By: Manzur Ejaz
It is usually worse to mutilate someone’s spirit than to kill them: the spiritless half-dead body keeps dragging itself waiting for the end game. This is exactly what the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has done to democracy in Pakistan. A long list of charges levelled against the PPP government led by President Asif Ali Zardari – an anomaly in a parliamentarian democracy – is not as serious as the way he has crushed the essence of democracy. It is reminiscent of the revered Naxalite Punjabi poet, Pash, murdered by extremist Khalistani extremists:
Robbing of one’s wages is not the most dangerous
Thrashing by police is bad but not the most dangerous as well
To be victim of treachery and greed is not the most dangerous either
The most dangerous is to be filled by dead tranquillity
Death of our dreams is the most dangerous
The PPP-led government has not only fatally injured the dream of democracy but has filled the entire ruling class with this dead tranquillity. Most political analysts are dazed by the tenacity that President Zardari has shown in hanging on to his office and keeping his party in power. But few have acknowledged how he has achieved such an ‘otherwise admirable’ goal by maintaining unholy alliances with parties that have opposing agendas, resulting in a hard-to-fix proliferating anarchy. He also achieved his goal by not honouring publicly announced agreements with his opponents: his agreements with Mian Nawaz Sharif were the preface to what was going to follow. By saying that fulfilling political promises is not a religious dictate, Mr Zardari committed a cardinal sin because democracy means upholding socio-political contracts – written or otherwise.