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Pakistan’s instable political order



The Islamabad High Court, on Thursday, disqualified Foreign Minister KhawajaAsif from holding a public office for his entire life. Khwaja was held guilty of being an employee of a UAE-based company while holding cabinet berth in Pakistan. He was accused of using the “Aqama” (job with UAE company) as means to hide his corrupt practices. He is the fourth high-profile politician, who has been declared outlaw for any political or government posting in Pakistan. In July last year, country’s Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef was booted out of politics for life by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the similar charges. Two other senior-most politicians and senators—Jahangir Tareen (late) of Imran Khan’s PTI and NehalHashmi of ruling Muslim League too have been shown the doors. For his part, Imran Khan narrowly escaped such disqualification. Pakistani politicians are alleged to be worst regional corruption offenders. Dozens of its leaders are facing charges in the country’s court and Accountability Commission (Ihtisaab Bureau). The Cor­ru­p­tion Perceptions Index 2017, released by the Transparency International in February this year, has placed Pakistan at the rank of 117 out of 180 countries, with no major change from 2016 when the country was ranked 116 out of 176 countries. There comes a time in the life of nations when their leaders have to think differently, act selflessly and conduct themselves more in the interest of the country rather than advancing their individual agendas. But Pakistan and its political leadership are different. They are more concerned about their personal and political agendas than the stability of the country. Given the enormous challenges Pakistan is facing in terms of internal security, a distressed economy and many other ills, one had expected that its leadership within and outside the government would accord precedence taking the country out of this mess but it is sad commentary on the conduct of the Pakistani leadership that nation means little to them . They lack all the decency and dignity that is needed for building the country internally and internationally. They are yet to learn the art of tolerance while talking to their opponents. It has been observed that on the assembly floor, in talk shows and during public speeches they use abusive language against their opponents and insult each other vilest of vile words. Ironically, Imran Khan—who many people had thought could be a saviour—is no exception. Bilal Bhutto, the chief of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) some time back, blasted Khan for th introducing the culture of abuses and languages. Khan is also known as Dharna man of Pakistan. Khan has virtually held Pakistan to ransom by holding mass protests and dharnas—choking the country’s commercial centres and city hubs more often than not. Khan’s protest politics started on the premise that the country’s general elections that brought Nawaz Sharief to power in 2013 were rigged. There is a common refrain in Pakistan’s intellectual circles that Imran Khan wantsti become the prime minister of Pakistan without going through the electoral test. It is anybody’s guess that Khan is clearly working towards destabilizing the government. His planned protests and tacit alliance with political forces with similar ambitions clearly indicates his intent. His lament on electoral malpractices is spot on, but is far short of the complete list of possibilities that must be included to update the political system to its current-day needs. He should instead work towards gaining a broad-spectrum treatment of Pakistan’s political ills, not merely fight to gain power. Such an approach will get him popular acceptability. Pakistan is scheduled to go for general elections in a few months. Imran Khan has an opportunity to influence the peoples’ opinion in his favor by making positive political moves.