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Monday, July 15, 2024

From Quaid e Awam to Quaid e Jawan: Understanding the political leadership of Pakistan

Imran khan inherited the continued instability and security vulnerabilities due to terrorism that made the country halt. Terror-financing parties and ethnic motivated agendas that are active in the major urban areas of Pakistan have caste grave damage to the economic indicators of Pakistan. The entire system was being a stooge for the last four decades serving only the best interests of the corrupt elite and their allies.

It really takes a lifetime to achieve your dreams but in order to achieve the dreams of millions, it is feat that only a few can perform in the whole mankind but among them, there was a great, renowned politician, remarkably efficient barrister and the founder of Pakistan, late Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He had an exceptional vision for the future of politically and economically an infantile nation but unfortunately, his demise left an unwanted blank later filled by the corrupt elite. Coming into the power of this inefficient and corrupt elite the country remained the land of political unrest, instability and chaos.

Their policies were diluted and the interest of the country started struggling to find its due place in the wake of surmounting vested interests of the political leadership. Even the mechanism of good governance, across the board accountability and sovereign institutions in their early stages of stabilizing their roots in the country became the victim of the vested interests of the corrupt elite thus, she could not cement its strong base to contain the policies and interests of the corrupt leadership that crippled the country’s socio-politico and economic well-being.

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Looking at the excerpts from history

The continued chair playing between the bureaucrats and politicians and the induction of a military person in the cabinet as a defense minister opened space for the military to gain power. The continued political unrest and shuffling of powerful positions ultimately invited Ayyub Khan to meddle into the affairs and eventually took the country into the clutches of dictatorship by imposing martial law for the first time in the country’s history.

It was early, the people had positive but faded expectations for the future stability of Pakistan but they again fell into the gyre of despair and unwanted destiny in the wake of the first Martial Law in the country. The hopes of people and the interests of the dear homeland were exploited in the hands of landed gentry and the vested interests of the corrupt elite left public in the state of slavery rather than respected citizens. The traditional, incompetent and corrupt system struck the motherland and sliced it into pieces with the separation of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. It was a shame and utter disappointment for powerful elite who failed to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the state.

When Zulifqar Ali Bhutto assumed the office in his early time period the socio-political stability was not satisfactory due to past account but his leadership skills Bhutto managed to ignite a new ray of hope for Pakistan. Growing inequality among the elite and poor was the reason that the masses started mass movements against the status quo and made Bhutto came to power. Bhutto, the man of brilliance and possessor of the finest intellect was the right statesman to change the fate of the common man. He became pretty successful in achieving public support across the country.

Moreover, Bhutto with his eloquence in speech and charismatic personality he had a great influence over the hearts and minds of a significant portion of the masses. He became successful in achieving the unshakeable trust of the public with his influential speeches repeatedly highlighting the manifesto of his party with chanting slogans of Roti, Kapra and Makan. Keeping the vigilant view of the interests of the people especially rural population that was in majority in the country helped Bhutto to reach at the helm of affairs in the country. It was result of the persuasion campaign imparted by the party’s manifesto and his socialist approach towards Pakistan.

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What were the problems that PM inherited from previous governments?

Similarly, Imran khan also inherited the continued instability and security vulnerabilities due to terrorism that made country on halt. Terror-financing parties and ethnic motivated agendas that are active in the major urban areas of Pakistan have caste grave damage to the economic indicators of Pakistan. The entire system was being a stooge for last four decades serving only the best interests of the corrupt elite and their allies. Resultantly, the country was about to fell into civil war but later she was managed to live. This time the opposition to change status quo came from youth that comprises of 60% of country’s total population. The traditional approach on the side of political elites against the youth of Pakistan failed this time to keep them sit idly.

Now, the youth of Pakistan started to stand firm against the status quo that have left the youth unaddressed. Imran khan’s narrative helped to form an opinion of the youth that they have been kept in negligence and in sheer ignorance. Imran khan now became the utmost priority of the youth to see Him on the seat of premiership thus; he could direct the country’s tyres towards collective prosperity. He wants to industrialize Pakistan in order to create jobs for the youth so that their social status can be improved and their hope in country’s top brass may revive in a positive reinforcement and direction. His ideology, party programs and speeches have always been addressing the youth for it is the most efficient workforce for country’s future. Khan has assured them of Tabdeeli-change.

Similarly, Mr. Bhutto because of his rural worker’s support came to power by influencing the status quo that had crippled the system for last two decades. Bhutto came to power with the assurance of changing the system. He started to arrest the corrupt elite and bureaucracy was being scolded either to work or leave their jobs. Industrialists were being called upon and Bhutto asked them to end profiteering and black marketing as being a prevalent practice of time before him. He addressed the mafias and warned them of not testing his patience and better stay away from poisoning the interests of country at the expense of their polluted interest.

The situation of country reminds me of Lenin that once; he mentioned cartels are the strongest entities that can only be replaced by revolution that needed blood. Like Bhutto was not in power through revolution so cartels started punishing his government by black marketing for which price of wheat and sugar skyrocketed. Economic situation was getting worse in the country and Bhutto was struck by the influence they had in the system but being a civil martial law administrator, he was swift in taking actions against those responsible for such criminal activities.

Not only just economic stakeholders were against Bhutto but also political figures that included religious and ethno political parties stood against Bhutto´s government but they remained incapable as he was being supported by one of the great power on his back. Nixon being a friend of Bhutto always made him aware of any necessary plot that his enemies and opponents were busy in making against him. An attempt of assassination was being formulated with the collaboration and coordination with the nationalist parties of Baluchistan and NWFP with the support of JUI from within the country and Soviet Union, Delhi and Kabul from outside of the country in Iraq.

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With the intentions to take benefit from the socio-political instability, the idea of greater Baluchistan and Pashtunistan got immense support to weaken the political infrastructure of the country. But due to Bhutto’s brilliance and political soundness he played a political game to secure his ground by implementing an alignment policy that made Bugti from Baluchistan and Sherpao from NWFP his allies to weaken the ethnic fervor that was weakening the basis of Pakistan.

With American support and Bhutto’s brilliance all such agendas, propaganda and dreams to divide Pakistan were made a fairy tale. At that time Bhutto proved himself to be the best political player from the team Pakistan. Likewise, the incumbent premier of Pakistan, Imran khan also faced the same repulsions from stakeholders that enjoyed the perks before his coming into the power. All the governmental institutions had remained the servants of status quo but after the arrival of khan at the helm of affairs he experienced tough opposition from the bureaucratic institutions. Nepotism and corruption made bureaucracy on the verge of collapse and entire administrative machinery was incompetent.

Cartels jump for making his government unstable for which prices of wheat and sugar sky rocketed and the economy got serious setbacks due to policies of these cartels. Unlike Bhutto, who was civil law administrator, Kaptaan could not enforce that much power to stabilize the transparency and accountability for the reason behind is the absence of the bureaucratic will. In the early stage of his tenure, Kaptaan in his address to the bureaucracy tried to seek efficiency and honesty at an individual level but still the bureaucracy is leaning on the back foot.

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Lessons that can be learned from Bhutto’s regime

The political and economic elite are struggling hard to put Khan in adversity from the day one but unfortunately have failed to achieve desired goals. All the parties from left to right; PPP, PML-N, BNP and JUI-F stood against khan and this time again the religious and ethnic parties of KPK and Baluchistan stood against the change as status quo best served their interests. Within khan’s government, slogan for separate Baluchistan and KPK has been again on the limelight due to the support of strong political parties that were in the government for last 4 decades.

Khan accountability against the corrupt political elite has been a strong blow to these parties which have lost their significance among the general population. But as emotions and identities play significant roles, ethnic and sectarian politics has been mostly used to counter the Khan’s government. For Bhutto and khan, politics and patriotism are inextricably joined, each bulwark of other.

Cartels and political elites made situation worse for Bhutto in the early two years of his tenure. Provincialism started strengthening in his times, inflation skyrocketed, state funds started depleting and the economy went into a downward trajectory. Administration issues started to emerge and the administrative efficiency was negligible and Karachi became the victim of filth and made life suffocated to live there. This worst situation was imposed on Bhutto to handle within the early two years of his tenure. But his foreign policy achieved unmatchable and remarkable victory that enlist him among one of the greatest diplomats and the finest of negotiators.

Bhutto, being the representative of the third world country managed to achieve his say at the reputed and powerful global institutions. The relations that were hampered previously due to Bangladesh incident with America started getting better due to Bhutto’s rapprochement. China remained a strong strategic ally and positive relations with USSR also restored and in the Muslim World he became an iconic figure as well. In contemporary politics, the situation is much of the same for Kaptaan. From the last two years and recent political opposition in the name of PDM by the same corrupt elite is a challenge with respect to domestic front.

Read more: From Geopolitics to Geo-economics: A policy shift from the policy makers of Pakistan

A worrisome situation in Pakistan is created by monopolists, cartels, and economic elite have caused inflation sky rocket. The strongest mafias of sugar and wheat made both these commodities a dream for the poor. Moreover, there are Administrative and bureaucratic issues that pave a way for unbridled crimes and poor administration. In addition to these issues Pakistan is also struggling hard to contain the decline of economic indicators from plunging downward. But his foreign policy has achieved a much better position. His concerns over the Kashmir cause, Palestine issue, growing Islamophobia, climate change and Muslim unity have better light at global platforms. Mr. Khan has achieved remarkable success to represent Pakistan’s better image to America resultantly, for the first time MR. Trump’s views for Pakistan have a better and a positive outlook.

If we talk about Foreign Policy Mr. Bhutto as well as Mr. Khan shares a common ground.

Change always demands tough opposition for which resilience of leader is needed to stand against the status quo. Both Bhutto and khan enjoyed resilience due to both great enthusiast of cricket, a game of resilience. Their educational exposure from the finest world universities had made them powerful leaders. Their elitist and lavish life had made them understand the elitist mentality for which they became quite successful in dealing with them.

But change hasn’t been easy in human history as it demands blood and sweat. Bhutto was being hanged by the status quo but his work for common individuals made him win the title of Quaid e Awam. But khan has been in power since 2018. Now it is totally up to public especially the youth that either they support their Kaptaan in these hard days or to leave Kaptaan alone on the crease. The Kaptaan of youth and the whole nation deserves to be entitled with Quaid-e-Jawan for his sincerity, responsibility, loyalty, courage, and for awakening youth from a deep sleep.



The writer has graduated from NUML, Islamabad, with a bachelor’s in IR.  Currently, he is working as a research associate affiliated with a Professor at NUML. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space