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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Is Imran Khan dividing Pakistan?

We are a truly divided nation that cannot rise if the gaps are not removed. Massive corruption has consumed the future of the coming generations. Loans combined with loot are a deadly combination. Pakistan and its civilian institutions have to be revived to serve the people.

Khawaja Asif a stalwart of PML-N during his address in the dirt-laden parliament complained that Imran Khan (IK) was dividing the nation. He also objected to the remarks of the member of the Canadian parliament regarding the visit of the Army Chief to his country. The Khawaja from Sialkot usually shoots from the hip with all kinds of loose talk. He once called one of the lady members ‘Tractor Trolley’ but later had to apologize and took his words back but the damage had been done. But this time he was right. Indeed, IK wants to create a divide between the corrupt and the incorruptible. He desires to restore the purity in the land of the pure by eliminating corruption. Without this division, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has no future.

Unfortunately, as a nation, Pakistan has always experienced this divide between the have and have not, classes and the masses, rulers and the ruled. At the time of partition in August 1947, we inherited an exploitative colonial system of governance. The founding fathers decided to reform the prevalent system instead of replacing it. Till the first martial law in 1958, those in authority understood the ground realities and provided relief to the common man but the system remained lopsided with no accountability of the rulers.

The master and slave mentality continued, those who were in the system benefitted at the cost of the outsiders. When Bhutto parted ways with his mentor the first usurper, he demanded social equality. In 1967 when he announced his People’s Party, he promised major reforms. Once in power in truncated Pakistan, he introduced several changes. The 1973 constitution was formulated to protect the individual rights of free citizens. Right to travel was granted with a total overhaul of the Passport Directorate.

Read more: Pakistan Politics: Race to the bottom

The democratic era was short-lived (1971 to 1977)

In the eighties, the country experienced the tussle for power between Bhutto’s heir Benazir and Zia’s protege Nawaz. In order to compete with the financial power of Nawaz, Benazir allowed her husband to indulge in money-making while she looked the other way. He was called Mr. 10%. When the fourth dictator decided to go after both of them, they agreed on a unified front called the ‘Charter of Democracy’ which in fact turned into the Charter of Corruption under Asif Zardari. Currently, the showdown is between those who are under the ‘Corruption Charter’ and those who oppose it.

The division is clear and visible, it is tormenting not only Khawaja Asif but others in the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) as well. There is a famous Punjabi saying, Gina Kadian Gazarian Auna They Third Which Peer (Those who eat carrots complain of a stomach ache). I am sure Khawaja Safdar, Asif’s father never experienced this pain as he was an upright politician who struggled in the opposition against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan.

It is truly a divided nation that cannot rise but then the gaps have to be removed. Massive corruption has consumed the future of the coming generations. Loans combined with loot are a deadly combination. Pakistan and its civilian institutions have to be revived to serve the people. Even the sovereignty of the country has been compromised.

Read more: Senate Elections – Welcome to Pakistan Politics!

The enemy is within which has to be identified and weeded out

As a Muslim League child, I have witnessed the divisions within the founding party of the country. The first ‘Sarkari League was named by the dictator Pakistan Muslim League (Convention). Then came the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) an outcome of the Zia Dark Ages. By organizing an ethnic political outfit called Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) another dangerous divide was created. The fourth dictator played his role by carving out Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid). Divide after divide has been the norm in the land of the pure while corruption skyrocketed and consumed the meager resources of the nation.

Political parties are based on ideology otherwise they turn into ‘Interest Groups’. In the checkered political arena of the republic, only two parties were conceived and launched in Lahore while others came out of Gate No. 4 of GHQ. In 1967 it was Bhutto’s People’s Party and in 1996 it was Imran’s Tehreek-e-Insaf rest were created to divide and rule with Khawaja Asif being a lead player in this role of creating ‘Political Divisions’.

Read more: Behind the façade in Pakistan’s politics

While PML (Q) has never revolted against its benefactors, PML (N) tried to break loose but then finally decided to go back into the laps of the establishment from where it emerged in the decade of the eighties. Pakistan was envisioned as a sovereign democracy where corruption was to be contained and despised for a unified nation to emerge but it lost track. After 75 years in the wilderness, Imran is leading the charge from where Bhutto had left. Real freedom at last and a unified nation is the way forward.




The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at  fmaliks@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.