by Ahmer Muzammil
It’s a trite cliché that Pakistan is at crossroads, primarily because we as a nation have been at one crossroad or another for a while now. baqaul dilawar figar: halaat-e-hazra ko kai saal hogaey.
There should be no doubt however that what we face today is an existential crisis. My impression is that although there seems to be difference of opinion on course of action but the recognition that we are facing a very real problem, which requires a solution soon, is across the board. I am convinced that Imran khan and PTI are wrong on facts and therefore their narrative is flawed, to put it mildly, but there is no need to humiliate them on editorial pages.
I am troubled with the constant bashing of Imran and PTI from intellectual leaders of our country. He has a popular mandate and we need to make sure that Imran and his followers are not marginalized, even when they are in the wrong. We need to win them over with reason. It serves no purpose in my opinion when you get on a personal level and start hitting below the belt. Imran khan and PTI are bound to become defensive and react with more inanity and this can very well derail the conversation. Imran should however realize that there is no pride in being consistent especially if you have been consistently wrong. As the saying goes, Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.
In recent times, the editorial pages of not just English newspapers but also Urdu, are filled with one hard-hitting article after another criticizing Imran. PTI and Imran have been at receiving end from the likes of Fahad Hussein, Raza Rumi, Saroop Ijaz, Rauf Klasra, Khursheed Nadeem, Zahid Hussein, Ayaz Amir, Cyril Almedia, Ejaz Haider, Nadeem Paracha, Kamran Shafi and previously die-hard Imran supporter, Haroon Rasheed. The arguments being presented by these extremely eloquent and knowledgeable gentlemen are valid but although might be a dull read, we can all do without the cattiness.
As an MQM voter, I am no fan of PTI or Imran’ politics, although I think he is a good human being and his heart is mostly in the right place. I think its counter productive to aggravate the dialogue by lacing factual arguments with unnecessary sarcasm and outright insults.
The saner heads in PTI e.g Shafqat Mehmood and Asad Omar also need to take a bit more interest in how their social media platform is being managed. PTI hierarchy must realize that twitter is no longer an irrelevant, informal medium, which can be ignored and wiped hands off of as being ‘out of our control’.
The verbal lashings and vile language which journalists of extremely high repute are subjected to on daily basis by ‘Razakars’ ‘, under the watchful patronage of Mr. Alvi’ have a direct impact on the tone we see on editorial pages of leading newspapers. And it doesn’t help PTI when the only 2 people supporting their narrative are ansar abbasi and orya maqbool jan. hoay tum dost jiskay, dushman uska aasmaan kyoon ‘na’ ho.
One thing that I feel is not being discussed enough is that its really muslim league N’ responsibility to sort this out. We know that the decision needs to be made around FATA and PTI has no direct authority over it. Muslim league can unilaterally make decisions and move already. But it’s the same criminal lethargy which we saw from PPP and asif ali zardari. We just can’t afford to play politics on this anymore. There has to be a deadline by which dialogue process should be exhausted and follow ups to restore sanity and writ of state at every cost must be ensured. Economy is hostage to the security situation in the country and if anyone thinks that they can build utopia in the cocoon of Punjab, they need to familiarize themselves with the name asmat ullah muavia.
We can only win this war if we are united. And not united in the sense that we are monolithic in every aspect of life, diversity is beautiful. But united on the fact that we don’t want the Pakistan of TTP. I have no doubt that Imran khan doesn’t either and all of us will be well advised to shun sloganeering and keep ad hominem to bare minimum & keep that end-result as our guiding light.
Pakistan does have the necessary ingredients to become a functioning state and provide prosperity for its citizenry. We just need to set our priorities correctly. We can either strive to hoist the green flag on lal qila dehli and ensure that we are part of the decision making process in Kabul and continue to pay with our blood on streets of Peshawar, quetta and Karachi and be this joke of a nation for the rest of the civilized world. Or we can invest in education and public healthcare and provide clean drinking water to more than 40% citizenry, which currently doesn’t have access to it. It should be crystal however that we CAN NOT do both.