Alternate Solutions Institute

Signup for the AS Insitute Newsletter for the latest updates..

A Joint Declaration on the Importance of Collaboration, Open Trade, and Innovation in Tackling COVID-19 

As member states of the World Health Organization gather today in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, a global coalition of 31 think tanks today calls on governments to commit to open trade, collaboration and innovation in the fight against Covid-19.  Read

Anarchy Or Rule Of Law

There are anarchists in every society,it is for the state to control them through law and force!

There are anarchists in every society,it is for the state to control them through law and force!

One of the greatest achievements of human civilization is the value of rule of law, as against the rule of man. Let it be clear here that whether it is rule of some ideology or faith, in the final analysis it is rule of man. In primitive societies also, it was sort of rules used to be imposed through heads of clans or Panchayats. This brings home an inherent regard for the life and liberty of each person; in sum his right to live a life of his choice. It is as simple as that – that as against man, rule of law is tolerant and accommodative of all the individual differences of mind and body found in human beings.

The notion of rule of law looks upon each and every person as by birth endowed with certain inalienable rights; it treats him as equal and without any discrimination; it provides equal protection of law to all; it gives every person right to be prosecuted under due process of law and prove himself innocent. That bestows the value of rule of law with an over-riding status.

Human history is replete with examples of rule of men, their ideologies and faiths, and men warring against each other and killing each other in order to impose their ideologies or faiths on others. As they gradually learned to live together with each other’s differences intact, the recent history came to look much different from those bloody days. Thus, it is rule of law which brings order in an environment imbued with anarchy of conflicting cultures and creeds. In other words, it is rule of law that lets various cultures and creeds to exist side by side.

As since 1947 to this day, military might has been trampling rule of law with intermittent civilian governments also manipulating the law to their benefit, and as in the absence of rule of law the anarchists of every hue, including of religious type, found a vacuum sufficiently fertile to their flourishing, Pakistan was degraded into an anarchist state.

Actually, both dictators and civilian rulers used religious entities unsparingly to strengthen and prolong their rule and to promote their elitist interests — of course, at the cost of constitution, rule of law, and fundamental rights of the ordinary citizens; so much so that these values did not remain part of whatever little political discourse we had. The successive military takeovers and dictators’ coercive rule on the one hand and incompetent, short-sighted and self-seeking politicians of manipulative temporal civilian governments on the other paved the way for anarchists to rule the roost.

What started during the last days of Pakistan Peoples Party’s government (1973-1977) General Zia-ul-Haque’s dictatorship actualized to its utmost potential! In order to save his and his government’s skin, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in utter disregard of the constitutional values, ceded much space to religious entities. Instead of promoting the “progressive and liberal” agenda he and his party claimed to follow, he and his party’s politics and style of government infused new blood into almost defunct religious entities. It seems General Zia-ul-Haque’s declared agenda had its roots in the policies of its predecessor government!

It is under the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haque that state, government and religious entities merged into one. Everything underwent a check-up, if diagnosed negative, declared so, operated upon, and made to look and behave as he and his team of ideologues wished them to. The US-sponsored Afghan Jihad against the Reds proved like manna from the heavens. On it nourished the nonentities of yesterday and became leviathans of tomorrow, the militants of today, the Taliban.

General Musharraf’s dictatorial rule made use of the liberal anarchism relished in the elite classes of Pakistan. No one more than him caused serious set-backs to the purpose of rule of law. He by using the launching pad erected by General Zia-ul-Haque threw Pakistan away into a wilderness of anarchy where Taliban and their covert and overt supporters seem to enjoy the sway.

This cursory look at the phenomenon of rise of anarchy coupled with its support from the military and political classes shows how instead of establishing rule of law, the anarchists were appointed against the values of rule of law and fundamental rights. On the social side also, it’s sort of a daily experience how the anarchists defy law and rule of law. Not only they seem to have a sort of inborn disregard for law and rule of law, they cultivate and promote it in the coming generations also.

It’s a matter of common observation how from pulpit to political and military class no respect for the law of the land is shown or taught. In addition, probably the greatest tragedy that happened to Pakistan is that the religious factor succeeded in putting everything and everyone on defensive.

How under such circumstances a value like rule of law could take root?
The fire that political and military classes kindled has already reached them. This is high time they awake from their slumber and mind the responsibility the state must fulfill: to extend protection of law to each. At the same time, rule of law needs to be the only value the state must adhere with zero tolerance to save the people from falling prey to the anarchists. This should be the one-point agenda of the civil society also: to make the state fulfill its responsibility of establishing rule of law! The freedom the anarchists of all hues have been enjoying since the first day in Pakistan now needs to be brought under law; otherwise we should be ready to face a wholesale anarchy!

The writer is founder/head of the Alternate Solutions Institute.