Buckle yourselves up for mere puppetry, more populism and loads of good ol’ sloganeering
Behold the ‘things’ other than hats from a South American country. Panama Papers became to PML-N what apple was to Adam and Eve. Things went south quickly
All hail the cousins united for a ‘grand cause’, once again. Dearest sirs and ma’ams, Imran Khan and Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri are back to stage the spectacle aired two years back, with almost identical cast and crew and bare minimum alterations in dialogue. We all are set to revel in more of the same. I hope this time around more comic reliefs will be thrown in the mix. However, one thing is for sure, the dharnas are bound to provide the much anticipated social hobnobbing to all quarters concerned.
And while we are at it, let us ruminate philosophically about why’s of life. There is no denying the fact that all political actors aim to grab power. Those who have it, want to retain it. Those who don’t, strive to bag it.
One of the many problem with Imran-Qadri duo is that while they set their eyes on the sky they forget about the very ground they stand on. The duo of Khan and Qadri know what they want. They want power. They want what PML-N has. What they fail to comprehend is that they could never have it through street agitation and sit-ins. It is a near impossibility to overthrow government through such campaigns. It didn’t work back in 2014. It won’t work in 2016.
Back in the summer of 2014, Islamabad was under siege. The city came to a grinding halt and remained so for days. The cousins were on a divine mission to avenge the grievances of perceived and real electoral malpractices. There were legions of families on the beck and call of cousin Qadri. They dug graves in the morning and listened to their messiah in the evening. They went back to homes, when Sheikh-ul-Islam ordered them. And Sheikh-ul-Islam himself flew away to his natural habitat ie Canada.
Later on, a Judicial Commission looked into the allegations of electoral rigging, thoroughly and deeply. The commission found no evidence as to the institutional involvement in rigging. The government stood vindicated and in possession of a new lease of life that had judicial stamp.
Since that ‘rigging, corruption’ ship has sailed and got lost in the horizon far-far away. The cousins had to come up with a new one. Allama Qadri doubled up his claim to exact revenge of lives lost in Model Town incident in Lahore. Khan, however, looked around for a cause, providing witty souls an opportunity to draw comparisons between James Dean’s character Jim Stark and Imran Khan in a decade-defining film, ‘Rebel without a cause’.
2016 started silently. The day to day business of state was being run with the usual noise in the background. Nothing horrid was anticipated, nothing dangerous was in sight. PML-N government was on track, economic indicators were satisfactory, load-shedding reduced significantly, government and military en route to root out extremism in all its forms and manifestations.
Behold the ‘things’ other than hats from a South American country. Panama Papers became to PML-N what apple was to Adam and Eve. Things went south quickly. Those who in their private conversations admitted that government will not only complete its term but also return for a second, consecutive stint became darn sure that this time around their every whim, every fancy is days away from fulfillment. Once again, the usual chants of resignation and mid-term election were back. After get-Zardari campaign of yesteryears, get-Nawaz campaign surfaced during first year on the pretext of electoral discrepancies and irregularities as grounds fit for getting government disqualified. It died down. And then some found bliss in short-lived marital lives, others went back to creating tomes about divine and how our relationship with him affects our transient lives.
While growing up, Aesop’s fables seemed like panacea for all moral dilemmas I had. His fables divided the world in clear cut compartments of white and black. There were good, intelligent animals and there were bad, nasty beasts. Recently, after almost one and a half decade, I skimmed through my copy of fables again. Reading them in my mid 20s, I realised that I have missed many acres of grey as a brat.
I want to share my favourite fable with you. Once there was a council of mice brainstorming a way to counter their common enemy, a vicious cat. The cat had to be contained and outfoxed as mice and their clan’s safety and survival depended on it.
After much deliberation, a young, intelligent mouse came up with something grand. ‘Bell the cat and we’ll know when our enemy is approaching,’ he said. There was much merriment and celebrations. While the joy was in the air, an old mouse uttered, ‘All fine, all good but who’ll bell the cat?’
Both IK and TUQ have this monomaniacal aim to not only bell the government, but also become the government. How? That escapes me no matter how much I think about it. And every time they try, they fail, one thing or the other goes awry. The recent landslide victory of PML-N in AJK and strong stance on Kashmir issue has helped government recuperate from Panama Papers and PM’s heart surgery. The commission to probe the Panama Papers is yet to see the dawn of day.
Now, all eyes and ears are set on ‘remember, remember, the coming days of November’. Recent future, dearest sirs and ma’ams, will be about extension granted or denied. The protests, dharnas and sit-ins will get their share of time on tellies and will create moribund ripples. The august duo of cousins won’t win this August, scrawl it down somewhere.