Turkish Model in operation in Pakistan by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

Every now and then there are opinion pieces published that Pakistan is moving towards a Bangladesh model. But about six months ago I informed some of my journalist friends that Turkish Model is already implemented in Pakistan. Why did I say that and what are these models?

Bangladesh model is what we call technocratic government. In this model, an unelected body of so-called clean experts run the affairs of the state mandated by the Judiciary and supported by the military establishment. They supposedly clean the system before it returns to an elected government. This model in Bangladesh did not bring any change and the same old politicians returned to power. In Pakistan, we have tried this model at least three times during the military reins of Ayub Khan, Zia ul Haq, and Pervez Musharraf. Most ills in the society can be traced to these three undemocratic eras.

The Turkish Model, on the other hand, presents a democratic set up elected by the people leads from the front but all policy decisions are controlled by military establishment through a veto power. In Turkey, this arrangement was legitimized through a constitutional arrangement and to me it seems Pakistan is also moving towards that. Raza Rabbani’s proposal to a grand dialogue between institutions in the parliament is a step towards that. Implementation of this model started during the tenure of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and has been adopted by his successors Gen Raheel Shareef and Gen Qamar Bajwa. During Kayani’s time, various dharnas and protests were used to seek military has a voice in internal security and social policies. Through all those years military now has the deciding voice in foreign policy, defense policy, local law enforcement (through rangers), judiciary (through military courts). It also became a stakeholder in a totally judicial matter of JIT to investigate a financial crime. And now also seek a voice in the economy through the installation of a Finance Minister of their choice.

Turkish Model in Pakistan cannot be implemented without support from political parties. PTI-L, JI are puppets and they will do whatever is asked of them. Asif Ali Zardari is now laying so flat in prostration that it is embarrassing for PPP to claim it is not a puppet. Mr. Zardari is working hard to send a message that he will work as a puppet as long as no corruption cases are filed against him and his party is given a share in the center and control of Sind. His criticism of Nawaz Sharif is also to suggest that he will side with establishment when it comes to choosing between the two. Raza Rabbani’s offer of grand dialogue was also supported by Mr. Zardari and recently Senator Farhatullah Babar, that was a critical voice of military, was removed from Senate Defense Committee and replaced by a more complaint Senator Niaz a Naek. MQM-P was a creation of the army and is now slowly being replaced by another creation Paksarzameen Party (PSP). JUI-F will go where the power lies. They were full supporters of Musharraf reign and enjoyed power in KP. PML N is now facing pressure to install Shahbaz Sharif and Ch. Nisar as leaders of the party as they are acceptable to the establishment.

The only national leader still resisting Turkish Model is Nawaz Sharif. But his complaint is that he was working well within limits of Turkish model then why was he ousted. Hence his constant complains mujhe kyun nikala? There are two suggestions made about why he was ousted. One that he introduced changes in the system that was damaging for property business as it would curtail the flow of black money being parked there. Second that Gen Raheel wanted CPEC to be under the control of military and Nawaz Sharif declined to comply and wanted to keep it within civilian control.

Is Turkish model beneficial for Pakistan? If we go by the history of last 9 years since this model is in works then it has not been successful. We have had constant political instability because dharnas and protests were used to force the federal government. During PPP tenure, Nawaz Sharif played that role in memogate. And during PML N tenure PTI-L dutifully performed that function. Foreign governments are also using this internal division to their advantage. But as military entrench its control of political power and seek constitutional cover for it will we see stability. I doubt it because it is an unnatural arrangement that on the front is an elected government but the strings are in the hands of undemocratic stakeholders. This is a recipe for constant conflict. Turkey learned that lesson and eventually it resulted in a public conflict during the coup of 2016 that resulted in the supremacy of civilian rule.

Pakistan can only progress and remain united when there are recognition and respect of limits of each institution. Military, Judiciary and elected government all have to work within their prescribed boundaries and learn to work with each other. Turkish model is not a solution.

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