Unending madness

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A popular movement is the only way out

The controversy surrounding the verdict handed down to Mr Gilani in the contempt of court case has degenerated to a free-for-all in the National Assembly with PML(N) agitating for the ouster of a prime minister whom they, and for that matter most of the country, don’t recognise anymore. They have also come out with a comprehensive programme comprising a series of protests leading to a long march on Islamabad to see the back of Mr Gilani. The government’s response has come in shape of the passage of a bill for the creation of the South-Punjab province and a reiteration of trust in Mr Gilani’s leadership. PML(N) responded by submitting in the National Assembly a resolution demanding the creation of not one but four provinces.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has taken a stand that is qualitatively different from PML(N)’s: while they also don’t recognise Mr Gilani as the prime minister any longer, they shall wait for the detailed judgement to outline their programme. In the meanwhile, the party has announced a rally for May 6 in expression of solidarity with the judiciary. They have also asked PML(N) to quit the assemblies as a pre-condition to pave the way for an alliance to oust the government.

All this is happening as Karachi slides into anarchy and the SC Registry in Quetta tries to tackle the missing persons’ issue in earnest. Balochistan continues to burn while explosions have also been reported from various parts of Sindh. Terrorist strikes and drone attacks continue unabated. On the external front, Pakistan’s relations with the US remain frozen with reports of differences between the civil and the military leaderships accentuating with the former trying vainly for an early breakthrough. Its new ambassador to the US is spending an outlandish time in Pakistan trying to force an acceptable compromise which is becoming increasingly difficult in the wake of the US refusal to tender an apology for the dastardly attack on the Salala check-post. It is in this backdrop that General Kayani’s address at a solemn ceremony marking the Martyrs’ Day should be evaluated. Reiterating his belief in the continuity of the democratic system, he linked Pakistan’s progress, prosperity and uplift with respect for the democratic traditions. Simultaneously, he warned that we should not forget that the singular purpose of the democratic system is to work for the welfare, prosperity and self-respect of the people as also to strive for a society that affords equal justice for all.

Pakistan is in a mess today. Even dreaming that there would be anything remotely resembling respect for the democratic traditions would be construed as heretic. Welfare, prosperity and self-respect of the people are alien terms that do not find a mention in the leaders’ dictionary. So deeply mired are they in advancing personal profits that national interest has no relevance in their thought process. Prospect of equal justice for all is a concept that is a billion miles removed from the governing strategy of the ruling mafias. While Mr Gilani can go around blatantly advocating his resolve not to obey the SC injunctions, he expects that the powerless, economically enslaved, utterly underprivileged and disenfranchised mortals should submit uncomplainingly to the orders of his government. What is the genesis of this endemic ailment and will this remain the perpetual fate of Pakistan’s teeming millions? Not because they want it to be so, but because they have lost hope and faith in themselves and in the leaderships that they keep throwing up through an inept and perennially corrupt system dubbed as ‘democracy’.

Another feature that distinguishes the Pakistani leadership is their unmatched expertise at telling blatant lies and claiming ownership of events that they, at some stage or the other, were brazenly opposed to. Take the case of the restoration of the judiciary. The entire PPP leadership does not tire of repeating countless sacrifices that they rendered for the coveted cause. They even claim the honour for restoring the judges which they were only forced to do by the military leadership in the middle of the night. They did it not because they wanted to do it. They did it because they were given no option. The subsequent conduct of the ruling mafia only confirms that their willingness was no part of the decision as, ever since its restoration, they have done nothing but ridicule the judiciary by refusing to accept its decisions and initiating a cancerous campaign to belittle the importance and relevance of the institution in the affairs of the state. They have even brought the loyalty and commitment of the judges into question to render them controversial.

The military and the premier intelligence agency have also not been spared the government’s ire as they have been variously accused of running “a state within a state” and of working to undermine the ‘democratic’ government. Ethnic, sectarian and provincial hatreds have been systematically fanned to spread fear and attain longevity to an evil rule. A bunch of ‘convicted’ individuals comprise the team that is running the affairs of the state in an environment loaded with venom and animosities and where even an inkling of opposition is dealt with provokingly playing the Sindhi, Seraiki, Hazara, Mohajir and such other cards.

If Pakistan is to survive this ordeal, it has to move quickly to get rid of the criminal mafias who have landed in the realm of power. They are neither qualified to be there nor do they have the credentials to be entrusted with the onerous task of governing this country. The cardinal issue is that they would not be ousted through any so-called ‘democratic’ move. They would be ousted only when every single citizen of this country is out on the streets demanding their right to live a secure and honourable life. Do we have it in us to do that?

The writer is a political analyst and a member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. He can be reached at [email protected]

1 COMMENT

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you but could you please also write on why Imran Khan is not leading this much needed people’s movement as that is baffling me by everyday that goes by.

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