Political Vacuum In Pakistan

Introduction

The ouster of Nawas Sharif, who has now had three separate stints as Prime Minister of Pakistan, raises questions about the nation’s fragile democracy. It’s quite ironic that no Prime Minister ever has completed a full term in Pakistan, since independence from British colonial rule since 1947.
The Supreme Court’s five-member panel ruled unanimously that Sharif should be disqualified, enacting little
Political Vacuum In Pakistan
used ‘Article 62’ of the Constitution which allows dismissal of any lawmaker found to be dishonest. The
Court’s decision follows a two month probe by a Supreme Court-appointed panel that alleged that the Shariff
family could not account for its vast wealth.”He is no more eligible to be an honest member of Parliament, and
he ceases to be holding the office of Prime Minister.” Judge Ejaz Afzal Khan said in court.
The efforts of his detractors, especially Imran Khan, the former Cricket Captain, started the day Sharif got
elected as Prime Minister with an impressive majority. Imran Khan alleged that the election of 2013 was
rigged. But nothing happened. Even Army didn’t react to an open call by Khan to play the neutral umpire
between him and PML(N). However, Khan got the right opportunity when ‘Panama papers leak expose’ came out with ample evidence of several shell companies, formed by Sharif’s family owning massive assets in London. Khan firstly petitioned the Speaker of the National Assembly, asking him to refer the matter to the
Election Commission and was rejected. Then he went to the Supreme Court where the Registrar dismissed the matter as “frivolous”.
Then through a political up-rising, stage-managed by his party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI)’,with the covert help of Army’s powerful ‘Inter Service Intelligence (ISI)’,he threatened to lay siege to Islamabad until
Sharif resigned. When a bloody confrontation between government forces and his followers seemed eminent, the possibility of yet another Army take-over loomed. Supreme Court finally relented to hear Khan’s petition.
Emerging Geo-Political Situations in Pakistan
India has not been engaged with Pakistan in any substantial way for more than a year now. With China on the boil and internal pressing issues, BJP government is focused on the 2019 general elections. In Pakistan also, 2018 general elections could be a game changer for Indo- Pak relations. It’s a known fact that Pakistan Army is no friend of Sharif. A weakened or broken Pakistan Muslim League (N) and a near non -existent 'Pakistan People’s Party’, are in Army’s interest. The ouster of Sharif is a major political victory for Imran Khan. “Today is a victory day for Pakistan” said Khan.”Today onwards, big thieves will be caught”. However,
Khan himself is under a Supreme Court scanner on allegations that he failed to declare sources of income, a charge he denies vehemently.
Khawaja Saad Rafiq, the present Railway Minister implied that elements of the military were somehow involved influencing the ouster of Sharif. Khan’s party PTI, though rules one province, the volatile ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’, their presence in the other provinces are shaky.
Political Analysts expect Sharif to move fast and select his successor from his party. His strategy would be to
have a trusted interim Prime Minister for one year till general election 2018 ;then hoist his brother Shahbaz to
the Prime Minister’s chair, who is presently the Chief Minister of Punjab Province.
The people of Pakistan remain confused. Is the Supreme Court unbiased with its decision? Is there a ‘nexus’ working to overthrow the peaceful atmosphere and somewhat prevailing democracy in Pakistan?
Pakistani political watchers like Christophe Jaffrelot don’t think corruption is the main reason behind
Pakistan’s malfunctioning as a state. If the next general elections bring a fragmented mandate resulting in a coalition government, it will simply compound the ensuing disorder by enabling the Army to call all the shots.
The economy of Pakistan is going to be hit worse by this political turmoil. The most repressive phenomenon in the post- Sharif period will be the vindictive rollback of ongoing projects on the charge of ‘Kickbacks’.
With the huge investment of $ 46 Billion dollars, by China in Pakistan focusing mainly on health and
education, the economy was going to looking up. The Wall Street Journal opened on 01 February 2017, praised Pakistan. It noted the rising of middle class and gave tidings of poverty- reduction that no one believed. The reputable ‘Bloomberg’ announced on February 2017, the rise of the Pakistani stock market by 46% placing it high in the ranking among the world’s stock markets, predicting a 5% growth rate in 2017. The
Washington Post on February 2017 noted Pakistan officially graduating from its” frontier- market” category to the more prestigious and well capitalised “emerging market” index. In fact Pakistan joined 23 other countries “on the index that represents 10% of the World’s capitalisation. But the critics spread this message among the common masses-” All this has to be a Hindu- Jewish plot against Pakistan.”
Conclusion
Pakistan faces a checkered future right now. Without a strong civil government at the centre, there will be more reliance on street power to scare the permanent institutions of democracy, by the leader who wins a majority in the 2018 election. A weak, elected government in Pakistan is not in the best interests of India.

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