September 12, 2007
Struggling to live peacefully
SENATOR SANAULLAH BALOCH(write to columnist)
Pakistan is in turmoil, political unrest continues to grip the multi-ethnic country of 165 million, where the military ruler wants to get elected again as a president in uniform, overruling the fundamentals of democracy, federalism and constitution.
Although, vibrating society, political parties and even recently librated judiciary in Pakistan are trying hard to replace with democracy, the establishment seems less shaky due to sturdy and unrestrained global support to the present dispensation.
Musharaf’s fresh determination to hold on to power was demonstrated by the authorities in Islamabad on Monday, September 10, 2007, when Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister and enemy number one to the Musharraf was arrested and deported to Saudi Arabia in defiance of the apex court's orders.
Eight years of military rule have resulted in deep polarisation between the military and the people, where citizens no longer identify themselves with the State and its policies. In the restless Pakistan the political situation is volatile and deeply fragmented, institutions are confronted, military establishment lost its battle against judiciary, regime is in war with its own citizens, extremism is growing, social standards are falling, economic activities and FDIs are on decline, energy crisis is mounting, inflation is rising, political dissidents and representatives of smaller provinces have been persecuted and rule of law is missing.
The unhappy scenario is the outcome of totalitarianism, an outdated and flawed system that is anti-thesis of democracy, peace, prosperity and political stability. This highly centralised and military-oriented form of government is breeding detestation and socio-political disorder.
This regime's inconsistent and harsh policies have failed to produce the desired results domestically and internationally. Balochistan conflict continues to haunt the nation, infiltration from northern Balochistan and tribal region into Afghanistan is unchecked, Afghan refugee camps and their no-go areas in Quetta are untouched. Religious schools are growing swiftly in moderate Baloch nationalist areas, where security forces are intimidating those demanding political and economic empowerment of province.
Situation in FATA is even worse. In the last 60 years successive governments have deliberately ignored to open up and introduce political reforms in federally administrative tribal area, which is gradually transformed in to "Talibanistan".
Simmering unrest in resource rich and second largest populated Sindh province has been unnoticed by many political analysts. Sindhi's are politically alienated and their social and economic participation is restricted to rural Sindh. Well literate youths from Sindhi and Baloch origin have been denied job opportunities in the Karachi.
Baloch and Sindhi regions which are a supply source of 94 percent natural gas, total coast and commercial life line of country, are totally unrepresented in federal jobs like in gas companies, port and shipping, steel mill, coast guard and Pakistan navy.
Socio-economic and political priorities in multi-ethnic Pakistan are not arranged on a fair and transparent scale. Evident political and economic inequality is widening the gap among the communities and regions. Political questions are being responded by an absolute force. Human and basic rights are not been recognised and intimidation is the only tool to keep dissidents silent.
Repeated military rule and ethno-curacy in Pakistan has shattered the very basics of political affairs, where over centralised military lead regime employs desired and unpopular policies by force on non-core groups.
Society in Pakistan is divided on ethnic, sectarian and regional lines. Resource less Punjab province is "peaceful" and thriving, however, population in resource rich and strategically significant states of Sindh and Balochistan are starving.
Proposed extra constitutional move by the president to continue as the ruler will further intensify the crisis in the volatile region where international community is engaged to stabilise Afghanistan, eliminate Al-Qaeda and tame Iran to act politely. If Musharraf managed to continue as president then another battle is to begin afterwards where political parties, lawyers and the civil society in Pakistan will launch an anti-military and pro-democracy movement.
International community has to relate its policies with the people of a particular country. In present global situation external actors are more central than locals to produce the desired results. Pushing Pakistan towards a restive scenario needs mature thrust by both domestic and international players. Institutional freedom, supremacy of the constitution, civilian rule, respecting the rights of ethnic groups and accepting the principle of ethnic-democracy is the way out of quagmire.
There can be no explanation and excuse to support an authoritarian regime at the cost of democracy and rule of law. Global community must rethink and should back an open, transparent, participatory political system in Pakistan to avoid any setback.
Article reported from Baloch Unity
Posted by Naxal Watch at 10:21 AM