The Heart of the Matter
Dr.Rasheed Hasan Khan
More than six decades of skewed political practice has resulted in a peculiar political culture in Pakistan. On all public forums, speakers never tire of paying endless lip service to Democracy and its blessings for the people. Yet despite the homilies, there are today many sacred cows which are deemed to be beyond criticism or reproach. This anomalous situation has its roots in the chequered political history of the country.
Granted that one cannot fight with the past and undo it. But it is only by objectively analyzing past mistakes and assigning due responsibility to individuals and institutions in acts of omission and commission and charting a future course of action in the light of the lessons learned, that the nation can chart its way out of the abyss it is finding itself in. No individual or institution need take umbrage or feel threatened by this process of self examination because without it, the nation would be doomed to endlessly repeat the mistakes of the past.
Those who consider this unacceptable must in all fairness come forward with an alternate proposal which should help to identify past mistakes and suggest ways and means to rectify the political course for the future. For far too long has the ruling elite hidden away its mistakes by raising the bogey of a threat to national security or other catastrophic results. The truth is that in every instance in the past, the whole world i.e. all except the people of Pakistan, knew everything about these “sensitive” and so called critical issues.. It is now time to abandon the disastrous past practice of discouraging criticism and sweeping the dirt under the carpet.
Apologists for the status quo also argue that six decades are a fraction of the time it took the democracies in the west to evolve. Agreed, but why is it that neighboring countries like India and China ignored when a comparative study of political evolution is made. One is an example of political and the other of economic development in about six decade The answer is very obvious. It can be said without fear of contradiction that the main determinant of the future of any policy is its orientation. We cannot hope to reach East by traveling Westwards. If democracy is to be established and consolidated in Pakistan then democratic norms must prevail in the country without exception. All individuals and institutions must be equal before law. All special prerogatives and privileges which run counter to the principal of accountability must be abrogated. The heart of the matter is, can Pakistan emerge from the morass of its anti-democratic past or will it remain entrapped therein while the rest of world marches on ?