performing.
I wonder, will this land ever bring forth a Kemal Ataturk, Mahatir Muhammad, Nelson Mandela or we have to bear with the reincarnations of Marcos, Noregas, and Sani Abaches whose tales of corruption have been the subject of many best sellers. The way we have been stuck in political wrangles after every election does not hold out a hopeful tomorrow.
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