Here is the first part of this article: A depoliticized Pakistan on the rampage
The 2nd and the final part: Depoliticization and its causes
What’s a depoliticized Pakistan; how is it different from a politically apathetic Pakistan; how is it damaging both for the society and its state; who does now represent it, such questions were discussed in A depoliticized Pakistan on the rampage. In the present piece, some other questions will be dwelt on such as: why doesn’t a depoliticized India or Bangladesh exist in India or Bangladesh, for example? Why that’s so only with Pakistan? Why is Pakistan so fecund for such elements? What are the elements that feed milk and butter to a depoliticized Pakistan?
Since long it has been my contention that the main culprit for the backward Pakistan is Politicians. In this case also, the main culprit for a depoliticized Pakistan is again Politicians. The previous article argues that it is barren politics that among other things may have caused Political Apathy to take root. That’s natural. Decades of experience made people learn: ‘Politics, Sir, is a cow that will yield such people no more milk, and so they are gone to milk the bull.” (Samuel Johnson used Truth in the place of Politics!) Though sort of a “Development Politics” entered the political arena, but it could not change the political paradigm. In the midst of present Islamabad Dharna, one must have noticed the top leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-N harping on its development projects in vain.
It’s no denying that Political Apathy contributed to the solidification of a depoliticized citizenry. Moreover, it is consecutive martial laws which banned political activities, curbed political liberties, surgically operated political parties, built up artificial political structures, and last but not least, destroyed an independent political culture. Whoever ventured in politics made it a point that in order to succeed he needs to be part and parcel of the so-called establishment! It was the most successful short-cut to power in Pakistan. That it inspired a depoliticized Pakistan to love no-politics is evident.
Despite the voluminous charge-sheet against the imposers of martial laws, it may be argued that no martial law did ever succeed without the complicity of politicians. Let the generals impose martial law, and let no political party come to their aid, you will see the generals running back to their barracks! It is politicians who partner with the generals and give them constitutional cover. It is like reprieving a murderer from the gallows. In response to an objection that politicians are an amorphous entity and thus are vulnerable to insinuations, one may retort that politicians are well-organized in political parties with a devout following, and may prove an invincible citadel if they plan to act so; however, they always choose the path of submission and subservience. In this sense martial laws did not create such conditions which proved conducive to the growth and spread of a depoliticized citizenry, but it is the political opportunism and political cowardice on the part of political parties which helped a depoliticized citizenry most in fortifying its depoliticized vision for Pakistan.
Also, it is political parties which did not create an independent political culture in Pakistan; they always let their trees grow in the lawns of in-service or retired generals. Practically they behave in a manner as if the source of power lies in the General Head Quarters (GHQ). It’s strange and at the same time perplexing that no political party ever seems to believe in the constitution which unequivocally declares power as residing with the people of Pakistan. They do vie for the people’s mandate but never abide by its implications. Once they come to power, they do not remain in contact with the people whose mandate makes them rule the same people. That does strengthen the depoliticized Pakistan.
Another factor is the same old refrain: political parties did not deliver, political parties do not deliver. That translates into a fact that politics do not deliver; so let it be passed, let it be part of the past. Surprisingly it is characteristic of a depoliticized Pakistan that it does not delve into the past; it focuses its eyes only on the future. It is in this sense that a depoliticized Pakistan discards all that is part of a political past; it lives in the future. This especially explains the politics of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf: Imran Khan and his followers have no inkling of Pakistan’s political past and they present the PTI as the first true political party of Pakistan, trashing all others. That’s not mere arrogance of an ignoramus; it is inherent in the politics of PTI that it’s the only true political force, whereas all other parties are just corrupt entities. That’s depoliticized Pakistan in action!
One more thing requires some elaboration as it is far more confusing. That’s about the number of people who participate in the PTI Dharnas, meetings and rallies, the latest one held in Rahim Yar Khan on Nov 9. Actually, numbers must not be mixed up with principles. Hitler had much following in Germany; but at the end of the day he was a fascist, who finally set out to conquer the world. Imran Khan has a substantial following of those sections of a depoliticized Pakistan which believe in political power legitimately belonging to them, and as their privileged right like divine right of the Kings of medieval world. It is fascism pure and simple. Imran Khan also wants to conquer the whole Pakistan, but what is characteristic of him and his politics and a depoliticized Pakistan also which he represents is his non-political politics, or his anti-political politics (a contradiction in terms). He seeks power in non-political ways.
As for India, there may be a depoliticized citizenry too weak to be noticed; it may be more vibrant in Bangladesh; but for the same reasons a depoliticized citizenry seems stronger and more damaging in Pakistan. It means it is not in martial laws (Bangladesh has had its share of which) that the rationale for a depoliticized citizenry may be found; it is in the quality of politicians that the process of depoliticization grows it stuff and substance. It is politicians themselves who depoliticized Pakistan, who fed it with milk and butter; now they are condemned to face the same depoliticized Pakistan!
Note: The 2nd part of this article was completed on October 1st and was originally posted in December 2014.