Not a colony but a sovereign nation

All politicians in Pakistan like elsewhere in the world call and declare themselves socialists and make promises

Dr Muhammad Ali Ehsan June 19, 2022
The writer is Dean Social Sciences at Garrison University Lahore and tweets @Dr M Ali Ehsan

To answer why former PM Imran Khan’s PTI government was removed, I would like to climb the academic stair and go a little bit into the past and talk about theory and history. The system wasn’t working, so thought Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who authored the ‘Social Manifesto’ in 1840 and wrote about the overthrow of the manipulative system of feudalism in which the owners of production exploited and oppressed the working class. Both writers were socialist reformists and both imagined constructing bottom-up bridges to end growing inequality in the system. Almost two centuries earlier both anti-capitalist scholars were defining history as a dialectical process that was a product of class struggle. As a student of International Relations, when I climb the theoretical steps on the academic stair, I get reasonably informed that all capitalists portray themselves as socialists but all true socialists are always anti-capitalists. Because capitalism inherits obligatory exploitation of the working class and when capitalism gets concentrated in a few hands it gives birth to the monopoly of the few; and after this capitalism remains no more capitalism but transforms into imperialism which functions on the framework of extending the interest of the few at the expense, want and cost of the majority.

All politicians in Pakistan like elsewhere in the world call and declare themselves socialists and make promises after promises to the poor people of this country — promises that they never fulfilled. As a strong nation, maybe Pakistan could carry the burden of the likes of the Sharifs and the Zardaris but these capitalists turned imperialists spent far too much time in power to understand how to never let it go. To sustain themselves in power they further create miniature imperialists in every institution and all over the society whose job is to stay loyal to them before being loyal to the state.

In such a system, creating any kind of abundance for the entire country from which all people could benefit was never an achievable goal. Over time, these imperialists including both the original version and the miniatures have spread along the length and breadth of this country and have become what our biology teacher in the school used to refer to as the blood-sucking organisms called parasites. Parasites can only live on a willing host, and we the people are the host of these parasites, as they take away from us anything and everything that can fatten them up to have pleasurable long lives while taking away from us, the poor people, even the will to stay alive and survive.

Can the poor survive now when the petrol price has skyrocketed and touched the figure of Rs233 a liter? With vast sums in their pockets and properties held both at home and abroad these imperialists are beneficiaries of super profits and have no idea about how a common man suffers. The current disruption and destruction of our political, economic and social capital is the doing of these imperialists and miniature imperialists who have misruled us for a very long time and whose wealth living on us as host has only grown, doubled, tripled and forever multiplied. So theoretically, as long as our local imperialists are around, no socialist or reformist like Imran Khan will be allowed to make a new path for traveling.

This brings me to the second step of the academic stair — history. Climbing that, of course, is a huge ask but considering that I plan to answer the question of why Imran Khan’s government was removed. I will only take a small bite at that portion of historical bread relevant to Imran Khan’s removal. For that, I will have to take readers to the unfolding of a Cold War 3 (assuming Cold War 1 was about USSR-US rivalry and Cold War 2 is about US-China rivalry).

A Cold War 3 overlaps the Cold War 2 and although the US fights it with multiple objectives, its core political objective is to isolate Russia. Not Ukraine but the entire world is its battlefield. US propagandists are creating a global environment and mood in which any country even if it imagines taking sides with Russia will subject itself to US ire. And imagine our former PM was not only negotiating the possibility of purchase of wheat and oil from Russia at a reduced cost he was doing that standing on Russian soil right on the day Russia was invading Ukraine.

“Either you can be a colony or you can be sovereign,” says Russian President Vladimir Putin. If we were a sovereign, we would never have experienced the regime change that we experienced. Keeping the honour, dignity and respect of the noble profession that some of us are associated with, can any professor of political science justify the regime change to the students in any university in Pakistan and the manner in which it was executed — and that too to be replaced by a government that has a cabinet filled with such crooks and criminals?

Since the start of the Ukraine war, the US has been threatening China who is a vital Russian partner that if it supports Russia then it will lead to a deterioration of relations between the two countries. China has so far not criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In fact, both President Putin and President Xi Jinping are of the joint view that the global economy has become more complicated due to the unlawful sanctions policy of the West and the global economic slowdown is not troubling Russia and China alone but the entire world.

President Joe Biden claims that all those countries that support the Russian war in Ukraine stand on the wrong side of history. The UN General Assembly has so far adopted three US-sponsored resolutions on Ukraine. The first in March called for Russia to stop its offensive and withdraw its troops from Ukraine. As many as 141 countries voted in favor, 5 against and 35 abstained (countries representing over 50% of the population of the world didn’t vote in favour). The second UN resolution in March demanded civilian protection and humanitarian access in Ukraine. This time 5 countries voted against and 38 abstained. The third UN resolution in April called for Russia to be suspended from the Human Rights Council. In the 193-member assembly, 93 voted in favour and 24 against while 53 abstained.

Clearly, the voting pattern in the UN General Assembly shows that geo-economics more than geopolitics guides today’s politics. Wasn’t this what Imran Khan’s government declared by launching its first-ever national security policy? If his economic policy was doing alright what was the reason for his removal except this being the brainchild of our internal and external imperialists. Our political and economic future is tied with regional powers like China and Russia. History will laugh at us if we keep attaching our national interests with a distant power across the Atlantic and Pacific.

Lastly, bridge the inequality gap by learning from socialist theories and ideologies and learn from history by shaking hands with China and Russia but keeping the US as your friend too. But please in the words of President Putin “don’t be a colony, be a sovereign nation”.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2022.

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