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Search for the middle ground

Upon examination, it has become abundantly clear the’ intellectual elite’ are more concerned about defending their narrative rather than looking for solutions that benefit Pakistan.

Celebrating Imran Khan’s ouster reveals that there is no intellectual consistency. It shows that the system, which the ‘guardians’ of democracy safeguard like a black diamond, is utterly flawed. Once again, the system has been disrupted, taking the country deeper into darkness.

Impartiality is nowhere to be seen. That crucial ‘in-between’ that is desperately needed in times such as this is non-existent. Instead, what we are getting from the ‘intellectual’ class are smug statements and tweets which result in nothing. Using words that are in vogue in a derogatory manner like ‘messiah’ or ‘saviour’ to express anger at an individual is missing the point. What should anger us more is the removal of another prime minister before their five-year term is over.

It is more worrisome that Bilawal Bhutto continues to defend dynastic politics, or former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is requesting the current prime minister to dissolve the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). There are also reports that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scrapping the ‘Koi Bhooka Na Soye’ under the Ehsaas Programme. If true, it will be a monumental setback.

The new prime minister would do well to use the Ehsaas Programme to help those most in need. The Ehsaas Programme is one of the most inspired and effective initiatives the country has seen, and it would be a shame if the new government chooses to ignore it. Effective policies put together by the previous government must be retained by the new leadership. Let’s hope that common sense prevails over petty politics.

Against the run of play, Imran Khan made a crucial mistake by resigning en masse from the National Assembly. If he decided to remain, he could have kept the pressure on the new government in parliament and on the streets – where his popularity is growing by the day. While Imran Khan is correct in highlighting corruption allegations against individuals in other parties, it would also be wise for him to reflect on how he got into this situation in the first place.

To be more effective in the future, he should have competent people in his orbit. He has been misled on many occasions, for example, filing a presidential reference against Justice Qazi Faez Isa, which he now admits was a mistake. Along with tackling corruption, Imran Khan should include in his narrative the correction of the system. It is important to stress that redressing the system is the big picture, and Imran Khan should not lose sight of that.

Imran Khan’s detractors cannot deny the fact that he has a connection with the people that other politicians do not have. As mentioned earlier, his welfare schemes are indicative that he is determined to serve the poorest first. It is for these reasons that the leader of the PTI has millions of supporters, which is why his opponents fear facing him in the next election.

At this stage, Pakistan cannot afford to be divided. We have to be able to respect and listen to points of view that differ from ours with grace and understanding. The less fashionable, but all important middle ground must come to the fore, as Pakistan is facing many challenges that will be extremely difficult to overcome. It is natural to have a bias or an inclination towards one group over another. However, we also have the ability to respect other narratives, and not label them as ignorant, or worse, anti-Pakistan.

We have already seen how hyper nationalism has damaged India and its political discourse, and we must not fall into that trap. Reason over self-righteousness should be the order of the day, as well as having the flexibility and patience to take differing narratives on board. That is the first baby step in crafting a new system which is indigenous and truly democratic. It is understandable that emotions are running high, and the public are concerned about where their country is heading.

Pakistan has never known anything other than chaos and strife, but it has overcome, which is why we are known as a resilient lot. It is our innate resilience that should give us hope for a better future.

Email: humayun.gauhar786@gmail.com

Humayun Gauhar, "Search for the middle ground," The News. 2022-04-16.
Keywords: Political science , Political issues , Political discourse , National Assembly , Accountability , Corruption , Democracy , Imran Khan , Bilawal Bhutto , Pakistan , NAB , PTI