~Pranav Kishore Saxena
It might not be surprising for most of the Pakistani people and political commentators to see the “cricket star” (as he calls himself) turned politician as the next democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.
In spite of many attempts by various critics of calling the election rigged and that the Pakistani military has a major role in Mr. Khan’s victory, we can, for satisfying ourselves, say that Pakistan was successful in holding elections this year.
Khan in his last speech before the election on the 23rd of July 2018, in Lahore quoted “Allah ne mujhme imaan dal dia” to justify his political presence in Pakistan. It is not uncommon for South Asian politician to legitimize their political presence in the name of either religion or God. At such occasions we can say that we belong to the same land if not ‘nation’. Prophet Muhammad’s state, as Mr. Khan says, is the ideal state that he wants to replicate Pakistan into; a state that cares for ‘human’ dignity.
Pakistan’s old challenges under the new Prime Minister would be consolidating political power in order to establish democracy in the country. The contention between Customary Law and State Law is another challenge that Pakistan has faced ever since its inception. In the Western Pakistan, the local population trusts the Taliban more than the court or the police. For them, The Taliban brings fair and quicker justice whereas the police are often accused of corruption and inefficiency. Although the Western liberal scholars consider Taliban an oppressive force, the tribal communities of Pakistan celebrate the otherwise rough and harsh ways of Taliban justice which often involves amputating a convict’s body part. However, it would be unwise to categorize Tabliban’s inhuman customary law based on the Shari’a, where it is actually based on the Pakhtunwali (the ethnic code of Pashtuns) culture.
In order to sustain Pakistani Democracy, Mr. Khan would have to counter corruption in the judicial system and limit Pakistani military’s intervention in the political administration of the country. The various ethnic groups in Pakistan have to be integrated under the state’s legitimate authority. Movements like the Lawyer’s movement of 2007 where popular figures like Asma Jahangir and Iftikhar Chaudhry contended to limit the powers of the General turned President Parvez Musharraf prove that there is still room and hope for a democratic Pakistan. Under this new regime Pakistan will have to regain its credibility on the global platform, de-escalate its conflicts with India to rejuvenate South Asian cooperation, find measures to counter terrorism and build an economy which would be inclusive of the entire population of Pakistan.
Pranav Kishore Saxena is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The True Voice.