By Amir Abbas Turi
In the wake of current “Sturm und Drang”, if there is one question constantly being asked about Pakistan is, it is “what would happen next?” No wonder the Islamic Republic decorate magazine covers and hits the headline as the most dangerous place on earth after yesterday’s incident in Islamabad.
PML(n) lead government received a powerful one-two punch, since the current dead lock, as ISPR press release nullified what Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif said on the floor of house about negotiation process and, on the other hand, Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and Mr. Imran Khan led anti-government demonstrations entered in the third week. Negotiations, the ultimate solution, between Mr. Khan’s led opposition and treasury benches failed miserably, as the pinnacle demand of the former was/is resignation of the elected PM and former was/is unwilling to accept minus-zero formula.
Besides deadlock, yesterday’s night was a throbbing one to witness: Pakistanis fighting Pakistanis. Starting from throwing tear gas shells at protestors to beating of journalists by police; was a disgraceful act by the government machinery. Conversely, the sanctity of the state institutions must have been respected by the marchers. Unfortunately, the latter’s violated and in response government led forces turned Red-Zone into Mini Ghaza by straight fires. Most agonizing moments were, when Media houses add fuel to the fire by biased reporting and sensationalism.
The impartial and rational commentators have termed both the sides equally responsible for the recent mayhem in the federal capital. Violent protests and use of force are against the norms and ethics of a democratic society. In this situation, the most vulnerable yet naive people are those cliques who blindly trust their self-centered leaders. Moreover, to use women and kids as human shields by the leaders or exercise of power against them by the government, both are dishonorable acts in the whole episode.
The marriage of convenience between PAT and PTI two-folded the pressure on the Sharif Family. The bone of contention behind the long marches by Dr. Qadri and Mr. Khan were against Model Town incident – in which PAT workers were brutally killed by Junior Sharif’s government and “massive” rigging, according to PTI, in the last year’s general election. Additionally, the previous elections marked the first time a civilian government completed a full five-year term and transferred power through the ballot box. Past governments have been toppled in military coups or dismissed by presidents allied with top generals. The land of The Pure has had a chequered history of growth of democracy.
General Raheel Sharif stressed on supporting democracy, however, at the same time, higher hierarchy showed persona non grata for the rulers by expressing reservations over rituals between the latter’s and Qadri-Khan led marchers. The emergency meeting-shift of Core Commanders of Pak Army raised various eyes brows within the political circles. Nevertheless, a military coup is not expected this time around, but, there is pervasive unhappiness within the military and the public about the government’s performance at a time when the country is beleaguered by high unemployment, rampant energy shortages and numerous attacks by terrorists.
A country, where man-made laws are considered greater to the command of Lord, where anyone would kill for the sake of his blind belief in such laws and would in turn be supported by massive rallies, is indeed the most dangerous place on earth. There are some episodes which trammeled the unity of federation. For example, episodes such as appearance of General® Musharraf, the chief-accused in the Bugti assassination case, on tv screen at the time when followers of late Nawab were mourning his eight anniversary, trounces national integration.
Once I asked the renowned intellectual, Professor Hussain Haqqani about the reason and way forward to rampant conspiracy theories, religious extremism, chauvinism, irrationality, lack of tolerance, mysticism of folks, blame-game, irresponsible attitude by media, hate speech, and so forth. He came up with a brilliant yet short reply consisting of just two words. The former Ambassador said; “embrace rationality.” These two words are more than enough to clear the ambiguity from the minds of rational people.
Coming to the deadlock, political scientists and impartial observers enormously stressed on restarting of dialogue process and vehemently disparaged any possible military take-over as martial law never solved problems of the inhabitants. The political thinkers are of the opinion that democracy shall be flourished in the Islamic Republic, but with its uncontaminated essence. If the elections were rigged and the public mandate was stolen, then it is a matter of embarrassment for the political parties – all those involved in this heinous crime. Intra-party elections and reengineering of elector process would strengthen the democracy and The Land of Pure. Egalitarianism and collectivism, but not a family rule, is the only way forward for the prosperity of the state.
The writer is a student of M.Phil of Leadership and Management Studies (LMS) at the National Defense University. Hailing from FATA, he occasionally writes for magazines, blogs and newspapers. He tweets @EngrTuri