In A State of Denial!

People can lie but evidence does not!

The evidence of corruption, embezzlement of the nation’s money, inefficiency, mismanagement of state affairs, cover-ups, covert foreign policy engagements, foreign-brokered agreements, political manipulations and implicit deceits, etc., etc. will be the decisive bottom line factors in the coming days of Pakistan’s evolving “people-centric” politics of a nation that has awakened after a lengthy slumber and is now preparing for a massive and a direct public power intervention in the affairs of the state. This is how the cookie will crumble eventually in Pakistan.

In the meantime, presently, the entire PPP leadership, from top to bottom, even at the level of most insignificant political actors in the hierarchy of the party’s structure, are in a state of absolute denial: denial of ground realities and the political crisis that is looming over the party’s leadership and in the county in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment on the validity of the NRO.  Absolute denial, in different ways, of the crisis is the strategic response of the ruling party.

Stephen Juan, at the University of Sydney says:  “There are three forms of denial. Simple denial is when the painful fact is denied altogether. Minimisational denial is when the painful fact is admitted but its seriousness is downplayed. Transference denial is when the painful fact is admitted, the seriousness also admitted, but the one’s moral responsibility in the situation is downplayed.”

There are some other reasons for denial: when people are in denial, they engage in distractive and escapist strategies to help them cope with a particular situation. On the other hand, denial is a pathological and ineffective defense mechanism. More importantly, at times, denial can be an adaptive strategy to protect against overwhelming events and situations.

In a particular socio-psychological-political sense, “denial” allows people to continue going unchanged despite reality. It is a strategy of least resistance, psychologically and morally.

Another extremely vital element in the social psychology of denial in modern-times politics is that ruling establishments now generally perceive that public perceptions, views, attitudes and the contents of given political realities can be changed, molded and drastically transformed by skillful use and tactful manipulative control of media by emotional appeals, seductive nationalist messages and by building personality cults. Z. A. Bhutto and Benazir are not prophets, and yet the PPP propagandists and political pundits seem to be committed to portraying them as such.

It is quite evident now that the present ruling political leadership in Pakistan is whole-heartedly engaged in the enormous exploration of escapist strategies of “political denial” in the full implications of all of its dynamics.

They are using “denials” as political cover-ups, manipulative strategies of control, attempted perceptual change in public views, downplaying its moral seriousness, total denial of facts, emotional appeals, associating the epitome of strong nationalist symbolism with their party and even projecting its leadership larger than life. The propaganda of PPP’s sacrifices and “Shahadats” (martyrdom) is at an all time high. The irony is that even threats of national disintegration and political violence are being used as a tool of their political resolve should the party’s “denials” (whatever those may be) are not accepted at face value by the nation and the corresponding political forces in the country.

This state of absolute denial of political and moral crisis faced by the ruling PPP is the first phase of a staged play to wait and see if the Party’s Camelot, the President, will survive or fall and the hero of the Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo (symbolically the President again) will be able to reconcile with the feuding parties or will have to take his own life by swallowing poison (as in the play Romeo and Juliet). However, the fact of the matter is that the President is no such romanticist.

Contrary to the general impression that the President will not resign, it is my considered opinion, a firmly believed conviction and an advanced prediction of the otherwise. The President will resign: the present “state of denial” is a waiting period.  It will be followed by a covert masterpiece of political theatrics for an in-house change with leading roles to be played by the Obama administration’s intervention, the President’s stage play, and a part that will be skillfully performed by the old PPP stalwart, the former president of the Pakistan’s Bar Council, whose PPP’s membership was recently restored (Aitzaz Ahsan), who could help in providing legal cover to the party’s leaders and fill the vacuum in PPP leadership.

My conviction in the above-mentioned scenarios is grounded in “Real Politik” and the logic of understanding the political actors involved in this “Great Game.” Foremost, the Americans want the PPP to remain in power in Pakistan. Alas, a nationalist, for example, like Imran Khan, will not be acceptable to the US – the Americans have never been able to constructively engage with nationalist forces.  They would prefer an in-house change and they have already identified the person – a “pragmatist” by their definition – you can guess who!  (But Pakistanis need not follow American dictates!)

Secondly: Imagine the loss of over a billion-dollar fortune – even a saint would crumble to the lure of such a temptation.  For the President, it is going to be a decision between the power of the incumbent presidency and the power of money – specifically when “the power of money” can supposedly ensure the future political survival of the heir apparent:  Zardari’s son, Bilawal.

Considering the fallouts of the present political crisis in Pakistan, the NRO aftermath and the consequential political activism at the masses level and the media’s enlightened nationalist role –  the President will resign!

The President knows well that the American’s are quiet adept at arranging safe exits, safe havens and the “safe money-keeping” of their friends; they are also adequately skilled at influencing the domestic politics of a nation like Pakistan. Why would the PPP Co-Chairperson take the risk of political oblivion now and for the future, at the hands of an awakened nation, with zealous political activism and an absolutely independent judiciary? For some people, in this real world of cost-effective benefits and selfish interests, there are no ethical considerations involved in such decision making.  Earthly mortals are known for finding justifications for even their most dishonorable and grossly unethical misjudgments.

The question that will decide the future fate of the incumbent presidency is this: Will the desire for present political power take precedent over the power of money? My guess is that the later sentiment will prevail.

However, mathematics theorists will tell you that there is always an element of possible unpredictability in every human situation. The Americans might not be able to arrange an exit strategy for the PPP leadership, Aitzaz Ahsan might not be able to provide an effective defense against the NRO indictments and other corruption charges, and the said barrister’s leadership might not be acceptable to the Sindh element in the party and other diverse political forces in the country.  Nationalist forces in Pakistan might intensify their role in the political process and the masses might choose to directly intervene in the country’s political affairs by a massive demonstration of people’s power!

After all, the evidence against the incumbent PPP leadership is huge, convincing at face-value and legally monumental.

Above all: People can lie – but evidence does not!

A state of denial will not resolve the problems of Pakistan People’s Party’s leadership! That is a given fact!



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