Public institutions, a political scapegoat

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz has asked the judiciary to assess its basic responsibility before evaluating the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on conducting the general polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During a political gathering in Sargodha, the woman politician went on saying that a cabal of five was responsible for the all current problems in the country. She accused PTI Chief Imran Khan, retired generals, and two former Chief Justices of their alleged complicity against the PML-N government in 2018.

The political temperature is on the rise as the announcement of the date of the elections for the Punjab and KP provincial assemblies triggered a big debate in the country. Meanwhile, the suo motu notice by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the formation of a larger bench of the apex court prompted new discussions regarding the pros and cons of the recent decision by the Chief Adjuducter. The supreme court’s decision was hailed by the PTI-led opposition while the Ministers from the coalition government echoed concerns regarding the bias and partiality of a few members of the larger bench, currently hearing the case of the eligibility for the announcement of the dates for election in provinces.

The recurrent ambushes against democracy by the military dictators and the judiciary’s theory of necessity in the past had put the worst effects and set condemnable standards in politics. At the time, most government servants including bureaucrats, generals, and judges as well as lower staff have build up a political allegiance with certain political groups that not only compromised their loyalty to the state but also rendered the respective public institutions divided and dysfunctional. On other hand, a majority of current-day politicians are the product of martial laws or seek favor from the establishment, and judiciary to reach top slots or to stay in mainstream politics. Meanwhile, lies and propaganda, character assassination of opponents, and attacks on the military and judiciary are the favorite tools for politicians to shed off their weaknesses and gain popularity and grab the sympathies of the masses.

Historically, Pakistani society could not develop a constructive political culture over the past seven decades while the absence of merit and political interference in government institutions badly undermined the government institutions and the self-esteem of the bureaucracy. The top executives used to seek good books from the rulers in hope of monetary benefit, plots, and post-retirement incentives. Thus, the constitution has been used to serve the interest of the influential instead of ensuring the writ of the law.

Present-day politics has badly tarnished the image of our national institutions including the military, judiciary, Police, Election Commission, NAB, IB, and the FIA because the higher echelons of those institutions had abused their oath and got involved in politics in the past. Realistically, politicians had adopted a strange philosophy that if a court verdict or election result comes in their favor it is considered a good job of institutions otherwise it is a conspiracy and biased act against them. If the politicians have some grievances with any individual/institution they must use legal options instead of promoting their politics by mocking and harassing public institutions. It is high time that public institutions start working to resume their prestige through self-accountability, and fearless public service, while politicians must do politics on issues instead of interloping in the past.