Let Democracy Grow: No More Experiments Please

Winston Churchill once said, “It is always dangerous for soldiers, sailors, or airmen to play at politics. They enter a sphere in which the values are quite different from those to which they have hitherto been accustomed.”

Here’s a scenario. Elections are over, a new Prime Minister is elected.  The new prime minister forms his initial cabinet and team of experts.  Then, he is invited to the country’s real power center – the army headquarters.  When he arrives with his small contingent of advisors and aides, he is received by the commander-in-chief and other senior officers.  The public, in their homes, restaurants, and public places watch live as their new prime minister is given the guard of honor, then seen shaking hands with high-ranking officers before being escorted to a conference room to receive briefings on security matters from the military and intelligence top brass. The high-ranking commanders walk behind respectfully, as officials of any subordinate institution should. Thereafter, TV screens show footage of the new PM chairing a meeting of commanders as the latter brief him.  After this, people watch as the PM enjoys refreshments, and indulges in friendly chats, sharing jokes with his team and the military top brass.

These are footages that masses all over the world like to see in democracies each time a new political party wins an election and assumes power.

But not in Pakistan. No sir, here people prefer much more to watch Netflix instead, or simply to turn off their televisions. This is because the people in Pakistan know very well that what they are being made to see on their TV screens is simply a badly scripted and a clumsily directed drama, which replays in fits and spurts every few years, regardless of the fact that the system has been derailed umpteen times. Yet, we the people are forced each time to believe that this time everything is exactly as it should be in a democratic country!

Two and half years into coming into power, the Prime Minister of Pakistan – after pushing the country into chaos, destroying its economy, ravaging the country’s relations with its traditional allies, burdening the country with huge national and international debt, etc. – is now accepting before the masses that these blunders were simply due to his and his team’s lack of experience and misunderstanding of “ground realities”. He would be doing a better job if he was given time to prepare before his taking over the office, like the newly elected US President Jow Biden. Who will tell the PM that that’s simply not the way things are here in Pakistan, and that is all too clear. Pakistan is a parliamentary system and the PM takes office from the day he/she takes the oath. Moreover, it is certainly the case that the PM’s team is full of veteran turncoat politicians who have served many dictatorships and his political opponents’ governments before him. In the face of these facts, his set of excuses quite lack credibility. His statement, at best, is simply a confession of his incapabilities, lack of governance skills, and failure as a leader.

Pakistan must be spared from new experiments of creating “patriots” and “good guys” to run its affairs using tactics like declaring martial laws, creating “hybrid” systems and creating governments of blue-eyed and inexperienced people.