‘What kind of Pakistan do Pakistanis want?’

January 13th, 2012 - 3:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Jan 13 (IANS) What kind of Pakistan do Pakistanis want, a leading daily wondered Friday in the midst of a tense stand-off between the political leadership and the military.

The country might have taken a deep breath Thursday but…”the respite may be brief”, an editorial in Dawn said.

“With little certainty about the direction that events will take in the hours, days and weeks ahead, perhaps a stocktaking of what has transpired so far is in order.

“One thing in particular bears stating: if Pakistan had been a more developed democracy, the authors of the ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relation) statement this week would have been summarily sacked. To directly challenge a prime minister duly elected by the public under the letter of the law and the constitution in such a public and blunt manner would amount to, in more advanced democracies, an intolerable challenge to the democratic dispensation.

“Alas, Pakistan is a very different country.”

The editorial pointed out that much of what is happening in the country at the moment is “too focused on personalities: (President) Asif Zardari, (Prime Minister) Yousuf Raza Gilani, (Army Chief General) Ashfaq Kayani, (ISI chief Lt. Gen.) Shuja Pasha, (Chief Justice) Iftikhar Chaudhry”.

“A step back from the personality-driven narrative can help clarify matters. The individuals at the helm of their respective institutions will last no longer than 2013.”

The editorial asked: “What kind of Pakistan do Pakistanis want in 2014? One where yet another group of would-be saviours is floundering in the morass of politics and illegitimacy? Or a state that for the first time in living memory has seen a democratic transition of government from one elected government to the next?”

“In the Pakistani context, in which neither option, elected or unelected, has delivered the choice may not seem to matter much. But that choice is vital. To send Zardari or Gilani home, only the ballot box is needed.

“To send the other options home, the price the country has to pay is much higher.”

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