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Inqilab and Azadi or a sleepwalk toward a great breakdown.

Byline: Asif Masood

The two marches - Inqilab and Azadi - have walked their way and settled in the country's capital. The leaders are claiming millions but they in fact are not more than a few thousands as are counted on the highways toll plazas. All the vehicles are counted with their passenger capacity and it hardly took seconds of mental arithmetic to calculate the people travelling in there.

Likewise, instead of providing a shining example, they presented the most shocking news that both the cavalcades have been observed violating highway rules ruthlessly. Even the motorway rules are violated unkindly by the caravan coming from Peshawar which perhaps has never been desecrated to this day by the most powerful and more equals of this fantastic terra firma.

Even motorbikes are seen on the motorway for the first time ever since it opened to traffic. Both the caravans never paid toll tax, of which Imran Khan often talks and I trust Qadri Sahib is also not against it. It was a fabulous occasion for them to set a shining example by paying toll tax for each vehicles. What these people wanted to prove and how their leaders Imran khan and Qadri sahibs will defend this lawlessness? Perpetrating these acts they revealed their real future intentions and their level of maturity and education. And it seems they have no intention to eradicate what they call Nawaz Sharif's Monarchy but God forbid, crave to swap it with Anarchy.

Similarly, PTI high ups pledged in writing that they will venerate the barricades erected and red lines drawn by the government for security purposes, but what happened, they brought cranes with them, removed containers and straight away reached the last wall or red line drawn by the security forces in Islamabad. The security forces stayed patient to all that. Had they acted in defence and there would be clashes and bloodshed who would have been accountable? This has all made apparent by dynamic and active media coverage and everybody saw and observed it.

Is it an Inqilab and Azadi to get rid of all the rules and laws of the country and God forbid, to change it into Iraq, Libya or Egypt? It's an opportune time to reflect on such big risks. As Michael Spence recently warned, the international order's widening security deficit, reflecting the weakening of whatever global governance we have, is fast becoming the biggest risk facing the world economy.

There were great expectations from them by many of us but all dashed to the ground by a very poor and indiscipline show by both PAT and PTI particularly by PTI and now all are looking to the return of the natives and what they demonstrate on the way back home. Imran's political discourse is already the talk of the town, talking tough has never ever been counted as superior human trait worth merit rather it often spoils the matter.

Nonetheless, it has given a new character Pomi Butt and it is heard that he is so influential a spirit that no SHO can be appointed in any of Gujranwala police stations without his endorsement. It's a matter of shame for all of us. What culture of governance we have developed and everyone is following it, no one is working to crack and shatter it. Imran Khan has been making tall claims to uproot it but has he got anything to say now? To me he has more Pomi Butts in his ranks; thus he should first deracinate them and then go the other directions.

The notable note about these long drives is that it's raining almost constantly ever since this journey got underway, how can it be interpreted, either as Heaven's patronage and approval, or His chastisement and retribution on the marchers.

The way forward cannot be a return to the past, with clashingegos of nineteen nineties. It will be a greater disaster which all the stake holders should keep in mind to give a better future to our younger generations, otherwise they will never excuse us. Is this the new Pakistan Imran want to hand to his sons, rest assured it would be hard for them to rule on?

The establishment should also very kindly keep it in mind while playing tom foolery behind the scenes that now it is no more a clandestine stuff but a threadbare substance of which everyone knows but cannot mention overtly out of respect or fear of being shot down or picked up in the darker hours. Their children are also going to live here or if they think they have managed safe havens for them in West or Dubai, they should keep in mind that they will never find peace of mind and respect anywhere in the world.

If they have any qualms they could examine history of last century or at least what have happened in the last decade or so just in front of their eyes, and what's happening to all those who played the same shenanigans in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya etc. But I think instead of learning lessons from them we are practicing the same in our darling motherland against our own beloved populace. What a shame, we claim to be Muslims and believe that one day we are going to stand before our gracious Lord to be accountable for all this.

The future can be secured only by strong co-operation among all those committed to tolerant and freethinking democracy, and the rule of law, with no double standards or excuses, and by patient strengthening of national institutions that embody these values and can translate them into practice. Whenever a national or a regional political party acts in a way that contradicts these values, or allies itself closely with those who do, it undermines the national order, which should deliver security and increasing prosperity.

But deplorably, instead of providing an immaculate illustration of supranational co-operation and pooled sovereignty for the twenty-first century, the national political parties are mired in rather petty disputes. While they still cannot fully agree on the design of their governance, it is allowing political worker and even leaders, to denigrate the democratic and liberal values upon which the country's system rests.

On July 30, 1914, Austrian warships bombarded Belgrade, five weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. By mid-August, the world was at war. The armistice that was agreed four years later, after about twenty million people had died, amounted only to an interlude before the horror of World War II. In the years preceding August 1914, until the assassination of the archduke, the global economy performed relatively well: trade expanded worldwide, financial markets seemed healthy and the business community shrugged off political problems as either temporary or irrelevant.

It was a political breakdown that led to three terrible decades for the world economy. Markets and economic activity can withstand a great deal of political stress and uncertainty -up to the point that the international order breaks down. Today, for example, the economic mood is rather upbeat. The International Monetary Fund forecasts 4% growth for the world economy in 2015, while stock-market indices are up in many parts of the world; indeed, the Dow Jones reached an all-time high in July.

In the last few months, however, a civilian airliner was downed in eastern Ukraine by a sophisticated Russian-made missile, tensions have increased around disputed islands in the South and East China Seas, and chaos in the Middle East has continued to spread. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in one of its worst phases in decades, with the renewed frustration unleashed by the massive loss of civilian life in Gaza likely to encourage extreme reactions. Terrorists may be on the verge of designing much less detectable weapons.

There are other, less "political" dangers. West Africa is afflicted by a terrible outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, which will kill thousands of people. The outbreak has so far remained regional, but it serves as a reminder that in an age of air travel by millions, no one is safe from the spread of infectious disease. Containing a disease or a terrorist threat by curtailing international travel or transport would devastate the world economy.

Thinking about history should remind us that great catastrophes can materialise gradually. Leaders can be "sleepwalkers" who fail to manage risk by, say, establishing institutions that can channel the rival interests and claims that fuel national conflict. Such sleepwalking by policymakers caused the financial meltdown as well. Its consequences are not as deadly, though the political effects of mass unemployment and the heightened perception of economic insecurity are still with us.

These examples should spur us to find ways forward for co-operative action. But the opposite appears to be happening. The political parties and their leaders appear more paralyzed than ever. The central government is still not looking heartily eager to craft governance reforms in national institutions and chiefly to reform the election commission agreed upon many a times, weakening one of the most vital national institution. Partly because of their innate desire to always remain cuddled with power. Countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, have launched their own development bank, named Brics, to be based in Shanghai and if we would have toiled and would not be fighting egoistic battles, Pakistan would have been a crucial part of it and it would have been Brics.

The Pakistan economy holds great promise, but it is a promise that can be realized only in a national system based on rules, consent, respect and a shared sense of justice. The fact that neither the mayhem in the Middle East, nor the crisis in Afghanistan or Ukraine should lull us into complacency. The memory of August 1914 should remind us of how and why we should avoid stumbling into catastrophe. As we know or should know.

The writer is a former lecturer based in Gulf and can be reached at
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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Date:Aug 18, 2014
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