Dialogue, Dialogue and Dialogue
Yesterday’s meeting of Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif for a luncheon at Jaati Umra, Raiwind will be marked as historic moment in the history of Pakistan. The luncheon with seven courses comprising numerous exotic dishes was arranged to end the animosity that has been prevailing the air for last five years, in spite of the fact that Meesaq-i-Jamhooriat (pact of unconditional support for each other) had occurred between the two. Practically PML(N) had cooperated with PPP to pass all proposedbills of constitutional amendments, but Mr. Shahbaz as CM of Punjab had continuously maintained abusive and scolding behavior towards Mr.Zardari. The latter had never responded aggressively; Mr. Zardari did not react even at the insult, when he was called uninvited on the funeral of one of other Sharifs –Abbas. It seems that he had learned to endure and be patient in his long term jail. Zardari has evolved as the guru, who had all recipes in his political goodie bag to rectify serious political issues; yesterdays’ meetings are the proof of this claim.
However, it is yet to be examined how sane are the guru’s advices. The guru has advised the PM not to resign and complete his term, as majority of parliament and Senate still supports him. Prescribed remedy for deadlock is “dialogue, dialogue and dialogue.” I wonder how this recipe will work as we have seen it failing continuously. Recently, we have watched PML(N) government failing in talks with Pakistani Taliban, which were so inconclusive that the army had to start the operation without taking the civil government in confidence. It is followed by yet another disaster, i.e. constant failure of the government to engage PTI and PAT in productive dialogue. The serious catastrophe is looming in the air, in terms of dialogue with Indian government on river water and dams issue. What if we fail there as well? Being a concerned citizen of Pakistan how can I express confidence in a government, who cannot successfully address local issues and how I can trust that they will handle international issues amicably. Considering this serious incompetency, I wonder whether the guru’s advice is a petty treachery or a friendly council. We all know there is lot of personal grievances piled at Zardari’s end which are yet to be settled, if he minds them seriously. After all for him: “Democracy is the best revenge”.
On the other hand, the serious minded analysts in the country regard government’s strategy as non-serious and devoid of any planning and strategy. They hold the PML(N) government responsible for the looming up of this crisis to the point of no-return. PML(N)’s strategy has been of denial and passive avoidance, as if it was all a number’s game only. The huge congregations in Faisalabad and Bahawalpur did not wake them from slumber; instead they had step up at another dragon accidently on June 17, 2014. Not only the government had allowed the monsters to grow, it was unable to take any proactive step. Complementing denial the government is also showing competing attitude rather than a conceding onein container game. It has dug its head deep in sand and there is no reaction at India’s constant firing at our Punjab borders.
The PML(N) government is behaving in a way that shows serious inability to multi-task and engage people on various fronts. Pre-occupied with Azadi March and Inquilab March, It seems to be oblivious of the international situation especially that of Gaza and Middle East, it has ignored proper attending to IDPs as well. The bureaucracy at this moment seems crippled and tongue tied; or this defiance is another type of “civil disobedience”, as observed in the resignation of IG Police Islamabad. It has become obvious that officers are skeptic of obeying orders these days; the people in bureaucracy are leaving or are forced to leave crippling the whole system. No one man rule can govern mammoth population of 190 million. Considering this malady, I wonder what does the huge mandate means for the ruling party, to rule unconditionally without any interruption, or to be accountable for their acts to the public. Democracy does not allow unconditional rule. Dialogues and negotiations are its essential part as Mr. Zardari has tried to make aware Mr. Nawaz Sharif of the dire outcomes.
Negotiations are not done with likeminded people; we have agreements and contracts with them like “Messaq-i-Jamhooriat”. We need to express accommodation and/or compromise in negotiations, especially if the other party has some grievances to settle. On the other hand, considering the cases of PTI & PAT, we witness a serious lack of trust in the government; it has been a major inhibiting force in continuation of dialogue. Moreover, it is not just the negotiating team, all party workers and leaders have expressed aggressive and competing attitude on media and roads rather than an empathic one. The CM and the PM had not apologized to the citizens of Pakistan on brutal murder of 14 people on the streets of Lahore, as if “they were the citizens of lesser god” and they had no stake in this country as citizens of Pakistan. Moreover, the talks with them clearly hint that they would not be awarded with the due compensation. The voice of poor victims is also ringing in the back complaining of bounced pay-cheques from the Punjab government. The governing party people has a hostile attitude towards the aggressors trying to downplay them either by force of gullu butts or aggressive rhetoric, accusing the opposition either of conspiracy theories or challenging them in game of numbers. This is a total failure of the sanity and sanctity of a powerful government, who has earned two/third majority in the parliament; how it could be taken hostage by a group of hoodlums?
The constitutional reforms achieved by previous government do not allow any third force to meddle in affairs. However, they have taken control of the capital city to avoid civil unrest. But how much patience will be exercised and till when? I am not worried about the people sitting in dharana, but the charged people on the roads of Pakistan unsupervised by their leaders may act as unguided missiles. A slight mistake can go viral; we are sitting on a political bomb ticking wildly, but no one is sure how to take the lead switch out. Although PML(N) is projecting face saving for PTI & PAT. In reality they are in dire need of it themselves. Every day, they are losing more and more to their opposing parties, not only to PTI and PAT but to PPP as well, who have whitewashed themselves, getting exclusive air-time on media and regaining the confidence of their vote bank. PTI leaders are also getting unlimited coverage on media and charisma of Imran Khan is mesmerizing more and more people each day.
How much they may deny PML(N) is in double jeopardy; the blaming they do is automatically countered by the visuals media shows. They should concede to the truth that Azadi and Inquilab March had happened and they have engaged more than million people during the journey from Lahore to Islamabad that was completed in more than 40 hours. They maintain a crowd of considerable number of people every evening; if they will not stop acting so numb and dumb, this show will become even grander, especially if they got some martyrs out of it. If PML(N) wants to stay; they should look at things in a serious perspective; they will be solely responsible for any mishap in the country. We may say that men in uniform have turned their eyes away from the scene, but the third empire could be very neutral one – men of another color in uniform. Do not let them march trampling the hopes of Pakistan.