Not Everything Is Fair In War!

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The saying goes that everything is fair in war and love, but human conscience has determined over centuries that there are principles of war, with defined boundaries, just as there are measures for love that must be considered. Unfortunately, people have misused this saying, claiming that everything is fair in war and politics. This misuse has become the cause of wars worldwide and has increased hatred and division in our politics.

Today, the war between Iran and Israel has begun, and geographically, we are neighbors to Iran, sharing many commonalities. Therefore, this war will surely affect us. If Pakistan had been used as a corridor, we could have benefited from our geography.

However, our past wars with India, two world wars in Afghanistan, and now the Iran-Israel war seem to strangle us geographically. Surviving amidst the flames of conflict is quite challenging.

In the Iran-Israel war, we will face internal and external pressures, along with many dangers. Despite avoiding direct involvement in the conflicts of the Middle East, we should stick to our old policy.

In the shadow of war clouds, attention must be drawn towards uniting the divided nation; otherwise, the dream of economic stability cannot be fulfilled. Whatever the outcome of the February 8 elections, one thing is certain: politics cannot be defeated by jails, arrests, court sentences, and administrative measures.

Politics can only be defeated by politics itself. Positive changes can be expected through dealing with politics through political means. Allegations of electoral fraud could lead to consensus on parliamentary or judicial commissions, but it remains to be seen how long these measures will take.

On the other hand, the Shehbaz government is paying no attention to politics. The federal cabinet formed is more technocratic than political. The country is facing political challenges, and the majority in the cabinet is not directly elected. This situation is regrettable. The cabinet includes a brother of the prime minister, an uncle, his niece, two close relatives, and two in-laws. Among those elected to the National Assembly, only Khawaja Asif, Awais Leghari, Riaz Pirzada, and Rana Tanveer Hussain are included, while the rest are technocrats.

It is said that the federal cabinet has not made any major political decisions yet, suggesting that the government is waiting for the right moment to act. The real issue is that in Shehbaz Sharif’s past 16 months of government, there was not a single session or political meeting held. If this detachment from politics continues, the government, especially the PML-N, will suffer political losses.

Supporters of Shehbaz Sharif argue that currently, his focus is on fixing economic and administrative matters. Once resolved, he will turn his attention to politics. However, they should remember that the fate of the government is decided in the political arena. If they are prime minister today, it’s because of politics. If they ignore politics, they may not remain anywhere tomorrow.

The meeting between Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ali Amin Gandapur and Federal Minister for Interior Mohsin Naqvi, followed by an iftar at the Corps Commander’s House with the provincial cabinet, are events that could lead to better politics in the future.

In my opinion, the leaders of the Muslim League-N, Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, should take the lead, presenting a formula that brings moderation to politics and fosters democracy in the country. Imran Khan should also change his approach of not engaging with political parties.

If they have a majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they should do the same as the PPP in Sindh. Refusing negotiations with the PPP is entirely non-political. Similarly, it is impossible to gain power by fighting against authority. Whoever has taken power from authority has done so through negotiations and compromises.

For a long time, I have been saying that there is no ideal democracy in conflict zones, where power is achieved only through popularity. Our country follows a hybrid model where acceptance is as important as popularity.

All stakeholders in Pakistan, whether they are generals or politicians, technocrats or professionals, must realize that the country does not end in today’s era; it suffocates them with its economy. Governments in African countries are always in power, and their geographical boundaries are strong, but their economies are in such bad shape that their citizens are not concerned.

Our university funding has been frozen at the same level for many years, and government universities will be closed for three to four years. The pension bill has increased so much that if not addressed, it will be difficult to pay government employees monthly wages.

Capitalists and their children are leaving the country. It was expected that after such a situation, after new elections, there would be daily parliamentary, ISI, and federal cabinet sessions, legislation on all the country’s problems, and decisions made day and night, indicating that the country’s construction and development had begun on war footing.

So far, the impact has not been such that foreign investment has begun. Some positive indicators are emerging in the economy, but they are insufficient. We need revolutionary changes that, as Shahbaz Sharif says, are not possible without daily hard work.

The Shehbaz Sharif government’s honeymoon period is over, but their goals and hopes for the future are not being heard repeatedly from their speeches and demeanor. Hope drives countries towards progress. Efforts should be made to awaken hope in the elite.

Hope will only be born when everything is not considered fair in political warfare; law and constitution will be the sole standards.

Note: This is the translation of his Urdu column published in Jang

 

Suhail Warraich
Suhail Warraich
The writer is a senior journalist and columnist, who also hosts his famous TV show Aik Din Geo Kay Sath.

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