Political parties & establishment | By Tariq Aqil
Political parties and establishment
It is an open secret that the powerful establishment in tandem with the superior judiciary has played a major role in the political process in Pakistan and has always been the power behind the throne during the rule of any elected government.
Starting from the (very) famous doctrine of necessity invented by Judge Munir, the military coup of Ayub Khan and the subsequent martial laws of Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf and finally the hybrid regime of Imran Khan and his Departures.
Since the birth of Pakistan, the blatant interference of the establishment reads like a work of romantic thriller fiction and for the most part they have played the role of the third empire and almost every political party has looked to them for get their support and help to come into Power.
Frankly, the oligarchy that rules Pakistan has been the main obstacle to establishing a democratic order in Pakistan.
Since independence, the establishment has dictated all national and international policies and priorities.
They also set the rules for dealing with the United States and India or how to deal with China and Saudi Arabia and Kashmir politics and nuclear politics have been the preserve of the establishment.
The members of this closed club of the establishment are serving and retired generals, serving and opposition politicians, ambassadors and diplomats and, of course, members of the upper judiciary.
This group has played the most important role in shaping the destiny of the country and despite the democratic system continues to be the most powerful institution in the country with the power to overthrow democratically elected civilian governments.
In recent history, the Sharif brothers were groomed, fed and then launched into politics by military dictator Zia-ul-Haq to counter PPP rule in Punjab.
The Sharif family received the full support and patronage of Zia-ul-Haq and managed to build their industrial and business empire during this period after Bhutto’s nationalization policies and succeeded in becoming a very powerful political force in the country .
Imran Khan has always mocked the Sharif brothers for being a product of the military establishment while ignoring the fact that his PTI also came to power with the blessing of the establishment.
The IJI or Islami Jamhoori Itehad in the 1980s was hand made by the establishment and the ISI doled out huge sums of money to political leaders to prevent the PPP from gaining a majority in Parliament .
After his ouster from power by General Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif learned from past mistakes and joined forces with Benazir Bhutto to sign the Democracy Charter to strengthen the rule of democracy.
The PPP’s mandate was upheld by the PML-N in the 2008 elections and the PMLN demonstrated political savvy by supporting the 18th Amendment thus strengthening the nation’s unifying units.
Nawaz Sharif was removed from office for the second time in less than two decades and he has vowed to wage a relentless fight for the supremacy of Parliament and this position has boosted his popularity not only in Punjab but also in smaller provinces.
The Sharif brothers’ long streaks in politics as Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab, however, have brought no significant improvement or end to the role of the establishment.
The establishment’s most recent adventure dates back to 2018, when Imran Khan’s hybrid regime was brought together to form a coalition government to rule the country.
The honeymoon of the establishment and the PTI ended in three years without doubt on the question of the appointment of the new DG ISI.
Imran Khan’s PTI government was shown the door through a democratic legal and constitutional process of votes of no confidence.
The newly established political order in the country is once again dependent on the powerful establishment.
Economic growth is slowing down, poverty levels are rising, prices are rising, unemployment is rising and there is a sense of hopelessness among educated youth.
Like the PTI ministers, the coalition ministers only blame the PTI regime for the current troubles and troubles.
They make high claims of corruption in the previous government, but fail miserably, like Imran Khan, to provide concrete evidence to the courts to prosecute the accused.
The current coalition has a very slim majority and through its unpopular actions could face crushing defeat in the next election if it fails to bring immediate relief to the common man.
It goes without saying that for a united, prosperous and progressive Pakistan, the establishment must end its political role and must realize once and for all that the role of the defense forces is to defend the country’s borders and not to govern the country. country.
It would be wishful thinking to believe that the establishment will have no role but it must limit itself to playing a role defined in the Constitution for each pillar of the State.
Political parties should operate without instructions from undemocratic state stakeholders.
—The author is a professor of history, based in Islamabad.