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Dirty Game

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In the old days, Pakistani Cricket umpires were notorious for their partiality. Even the Pakistanis used to make fun of this in their plays and talk-shows. After the events in that country, today, it can be safely said that ball-tampering probably had a big role to play in Imran Khan’s team winning the World Cup, which he constantly boasts about. It is also reminiscent of Indira Gandhi’s declaration of Emergency after her election was set aside in 1975 by the Allahabad High Court. It was a dark phase in Indian Democracy and it took a long and tough struggle for the nation to emerge from it. Sadly, Pakistan has since its inception never truly enjoyed any semblance of real democratic functioning. It has been betrayed not just repeatedly by its Army, but also by every political party. The latest hope, Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreeq-e-Insaaf, has also proved hollow. Ironically, this is the man who accused Narendra Modi of being a fascist, although he has changed his tune, recently, by praising India’s ‘independent’ foreign policy.

Khan’s unwillingness to face the no-confidence vote in the National Assembly shows that he knew his number was up. Just as Indira Gandhi did, he has got his cronies – the Speaker and the President – to undermine the Constitution and Democracy. As of now, the Assembly has been dissolved and elections are to be held within ninety days. He claims he has thwarted the designs of foreign powers and corrupt politicians to destroy Pakistan’s right to take its own decisions.

Having seen how matters have turned out, it would be difficult to say how impartial the elections will be. The opposition parties have approached the Supreme Court and are insisting that the no-confidence vote be held. The decision on that is awaited. If any lessons are to be learned from India’s Emergency, the pressure of circumstances will further consolidate opposition unity and simple mathematics should lead to an electoral victory. What happens later can, of course, be a repeat of what happened to the Janata Party. One gain in recent years has been the Army staying clear of taking direct control. The message, however, has been effectively communicated – whoever falls foul of it cannot last long in office. As a sovereign entity, Pakistan will be under tremendous pressure with separatist movements having made even deeper inroads in recent times. India will, of course, be greatly concerned as an unstable neighbour will be an unnecessary complication in uncertain times.