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Islam and Politics ( 30 Apr 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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State Elections in Pakistan and the Emerging Political Scenario



By Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

01 May, 2014

With the provincial elections in Pakistan round the corner, Taliban, al-Qaida and other sectarian militant groups operating in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi are all set to target the Awami National Party, MQM and Pakistan Peoples’ Party.

It is patently clear that the terror outfits must have caused great damage to these entities during the past years, but, ironically, the political parties which are not yet targeted by the terrorist attacks have not issued any condemnation against them. Obviously, they are either showing their silent endorsement of the nefarious terror activities or willing to keep the opposition parties in trouble to achieve the petty political gains. Nawaz League, which is being predestined as the winning party, is accused of having links with the Taliban, al-Qaida and other sectarian outfits in Punjab. As for the Tahreek-e-Insaf, mixed views are being expressed about its characteristics, as people are not sure whether they should consider it a pro-extremists party or a staunch opponent of the terrorists.

Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and other religious parties are unlikely to gain any considerable position in Punjab. However, Fazl ur Rahman’s group Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will probably restore the seats it occupies. On the other hand, the former military leader of Pakistan, Parvez Musharraf, after the Pakistani court refused bail to him, is holed up at his private compound, which is declared a sub-jail for him.

Although Musharraf tried to warn people, through his Facebook page, of gravity of the present situations saying that they would cause serious internal conflicts among the Pakistani government agencies, the army has not yet shown any reaction. There is no denying the fact that Pakistani army, throughout the political history of the country, provided full security to the high government officials protecting them from all fears and troubles that the courts or the civil governments create.

In this regard, we are also waiting for the reaction from the armed militant Jihadist forces, because al-Qaida’s leader Adnan Rasheed recently released a video with death threat to Parvez Musharraf the day he arrived in Pakistan. The video was telecast by the international media. It will be too early to say that the grave charges laid against Musharraf will land him in jail, since one of his staunch supporters and prosecutors; the kingdom of Saudi Arabia enjoys tremendous power and influence in Pakistan.

It is also probable that Musharraf will be accorded “conditional” release from the jail, something that will be fair enough for him, given the circumstances. From all this, it is evidently clear that the political leaders and religious gurus in Pakistan do not need to strictly adhere to the code of conduct, as they can freely make interventions in power and politics. Addicted to fruitless rhetoric and fiery speeches, the leaders of the Pakistani religious parties are more opportunist and greedy. Therefore, it will be foolish to look up to any religious leader or cleric as a ray of hope in the dark politics of Pakistan.

In the forthcoming elections, Muslim league is more likely to win, because the supporters of the former Pakistan People’s Party-led government are very small in number at a time when the party is plagued with many baffling issues.

As for the Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who is loudly claiming to bring out changes in the country, the possibility for his winning in the ongoing traditional Pakistani politics is distant. He may get space in the legislative assemblies, but the present state of affairs clearly suggests that his inductile political skills will not come out with flying colours. Nevertheless, he is determined with full conviction that he will bring drastic changes to the outdated Pakistani politics through a democratic revolution that will let down other provincial powers and entities and thus the Pakistani people will find solutions to their age-old problems. But the expert analysts of the Pakistani politics opine that Imran Khan’s determination is nothing short of day-dreaming. In fact, we cannot expect any positive outcome of his rigidity and inflexibility in his attitude that might have done well in his cricket matches. Imran’s attitudes show that he is either developing a sort of dictator within himself or is unable to take cognizance of the conspiracy-afflicted politics of Pakistan, in which no one can expel or corner the veteran and experienced players of politics from their parties.       

Whatever may be the result of the elections, one thing could be said for sure: as an outcome of the nefarious mindset of the influential elements in Pakistani politics, religious extremism and sectarian vices will spread in the country more than ever before. The main reasons behind it are certain political parties’ reliance on the terror outfits and their continued silence over their obnoxious acts of violence and militancy with an aim to overpower the opposition parties. This is what has been going on for a decade in the country. Many politically conscious people are considering the upcoming elections in May as a potential milestone in the Pakistani politics. But I would slightly differ from their opinion, because the root-cause of the catastrophes engulfing Pakistan is the widespread phenomenon of extremism and sectarian violence, which is not taken into consideration by any of the political parties of the country. Not even now when they should urgently try to redress it.

The author of nine books including the recent "Punjabi Taliban", Mujahid Hussain writes a regular column for New Age Islam. He is also chief of New Age Islam Brussels Bureau. He has been contributing to leading papers as an investigative journalist for about two decades. His writings cover a vast panorama of topics concerning political and societal existence of Pakistan, a nation passing through difficult straits since a short time after its birth. With terrorism and security issues at local, regional, and global levels as his special area of study in recent years, Mujahid Hussain has earned a sizable readership in serious circles in Pakistan and abroad. Follower of an independent, non-partisan, and objective way of thinking, the author offers honest analysis of the challenges threatening communities, nations, and humanity at large.