Friday, June 21, 2024

Trouble in Pakistan


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The clash between the Nawaz Sharif government and Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (TEI) in alliance with cleric Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek is threatening democracy in the country. Mobs have attacked the offices of GO TV and Pakistan TV. The army had to muscle in to put the channels back on air. The government is in a fix and it was rumoured that the army had asked Sharif to resign. It was also rumoured that Imran Khan and Qadri had been arrested on grounds of terror. Sharif’s government had promised peace and prosperity through trade. Its authority is now very shaky. The PML-N party led by Sharif had won by a large margin in a more or less free and fair election. But Imran Khan had been on the warpath asking for Sharif’s removal. He has now joined hands with Qadri who is fighting corruption and has taken to street politics to oust the prime minister. Though the democratic government commands a majority and has not flouted the Constitution, it is tottering.

Imran Khan claims that he is fighting for democracy but appears to be fighting against it. Mobs cannot be put above parliament. Khan has also attacked the media which is the weapon against dictators and Islamic fundamentalists. He should be aware of the value of democracy, having long been exposed to the West. He is justified in criticizing corruption and fighting unemployment in Pakistan. He should not however resort to undemocratic ways to achieve his objective. Mobocracy is not a healthy political expedient. If democracy is shattered in Pakistan, not merely Sharif but also Pakistan will be the loser. Imran Khan has lived through the rough and tumble of military rule in his country and has tasted its bitter fruits.

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