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Let the two sets of ground realities enter into a marriage of convenience

Some terms and phrases continue to be used with astounding frequency. “Ground realities” happen to be one of them.
President Pervez Musharraf’s whole political philosophy seems to have been built on and around the above phrase. Right from the day one, he has been re-iterating his resolute commitment to the cause of making the democratic system such an integral part of Pakistan’s statehood that never again would the country’s democracy be derailed. But in the same breath, he has been continuously laying emphasis on the inevitability of the importance of keeping the ‘ground realities’ into consideration.
Coincidentally, when the Turkish President, Mr. Abdullah Gul was here in Pakistan on a goodwill mission a few days back, he too was quite particular about the essentiality of giving the ground realities their due importance while embarking upon the path of democracy.
When the similarities in certain areas in the political dynamics of both – Pakistan and Turkey – are taken into consideration, the phrase ‘ground realities’ seems to imply that the role of the military cannot be ignored in the conduct of practicable democracy in both the countries. As far as Turkey is concerned, we have witnessed this year the emergence of a new balance of power. Turkey has for the first time in decades a president not nominated by the military but elected by the parliament. Meaning thereby that new ‘ground realities’ have been created by involving the popular will. The old ground realities were emphatically opposed to any non-Kemalist and non-secular (person) occupying the Turkish Presidency. The ruling Islamists took the issue to the people, and the elections which returned the party of Erdogan and Abdullah Gul to power with even greater majority were widely regarded as a referendum on the issue of Presidency. It goes to the credit of Turkey’s military that it swallowed the bitter pill of the electoral defeat with dignity and open heart. Resultantly the democracy of Turkey can be considered now to have come of age.
In Pakistan the phrase ‘ground realities’ is used in a multiple sense. On the one hand, it seeks to lay emphasis on the essentiality of involving the Military in the overall structuring of democracy. And on the other hand it ventures to create an impression that the people of Pakistan have still to wait long to earn full entitlement to full democracy. Meaning thereby that because of high percentage of ‘ignorance’ the masses need to learn more about their responsibilities, and till this learning processes goes on, they should content themselves with the controlled or guided or regulated version of democracy that is being offered to them by the President.
Not summarily dismissing this conceptual phrase (ground realities) as nonsense, I want to draw the attention of those who subscribe to the concept of ‘ground realities’ to certain other realities that are being seen on ‘the ground’ by the whole world.
If it is a ground reality that President Pervez Musharraf happens to have rightly or wrongly earned a five-year extension in the office of presidency, this too is a ground reality that none of the determined endeavors of the ruling party have succeeded in dislodging either Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto or Mian Nawaz Sharif from the leadership of their parties. Both remain as central to any legitimate democratic setup in Pakistan as is regarded the presidency of ‘Mr’ Pervez Musharraf.
It will not be without a marriage of convenience between the ground realities enumerated by the President’s camp, and those projected by Mian Sahib and BB Sahiba, that a genuine and workable resolution to the present crisis will surface.

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