DON QUIXOTE LIVES


The political scene in Pakistan is dynamic and there is never a dull moment. The entertainment that the political shenanigans provide seems macabre against the backdrop of the killings in Baluchistan and Karachi and the fight against the militants within and on our western borders. There are endless debates about the next elections, about what the judiciary is doing to the government and what the government is doing to the judiciary, about civil servants being sacked or promoted and many other similar mundane matters. Is anyone really interested in any of these things and are they relevant to the bigger picture within and around Pakistan today?

A political party that has to its credit a physical attack o7n the Supreme Court has now based its strategy on the defense of that very institution against the attacks on it by the government. Having backed itself out of the election scene and generally failed all round it is now threatening mass protests on the street to give a ‘tough time’ to the government – a government that has not only lived through tough times but has actually consolidated itself through shrewd alliances. So Don Quixote really does live. None of the political parties has a solution for Karachi, for Baluchistan, for the relationship with the US, for the misery being caused by the energy situation, the economic crisis and for the rapid decline of state power against the forces that threaten Pakistan. All of them criticize the government and latch on to every lapse that can be exploited and the one item they seem to be united on is the belief that the military is not the answer. The military agrees with this.

In spite of this there are Quixotic thinkers who put forward hare brained and half baked ideas about some kind of judiciary-military collusion or the judiciary invoking some statute to call in the military to oust the government. Fortunately those pushing such concepts lack credibility because of similar thinking in the past. Their misdeeds have not been forgotten. The military knows that it is under the Ministry of Defense and a part of the government machinery – it is not likely to act irrationally or irresponsibly.

The Baluchistan and Karachi situations are political and law and order problems. They need to be fixed urgently. The energy situation needs a short term fix through the circular debt and a long term one by enhancing capacity. The real threat to Pakistan from within needs to be faced and confronted without ambiguity and those abetting this threat for short term expediency should be exposed. This will lead to the prerequisite for economic turnaround – internal security. Finally the relationship with the US and foreign policy need to be put on a sustainable track and for this the civil and military should put their heads together. Unless these steps are taken we will sink deeper and deeper into the quagmire. One or two men cannot do all this – a Council of Advisers with impeccable credentials and expertise must be set up to take stock and advise on a methodical approach that will take us back from the abyss before we fall in or are pushed in.

Originally published in ZoneAsia-Pk

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