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Should The People Of Pakistan Support PDM’s Struggle?

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A political scientist is generally not supposed to put up any question so polarized. And even if he is doing so, he must take refuge in some theory. He has to set apart ends from means and analyse them empirically before he can form an opinion. “What is being done?” is what he deals with, but deep in his heart he always remains a philosopher and answers “What should be done?”

The critics of the current government do not want it replaced with another government full of capitalists, landlords, feudalists, misogynists and extremists. If the establishment hijacks people’s political rights using its enormous corporeal power, organisational setup and technological know-how, politicians with a stance of civilian supremacy include people who favour many exploitative structures like patriarchy and class difference. They have people who disrespect women openly on TV shows and advocate a very orthodox and conservative mindset concerning education, freedom, governance and punishments, etc.

In short, there is a blend of oppressors, through one way or another, under the same roof. Similarly, patriarchy is as bad as the establishment, and social and economic emancipation is as much important as political rights.

In the face of these channelised interests of conflicting courses, there is one another related challenge and debate. According to this challenge, the political leadership of PDM is not reliable in achieving the ends of civilian supremacy. They have people who are supposedly feeble and cannot be relied upon in the face of any fruitful offer. As for the last two years, there was a certain rift in one of the main political parties, PML-N, each side with one of the two brothers.

Shehbaz Sharif was allegedly playing a game of reconciliation and compromise with the establishment-backed-government, while Nawaz Sharif did not show any aggression either. What were they waiting for all this time? The scenario clearly tells that they awaited some relief, which they have been not granted after all. In the same way, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) didn’t stand firmly with JUI-F in the Azadi March initiated by the latter.

This back and pro motion of the opposition in the last two years can be understood in a remark made by Finer, where he says there are four levels of military intervention in politics: Influence, Blackmail, Displacement, and Supplantent. In our case, the level of intervention is supposedly third; here, the opposition did consistently grapple to appease the establishment to displace the current government, but failed in doing so and came to the road subsequently. The question now is whether the so-called opposition will continue to struggle for civilian supremacy. If it was offered a back-door or front-door displacement, will it change its aggressive tone? Considering that most of the leaders in this struggle are not much reliable, should they be supported?

An answer to both this political question and other moral and philosophical positions pertaining to exploitative socio-economic structure can be given in a straight go, leading from the former to the latter.

A position that a certain apathy discern is that change must take place but people like Shehbaz Sharif, Fazlur Rehman and Asif Ali Zardari can never bring it. Rather intellectually, based on their previous record, these men can be termed political opportunists. In case they get restored, they might act as the establishment’s partners again. But as a whole, this apathetic position towards the current quasi-revolutionary movement in the country cannot be lived up to very gloriously. The change deemed from this perspective is a change of 180°, and that in a day. While the phenomenon of change is rather slow, gradual and perpetual.

No system can just blow off and turn into a new system. This wave of fantastical change can be termed an idea brought about by the recent populist leaders. It coins progress as an Aristotelian “excluded-the-middle-one” concept, where “A” can only be “A” and can never be anything other than “A”. It portrays a leader as a perfectly moral, in a philosophical way, person, while the opposition is always tried about to be called a complete “dishonest”, “immoral”, “impure” and “non-identical”. And according to this “excluded-the-middle-one” concept, when a populist leader fails to deliver, most of the middle-class citizens fall into apathy; potentially, they can’t expect that the previously complete-immoral person can actually add something into the Hegelian March of God.

“Change” is a phenomenon that never changes. It always goes on. Each day and each stage, masses make choices, and their accumulative choice is being taken ahead by “change” to give them a result the next day.

What choices do people have today? They have either to chant on the whistle of a military establishment or support the struggle for civilian supremacy. Along with that, there is one genuine fear: the opposition may withdraw right from the battlefield. In case they, or some of them, turn backwardly, people again will have choices to make. They can push, criticise and bring them into scrutiny through one way or another. At this phase, if the opposition has conciliated with the establishment, the struggle for civil supremacy should demand a grapple against the newly established military-political set-up rather than opposing the struggle for civil supremacy.

In other words, people should hold on to their ideals, whether political or socio-economic, rather than emotionally supporting politician’s slogans; leaders should be masses’ faces, not vice versa.

Concomitantly, every choice made has a relation, either direct or inverse, with every other choice to be made. In a row, there are ideals of non-violence, gender equality, freedom, social and economic justice and a real democratic form of government. Relatively, the current blow in the country is a struggle for the restoration of democracy, but this is not the complete truth.

For all the struggling politicians, democracy means mere an electoral process, without military intervention, while keeping the patriarchic and socio-economic structures untouched; this what grants them benefits. But unless the exploitative fetters are shattered down, no real democracy can ever be realised.

The questions raised here, as in the title, are: Should people of different factions, ideals, ethnicities and identities support this struggle? What impact will their choice, that they make today, have upon their ideals that they will ever achieve? In the face of all these contradictions, apathy can never be favored. Choices must be made, with careful consideration that what options will bring people close to their ultimate utopias.

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Naya Daur