Elite’s internecine conflicts depose Sharif | Lal Khan

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Although PML-N leaders and supporters were hoping against hope, the writing was on the wall. The state’s burgeoning crisis, crumbling economy and elite’s internecine conflicts were bound to take their toll. The Supreme Court asserted that, “This historic decision that would be remembered for centuries”, however it couldn’t even stir the vast majority of the alienated masses.

The hyperactivity and overuse of the judiciary by the power brokers in recent decades is symptomatic of state’s vulnerability. The strategically fostered reverence of these supreme temples of justice is waning. The highest court in the land takes suo moto actions on two bottles of whisky or blocking construction of projects where the inhabitants are forced to suffer. The pettiest of the executive’s tasks taken up by the country’s top court depletes its contrived sanctity.

Although western imperialists have tacitly backed Nawaz’s deposition but are extremely worried about the future prospects of their vested interests in Pakistan. The Economist wrote on Tuesday 01 August, “Nevertheless the bench has set a frighteningly wide precedent… disqualification on Article 62 of the constitution, a baggy, mostly ignored law that requires politicians to be ‘honest’ and ‘righteous’. Such qualities are hard to codify… All this combines to leave Pakistan in a state of perilous uncertainty… Pakistanis have been forced to watch, once again, as the state makes the decision for them. It may be a fresh start. But Pakistan has had too many of those already.”

The BBC commented: “Supreme Court took the unusual step of instituting its own investigation into the case, with a dominant role for the military intelligence services… the military establishment has alternatively used constitutional manipulation and direct takeovers to keep the civilian leaders in line… it has invariably been supported by the top judiciary… military has developed a huge business and industrial empire which it runs from within, with little or no interference from the state authority… military is able to control some crucial domestic and foreign policy areas or the political narrative and propagation of a particular type of patriotism at home.”

A mass movement of the oppressed classes will not only sweep away this odious political framework but also challenge the socioeconomic system
There have been speculations of a sharp involvement of the regional and world imperialist states pursuing their hegemonic designs. The Sino-US economic rivalry in Pakistan and the proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia and now the added intervention of Qatar have intensified conflicts within Pakistan’s corrupt elite. The reliance of the Sharifs’ on the Saudi and Gulf monarchies as benefactors has now turned into its opposite. The recent conflicts among the GCC countries with diplomatic rows and military threats proved to be lethal for Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz had achieved a certain populist authority in a period of society’s inertia based on despair rather than hope. The collapse of Pakistan’s traditional left and betrayals of the PPP’s post Bhutto leaderships paved the way for Nawaz to rise with the backing of the establishment. Nawaz made the mistake of taking himself seriously as an all-powerful and sovereign prime minister in this debilitated democratic set up. He was perhaps naively unaware of the harsh reality that the necessary economic and social infrastructural foundations for embedding a western style democracy were never built by the corrupt ruling class he belonged to. He should have known better that how desperately it needs the patronage of the state and imperialists for its ruler ship.

The fall of Nawaz Sharif has opened up a Pandora’s box in Pakistan’s already skewed political scenario. What The Economist calls “perilous uncertainty” is in reality a unraveling economic, social and political crisis that was already aggravating under Nawaz’s government.

Imran Khan is facing his disqualification trial and is now under the assaults of a scurrilous sexual scandal. He might have been used to the extent of removing Sharif. His erraticism might be felt as a liability to the forces that be. The military has opted for the policy of holding the reigns of the crucial stakes behind the façade of so-called democratic setups. Sharif’s removal looks like the state’s urge for a more compliant political disposition.

The incumbent political parties have cynically abandoned the deprived masses. The politicians rely on the state, black moneyed tycoons and the imperialists to come to power. The imperialists East and West prefer to deal directly with their patronised factions of the establishment rather than the fragile political governments. In this dire situation, heroes without heroic deeds, projected in the last few years can be propelled into ‘popularity’ and power by the deep state.

However one crucial factor in this convoluted realm, generally ignored, is the role of the working classes. For a long time the vast majority of the toilers and the destitute comprising almost ninety per cent of the population have been extricated from the political process. Their comeback can transform the whole scenario. Stormy events impend. A mass movement of the oppressed classes will not only sweep away this odious political framework but also challenge the socioeconomic system. Their forceful entrance of the proletariat and youth in the arena of history and victory of the class struggle shall not only transform society but is the only way-out for the peoples’ emancipation.

The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at ptudc@hotmail.com

Published in Daily Times, August 8th 2017.