Institutions versus Constitution

Discussion in Pakistan is whether the constitution is important or the institutions? Is the individual necessary or the rule of law is inevitable? The answer seems to be that the institutions are superior and individuals are important.

Selective accountability is pushing the opposition into jail cells thus leaving open the playing field for a fixed cricket match captained by PM without a fighting team. Serious issues that the country is facing are on the back burner and face saving tactics are in play.

The fact is that Pakistan is currently facing a serious economic crisis, which requires very serious measures and considerations, can it be possible that a nation is given plans like selling cows, auctioning vehicles, taxing on cigarette as ‘Gunah Tax’, meaning Sin Tax, etc. and when someone asks them the achievements of 100 days in Government, the answer is very plain and simple, “We have been Busy”.

Although the government is lobbying globally, meeting with China and Saudi Arabia, which needs to be appreciated, at a time when we face partial isolation due to the cold behaviour of America, we need to seek friends’ help. China seems careful in handing over a cheque to spend, and also wants to monitor the spending.

On the other hand, we know that the Saudis themselves are facing global isolation on the account of Khashoggi’s brutal assassination in Turkey. It was very obvious that the world leaders were against the Crown Prince during G20 in Argentina. This was really embarrassing. This lesson must be learnt by Pakistan as well to stay away from curbing sane voices, to stop operations from time to time on the freedom of expression, resolve the issue of missing persons, as these are catching the world’s attention now. FATF may not only ask for measures taken against money laundering but against human right violations as well.

We can now see that International Human Rights Organisations have started to gather data of the atrocities that have been going on in many provinces of Pakistan for a long time.

The missing persons issue is heating up, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a talk with anchors confessed that he has requested the Army Chief to look into this. A Baloch member of the Parliament Sardar Akhtar Mengal wants the same, he said that “My sole purpose of contesting the elections is to wipe the tears of sorrowful mothers, sisters and daughters, I wish to rejoin them with their loved ones. The Government must bring back their children. Believe me this is a serious issue at hand!”

Trust me, the Egg & Chicken analogy and the business plan was not a blond joke of Pakistani version, lately such statements and policies are quite evident in the media and the rookie government is known to do such blunders quiet often.

The former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used to talk to the media with a slip in his hand, that was a lot of fun for the PIT Youth Brigade on social media, but when someone on behalf of Prime Minister Imran tweeted in Nastalik (pure) Urdu, that slip seemed valid.

The new Government of Imran Khan barely survived the first 100 days, but their real test is ahead upon completing the first six months

Now, either the Nastalik Urdu tweet was written by a linguistic teacher, or Prime Minister himself attempted that venture, in both cases it was a flawed attempt. It wasn’t Imran Khan’s style and God knows why he was so convinced to do so.

His Cabinet Minister for Finance Asad Umar bragged before elections, as if he had the secret recipe of fixing Pakistan’s crumbling economy with a magic wand, but in the end after 100 days the capabilities of Asad Umar were no better than the remaining of the PTI ‘Team’ or as we have witnessed within the overseas brigade that grew like mushrooms worldwide where only qualification was money.

Shockingly a very ‘Practical’ Asad Umar was seen trying to convince the nation that their economic downfall and the drop of the value of rupee against the dollar, is a non-issue by saying, “O Muslims do not worry, Pakistan was created on a very holy day, the twenty-seventh of Ramadan”. Another cabinet Minister, Fawad Chaudhary, also said that the fluctuating price of dollar doesn’t affect anything, May God be with Pakistan.

Ironically, the current Government official instead of finding solutions to their real issues, seem more focused on targeting social media accounts and mailing letters to Twitter to silence sane voices. Many bloggers, human right activists and journalists have received this soft reminder from Twitter not to violate Pakistani laws. I firmly believe that pointing out the root cause of economic and social issues is healthy criticism, so this ban is not going to help the government but instead will create more noise, problems cannot be resolved by putting a ban on the freedom of speech. So stay out of it.

The new Government of Imran Khan barely survived first 100 days, but their real test is ahead upon completion of six months and people will ask questions and measure his performance. Economy and Human Rights should be his priority. Take advantage of your popular vote, don’t ruin this opportunity.

Sadly whatever dictators came, they tried to become democratic while any democratic political rulers, their actions seemed more like a dictators. Is it because we always need to have dictatorship in one form or another, and that’s why institutions are more pious than the constitution?

The writer is a social and civil rights activist and vocal about Human Right violations across the globe. He works as a Host/Producer (Current Affairs) at a leading news channel of North America. He can be reached at anisfarooqui@gmail.com and tweets @anis_farooqui

Published in Daily Times, December 9th 2018.

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