Pakistani PM’s & Instable Democracy

It is really hard to be a Prime Minister in Pakistan. As all the Prime Minister’s of Pakistan never completed their due tenure, following this legacy Pakistan’s 20th Prime Minister and the first from Balochistan province Zafarullah Khan Jamali 59, announced his resignation and dissolved his Cabinet on Saturday, June 26, 2004, due to certain personal reasons, ending long time controversial speculation regarding his sour relationship with country’s military ruler. Although, clouds of speculation were hovering on his premiership from some times but dismissed each time by former PM himself. However, the leader of ruling party in parliament PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was nominated to replace Jamali.

To follow the conventional route however those reasons irrespective of personal nature have to come on limelight to review the original situation regarding Jamali’s resignation. Analysts are of the opinion that it’s Jamali’s inability to control opposition over the issue of uniform that exasperate General Sahib and pave way for Zafarullah Jamali’s early exit. As this move is made when govt. at one side is heavily engaged in hide and seeks war in Waziristan, on other side US-led war on terrorism has yet not over due to which US designate Pakistan "major non-Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) ally" status for its role in the war against terror. Under this fragile situation, Jamali’s untimely resignation may impose insignificant impact on foreign policy.

On October 1999, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was overthrown in dramatic military coup d’etat led by General Pervez Musharaff. Since then country has been struggling to bring democracy on the track. As pressure ascent over Musharaff to restore democracy, general elections were held in October 2002, in those rigged elections in the books of opposition party, PML-Q supports Musharaff and Zafarullah Jamali being seasoned politician from PML-Q became prime minister in November 2002. Under Jamali’s tenure political differences developed among different opposition parties mainly with the govt. from sectarian violence to tooth & nail fight with Al-Qaeda’s militants across the board on above political assassinations; govt. faced severe criticism and finally Jamali steps down.

This is not the first democracy is hijacked in Pakistan via military’s frequent intervention in civilian cum democratic styled political system. Prime Minister’s incomplete tenure has been experienced for 19 times before, under different military and presidential government set-up. So as a 20th PM of Pakistan, Jamali’s incomplete tenure is nothing but an added chapter in incomplete tenures of PM as a new wine in old bottle.

With the resignation of Zafarullah Jamali, history had once again repeated itself. In the 57 years of Pakistan’s independence, securing democracy from power cravers (incase of Military) many intellectual Prime Minister’s had lost their positions at the brink of internal vis-à-vis external security concerns.

Let’s have a glimpse at the historical background of Prime Minister’s positions and resignations. As on august 14, 1947 when Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule, Liaquat Ali Khan becomes first Prime Minister of Pakistan from August 15, 1947 to October 16, 1951. In 1951 Jinnah’s successor Liaquat Ali Khan assassinated and then to fill the vacuum of Prime Ministerial position, Nazimuddin on October 19, 1951 becomes Prime Minister. That was the period in which Liaquat Khan’s assassination was the main reason to adopt Nazimuddin as PM. Nazimuddin remain in his position till April 17, 1953.

From the period of April 17, 1953 to August 11, 1955 Mr. Muhammad Ali Bogra enjoyed Prime Minister’s position. After him many successful personalities like Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Hussain Shaheed Sohrwardi, Ibrahim Ismail (I.I.) Chundrigar, Malik Feroze Noon and general Ayub Khan were assigned as Prime Minister in the period of August 1955 to October 1958.

On 1969, after the declaration of Martial law General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan assumes presidency, on 1971 Yahya Khan resigns & Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes president of Pakistan from December 20, 1971 to August 13, 1973. On 1973 new constitution goes into effect and Bhutto becomes prime minister on August 14, 1973 to July 5, 1977. Possessing a popular mandate of Roti, Kapra Aur Makaan Bhutto gained enormous popularity. However, many of his political policies were also criticized. But in the history of Pakistan Bhutto is depicted in good books. In 1977 when General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq proclaims martial law and became Chief Martial Law Administrator on July 5, 1977, that was the difficult period for Bhutto’s political career. Events were so dramatically went out of hands that ended Bhutto’s life in 1979. Abdul Razzak A. Thahim in chapter-1 Last days of Z.A. Bhutto, in his book “Memoirs” comment on Bhutto’s death as “This execution made Bhutto Sahib immortal and all his opponent became his devotees due to this tragic and unprecedented execution in history of criminal law of the world.” Thus Bhutto’s execution was condemned world wide as undemocratic act or extra-judicial murder.

In 1985 general elections were held. After Bhutto, Mr. Muhammad Khan Junejo was appointed as PM from March 23, 1985 to May 29, 1988. Junejo tried utmost efforts to reduce tension between army and civilian style govt. and proposes reforms to accelerate political cum economic development in nation. In the same year Zia-ul-Haq killed in mysterious plane crash along with top army officials.

General elections were held in 1988, Benazir Bhutto sworn in on Dec 2, 1988 as first woman Prime Minister of a Muslim nation, she remains PM till August 6, 1990. Under her tenure opposition levied massive charges of corruption & nepotism and that was enough to break her party position in the parliament. Benazir Bhutto has honored to become PM twice in the history of Pakistan. Her second tenure was from October 19, 1993 to Nov 5, 1996.

Like Benazir, Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Shariff also held Prime Minister Office twice first from Nov 6, 1990 to July 18 1993, later in 1996 when President Farooq Leghari dismisses Benazir Bhutto then in 1997 National elections held; Sharif return as Prime Minister after his party PML wins election. Nawaz Sheriff’s popularity rose when in 1998 Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests, shocked the entire world over security concerns in South Asian region. October 1999 Nawaz Shariff was overthrown via military coup d’etat by Gen. Musharaff on hijacking the plane of Gen. Musharaff and terrorism charges. Shariff’s life imprisonment turned in to exile on December 2000, after being pardoned by military government.

Referendum was held in April 2002 in which Musharaff period in office was extended for another 5 years. Since 1999 military coup return of democracy was demanded world wide, therefore first general elections were held in October 2002, via those elections Mr. Zafarullah Jamali sworn in as first civilian Prime Minister in Nov 2002 and recently resigned from premiership on June 26, 2004.

Each time when Pakistan’s political sphere experience reshuffling in premiership, the fresh concern regarding country’s return to democracy arises. Though, five years period is long enough under Musharaff’s govt. to remove stumbling blocks from democratic path. But to maintain military supremacy over democratic establishment while relaxing political parties’ inevitable demands seemed difficult task for govt. to prove. And being a front man, Jamali while realizing this fact preferred resignation rather than to be fired.

No matter what repercussions country would face but one may not deny the fact that democracy has once again committed suicide. Neither accountability nor people’s participation via their chosen representatives including Prime Minister, Is that the democratic modus operandi believed to be prevailing in country?

Corruption, nepotism, money laundering, political gambling you name the defect and all comes from each sector of democratic style of administration, whenever need arise to either fire or hire Prime Minister in Pakistan. Why the accountability process is un-attentive throughout the execution of Prime Minister’s responsibilities? Why democratic or military style governments never set-up the system of the presence of check & balance while performing regular tasks in office? Why always premiers surrender or take back seat in lieu of dilapidated condition of a country, why not president being an equal partner of govt. decisions ever held responsible or resign? I personally believe, these are not the million dollar questions or queries to handle or to adopt the deliberate measures in the interest of the democracy in particular or nation in general.

I do respect, whatever the reason Mr. Zafarullah Jamali has given to clarify his position. Also, I am optimistic about the vision & velocity of new Prime Minister to make Pakistan a better place to live. But for how long the premiers quitting game derail the continuity in the democratic process. Although, the strong upsurge desire of resistance is shown each time whenever PM’s resign but the efforts to make PM’s position further stronger remains in the pipeline due to un-attentiveness.

No matter how one justify the act of premiers frequent resignation, in my opinion the damages in terms of political cum economic as well as security point of view remain persona non grata. However I’m also aware that the political system needs sagacious renovation after some time & there is available the provision in the constitution via elections so that people judiciously chose their representatives, once the tenure is complete not to break the continuity of already existing working body of administration.

Playing power politics may fulfill the personal desire but greatly sabotage the manageable state affairs. Now it is high time for Govt. to realize the economic cum social security cost involved in Prime Minister’s early exit, before the untimely undesired internal political crisis gradually and formally invite alienated external forces to invade internal sovereignty.