Political activism and democratic culture are two main components for a democracy to flourish but there is a thin line between being politically active and being a part of a mob. In my opinion, the leadership and its agenda plays an important role in transforming a politically active public into a mob. There is no doubt that the political mumbo jumbo in Islamabad is endangering the fledgling democracy and democratic norms. This whole turmoil is also depicting two harsh realities.
Firstly, a larger picture of the Pakistani society as exhibited in the ongoing political turmoil is very grim. Large number of people gathering and responding proactively to the unconstitutional calls of their pied-piping leaders proves that the main problem lies at the core of the society. It stands clear that the politicians, despite their belief in democracy, have failed to establish democratic norms in the society, educate common Pakistani of his democratic duties and responsibilities, and ensure democratic rights for each and every individual.
Majority of the mainstream political parties are rightfully condemning and criticizing Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri but, they should also realize that the democratization of the society is their duty. American civil rights leader, Timothy Thomas Fortune, once famously said, “Mob law is the most forcible expression of an abnormal public opinion; it shows that society is rotten to the core”. This quote perfectly befits our society. Once this turmoil gets diffused, our politicians should turn to the problems that lie at the core of our society; democratization of the society is much needed.
Secondly, it is showing how immature, undemocratic and unprincipled Imran Khan’s politicking is; as he has amassed his supporters and sympathizers for an unconstitutional act. His bandwagon appeal and political opportunism has further defamed the Azadi March. His tactics to topple down the government give rise to a pressing question i.e. what sort of ‘true democracy’ he wants to establish through his undemocratic and unconstitutional means?
Moreover, in a genuine revolution, class difference between the leadership and party workers diminishes but in Khan’s revolution, it does exist and it is obvious by the fact that the entire leadership resort to their lavish retreats in their shiny SUV motorcades leaving supporters stranded on the road. How can a leadership that has failed to eliminate class difference within its own party promise the welfare of middle and lower classes of our country?
Let us for the sake of argument agree that Imran Khan sincerely wants true democracy in Pakistan in which true representatives of the masses will be part of national assembly, but what about an extra-constitutional precedent he is determined to set by toppling a democratically-elected government? Even if he successfully manages to overthrow Nawaz Sharif’s regime, he will surely face the same threat to his own government in the future as well because his power play is not only imperiling his own political career but, also stigmatizing Pakistan and the domestic politics.