CoD ó charter of hypocrisy
Mohammad Jamil


PPP and PML-N remained at loggerheads since late 1980s and 1990s and accused each other of corruption, loot and plunder during their tenures. Alliances were formed either to manipulate the polls or to get rid of each otherís governments. The IJI was formed what is said at the behest of establishment, when politicians were alleged to have been given lacs of rupees to obscure the chances of PPPís victory in elections. However, 1990s was termed as a lost decade. According to Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nationís existence. In spite of rapid population growth, two wars and successive civil and military governments from 1950s to 1980s per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s.

In the 1990s, economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%; poverty rose to 33%; inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt became nearly equal to the entire GDP of Pakistan, as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Even during their governments in 2008 and 2013 respectively they built up the debt mountain unprecedented in the history of Pakistan. In October 1999, PML-N government was overthrown, by the then Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, what he said in a counter-coup. In October 2000, GDA was formed by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan comprising almost all political parties. In 2002, he suggested including PML-N in the alliance, which was opposed by PML Chatha and Qasim groups and PTI. Thus, GDA was replaced with Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD) to accommodate PML-N against whom the GDA was formed.
However, there is a lot of deceit in politics especially in Pakistan, as after formation of ARD, PML-N wanted MMA to be taken in its fold, which was opposed by the PPP on the grounds that the MMA had played a pivotal role in the passage of 17th Amendment. PML-N had then formed All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) on the ruins of the ARD. Later, when the APDM decided to boycott the elections, PML-N participated in the general election. On the other hand, late Benazir Bhutto entered into an agreement with the then President Pervez Musharraf, and NRO was issued to facilitate her return. She was assassinated at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi by unknown assailants on 27th December 2007. PPP came into power after winning 2008 election due to sympathy vote, whereas PML-N formed government after winning 2013 elections. However, both had adopted themes against the military.
Anyhow, CoD was signed by late Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif in 2006, for restoration and strengthening of democracy, which is dead since long. But whenever PML-N and PPP governments failed to deliver, or their leaders were put in the dock for amassing wealth beyond means using their office, their leaders invoked Charter of Democracy. At the time of sit-in by Imran Khanís PTI against rigging of elections in 2014, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had convened the joint session of Parliament where PPP had given the moral support to PML-N government. Both leaders had claimed that the document was a milestone in the struggle for real democracy in Pakistan, and that the Charter would stop the military from overthrowing an elected civilian government. But the Charter of Democracy proved as charter of hypocrisy, as leaders of both parties betrayed each other.
The fact remains that in the countries where genuine democracy is functioning, democracy has not come with the charters, but it lives in the blood and flesh, in the hearts and minds of their leaders, members and workers. Of course, when the government did not deliver, and showed its helplessness in dealing with monster of terrorism or failed in controlling law and order situation, it gave space to military. Anyhow, there was nothing new in the charter signed in London nor was there anything particular except one thing that the Constitution should be amended to remove the article disallowing them to be Prime Minister more than two terms. Therefore, Pakistanis back home were not moved by their demands, as they were more interested in knowing if the two leaders had any plans for their welfare, which they had failed to do during their two stints as prime ministers.
During 1988 to 1999, both leaders twice came into power but failed to promote democracy in their parties and the country. They had done nothing to ameliorate the lot of common man. For almost seven decades, the people are enmeshed in their own serious economic problems to spare time for gimmicks of the political leaders. Today, economic disparity, socio-economic injustice, rampant corruption, rising crime rate, debt mountain, energy crisis and ineffective criminal justice system especially in lower courts are the challenges facing the nation. Majority of the people are living in the gloom of stalking poverty, squalor, want and deprivation. But they are neither in focus of the ruling elite nor by the anchorpersons, analysts and intellectuals who more often than not highlight the elitesí grouses rather than highlighting the grievances of the downtrodden. However, PPP was involved in Memogate scandal and PML-N in Dawn leaks to denigrate military to appease the US.