THE make-up of the new National Assembly is very interesting. The largest ideological group is of centre-right neo-liberalist zealots. There is right religious idealism present in the assembly in reasonable size, though divided but still with all its emotional and social influence.
A reduced left-wing in the form of nationalists has also its share in parliament.
The interesting factor of reactionary symbolic religious idealism has for the first time entered parliament in good numbers. The overall look of the new assembly is right-leaning.
Parliaments are reflection of society. Since the days of Gen Ziaul Haq the Pakistani establishment has systematically pursued a policy of promoting right politics through a scheme of seminaries. Society has effectively been divided on sectarian lines, the effect of which was recently manifested in the division of religious vote.
These elections exposed the extent to which Pakistani society has become stratified on sectarian lines.
Reactionary right idealism has filled the vacuum which was created as a result of failure of far-right and left forces to deliver.
Traditional centre-right party cleverly managed to win a thumping victory owing to its pragmatic political strategy of counting on its time-tested power structures in the shape of evergreen, ever-effective electable candidates.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan the left-wing progressive nationalistic forces are aligning with centre-right conservatives.
The combination may appear unnatural but creating a sort of political harmony in a divided post-election scenario between right and left forces, which is a daunting task.
The process would need more sacrifice from the marginalising left on the grounds, where right-inspired liberalism is set to embark upon the policies of deregulation and privatisation.
Business cartels in stock markets are rejoicing with drooling mouths in anticipation of huge false dividends in the years to come. People have voted not to turn the country into a theocratic state nor have they given a mandate to replicate any foreign model blindly.
The PML-N has huge challenges ahead. Pakistanis want solutions, not resolutions.
Oath of office
I WAS shaken while witnessing the oath-taking ceremony of the prime minister. It began with the recitation from Ayat 162 of Surah Al Anaam 6, whereby a Muslim pledges that truly his prayer, service of sacrifice, life and death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds, Who has made us (human beings) His agents, inheritors of the earth and raised us in ranks, some above others: that He may try us in the gifts He has given us: for He is quick in punishment: yet He is oft-forgiving, most merciful.
Then the oath under the Constitution was administered wherein the prime minister, among others, pledged to do his duties honestly according to the Constitution and law, not to avail of personal interest to influence official decisions and do right to all people according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
These kinds of oaths, preceded by recitation from the relevant verses of the Holy Quran, have been taken right from day one of the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, by governor generals, presidents, prime ministers, chairmen of Senate, chief justices/judges of Supreme/Shariat/high courts, chairmen of the Election Commission of Pakistan, auditor generals, senators, MNAs, governors, chief ministers, ministers, speakers/deputy speakers of assemblies, MPAs and all others required to take such oaths.
But has any oath-taker yet taken stock of the oath taken by him and proved that he fulfilled the requirements of the verses recited and the oaths?
I fear not. Had they done so, the country would not have been a shambles.
Lives, honour and properties of the citizens would have been protected, corruption would not have been rampant, law of the land would have been respected, personal interests, influence, favouritism would not have crept in our body politic.
All said and done, I request all oath-takers, from now on, to read the verses and the text of the oath daily before sitting on the chair and not forget that Allah is quick in punishment if they do not fulfil their oaths.
ZAFARUL HAQ MEMON Karachi