The Economist asks Pakistan’s khaki umpire to stop meddling


In a piece titled ‘Foul Play’ the leading global magazine, The Economist asked Pakistan’s generals to stop meddling in Pakistan’s politics. Using the cricket analogy the magazine referred to the generals as the ‘khaki umpire’ who have “long pulled the strings of Pakistani politics.”
According to The Economist: “Whether in the 1970s in the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, or in the 1990s during Mr Sharif’s earlier terms, the army’s “jeep-wallahs” first endorsed and promoted pliant civilian leaders, then squeezed them when they grew too independent, and in the end got rid of them.”
However, what “sets this election apart from previous ones” is “brazen meddling” and “greater outcry over the army’s match-fixing. Prominent journalists and some of the country’s largest media groups say they have been threatened and coerced into promoting the PTI and muting coverage of its rivals. At a press conference on July 16th Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission, an NGO, declared that there were ample grounds to question the legitimacy of the elections, warning of “blatant, aggressive and unabashed attempts to manipulate the outcome”.”
The Economist ends by addressing the Deep State: “As for the jeep-wallahs, they must see that they are harming the country they claim to defend. In the 70 years since partition, Pakistan has been torn by war, terrorism, coups, instability and religious extremism. It has lagged ever further behind India economically and on other fronts.”


Author: K.M. Rizvi