Lessons from Scottish referendum for Pakistan

As we move into the final day of Scottish independence referendum, it has to be noted that the mood in whole of the UK is pretty calm and serene (as much as its use to be on any other day). This is a historical event, regardless of the outcome of vote. Who would have thought the British Raj will see a day when a tiny piece of land just adjacent to mighty England will ask for its own right in the form of independence, the same British Raj which was spread all over the world such that the sun never sets in the empire.

Regardless of the circumstances which has caused such a huge event happening in Scotland, none of the serious politicians has ever said that the independence of Scotland will be over their dead body or the independence will require bloody revolution. One of the world’s most powerful country has not been able to suppress the will of people. Similar separatist movements are on going in countries like Canada and Russia. If the state is in constant state of denial for the rights of people, these indigenous moments will keep on shaping. Even the best of western world is still divided on linguistics and ethnicity, example being Canada/Qubec but in no way the state persecutes its own people for keeping difference of opinion.

Framing the Scottish referendum over to the situation in Pakistan, it shows very interesting picture. The referendum in Scotland does not allow anyone else from UK to vote into it, even the Scots residing in England won’t be able to cast their votes strictly speaking. So its all about Scots residing in the region, however, lets take an example of Karachi within Pakistan. For Karachi and adjoining region to be declared as a province, first the upper and lower house of National Assembly needs to approve with 2/3rd majority and than the Sindh Assembly needs to approve the split with same kind of majority. This does not take into account what the people of Karachi actually wants. With total absence of governance within particularly the city and generally speaking for Sindh, there is no ray of hope with the democratic system which is in place currently.

The so called democratic government and politicians violates the constitution every day by not holding local government elections even after the amendments which makes it mandatory to hold local bodies election now. Its been seven years that we in Pakistan are living without our basic civic right of having a local devolved government. The landlords of provinces like Punjab, Sindh, KPK do not want the system to be implemented which will devolve the power to common man and challenge their unlawful authorities.

In this whole scenario since last year’s election, the worse part is played by revolutionary Imran Khan. I will say it as worse because he was the only man who was considered to be honest and thought to be man of his words. However, having ruled the province of KPK now for 1.5 years, he is yet to deliver on local government system and it is no where in sight so far. As for the other provinces, the rulers are already proven to be corrupt politicians making more and more money and getting more and more rich by each passing second in power.

The frustration mounting because of absence of local government system from the country specially for Karachi which contributes 70% of taxes for the country and yet deprived of basic rights can become a giant movement. The precedence set by Imran Khan with the sit-ins and eventually getting the government on negotiation table with getting even higher gains than initial demands is dangerous.

Considering this if request for local government elections by Karachi’s muscle political party as per the constitution is not honored, the only way forward would be sit-ins, and everyone knows there are parties more organized and with more street power than the PTI and their “dharnas” will create more impact than the ones going on currently. If that happens, I think the gain will not only be the local government election, but far higher.

Scots are just an example here, not to be taken seriously in context of overall situation of Pakistan.