By Dr. Abdul Razzaq Ph.D
n a democratic dispensation, common man entrusts his power and autonomy through his vote to political aspirants who have obligations to play their roles to create a just society. Each elected leader has a moral and constitutional obligation to conduct himself in consonance with expectations of people for collective good. The essence of such expectations is the highest level of public morality. The elected leaders are expected to behave with wisdom, perseverance, integrity, tolerance, fairness, foresight, impartiality, humility and a sense of responsibility. They have a moral obligation to behave in a manner that shows that they keep their consideration of self and personal interest behind their back.
The prime consideration remains obligation of public service that is the real soul of democratic system. If the elected leader betrays confidence and expectation of people, he is fit to be labeled as violator of public morality. Any such conduct essentially excludes such leaders from the list of being sadiq and ameen.
There are several examples of noble conduct from developed democracies where a minster resigns for being late in parliament. A prime minster in Ireland, resigns for mishandling a case of whistleblower involving the national police service. The list goes on. However, the case of our democracy is different. The politicians strive to capture power and cling to it by all means and in all circumstances.
The ethics or respect for public morality are secondary to them. For them, politics is a business of wielding power and then satisfying ego even if it be by abusing this power. There may be exceptional men of virtues, who know the art of moving with humility and integrity despite having power at their disposal. There still may be some among them who hate to abuse their position of power particularly against the weaker men and women around them. But for the present government, the list is long in a short span of time.
This practice of outrageous abuse of power started with un-ceremonial transfer of a DPO, transfer of IG Punjab, abrupt and sudden transfer of IG Islamabad, recent transfer of IG Punjab are some examples of power imbued governance by the PTI government. Recent trumpeting against chairman NAB by a pro-government TV channel and latest but reckless action of the government filing referencing against judges of superior judiciary are indicators of psychosis of power that has so quickly infected this government.
Promises of good governance and qualitative change are all forgotten or have been thrown overboard. PTI government has so soon proved that it has all the worst and the most dangerous affinities to abuse power at their hands disregarding the cardinal principles of public morality essential to stand on high pedestal of moral ground.
This outrageous and reckless mishandling of power has inculcated self-righteousness, arrogance, has lowered tolerance limits against dissent,has promoted irrational approach to simple issues, is justifying impulsive decisions, expects fulfillment of desires with indecent haste, sensitizes ego, fosters spontaneous and unwarranted reactions and generates impulses of hatred against those who disagree.
The power wielder likes compliant behavior instead of creativity and uprightness. A combination of all these factors leads to dangerous mistakes. Such phenomenon leads to a collective dysfunctional mental state that may be called as psychosis of power. This psychosis of power is so dipropionately ingrained into PTI’s mindset, that because of its style of governance, it is bound to sink very soon unless insanity can come back. This psychosis of power is significantly observable in leadership of PTI and the ministers who have exposed themselves through their own wrongdoings. It is so because they are freshly imbued with power with which they are unable to negotiate as yet. Consequently, their conduct is bringing bad name to the party.
The public is suffering, service delivery function of government is halting without a remorse. The system of governance has slipped into hands of those comrades, who unfortunately are infected with psychosis and are creating serious issues for the party leader out of non-issues.
This style of governance is changing expectations of voters into disappointment. The party and its workers are ultimately being embarrassed because this bunch of power wielding elitesis surrounding the party leader. In first incident the DPO Pakpattan was transferred for a petty reason. The power wielder behind this incident was out to disgrace a public servant when he persuaded the DPO to offer apology to satisfy ego of his other friend for doing nothing wrong. Out of professional pride, the DPO refused and consequently was removed at midnight.
The spineless IGP surrendered to the will of power wielders instead of protecting his officer. Thanks to angelic interference of the then CJP who took notice of such reckless abuse of power and the power wielders were compelled to submit apology for their indecent acts. The inquiry proved that it was result of abuse of power by the sitting chief minister on behest of his power wielding cronies. The government learnt no lesson out this embarrassment. In second incident newly appointed IGP was transferred for no good reasons. He refused to remove police officers involved in model town incident without a reason because this order came without ascertaining as to who is at fault and to what extent.
Among them, there may be some good police officers able to contribute positively for the society. However, psychosis of power disregards all such considerations and injustice was perpetrated across the board. If we look into the past, we can see that there is no change in style and attitude in governance by PTI. Similar, incidents of disgracing police officers for power wielders have been part of Sharif’s legacy.
It was in 2016, that DPO Bahawalnagar was expelled from Punjab for raiding outhouse of an MNA who was harboring a suspect involved in police torture. Another DPO of Sialkot was transferred because he was not able to please a couple of PML(N)’s legislators. DPO Okara was transferred because he was not liked by three PML(N)’s legislatures. The list goes on. The incident of transfer of Islamabad IGP was very interesting and a cow was the reason for his abrupt transfer. Although many interesting facts surfaced later when the then CJP took notice.
It was abundantly shown that the senator involved in this case was not a man of virtues who could be entrusted with power. He proved that he was so week to carry the burden of power that his attitude and actions are controlled by behavior of a cow and that too against the weak. In utter disregard of respect for public morality he is placed on same pedestal again. It is evident that the slogan of change has been defeated by its own inventors. Novel ideology has been buried at its birth. Like previous government, the PTI government is seeking compliant bureaucracy instead of upright individuals who can contribute to its slogan to bring a large-scale social change. It is first sign that hints at its failure.
The government cannot bring angels from the skies to run its affairs. The incidents of reckless abuse of power in recent past are relatively smaller. However, filing of a reference against an honest, upright but non-compliant judge is a bigger incident and shall carry a bigger price tag for the government. It is so because with the death of both slogan of change and new ideology, PTI already and long-time ago sold its soul to the electables.
Now, imbued with psychosis of power, it is seeking compliant judges and bureaucracy without delivering much to the nation. Such abusive conduct is hasty and counterproductive for party’s own existence. After all, all the wrongdoings re being done with sense of self-righteousness, are offensive to public morality and hence a product of psychosis of power.
It is not too late that the prime minister must take stock of whole situation while sitting in peace and isolation. He must re-negotiate with his weakness of taking abrupt decisions. The PTI leaders should also not sit in silence in checking the spoilers and turncoats, instigating the prime minister. Perseverance, tolerance, foresight, rationale, respect for dissent and care for sentiments are integral part of governance. Abrupt, spontaneous and impulsive decision making is hazardous for existence.
The government is already faced with mega challenges. The PTI leaders and workers must not make the governance a debilitating affair for its prime minister. Power imbued governance is a recipe for failure and will continue to damage PTI’s reputation unless sanity is allowed to return.
The writer is an advocate and author of a book ‘Social Dynamics of White-Collar Crimes.