Political stability needed

Political stability needed


 

Both the Panama Papers and Dawn Leaks scandals had been viewed as a possible means of disqualifying the Prime Minister, if not dislodging the government. Indeed, our (social) media with minor exception has harped on about the political and financial death of the Sharifs in particular, and politicians in general.

Many an elected movement has been toppled on the basis of such arbitrary charges by the powers that be. Indeed, in the 1990s the troika system took a grand toll on the very notion of democracy when four elected governments were dismissed by the office of the president working in tandem with the military-bureaucratic establishment. Quite shameful was the attitude and role of the political parties, too, that relied on the latter for electoral survival.

Thus we are reminded of the opportunistic politics of the 1990s by our current opposition political parties, namely, the PPP and the PTI. They displayed their anti- democratic credentials when they publicly urged the army to intervene in politics in the backdrop of Panama judgment. This, of course, was a great let down to those whom they serve as elected representatives.

Admittedly, Pakistan is once more arriving at a critical juncture, including experiencing increased hostilities with its immediate neighbours. Yet this is not good enough. This lets the political establishment off the hook. Especially when we consider that more than half our population earns below one dollar a day, while around two-thirds lack access to clean drinking water. Moreover, our foreign reserves oscillate between 10 to 20 billion dollars with a meagre GDP growth rate. The panacea for all the mentioned problems lies in securing foreign direct investment borne of political stability.

Which brings us to the much touted CPEC cure-of-all-ills.

The recently leaked CPEC master plan highlights political instability here as posing serious risk to China's investment. Thus both the civilian set-up as well as the military establishment needs to be on the same page when it comes to ensuring that they will not allow the ongoing security situation - including the aforementioned political turbulence - mar Pakistan's economic prospects.

Thus our political parties would do well to shun the politics of cultism and opt for inculcating democratic values from cadre to leader. Elections ought to be held regularly, fairly and transparently. Above all, our military leadership should also calculate the opportunity cost of (in) direct intervention in areas that it is not trained for. This has to be non-negotiable if Pakistan is to survive amid the challenges of globalisation, of which CPEC is very much a part. *