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 PERSONALIZATION OF POLITICS IN PAKISTAN

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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PostSubject: PERSONALIZATION OF POLITICS IN PAKISTAN   Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:50 pm

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PERSONALIZATION OF POLITICS IN PAKISTAN
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PERSONALIZATION OF POLITICS IN PAKISTAN

By DR TANVIR HUSSAIN BHATTI

Columnist, Poet, Author

The politics of Pakistan is tremendously personalized. Democracy is still a distant dream in this land because up-in-the-dough personalities and mammoth pressure groups are more powerful than the institutions. The loaded politicians and the power intoxicated colossal throngs form their own political parties and use them as tools to ascend to throne to rule over the public in order to fulfill their long-lasting feudalistic hunger for authority. Thus the politics of Pakistan revolves around the commanding hammer men and the influential bunches while the fate of democratic institutions is hanging in the balance. It is rightly said power is intoxication and who are obsessed to abuse cannot live peacefully without it as persons having oil burner habit feel remarkable discomfort when they fail to get the dose. The big cheese who once assume the command feel like a fish out of water when they are ostracized from the arena of rule. The copper-hearted flash-pressers sense a bee in their bonnet to seize power to get rid of perpetual frustration of deprivation. Therefore, they spare no effort to hanker after in establishing strong bonds with top bureaucrats and army generals who can help them to jump in the saddle to usurp the bridles of dominion as early as possible without considering political values, democratic principles and their own party manifestoes. This is the loophole through which brass hats and bureaucrats enter in the politics. The double whammy of feudal legacy is the key factor for the power lust in Pakistan. Grains of feudalism were present in the genesis of the country. The father of the nation kicked the bucket during the formative phase of the nation state. He didn’t get sufficient time to groom the nation on democratic lines. PM Liaqat Ali Khan has no political constituency in Pakistan. Therefore, he relied on the clergy and the feudal lords for his political support. After his assassination on October 16, 1951 at Company Bagh Rawalpindi the boiling pot of effete burst resulting in political wrangling among the deep-seated bureaucrats, power starving palm-pressers and overzealous generals. Seven cabinets were formed in East Pakistan and Governor's rule was imposed thrice between March 1954 and August 1958. This political wrestling to gain authority culminated in the dark period of Martial Law that was imposed by President Maj General Iskandar Mirza on October 7, 1958 ! by scrapping the first constitution of 1956 that was framed after nine year of arduous effort but it was abrogated only two-and-half years after it was enacted. Thus all constitutional efforts went down the drain. Martial Law conked out the democratic process by driving the first nail in its coffin and crippled it before taking firm roots. On October 27 Ayub Khan seized all powers by expelling Iskandar Mirza who lost the morning line. He issued Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) and 'Public Offices Disqualification Order' (PODO) on October 7, 1959 to eliminate and punish the main political figures and top bureaucrats so that no one can challenge his oppressive rule. Under EBDO, 3978 politicians from East Pakistan and 3000 politicians from West Pakistan lost their right to take part in politics. Under PODO, 13 officers from Pakistan Civil Service, 3 from Foreign Service, 15 from Police Service and 1662 officers from the Provincial Service were sacked or retired. In October 1959 he also introduced four tier system of Basic Democracy through an order in which 8000 Basic Democrats would be elected from both wings and ultimately they would elect the President. The clandestine intention was to jockeying the elections instead of empowering the public at the grassroots level. He ! Constitutional Commission in framed a new constitution in 1962 in which all powers were concentrated in the hands of the President and in this context he was like the clock tower of Faisalabad. Ayub Khan maneuvered and rigged the Presidential election of 1965 to defeat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. The dictatorship of Ayub wore its funeral dress on March 25, 1969. He gain no respect even though he rule the country for more than ten years and emerged triumphant in the manipulated Presidential elections but the name of the honorable sister of the creator of Pakistan still enjoys great reverence in every nook and corner of the country. Ayub’s name disappeared as a falling meteor with a streak of light that crumbles to dust in the air before achieving its destiny of touching the face of the earth while the name of the Madr-i-Millat is as twinkling on the horizon of the political history of Pakistan as a shining star. Pakistan has celebrated the year of Madre-Millat to remember her services but no one is ready to commemorate even a single day to retain information about Ayub Khan. This is the greatest chronological evidence that only those survive in the go! lden chapters of the nations’ history who altruistically work for the betterment of the public and those who endeavor for their egocentric interests by keeping civic wellbeing at the backburner fade away in the darkest chapters of the past that is the greatest mirror of the world. After political protests in the late-sixties Ayub transferred power unconstitutionally to general Yahya Khan who was more interested in drinking than the population welfare. Ayub’s industrialization resulted in the concentration of resources in 22 families belonging to West Pakistan that generated a sense of deprivation in the eastern wing resulting in dismemberment of the country due to Indian intrigue on December 16, 1971 and drew permanent lines of separation between the two halves of the Quaid’s monument. Z.A.Bhutto became the leading political personality of the truncated Pakistan. But his way of ruling was more totalitarian than democratic because he could not tolerate the opposition governments in NWFP and Balochistan. He ordered army operation in Balochistan and politically victimized his rivals by using the services of FSF. The alleged rigging of the 1977 elections and their repercussions in the form of ceaseless protests by the PNA provided vacuum to the army to intervene. Ziaul Haq imposed Martial Law between the night of 4 and 5 July although Bhutto has finalized the agreement with the opposition leaders during that night and he was going to announce it on the next morning but the overambitious army generals still carrying the bitter experience in their memeory of 1971 surrender could not bear the future of the country in the hands of the political leaders. Therefore, once again military putsch pushed the country towards the darkest and the longest per! iod of Martial Law. Bhutto hanged on April 4, 1979 although he was the most popular leader of Pakistan after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam but his charisma haunted Zia like a ghost. General Ziaul Haq ruled the country for more than eleven years with a steel rod like a true autocratic ruler. He banned political parties and their activities by using the name of Islam and the elections were conducted in 1985 after seven years of Martial Law on non-party basis. The cardinal aim was to marginalize the mainstream political parties especially PPP whom he victimized to gain power and to continue his despotic rule. He has no respect for constitution. Therefore, he disfigured and insulted it several times to perpetuate his dictatorship. The plane of Ziaul Haq crashed in the air during his return from Bhawalpur on August 17, 1988 because he was no more useful for America because USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev has announced to withdraw its forces from the war-ravaged Afghanistan in February 1988. The mystery of his death still could not be resolved because in preplanned tragedies by potent hands facts are cleverly concealed. The Ziaul Haq authoritarian rule left 3.5 million Afghan refugees at Pakistan’s doorsteps and gave the nation the bitter gifts of sectarianism, ethnic discords, heroin and Kalashnikov culture .Pakistan is still paying a dear price for the legacy of Zia period in the form perpetual subversive activities ignited by the miscreants to create instability. Four civilian governments changed the driving seat during 1988-99 but no government was being permitted to complete its tenure. The two elected governments of Benzir Bhutto and the first regime of Nawaz Sharif in power were ousted by the incumbent Presidents by using their discretionary powers under Article 58-2(b) that is another award given by Ziaul Haq so that democratic processs can never take firm roots and smooth course. It hangs like Damocle’s Sword over each civilian government. Both Prime Ministers during their tenures endeavored to curtail the powers of the President and tried to undermine army whom they consider great threats for their rule. They moved heaven and earth to concentrate all powers in their hands. Ultimately army retaliated when Nawaz Sharif after clipping the wings of the President and disempowering judiciary attempted to let the rug slip under the generals’ feet because he unduly promoted the then ISI Chief General Ziaudin Butt! as COAS by replacing general Musharraf who was on an official tour in Sri Lanka. Thus the civilian government with heavy mandate terminated on October 9, 1999 and once again army came to power to rule the roost. President Musharraf created King’s Party in the form of Q-League to legitimatize his rule by establishing an engineered democracy. Several members of other parties were also broken who were the fugitives of NAB. In this context accountability institutions provided unprecedented services to the regime. Some of the legislators were enticed to join the ruling party to become ministers, parliamentary secretaries, chairmen of standing committees and advisers. Pakistan is at the crossroads of formidable challenges. These gauntlets demand unity among the public but their trust has been badly shaken and cracked in the well-fixed politicians due to their continuous betrayal of the public. Their unrestrained misuse of authority to make quick bucks through flash roll and let stick to their fingers by waxing up has ruined national economy. The flushed hot shots should give up the politics of vested interests if they want to correct their image. They should join hands to uplift the public rather than safeguarding their self-seeking interests. Each institution should play its due role because the problems arise when one institution pokes its nose in the affairs of the others. These stickybeak practices enfeeble all institutions of the state. The political parties are deprived of true democratic culture. They should conduct regular elections within their ranks to become genuine democratic parties. In this way capable men ! in the street down to their bottom dollar would get opportunities to rise to the top on the political horizon. In this way personality politic will make a shift in the direction of institutional politics and true democracy will automatically take its course.

DR TANVIR HUSSAIN BHATTI, Columnist, poet and author of the book “What Plagues Pakistan?” Lahore, Pakistan


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