Bertrand Russell the British philosopher defined power as ‘the ability to produce intended effects’. This ability is definitely not lacking in the Prime Minister in making Imran Khan and it is for the fear of this ability and what this ability might translate into (political, social and economic) action that two ideologically extremely opposite political parties have joined hands in the grand opposition to combat and resist ‘IKs ability to produce any intended effects’.
What are these effects? And why is it important for PML (N) and PPP to join hands to politically impede and prevent IK from producing the effects the dream of his 22 years long political struggle? If the effects are well intended and focused on putting the genie of ‘corruption, nepotism, poor governance, favoritism, mismanagement of the economy, struggling foreign policy, regional and international isolation back in the bottle why should any politics in its right mind object to that?
There are big hopes that the people have attached with IKs politics – which they presume will bring in lightning, thunder, and storm in Pakistani politics – they await a never seen before political reform
To understand the effects, we need to first understand the ‘unlikely political truce’ that has taken place between the two mainstream political parties the PPP and the PML(N). This unnatural political equilibrium is a result of ‘deafening clamor of accountability’ that both these parties have heard well in advance and which is now absolutely loud and clear. Like in military warfare in politics too ‘when threatened’ it is time to ‘regroup and reorganize forces’.
Imran’s genius lies in his personality which is most eloquently described by Shakespeare’s quote in his drama King Henry V – ‘If it is sin to covet honour than I am the most offending man alive.’ Honour, pride and dignity guides IKs politics and it is under these principles that a vast majority of the electorate expects the knight of ‘politics of morality’ to throw a ‘challenge of political survival’ to the kings of ‘real politics’.
Nothing but the ‘desire for political survival’ and preventing the fall from political grace harnesses these ‘conductors of real politics’ together. These survivors of the old political power characterized by individualism, oppression, subjugation, secrecy, corruption, accumulation and an army of court jesters are set to meet the tsunami of the new political power based on the values of inclusion, participation, cooperation, accountability, collaboration, transparency and commitment to public service.
This is not the first time that the loud voices of rigging have been raised in a post-election developing political scenario in this country. Had the likely ‘intended effects’ that the incoming government wants to create were doubtful then a vast majority of the people would have galloped to be on the side of the combined opposition and supported their questioning of the poor conduct of elections and failure of the election commission to stop and prevent rigging during the elections.
Let there be no doubt that neither the national needs and interests nor the economic and financial implications (courtesy- the PPP and PML(N) poor governance in the democracy decade) are well served by the creation of this absolutely polarized political arrangement. The enormity and difficulty of our national tasks demand more political cooperation and collaboration than political polarization.
There are big hopes that the people have attached with IKs politics which they presume will bring in lightning, thunder, and storm in Pakistani politics they await a never seen before political reform. The opposition, on the other hand, is all set to create as many political hurdles as possible to ensure that IKs ‘intended political storm and its effects’ only ends up as a ‘light political drizzle’.
It is only when the civil government and the military gel together that they will be able to achieve the greatest of their combined civil-military accomplishment – ‘restoration of national pride’.
Who is making the right political choice? Can this country afford another political deadlock at this stage? Will the Democrats again tyrannize democracy and the people it represents with the false choices they will make and which only their personal and parties benefits represent?
One can only assume that the military would again be indulged in politics not because it wants to but only because it is the most powerful and the most influential force especially when it acts on the behest of a democratically elected government. If the IK government and the military can quickly move into a very harmonized civil-military relationship based on the principles of ‘respect, empower and inclusion’ their combined influence may result in most national accomplishments which both the politics and the military considers most essential but which have been shelved and delayed because of intellectual timidity and lack of political imaginations.
IK will have very little time to adapt he has to in a very short while understand the greatly transformed and altered geopolitical scenario. Most of our problems stem from lack of or threat to our security. IK must activate the National Security Council (NSC) and let the security establishment know upfront that he does not want to end up as a leader ‘who did not fulfill his promises who lied to the people’.
The civil-military antipathy results only from policy differences If policy will be discussed and debated in NSC the only differences that will emerge will be the differences discussed in the room and they should stay there. For the public policy will be what will be given a go-ahead once decided and approved by the head of the government. IK would also do well to remember American President George Washington’s famous aphorism, “to be prepared for war is the most effectual means to promote peace” and also his assertion that “diplomacy is utterly useless when there is no force behind it”.
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For IK it is important to understand that gaining victory in the elections was an important phase of his political campaign the other and more important phase would be to exploit this victory and that would be only possible if he is able to build a truly blending and complementing relationship with the military. It is only when the civil government and the military gel together that they will be able to achieve the greatest of their combined civil-military accomplishment – ‘restoration of national pride’. The combined opposition may raise the cries of rigging in the parliament and outside on the streets but in time with ‘restored national pride’ the nation will fathom these cries.
Lt Col(R) Muhammad Ali Ehsan is a PhD and specializes in the subject of Civil-Military Relations. He had a vast command and staff experience in military from where he retired in 2010. He has been an instructor in Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and is also a graduate from Command and staff College Quetta. Presently he is employed as a member of teaching faculty at National Defence Universiy Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.