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Is Pakistan heading toward Civil Unrest?

The Truth International magazine report

Is Pakistan heading toward a Civil Unrest?

For the past many years, Pakistan has witnessed turbulent times. The nation faced many testing times, embroiled with challenges like accountability, corruption overpopulation, pollution, nepotism, and many more.  But these challenges were everywhere across the globe in one way or the other.  Except this time. As the world watches Pakistan today, the country is on a war path due to a deadly constitutional crisis threatening the fate of the nation today. 

The situation today is unprecedented, after a major collision between the country’s parliament, executive, and judiciary, with the former two forces uniting against the latter. It all started exactly a year from now. This time last year, the country was moving forward on a progressive trajectory at 6 % GDP growth, despite COVID-19 where the nation attained significant credibility as one of the best resilient nations during the pandemic. The country gained significant traction with the West, with excellent diplomatic ties with the West as well as the East- a perfect story.

Along came a big setback for Pakistan, where an elected government of the time was overturned by a hostile takeover, resulting in an uprising across the country that continues to this day. This was a major blow, both for the public and the establishment of the nation. The public lost credible leadership which led to an economic and social crisis within the country, while the establishment lost its moral and ethical writ over the masses leaving a major trust deficit with the public, hardly seen in recent history.

There is a new battle dominating the country. The face-off between CJP (judiciary) and the parliament is being fueled with the public on one side and the establishment on the other. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) struggle for free and fair elections is a reasonable demand considering the odds that stand today. A battered economy combined with record-high inflation has led to further pressure on the currency, affecting our capacity to negotiate the country out of this crisis.

Furthermore, last year’s flood epidemic imposed a climate-induced health emergency upon the entire nation. Public outcry has put more pressure on the current coalition government, putting them under pressure. Article 19 of the constitution further specifies that the right to freedom of expression and free speech is a right given to every citizen of the state. In reality, the same has been curtailed as the constitutional rights of the citizens stand violated today.

There is a civil disobedience movement to be seen in the country being showcased openly by the media, the 4th powerful pillar in the country. In the public eye, there are definite visible signs of civil unrest in most parts of the country.  Prices of goods and services have skyrocketed in recent months, and the ordinary man is being forced towards mass poverty. The food insecurity and water crisis have become yet another challenge as a result of political instability in Pakistan.

By moving towards civil unrest, Pakistan has been exposed to the world. During the initial government of PTI, a lot of commitments made to the public were unfortunately not delivered. Similarly, the promise of a better life for the citizens of the nation has been severely marred today by the current PDM-coalition government, which has turned out to be a bigger disappointment than its predecessor. PTI govt had succeeded to implement economic and public policy reforms during their tenure but failed to replicate those policy measures across the country. On the other hand, whatever they had achieved has been totally ruined by the current government, which has led to further disillusionment and utter dismay for the masses.

The biggest setback for the country has been seen within the national assembly of Pakistan, with parliament passing multiple resolutions against the verdict of the supreme court of the country regarding the date of the election finalized for May 14th. This has created a bigger rift between the parliament and judiciary, while the executive arm of the nation suffered from indecision.

In order to solidify the nation, the executive arm needs to re-visit the pulse of the nation to see what the public wishes and desires. Failure to read the public today may lead to bigger chaos tomorrow. For now, the majority of the public wants this government out wanting the promise of new elections to become a reality.

On one side, we as a country are on the brink of default while we face massive civil unrest between now and next month. Justice may have been delayed in this country in the past but justice denied to the masses today will be catastrophic for the government, be it whichever party. The politics of hate takes away credibility and logic and leaves us with an unstable nation in survival mode.  We need to tone down the rhetoric and act responsibly to ensure that all state organs remain functional.

By dismantling the system, there would be nothing to gain for anyone. The government of the day needs to work towards stability, by enabling a system of transparency where all parties can run for elections in alliance with the public mandate today, clearly signaling its time for new elections. Arguing over personal interests through vendetta and threats may be counterproductive for the government. Playing Russian roulette with the judiciary would bring horrific results. In about time, justice is preserved and further delivered on the ground through peace.

What we see today is the impact of civil disobedience resulting in massive civil unrest in the country that could weaken all state institutions slowly but surely. These are signs of worse things to come in the future. It is now up to the establishment to take stock of the situation and play its role in all fairness, in the higher interest of the nation.

The establishment of Pakistan has always stood for the nation and it is time yet again for them to mediate between the judiciary and the parliament and come up with a quick fix to end this growing restlessness, hatemongering, vested interests, and uncertainty. We are standing at a crossroads, where better sense must prevail. The current state of governance is at its worst ever. What everyone needs right now is the vote of the public through the politics of consultation not confrontation, leaving no room for political elites and state elites for ego-politics.

The power must now be handed over to the people of Pakistan and timely elections will be good for the country. In case things go worse, there may be a civil war-like situation in the country, where external elements may stand to take advantage of the growing internal crisis and further cripple the nation in the long term.

Civil unrest or Civil War – either way, it is time to uphold the law as per the constitution of the nation.

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