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Shaukat Ali Jawaid
 

 

Long term implications
of certain decisions

ShaukatJawaid 

Generally it is said that one should not take any decision which one cannot defend scientifically, ethically, morally, legally and constitutionally as some decisions are going to have long term implications which change the fate of countries, institutions, organizations and individuals. The recent historic judgment by Honourable members of the Supreme Court which disqualified a sitting Prime Minister will remain under discussion for a long time to come like some other judgments by the superior judiciary.

The immediate impact of this decision is polarization of the society deep down which might become permanent at a time when we need complete unity amongst our ranks in view of the threats from some super powers,   stock market has collapsed, inauguration of certain important development projects has been withheld or postponed for the time being by the investors from overseas. Wounds inflicted by certain decisions never heal even with a passage of time and those who inflict such wounds are also remembered.  According to Mr. Ahsan Iqbal Federal Interior Minister “The Apex Court’s decision has cost Pakistan a loss of $14bn to $16bn and further investment has also stopped”.1 Daily DAWN in its Editorial on September 16th 2017 termed the judgment “disappointing from a strictly legal perspective”2 and earlier the paper in its editorial had also termed it surprising. Judgment remains under discussion at various forums at home and overseas. In fact ““WhatsApp call” had made it controversial from the very first day. Moreover comments and observations by the Honourable members of the Bench hearing the case also did not enhance the image of the judiciary. Accountability is welcome provided it is just, fair and across the board and not selective victimization. One wish the Supreme Court had shown the same efficiency in other important cases pending in the SC.

Pakistan has a history of humiliating and defaming its businessmen and industrialists. Where are Valikas and Adamjees, the well-known business industrial empires? Adamjees are reported to have helped financially a lot the newly formed Government of Pakistan at the time of Independence. I also remember Industrialist C.M.Latif who sacrificed everything, left India and came to Pakistan and established his Steel Industrial Empire by the name of BECO, Betala Engineering Company. It was peopalized by Mr. ZA Bhutto. Mr. C.M.Latif released an advertisement in the daily papers requesting for reversal of this decision but without any success.  Disgusted and frustrated he left Pakistan, settled in Europe and then passed away there. Ittefaq Foundry by Mian Mohammad Sharif was also nationalized but Mian Sharif decided to stay in Pakistan.  Later Gen. Ziaul Haque de-nationalized and returned Ittefaq Foundry to Mian Sharif but it was again destroyed by the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP Government. A country which does not respect its own businessmen and industrialists, cannot attract foreign investors and investment.

Whenever the world talks about India and Pakistan, India is praised as the World’s largest democracy but when it comes to Pakistan, we do not attract good words since we had a military dictatorship for many years. It is sad that during the last seventy years of our existence, no Prime Minister could complete his term, as many a times they were dismissed or sent home either by the Military dictators or the judiciary. Sometimes the judiciary not only accepted the military dictatorship but also gave the dictators powers to amend the constitution. There are many decisions by the superior judiciary starting from Justice Munir which did not help democracy flourish and strengthen in Pakistan.  Writing in Daily Dawn of August 10, 2017, F.S.Aijazuddin has perhaps summed up the whole when he says that “there is a view that elected governments are regarded as unwanted pregnancies, to be aborted whenever need be, to save the motherland. The latest still birth is the ouster of a third time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was done with a sleight of pen worthy of the late Sharif Uddin Pirzada”.3

It is unfortunate that we have been making experiments and blunders all these years and we also refuse to learn any lesson from our mistakes. Those responsible for the 1971 crisis which resulted in the break-up of Pakistan when we lost half the country, which were identified were never punished. What is more surprising is the fact that we are making the same and similar mistakes again and again. Let us not forget that Russia one of the Super  Nuclear powers got disintegrated not due to some overseas threat but divisions within the society and bad economy.  It also proved that military might alone is not a guarantee for national security which requires a strong military, good economy and a popularly elected leadership running the country.  We are also blessed with a number of characters, disgruntled politicians and corrupt bureaucracy  who cannot flourish and prosper in a democratic set up hence they work overtime to create problems. It is a well-known fact that many countries are not happy with the CEPEC project. They use their agents in Pakistan to create uncertainty. Had the signing of CPEC not been delayed for almost eight months, many of the projects would have been completed by now. 

Late Mr. Mohammad Khan Junejo was my ideal Prime Minister. A thorough gentleman, honest politician but even he was humiliated and dismissed by military dictatorship. He even failed to get justice from the Supreme Court which refused to restore his Government for reasons which are now an open secret. His only crime was he was a democrat. He welcomed Benazir Bhutto when she returned from exile in 80s while on the other hand Military dictator General Pervez Musharraf sent both Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif in exile so that he can govern. This is the difference between a democrat and a dictator.  One might not like the Nawaz Sharif style of government but it is also a fact that though not an angel, he is the best among the present lot of politicians in the country who has delivered. When he built the Motorway he got lot of bad press and all sort of allegations but look the role it has played in the economic development of Pakistan. It can now even be used as an air Strip by fighter planes during war. He initiated a large number of energy and electricity generation projects some of which have been completed and others nearing completion which hopefully will overcome the menace of load shedding in the near future. Restoring peace in Karachi, Rehabilitation of Pakistan Railways, making it a profit earning organization and putting on track the PIA to a great extent which were destroyed by the previous Government are not less than a miracle. He sacrificed a lot to bring the people of Baluchistan once again in the mainstream national politics where the situation had gone from bad to worse after the assassination of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti. Mian Nawaz Sharif has tried his best and also succeeded to some extent in healing the wounds of people of Baluchistan though a lot more needs to be done. Many world powers are active in Baluchistan and we have to be carefully watch the whole situation. Gawadar Sea port being developed by the Chinese Government will bring lot of economic development in the country, region as well as within Baluchistan.

In the province of Punjab the PML-N has completed a record number of development projects, network of roads, Metro Bus projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan, Danish Schools and Endowment Funds for scholarships for the deserving students. One often hears about lack of development in South Punjab but let us remember that Punjab was ruled by Qureshi’s, Gilanis, Mazaris, Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar and other political notables as Governor and Chief Ministers who are from South Punjab  but none of them undertook any development work in this area. It was again PML-N which persuaded the Turkish Government to set up a state of the art tertiary care Tayyab Erdogan Hospital at Muzzafargarh, established medical college in Dera Ghazi Khan, upgraded Nishtar Medical College as  Nishtar Medical University besides the gift of Metro Bus for the common man. Former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani of course built some overhead bridges and a new Airport at Multan for which he deserve to be commended.  PML-N has also established quite a few tertiary healthcare facilities, new medical colleges at Sahiwal, Sialkot, Gujrat and Gujranwala as well. The network of roads and other basic infrastructure has been put in place all over the province and it will go a long way in accelerating the pace of development. Quality of roads in rural areas in Punjab is lot better than the roads in Karachi.  PPP ruled in the center and is ruling in Sindh but never thought of building, repairing Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway which again has been taken up by PML-N Government and is almost complete. Mian Shahbaz Sharif has proved to be one of the most active, energetic and hardworking Chief Ministers who personally supervises all the development projects and ensures their timely completion. If there has not been similar developments in Sindh and Khyber PK, it is because these provinces have so far failed to produce their own Shahbaz Sharif.

Let the politicians and political parties compete with development works and solving the problems of the masses rather than running allegation campaigns. It is the beauty of democracy that even the Government of Khyber PK has introduced some meaningful reforms in health sector and medical institutions which will bear fruits after a few years. Let other provincial governments learn some lessons from their experience.  Similarly the Government of Sindh can be proud of having presented a model of tertiary cardiac care in the shape of NICVD, thanks to the untiring efforts and dedication by NICVD Executive Director Prof. Nadeem Qamar, Prof. Nadeem Rizvi and their teams. If NICVD can offer so much service free to general ward patients, many other facilities at a very subsidized rates, why cardiac institutions in other provinces cannot do that?

Efforts to eliminate popular political leadership through un-natural means has never succeeded in the past and will also fail in future. Let the people be the judge and they will throw out those who fail to perform and deliver. A continuous political democratic process, elections on time, change of Governments through Ballot, improving the election laws  and strengthening, further empowering the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure transparent elections is all that is needed. Let all the state institutions work within their own domains, help strengthen and flourish democracy if we wish to be respected as a democratic country. At the same time let us pray that God Almighty show the right path to the disgruntled politicians, those with their own vested interests, the pseudo intellectuals and professional blackmailers affiliated with various TV Channels acting as anchorpersons who are working overtime to destroy this country. I have all the sympathy with a few professional journalists who despite heavy odds and difficult circumstances continue to work upholding professional ethics. Our survival lies in a democratic set up alone.

REFERENCES

  1. Press conference by Federal Interior Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal. Daily DAWN Sunday September 17, 2017. Page 1-5.
  2. The path ahead for Sharif’s and Court. Editorial Daily DAWN. September 16, 2017.
  3. An Unburied Lion by F.S.Aijazuddin .Daily DAWN Thursday August 10, 2017.
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