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Mushy is Done!

04 September, 2007

By Ahmer Muzammil


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You can put a fork in it. Nostradamus himself couldn’t have predicted merely 6 months ago the conundrum that general finds himself in. The commando was high on his command and as they say in cricket, played one too many shots. He is literally stuck in a corridor with no outlet. This however is an after thought. The more pressing question is what is he going to do now? Is he going to go down all guns blazing or throwing punches as he threatened the other day? This would be a catastrophe for Pakistan, or is it in him to bow out with however little grace he is left with? Or will our political jokers from all diverse background provide him and the Army once more an opportunity to rule by proxy?

The last option is the scariest one, at least for me! This is a historical juncture in Pakistani history in my estimation. The opportunity to revert back to a genuine civilian rule that has been provided to us by the legal fraternity can’t be and shouldn’t be squandered for petty personal interest, namely Swiss court cases or deportation deal arranged by Saudis. Lets for once make this about the 160 million of us, which have never been accorded a consideration; can it not be our turn this time around? And why are we asking for it, why not just take it if THEY insist on playing the same games that they have in the past? But it might not come to that. Call me a hopeless romantic but I have a hunch that ‘some’ political leadership has learnt a worthy lesson that next time around if they insist on being masters rather than servants than their fate will be far more horrible than the current masters. Jawed Hashmi is one of the few stand-up politicians amongst a wide variety of political midgets that we have on the horizon right now, and I hope that he is sincere when he advises his party to be humble and serve rather than rule. Awam would also be keenly observing how Jawed Hashmi and his party deal with the turn-coats. Would they take them back for political expediency or would they take a risk and instead give tickets to workers who might not be as rich & powerful but are loyal? I also understand that in urban politics you can afford to take that moral stand far more easily than the rural domain because of the intense jageerdari & biradari web. But wouldn’t we have to start at some point in the right direction? I mean I know that the destination is far far away and there will be roadblocks and detours along the way, but that shouldn’t stop us from starting the journey, should it?

If we kept allowing the same immoral, opportunist, turncoats to jump from one party to another just because they have an ancestral seat than I am sorry, but the ruthless game that is being played for the past 60 years at the expense of the people of Pakistan and their well-being, marches on. Forces that have made up their mind that they will rise against status-quo in favor of people of Pakistan should unite and in my opinion thru seat adjustments elect people that are not known absconders.

 I could be horribly wrong but in my estimation Muslim league (N), Jamat-i-Islami and Tehreek-e-insaaf have at least given an impression that they are not willing to sleep with the devil (at least this time around) at any cost. Devil being the civil and army establishment. So they are natural allies and they must formulate a strategy that can make them a force in the coming elections. Supreme Court isn’t capable of winning elections for them; political parties must rise from petty interest and deliver for the well-being of masses for once. I am glad that Supreme Court delivered a common-sense verdict which happens to be in favor of Sharif Brothers. Its incumbent on them now to tell his esteemed friends - harriri’s and saudi’s – that for a change sharif’s would like to keep the promise that they have made on numerous occasions with the people of Pakistan, which is to serve them and build brand Pakistan instead of ittefaq. I know sharif’s are rich and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that but it might not be a bad idea to not flaunt as much as they usually do, with Bentleys and designer sofas and expensive suits. 43% of our unfortunate people still don’t have access to clean water, there is no viable healthcare system for poor, our middle class is on the verge of mass-suicides because of inflation and the absence of basic amenities like electricity, and its just in bad taste to parade with shinny smiley faces in air-conditioned five-star hotels. I am saying this sincerely; please don’t add insult to injury.

This truly could be a shinning milestone in Pakistani history because for the first time the superior courts have broken the shackles and for all intent and purpose the Supreme Court justices look competent and ready to deliver that ever elusive justice. I agree with Imran Khan, the issue at hand is not about fundamentalism or liberalism, it’s about justice and democracy. Once the people of Pakistan are sure that they have the power to elect who and what governs them, the minority on both extremes, ‘religious’ as well as ‘enlightened’ will be marginalized and they’ll whither away from our national canvas.

We as people must also decide once and for all that from now on, whenever our rulers and establishment get this craving for ‘jihad’ as they did in Afghanistan against Russia and in Kashmir than they must send in our Army first…..way before they start the recruitment of 14 old maddarasa boys. It’s Army’s job to fight wars, that’s what they get paid to do. Islam doesn’t ask peasants to go for jihad while the rulers and the Army are playing golf in pindi. Hundreds upon thousands of Pakistani laymen, poor villagers’, teenage boys from maddarsas lost their lives in the war in Afghanistan and Kashmir. I can say with utmost surety that none of those teenagers were sons of an army officer whose rank was higher than captain. And all this recruitment of poor to fight wars was done by our military agencies, either directly or by proxy. Gen. Hameed Gul is an orator par-excellence and he’ll have you believe that our afghan policy was to our benefit in the time of Zia. He might be right, although I can give him run for his money on that but the bigger question remains why didn’t he send his own flesh and blood for that noble cause? These are quandaries that you might be able to avoid and dodge here but on the Day of Judgment, the interviewer would be a little more persistent.

Kudos is in order (they seem to be on a roll) for our newly rejuvenated supreme court for once putting the intelligence agencies in their place. It is truly historic that poor, un-influential, innocent victims of state brutality now have a savior in shape of Supreme Court. It was a thing of beauty when the honorable justices told the director of FIA that he either produces the missing person in question or he would have to sit in jail till he is located. Needless to say Hafiz Basit who from all accounts disappeared in thin air earlier - was produced the next day.

The attempts to use martial-law as a scare-tactic is a little pathetic because everyone and their khaloo realize that Martial-Law is so 1980’s. People of Pakistan, Supreme Court, Western Powers maybe even the Army can see that Martial-Law is no longer an option. We can safely say that musharaf and chaudhries are about the only ones day dreaming about martial-law. I do agree in principle that even in a free fair electoral process the choice we have in Pakistan is really between worse and worst. It’s really a conundrum of any 3rd world developing democracy but it’s definitely a HUGE step up from martial law and that’s really the bottom line, let me end with some humor from Inayat Ali Khan:

Pohanch gayey hein election kay phir dorahay par

Tumhi bataoo mayray bhai kiss taraf jayein.

Udhar mian hein idhar mayi.. kiss taraf jayein,

Udhar kunWaan(well) hay idhar khayi (ditch)..kiss taraf jayein

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