“Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong.”- Daniel O’Connell

In any democratic setup, there is a relation between politics and morality. In many developing nations, however, it is difficult to find any connection between these two finer elements of mankind. In Pakistan, too, no example can quoted where a Minister of Railways has resigned due to a train crash resulting in the loss of precious human lives. Likewise, no Prime Minister or Chief Minister has resigned from office when the police or other law enforcement agencies have crossed the ‘redlines’ specified in the Constitution and he has failed to punish all those responsible for it. According to media reports, there have been many instances where political opponents were harassed by the police. In certain cases, the situation is very grim and needs to be rectified immediately. Otherwise, it could damage the institution of democracy. On the contrary, several cases can be quoted where ministers have issued illegal orders in an attempt to frame false cases against their political opponents. As the elections are drawing near, with each passing day, it would be entirely appropriate if the politicians develop the ability and moral values that are required for a democratic setup to function smoothly. Everybody is well aware about the high-handedness of the law enforcing agencies in Balochistan and some areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the prevailing circumstances, perhaps, the holding elections in these areas could help improve the situation. Equally, the situation in Karachi and other parts of Sindh is alarming, to say the least! Thus, it requires urgent action by the PPP-led coalition government. The situation is a little better in the province of Punjab, with vast pockets where crime has spiralled out of hand and the police, due to its corrupt practices and lack of commitment, have failed to deal with the criminals. Indeed, failure to improve the law and order situation in the country makes a complete mockery of the elections, creating further despondency among the people. The best way to rectify the situation requires not only political will, but also some political sagacity on the part of the political leadership. One can say with certainty that one of the basic reasons for the failure of the police force to improve law and order in the state is due to the attitude of the politicians, who use it to further their political ambitions. Meanwhile, some police officers are more than willing to be used by them for personal gains; the politicians cover up their misdeeds and corrupt practices. It would, therefore, be in the fitness of things if the politicians avoid using the police force and other law enforcement agencies for illegal purposes. The only hope for the people, however, is that the will of the majority is respected and the much needed change is brought about through free, fair and transparent elections. Also, the areas where fair elections cannot be guaranteed should be left out till the situation returns to normal. One hopes that the government would initiate measures that will allow a broad-based consensus on this vital issue before the election day. While the politicians have, indeed, matured over the years and have refused to play to the tune of anti-democratic forces, yet much needs to be done to strengthen democracy. In addition, the political parties in Pakistan have a unique system of in-house elections where a worker finds it extremely difficult to achieve the status that would be normally due to him/her in any other democratic country. Hence, it would be a prudent beginning if these parties initiate reforms from within setting a good example for the people. Hopefully, the parties are aware of this and would put in place a system that will overcome this shortcoming. This will definitely go a long way to help establish the missing link that exists between morality and politics in Pakistan. 

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist. At present, he hosts a political programme on Pakistan Television.Email: zarnatta@hotmail.com