Machiavelli, the 15th century Italian philosopher, observed the following in his political treatise The Prince: “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.”
Indeed, Machiavelli’s observation is absolutely accurate; that is what the modern systems experts and management gurus also testify. On top of that, global history tells us that making a political systemic change in the ongoing political chronicles of a nation is a most difficult task. It is one of those experimental exploits that is loaded with explosive possibilities going either way because of “the nature of the beast.” Human beings as “political animals” are most often unpredictable in fluid situations.
And yet, in spite of the accuracy of Machiavelli’s historical observation and its contemporary validation, today’s Pakistan will have to make a fresh start in its ongoing voyage to commence a struggle to attain a truly democratic political systemic change in this country. It is a difficult, in fact, arduous and toilsome task – yet, we, the Pakistani people, have no choice – no other option. At the moment, Pakistan is facing an existential threat from the forces of the political status quo that are hell-bent on bringing this nation to the ultimate and absolute political, economic and social abyss.
Pakistan has to be saved from the clutches of “political vultures” and “political wolves” who have torn it apart through a vicious self-serving 8 years of “muk-muka” divisive democracy that has brought this nation to the brink of possible political destruction.
The story has been told many-a-time and is still playing out on the country’s political stage, being poorly acted by Nawaz Sharif, the disqualified Prime Minister, and his politically ambitious daughter, Maryam Nawaz, stubbornly saying her lines, perverting the facts as she is consciously detached from political and democratic realities. Upstage, Asif Ali Zardari, the former Pakistani President and the incumbent Vice-Chairman of the Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) is peering from behind the political stage curtain (which is about to fall), and several co-conspirators of the Zar-Naw Brothers are acting like “Fiddlers on the Roof” trying to figure out how their ill-gotten wealth and polemical politics can be saved – by further ruining this nation of 207 million.
However, what’s coming for this cast of characters is a “Compulsive Intervention” (a term originally coined by me years ago – but Dr. Shahid Masood, TV host, claims he originated it – well, let it be). Two important national institutions are well on their way to put the final nails in their coffins – thereby bringing an end to their decades-long corrupt existence as a political cancer in the body politics of this country. First and foremost, these political cancerous cells have to be surgically removed – permanently. As long as they survive, it is not possible for Pakistan to acquire a healthy political body and soul. Hopefully, this task will soon be accomplished constitutionally by competent national institutions – namely the Superior Judiciary fully backed by the Defense Establishment.
Many people will assume that the next vitally important question before the nation is Who should be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan? In my considered opinion, it is an irrelevant question, considering the present political conditions in the country. This type of question or political issue narrows the scope for a politically reasonable, rational and logical answer. In fact, the “Who” makes the question specifically and blatantly PERSONALIZED. We seem to be looking for a particular PERSON instead of an IDEOLOGY or a concept of political leadership.
So, let me suggest to this nation that the pertinent and important question in present-day Pakistan is What should be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan? First and foremost, should we not demand for those at the top of this country’s political management, as a fundamental requirement, that they be the moral-ethical keepers of democratic values? A beacon of personal integrity and impeccable personal credentials that can qualify as “Democratic Purist?” A compulsory requirement should be the appreciation of the moral-ethical dimensions of a democratic system. In such a system, all the holders of public offices must conduct themselves within paramount moral-ethical constraints to operate within the parameters of leadership in decision-making processes. In a democratic system, leadership decisions, public policy, inter-institutional conflicts and the state management system all operate strictly by moral-ethical standards and practices. The political leadership and the political management structure from top to bottom make voluntarily decision-making in accordance with the processes institutionalized in personalized integrity and the rule of law.
Pakistan is perhaps the only country in the world where the political leadership rushes to judicial courts to ascertain legal opinions on matters that need to be decided purely on ethical-moral fundamentals. David Cameron, the British PM, presented his defense to members of Parliament immediately when accused of a possible wrongdoing. Some others on the world scene who felt personally and morally responsible for their misguided actions and decisions immediately took personal responsibility for their misconduct and resigned from public office. Compare this to the Pakistani leadership, who hide behind legal complexities and continue to attempt to influence public opinion by the sheer lack of personal moral-ethical norms. While the evidence of their personal moral inadequacies and unlawful actions are blatantly within public knowledge, Nawaz Sharif continues to publicly say “Muje kyun nikalo”. The Zar-Naw Brothers and their “hum-nawa” (as we call them), the majority of leadership in other political parties, are equally morally and individually corrupt – unsuited for any kind of public office and unworthy of public trust – simply look at their past records.
So, we come back to the most pertinent question for the Pakistani people: “What” should be the political leadership of this country? How should we define the “What” of this proposition? What should be the “What” of political leadership in this country?
The first and most important “What” of a conceptual future political leadership in Pakistan is the impeccable requirement of a personal reputation for incorruptibility to drain the ethical-moral swamp of the Zar-Naw Brothers’ years of mass corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s resources.
The second “What” needed of the future national leadership is the ideological commitment to national self-reliance and self-sufficiency and determination to recover all assets and money looted by former leaders and political managers of the country without exception.
The third “What” needed is a progressive political doctrine loaded with genuine empathy for common citizens of this country and for a massive population mobilization to obtain full employment in the industrial and agricultural sectors with emphasis on political systemic change geared towards left-wing welfare state norms.
The fourth “What” needed is the personal requirements of stability, solidity, maturity, global experience, civility, and integrity in the personal and political conduct of future political leadership of Pakistan – at all levels of the country’s political management.
The fifth “What” needed is the requirement to acknowledge that Pakistan’s relationship with the US, specifically, and with the rest of the world needs to be altered in coordination with the national interests of this country and to be defined in a strategic policy planning perspective – ad hoc-ism will not suffice in the present-day world.
Pakistan needs a complete political overhaul. The list of “Whats” is extensive – we shall return to it at another time.
Finally, let us take note of the fact that there is nothing sacrosanct about the present political system in Pakistan, which has produced the likes of the Zar-Naw Brothers and many like them in the overall political structure of this country.
Pakistan needs a change – no matter how much pain and adjustment we might have to endure!
Ask yourself: Is there anyone in the entire political landscape of Pakistan who fits the bill? Your guess is as good as mine.