There are no office hours for leaders – James Gibbons
Democracy has been a tough challenge for Pakistan. In its 67 years of history, the democratic process was impeded four times and when people of the country elected governments with power of their ballots, democratically elected governments were not allowed to complete their term.
In past, Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) term never was full of sunshine and butterflies; but former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari completed his five-year term becoming the first democratically elected president in the country’s history.
29-point report, which key newspapers published on PPP’s five-year performance, highlighted major achievements that paved ways for taking Pakistan toward the goal of prosperity.
There were only two things that allowed Zardari to complete his five-year tenure as government despite the fact PPP was limited to its governments in Centre and Sindh province and lacked a simple two-third majority. Those two things were 1-Police and politics of reconciliation and, 2- Believeing in power of the masses.
Protest rallies, sits-in, tough time from political allies and coalition partners in federal and Sindh provincial governments, lawyers movement, the issue of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s restoration, worst media trial and war on terror especially the drone issue were all at the apex during his time. Two PPP Prime Minister’s were victim of judicial activism and continuous threats to PPP leaders from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan were no secret that forced PPP to stay confined at corners.
For convenience of the readers, it would not be out of context to give a little brief on that 29-point report that gave a special note to transfer of presidential powers to the prime minister office and the parliament, Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline (PIGPL), agreement with China on Gwadar Port, increase in foreign exchange reserves from $6 billion in 2008 to $16 billion in 2013, increase in export from $18B in 2008 to $29B in 2012, revival of the 1973 Constitution, Constitutional empowerment of Gilgit-Baltistan, consensual approval of 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, consensual approval of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, record of $24 billion exports, record of $17 billion foreign reserves, financial and administration empowerment of provinces, initiation of Aghaz-e Haqooq-e Balochistan Package, financial protection of 5 million indigent families through Benazir Income Support Programme especially scholarship for 16,450 students from Balochistan, appointment of officers from Balochistan at the federal secretariat, appointment of 118 engineers from Balochistan at Gwadar Port and jobs for 5000 graduates in provincial government, etc. There is a long record of struggle, which needed scores of books to carry the fight for the country.
Zardari’s gigantic contributions for strong democracy received applause from all corners and from all segments of the society in Pakistan and even were internationally acclaimed. It was due to his untiring struggle for democracy that a smooth transfer of government from an elected government to another elected government was made hustle free and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took the reins of power corridors. Restoration of 1973 Constitution with complete consensus was not only a blessing for the country but it maintained the democratic hierarchy of him.
Even today, when the country and the elected government of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had stuck between the devil and the fire, Zardari stood for the defence of democracy and advocated for the resolution of political conflicts through dialogue. He may not need to engage the historian to wait for an appropriate time to pen down the records of his services for democracy as he had through his actions in recent past and today inscribed the pages of history of democracy in Pakistan.
The adventurists that were eager to wrap up democracy and impose a tyrannical unelected managers might have serious reservations from any particular politician but again PPP made it loud and clear that it won’t support the adventurists but would resist in full because the country could only be ruled by the masses through their elected representatives and the fact was that no country in the world attained the apex goal of prosperity, rule of law, and upliftment of people’s standard of living, strong defence without democracy. Asif Ali Zardari became the leading personality in Pakistan’s history, who simplified the meanings of living a dignified nation with complete freedom and glory under the democratic system of government.
Source : Daily Times