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A new political accord

Pakistan is now seventy-five. In these long years there were very few occasions when a genuine joy was felt by the whole nation. Few wins in cricket and field hockey games that brought laurels might be considered as passing winds of happiness that provided momentary relief from perennial pains and sufferings to these hundreds of millions destined to travel bare-foot in a simmering and thorny desert of life with no oases in sight. On the other hand, a tiny group of a million or so rules and controls all state resources and has access to all the worldly pleasures. Another lone, rare and most memorable event in our history was the passing of the Constitution of 1973, which despite many mutilations, has survived and is keeping this nation together. Political infightings, intrigues and mechanizations to cling onto power and terrible hate spread by the politicians, media and others amongst the people threaten Pakistan’s raison d’etre and its existence as the socio-political and economic injustice along with resulting unrest is now turning into an open dissention.

The horrible situation that poses an existential threat to the state has infected every aspect of life demands a new political accord that must, amongst others, restore to its original meanings, the word ‘politics’, which is now synonymous with all negative words in a lexicon and revive decency and a values system that promotes public goods, honour, integrity and truthfulness that left politics long ago when greed, corruption and manipulation were systemically allowed to walked in and to pollute the whole steam of politics. All political leaders must agree to compete amongst themselves on their programs and agendas for delivering public good and not in pleasing the establishment to enter corridors of power from the back-doors. To end this continuing game of political/musical chairs it is time to sign an accord which must be made part of the Constitution. If an elected member of parliament can be disqualified for propagating an opinion against the judiciary and armed forces he should certainly be disqualified for hate-mongering against his political opponents.

Examples are not wanting where societies and people in social and political meltdown successfully resolved their problems by dialogue. South Africa had a genuine national reconciliation. More than fifty countries constituted Truth and Reconciliation Commis-sions during the last forty years to resolve their national problems that threatened their existence. Let every leader and everyone else who was a decision maker in this country appear before a Commission and publicly answer all questions. Let the truth be tested publicly. Choices are simple. Either muster courage and come forward to take this country to new heights of honour and glory by publicly admitting mistakes and asking for an apology and make a fresh start as it cannot go like this for a long time or let it remain in this pathetic state and allow it to ultimately become a failed state and perish away.

Pakistan started off well. Its political leadership, mostly trained in the colonial tradition and raised in liberal tradition, was on the whole beyond greed and personal gains. Jinnah the incorruptible in his inaugural address on 11 August 1947 to the Constituent Assembly at Karachi warned of many social and political ills and advised the august house to guard against corruption, nepotism and provincialism and parochialism. After him, in accord with the ideas of the time, it was decided by the founding fathers of Pakistan, led by the late Liaqat Ali Khan that the salvation of the people lay in a political system that would ensure social, political and economic justice in Pakistan. They put together all these ideals as the ethos of Pakistan’s creation in the Objectives’ Resolution in 1949 that has ornamented every Constitution of Pakistan. All those promises remain elusive till today.

Today’s Pakistan is a highly volatile, aggressive and socially and morally sick society mainly due to political polarization and capture of state resources by an oligarchy and partly by many internal and external factors. Political polarization has infected and divided almost every home and mind. A retrogressive society has proven to be beneficial to the political lot and establishment who reap its dividends in the form of political and social-media support for their own purposes. The downside of this fall is that knowledge and wisdom and the consequent culture of decency and civility have left us while abuse, filth and socio-political degradation are now promoted on Twitter, Facebook and other social media portals to lead the country by the shortest route to destruction. It is ironic that circulation and readership of all newspapers, political and social journals is either decreasing or becoming stagnant. Many newspapers and journals were closed down during the last few decades. Even there now a partisanship is so visible in the news content, opinions and editorials where facts and realities get mixed turn grey. On the other hand, during the prime time evening political and current affairs programs, the level of debate and discussion is many a time highly disgusting. Many anchor-persons who are now new princes and princesses of the world of information practically go unaccountable for their unsubstantiated views and spread of misinformation and even commission of defamation mainly for the reason that the electronic media and media persons are allies in the management of power. They do not realize that freedoms have corresponding duties. They are now actually the fifth pillar of the state for the betterment of the state and society and not for maintaining the status quo. They are fed with selective, sensitive information by specific sources to manipulate public opinion which they put to use for making, breaking and even changing regimes. They are rarely seen promoting political and social good.

One of most immediate and terrible side-effect of this social and political fall is that a very large number of young adults in particular are trapped in this process of hate politics. And the people are becoming disenchanted, disinterested and even hateful towards politics and political system not realizing that they are the real stake-holders. The state’s resources for development are fast diminishing as money is diverted towards debt servicing and for other non-development purposes, as development has never been the priority of successive regimes. The avoidance of financial default(s) is the most imminent object of the policymakers. Thus, the natural consequences of these over the decades committed social, political and economic blunders and ad hoc policies are fast eating out the remaining carcass of society that will ultimately lead to its unfortunate dissolution if no certain and immediate steps are undertaken. The only way forward therefore is to urge upon and even force all these political leaders by raising voice as guaranteed by the Constitution to agree upon a political accord that guarantees decency in politics and accountability for public decisions across the board.

Muhammad Waqar Rana, "A new political accord," Business recorder. 2022-10-12.
Keywords: Sports , Social media , Hockey games , Electronic media , Economic injustice , Political infightings , Liaqat Ali Khan , Pakistan

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