Political stability

Memogate has brought the country to a virtual standstill. It is as if an unsigned memo has erased all other issues from our memories. The civilian government is under pressure while there is a motivated campaign to bring about a clash between state institutions. Rumourmongers might have had a field day with the Memogate issue but it is now clear that it was an issue that should never have taken up so much of our energies. Prime Minister Gilani is right when he said that the Memogate fiasco should come to an end following the statement of General James Jones. Those who were wishing for a clash between the military and the government would also be disappointed after army chief General Kayani called President Zardari and enquired about his health. At the time of writing these lines, President Zardari was reportedly coming back to Pakistan. Now that the president is coming back, the issue of his health should be put to rest once and for all. Tensions, if any, between the military and the government seem to have been defused.

Pakistani politics is strange. On the one hand our politicians say they do not want to derail the system but on the other they end up doing exactly that. The PML-N’s petition on the memo issue led to a plethora of controversies. The PML-N claims that knocking on judicial doors was the right of every citizen. Granted that the judiciary is there to protect the rights of the people of Pakistan but taking a political matter to the judiciary was uncalled for. Apart from the PML-N’s petition, Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Chaudhry has taken suo motu notice on a letter by a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, and issued notices to President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani, ISI chief General Shuja Pasha, former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani, the attorney general of Pakistan and others. According to the letter, “Our national security is at stake now [due to the memo] and the politicians are just making fun of each other by asking so-called committees to conduct inquiry…” What the applicant failed to realise is that the veracity of the said memo has so far not been confirmed and parliament is supreme. Thus, a parliamentary committee’s findings should be respected. Such unsubstantiated allegations would not benefit Pakistan; instead they might just lead to further chaos. What Pakistan needs right now is stability and economic development. If the government is constantly under threat of being ousted by undemocratic means, how will it function properly? It is beyond comprehension why we are so impatient as a nation. If the government performs dismally, it can be voted out in the next general elections, which are only 15 months away in any case. The people of Pakistan need to exercise their right to vote in or out a government. No other method or ploy should be used to oust democratically elected governments. Democracy is necessary to address Pakistan’s woes. To undermine democracy is to undermine the people’s power and is a downright insult to the Pakistani nation.

Pakistan cannot afford another military dictatorship. All four dictators who ruled the country left us in a bigger mess. Let democracy prevail.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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