SPEAKING FREELY Pakistan: Good people and evil politics
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click hereif you are interested in contributing.
To understand political power we must consider what state all men are naturally in - that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions.
"A law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his
life, health, liberty, or possessions," as John Locke wrote in Two Treatises on Government.
All progressive nations view their present and past critically and set plans and priorities for future-building. But in Pakistan, everything that can go wrong has surpassed the limits of reason and logic.
Blunt logic tells that masses are simple and honest people being driven to unusual trends and ends of political manipulation by the few societal feudal lords traditionally occupying positions of affluence and gangsterism.
Over the decades, violence has become both a means for change and a recipe for dictatorial disasters. No political change has happened without violence, either through political conspiracies or via direct military coups. Combined these historical factors have shaped the institutionalized corruption.
In a BBC interview on April 28, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan made it known that "80% of the political rulers and governance are criminals in Pakistan."
Other political actors with the exception of Jamait-e-Islami, would not dare to talk on corruption or against it because they are the most hated leaders of political corruption that nation has ever experienced who have crippled its social fabric; namely the Bhutto, Zardari, Sharifs, Musharraf and so many other families.
They stole millions from the nation to buy valuable real estates in London, Paris, Spain and Dubai. They enjoy the upper-hand the resulted from activities of the mafia, including bombing, killings of civilians, social-economic disruption and the sale of the interests of the nation to foreign masters.
Because of political corruption, Pakistan is at a crossroads for in its hope to have life-sustaining new system of change and governance.
Corruption is essentially an outcome of ignorance, greed and mismanagement. However, under the influence of global media communications, there is an emerging impulse of awareness of the changing realities of the landscape - the masses are coming out of the slumber and questioning incompetent and corrupt politicians. But politicians are part of the problem and cannot be part of any rational solution.
Over half of a century of continued military rule has incapacitated the body politics of Pakistan by dismantling all of its public institutions. The only institution that works is corruption across the board.
One wonders, who is not corrupt in Pakistani politics? Could the institutions of corruption be terminated by the judgments of the Supreme Court alone? The people of Pakistan need to understand the problems as they are without political illusions. Pakistan faces manifold problems within and outside.
The immediate solution is to disconnect its affiliation with the US-led bogus "war on terrorism" and to restore a sense of normalcy by facilitating a new non-partisan government under new leadership.
President Asif Zardari and his gangsterism have ruined the honor and dignity of the Muslim nation. Intellectually and morally, PPP-MQM-Sharif's PML-N rule represents a new low. It is as if the Pakistani nation is devoid of any rational thinking and sense of direction.
Evil is often framed in good-looking illusions. The dichotomy goes by many interpretations. The opposite of the good would be political aims that are evil. Truth becomes lies, justice becomes injustice, freedom becomes slavery, and peace becomes war.
This is the overwhelmingly culture of Pakistani politics. Reinhold Niebuhr in The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness offers a rational explanation of how good and evil operate in public life - the belief that there is "no law beyond the self. This is in fact, the most basic quality of evil. What is not often realized is that almost everyone claims the Good as their political ends, even when they are up to their eyeballs in the blood of innocents. The difficulty comes in separating the facts from the claims."
Pakistan's political-governance problems have originated from the self-centered military coups and dictatorial policies dehumanizing the politics and essentially incapacitating the nation of its creative thinking positive energies for future-making. Andrew Gavin Marshall in "Imperial Eye on Pakistan- Pakistan in Pieces, Part 1", a Global Research article, states:
"The war in Afghanistan is inherently related to the situation in Pakistan ... In September of 2008, the editor of Indian Defence Review wrote an article explaining that a stable Pakistan is not in India's
interests: With Pakistan on the brink of collapse due to massive internal as well as international contradictions, it is matter of time before it ceases to exist. He explained that Pakistan's collapse would
bring "multiple benefits" to India, including preventing China from gaining a major port in the Indian Ocean, which is in the mutual interest of the United States. The author explained that this would be a
"severe jolt" to China's expansionist aims, and further, "India's access to Central Asian energy routes will open up."
Andrew Gavin Marshall points out that David Kilcullen, adviser to President Obama, warned in April of 2009, that Pakistan could collapse within months, and that, "We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we're calling the war on terror now."
Kilcullen explained that this would be unlike the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which each had a population of over 30 million, whereas "Pakistan has  million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control."
In a global context, Pakistan's relations with America assume the top most importance. Most Pakistani political-military minds have ingrained American orientation one way or another. Some openly have sold to follow the US dictum, as did Musharraf and Zardari, and others indirectly for personal survival.
Currently there appears to be a mutual trust deficit as America keeps on sending daily killer drones on Pakistani civilians and interference in domestic politics. Bruce Riedel, one of Obama's advisers on Pakistan and the war on terrorism has called it, "2013 could be a transformative year for the country, indeed it will be the battle for the soul of Pakistan."
Bruce Riedel thinks that "Pakistan will be a failed state by 2030". He does not spell out the truth that selfish and incompetent Pakistani generals have degenerated the thinking culture of the nation where, according to Riedel, "One measure of Pakistan's instability is that the country now has between 300 and 500 private security firms, employing 300,000 armed guards, most run by ex-generals."
What makes the ex-generals create a culture of fear and insecurity? Is it the ex-generals or the bogus war on terror they have perpetuated? Is it that they draw their after service gratuities from such crime-riddled adventures?
He adds, "So, it is no wonder that the generals prefer to have the civilians responsible for managing the unmanageable, while they guard their prerogatives and decide national security issues. As important as the coming elections will be, the far more important issue is who will be the next Chief of Army Staff."
Bruce Riedel warns:
"The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world."
Come what may, Pakistanis are a morally and intellectually conscientious people. At public conscience level, evil is evil and good is good. If most politicians are indifferent to the prevalent public culture and believe in exploitation of the masses, political change must be viewed as a vital aim and priority for the election process.
To envisage a new future out of the planned ideas and ideals, it is important that General Musharraf, Zardari, Sharifs, Chaudaris and so many other collaborative monsters are held accountable in a public court of law.
If this does not happen, it will be unthinkable to foresee a new beginning or a promising future. The Election Commission appears too weak or perhaps politically indoctrinated by the affluent classes not to take proper actions against the corrupt politicians.
There were 248 previous MNAs and other provincial parliamentarians with bogus educational degrees, why they were not charged with willful deceptions and considered misfit to stand for another election? Does the Election Commission needs democratic education and orientations?
Those educated and intelligent Pakistanis enriched with knowledge, global visions, wisdom and passion for a new and truly democratic Pakistan, could make positive things happen and make the difference with courage and imagination in devising new system of governance suitable to the Muslim nation.
Is this not what the Pakistani people should organize themselves to strive to achieve as a worthy aim? The people of Pakistan must think and be prepared to struggle to chose politicians who are educated, honest and do not have criminal records; otherwise, the May 11 election will be an exercise in futility and it will be politics as usual for evil, not for the good of the common folk.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.Please click hereif you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Dr Mahboob A Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012.