End political deception algorithms

As Pakistanis remain mired in political instability and economic regression, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Two statements in adversity made me look at the bigger picture. A; former Prime Minister Imran Khan remarked that “parliamentarians have no army, their weapon to fight is persuasion and constant struggle”. Of them; a member of the Honorable Bench of the Supreme Court observed that “the application of the minds of legislators in a strange way when interpreting the constitution is the source of discord”. If we read deeply into the two candid statements, much can be changed and reformed in our otherwise turbulent and contested national life.

We are on the brink these days. An experiment aimed at showing the door to a Prime Minister elected in April by a “coalition of the reluctant” has turned against him. Despite the backlashes of encryption and the overt and covert interference of a superpower, the fact is that the truth has not been made public to date. The bitter half-truth creates a nuisance and has had a negative impact on national cohesion. The nation must know in full what Washington’s alleged submission was and how the powers that be reacted to it in their considered opinion. The figure, now in the official possession of the authorities concerned, as well as the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the President of the Republic, deserves an investigation to clear up the fog and allow the nation to reorient itself in the right perspective. Allegations and counter-allegations have only increased the chaos and confusion.

With an economy reeling from a huge debt burden of $120 billion, a current account deficit of over $17 billion and foreign exchange reserves falling below $9 billion, all is not well in the Republic. We are on the brink of default, and the currency is battered with no sign of returning. To make matters worse, political mayhem is watching us, as one of the most fractured alliances of all and everyone is unable to understand where we are headed. The ousted PTI under Khan is unwilling to accept anything but resort to a ballot, and the ruling dispensation is busy buying time at great risk.

The perils are many. The government’s manipulation of statistics to paint a gloomy picture of the economy, which it inherited in April, sent the wrong signals. The 2021-22 Economic Review, however, spilled the wick and praised the sacked waiver. Market and investor confidence is at rock bottom and most of the time the stock markets are bearish. The IMF is in a Shakespearean state of mind. He asks for a pound of flesh and doesn’t care how much bleeding it will cause. The staff level agreement with the IMF is not progressing, as conditionalities keep piling up. So, with inflation officially at 22%, civil unrest threatens to rage, pushing the country down Sri Lanka’s path.

Egalitarian nations seek refuge in the rule of law and rectify their mistakes by applying the conventions of wisdom. So is the exit door for us. We are tired of confrontation. Playing one national institution against another has bred parochialism. Moreover, the tendency to castigate institutions, especially the judiciary, if they do not correspond to petty political aspirations is a myopic and egocentric approach.

Let persuasion in civility and recourse to law be our modus operandi. Likewise, let the pillars of the state stick to their own constitutional role and not interfere in the domains of others. This is how we can find a way out of the quagmire we find ourselves in these days. Pakistan needs an invincible civil order and legal and just decorum. Until we eliminate corrupt practices and abuses of power, nothing will change for good. The engineering behind the curtain didn’t help. The political numbers and algorithms of deception must be put to rest.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30e2022.

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Sharon D. Cole