Pakistan, after 70 years of independence, has seen a change in the rule from martial law to civilian rule several times.
But in this age and time the political and economic chaos we are in, is it the result of careless optimism and careless despair?
We live in an imperfect world where priorities and preferences change with the changing attitudes and personal aspirations. The ones with the power and authority are able to make the imperfections of this world work in their favor, while the ones that are not so fortunate enough, have to live with those imperfections and accept the harsh reality that the future is not so bright for them.
These unfortunate persons or the ones that are deprived of basic amenities for most of their lives have not done and seen anything positive in their livelihoods, as a result, they not just become skeptical of the future but also become whiners.
Having said that I don’t blame them because no matter how bad things get the ones in power and authority don’t suffer in any way in Pakistan and still are able to get the perks that even the developed nations don’t offer in normal circumstances.
The result is that we have a very divided society which is becoming ever more intolerant of each other without even listening what the other group of people has to say and do not take facts into account
When the people in power and authority as well as the ruling elite don’t suffer the pain and understand how hard is it for ordinary people to put bread on the table, nothing much is going to change.
We learn from history that authoritarian developments relied upon the unequivocal steadfastness of the majority of “sleeping masses” who felt disappointed and deserted by a framework they saw to be “deceitful” and degenerate as in the case of previous PPP & PML (N) governments or worked in favour of PPP & PML (N) governments against martial law governments.
These masses sprang to the help of a pioneer like for instance Imran Khan in Pakistan who made them feel they have a say in Pakistani politics and stand against the corrupt or in the past Nawaz Sharif & Benazir Bhutto who stood against army rulers.
Read more: Pakistani Democracy: From Electoral Politics to Governance
We need to see it clearly enough that the leaders in Pakistan manipulate masses and institutions by fear of economic hardships, fear of prosecution of the elite and social isolation that leads the masses to believe the false narrative “us-against-them” in simple terms either you are with us or against us.
The irony is that what is presented to us, as reality is not what it seems.
Let me be devils advocate, for instance, lets suppose the current government of PTI who even after being in power for over a year blames the previous governments for the economic mess we are in all the time even if it is; the joint opposition blames the current government for this mess; the current Islamabad Dharna (sit-in) by JUI (F) is using the religion card where they demand Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation in a non-democratic way and want the masses to believe he is working for the Jews.
Is this how the totalitarian ruler emerges or the actions they take to come into power?
Because we have seen that either we look at the masses that follow the previous ruling elite or the present elite, they submit to their will and do not question them no matter what they did or do.
The result is that we have a very divided society which is becoming ever more intolerant of each other without even listening to what the other group of people has to say and do not take facts into account.
Some of the key conditions that connect the dots and are helping the cause of totalitarianism are increasing hostility toward ruling elites, army dictators, sectarian divide and mainstream political parties.
The ones with the power and authority are able to make the imperfections of this world into perfections in their favor
I believe why this trend has intensified over the years is that in Pakistan alienation of the masses from government coupled with the willingness of alarming numbers of people to abandon facts or to “escape from reality into fiction”, are some of the catalysts.
Unless the people with authority and power are answerable to the masses and the law of the land is the same for everyone there’s no chance of change. But here another question arises what about the ones that dispense the law, their past conduct and affiliations with the ruling elite and as a result have the whole system become compromised?
How are the judges appointed, then go on to become high court judges and finally land in the Supreme Court?
We need to look at it and change the selection process as it’s not giving timely relief to the common masses but only the elite.
Read more: Politics of Sharifs and history of NROs in Pakistan
Does the system work in favor of the highest bidder or/and the ruling elite no matter what their wrongdoing?
In such a scenario the masses are left with what’s been chosen and decided for them by the people in power and authority. The reason being that because the true essence of democracy is that it empowers ordinary citizens while in Pakistan it’s totally the opposite.
Sultan Suleman is Director at SS Headway Consulting, Seoul, S.K. He is a motivational mentor and entrepreneur. Views in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.