Political polarisation and corruption in Pakistan


By Senator Rehman Malik
If we just have a look on Pakistan’s political history, we shall find that it is matter of record that two prime ministers were publicly assassinated whereas the first democratically elected Prime Minister Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was deposed by the non-democratic forces and then judicially murdered. One of the major services he had rendered for the national cause was the introduction of first consensus constitution in 1973.
These maneuvers led to political polarisations coupled with corruptions in the society and drainage of national resources. The drainage of national resources caused dependence on external financial resources to cope with the national developments.
The fate meted out to the heads of the governments, amongst other fallouts, also resulted in the weakening of the state institutions thus rendering the nation without any specific direction. We were left without any permanent foreign policy to protect our national interests. We were left to look for external/foreign financial assistance and currently Pakistan is faced with US$ 80 billion foreign debts. Pakistan has to secure more foreign financial aid to service its existing external debts meaning we have to make compromise on our own national priorities.
The major beneficiaries of the political polarisation in the country were the mafias of all sorts, who had been manipulating the situation in their own benefits. They had assumed the role of wheelers & dealers to fix the election results to their advantage. Obviously, when the elections results are fixed and a winner emerges out of the elections with the blessings of these mafias, then the winner would have different priorities than the national priorities. The political situation has been marching toward uncertainty and a fearful atmosphere for the last few weeks where crime has become dominant, and the drug and land mafias have become more powerful than the state. Electable politicians have become buyable commodities and the public representatives are available in the “Political Mandi” for open auction regulated by the mafia. Political activities have turned into a political Mafia stock exchange. Most recently Imran Khan was, allegedly, offered RS 40 Corers for a senator seat in KPK and the nation expected him to launch a FIR which if not registered, puts his own party under questioning. A country where the governments are made through the heavy mandate of billions instead of heavy mandate of public, then we are bound to meet with the same fate which we are exposed to today. In view of above do we have any way to take the elections out of this mafia where all of our provinces are directly affected with this deadly infection? Yes. We can provide sincere election reforms to block the exploitation of political differences by the mafias to their benefit/advantage. We have to ensure fair, transparent and impartial elections and to offer unflinching support to the democratic process in the country. It is the only option if we are sincere with the future of the country.
What is happening to the country today is due to our own failings and we including me are responsible for it. We have failed as politicians, parliamentarian, bureaucrats, and members of the judiciary. We have failed to play our due role in defining its directions and failed to work to achieve the objectives. Our failures gave birth to the mafias and helped strengthening their role in the politics. This time is not for when genuine politician will be either eliminated from politics or forced to leave for being unable to sustain themselves before the Mafias. Now the time is approaching when a genuine politician will be obliged to say “NO to the post of Prime Minister, as no person with conscience would like to carry out the agenda of Mafias and subsequently get humiliated and land in jail. The writer is a PPP Senator, former Interior Minister of Pakistan, and Chairman of think tank “Global Eye” and Senate Body on Interior and Narcotics. The political situation has been marching toward uncertainty and a fearful atmosphere for the last few weeks where crime has become dominant, and the drug and land mafias have become more powerful than the state.
(The author is central leader of Pakistan Peoples’ Party, former interior minister, presently member of Senate and chairman of Standing Committee of Senate on Interior Affairs)