Resolving Pakistan’s Conundrum: Emphasizing Consensus over Violence

In the present situation, the judiciary's role is vital in uniting political leadership for constitutionally-aligned general elections. Without a political consensus, the country faces grave consequences

3 mins read
A man speaks on his mobile as fire and smoke billow from a Radio Pakistan building in Peshawar on May 10. [ Photo credit: Reuters ]

The recent protests in Pakistan raised questions about stability and peace. This is because Pakistan Takhreek -e- Insaf (PTI) is one of Pakistan’s most popular political party, and the recent event proved it appropriately. In Pakistan’s political history, almost every prime minister has been dismissed under various cases and charges before his tenure.

There are many reasons for it, but the fundamental reason is that political parties come to the government with the support of the military–establishment. However, during the government, a difference arose between the interests of the establishment and the ruling party; hence, they become against each other, and the same thing happened with PTI.

A year ago, PTI’s chairman and ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan used tributary language to favor military leadership. However, as soon as the differences started, they turned against each other, and he was removed through a confidence motion. Moreover, there were speculations that the differences were over the Russia visit on February 23, 2022, and some internal issues like the wish of former Army chief General Qamar Javeed Bajwa to remove the chief minister Punjab, Usman Buzdar, and appoint Aleem Khan instead. However, the appointment of the new Director General (DG) of Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) was also part of this notion.

Recently, Imran Khan was arrested in the Al-Qadir trust case. Imran Khan isfacing corruption allegation in Al-Qadar trust. Last year, Khan and his wife were accused of buying land from Pakistani property billionaire Malik Riaz for billions of rupees for their trust to build a university. Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) asserts that the trust laundered $239 million at the government’s cost to shield Riaz from punishment.

In December 2019, Riaz sent the UK National Crime Agency $239 million properties to investigate “black money.” These funds may relate to the Al-Qadir University Trust inquiry. Pakistan’s media has covered the issue extensively as a political issue. Khan denies guilt and claims the case is political. The case’s outcome may impact Pakistani politics and the Al-Qadir University Trust.

As a result of Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9, 2023, violent protests were called out in the country, in which metro bus stations, civilian vehicles, and even the memorial of some martyrs deserted in Sargodha, which has received Nishan Haider. This proves that PTI followers are devoid of political consciousness, have become fan clubs, and are self-obsessed in their decisions.

In a democratic country, peaceful protest is the right of every citizen. However, in cases of violence, the security forces have the right to defend public property and themselves. The violent culture should be condemned at every level, as Pakistan has suffered dramatically since independence. In the contemporary situation, all the political and military leadership must build consensus on one agenda: a prosperous Pakistan.

It is a harsh reality that Pakistan is on the brink of default, our economic situation is on the verge of chaos, and our fiscal status is entirely at the mercy of the Inter-Monitory Fund (IMF). Due to the fragile economic and political situation, there is an upsurge in terrorism, unemployment, crime, and a lack of investors in the country.

In the prevailing situation, the judiciary has a crucial role in bringing all the political leadership to one point: ensuring general elections under the light of the constitution. Despite it, the country will bear enormous consequences if a political consensus is not built.

Since 1947, when Pakistan was established, the civil-military relationship has been rife with difficulty and insecurity. Pakistan’s history of military coups and long periods of military administration has profoundly impacted the country’s political milieu. Despite efforts to limit its influence, the military significantly impacts the country’s political and economic activities. Ongoing security concerns, such as the conflict in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism, worsen the situation.

Even though each institution in Pakistan’s political system—the judiciary, civil society, political parties, and the military—has contributed to the country’s current configuration, each has faced unique challenges. The judiciary has been criticized for managing high-profile cases and lacking independence. Civil society organizations have increased their appeals for greater transparency and accountability, but government regulations have hampered their efforts. Political parties’ internal corruption and lack of public accountability have long been issues. Throughout the nation’s history, numerous coups and periods of military dictatorship have demonstrated the military’s involvement in political matters.

These establishments’ long-term outlook is met with both optimism and skepticism. Optimistic assumptions are based on the expansion of independent media and the participation of civil society organizations, both of which point to the possibility of increased transparency and accountability. Negative opinions, however, emphasize the persistent influence of the armed forces and the court’s difficulties in preserving its impartiality. In its 2020 assessment, the World Justice Project ranked Pakistan 120th out of 128 countries for judicial independence. With a projected defense expenditure of about $11.30 billion in 2021, the military maintains its strong position. Despite some encouraging signs of development, the long-term stability and democratic operation of these institutions confront significant challenges.

Abdul Mussawer Safi

Abdul Mussawer Safi is a budding author with a passion for world politics, with a particular focus on the regional dynamics of South Asia. His work has been featured on several notable platforms. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in international relations at the National Defense University Islamabad.

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