Sabur Ali Sayyid
Imran and Qadri are promising the moon to the nation, for sure. To begin with, the socio-political and economical structure of Pakistan is inherently immune to any fundamental transformation under prevailing circumstances. Only a long and arduous mass movement can shake it upside down. Neither the marchers nor the revolutionaries are equal to this task and hence are bound to eat a humble pie in the course of events.
However, one thing is for sure. The Sharifs-led incumbency has already lost a substantial ground to its rivals in a matter of just few weeks. Characterized by psychosis, arrogance and moral bankruptcy, it is on a self-destruction mission and can just crumble away if saner elements do not take the driving seat sooner than later. Consider the following facts:
• With a narrow support base and dangerously impulsive disposition, Tahirul Qadri was never a force to reckon with in Pakistan. The Islamabad sit-in almost a year back had eventually earned him more humiliation and ignominy than any respect. His self-contradictory statements, hollow threats and above all, clamor to the army for intervention in the political affairs of the country had simply made him a laughing stock.
By unleashing a brute force against him resulting into several killings, the Sharifs, however, have gifted him with a tailor made situation to stake his claims as a national leader. One may like it or not, his support base has increased significantly in the wake of high-handed approach of the government to deal with him and in consequent many religio-political forces are willing to rally behind his cry. Under changed circumstances, media can no more afford to ignore or for that matter, ridicule him. Little wonder therefore that Lahore, the fortress of Sharifs, has also received him not as an alien this time around which must be taken as a clear indicator to the emerging realities in the country.
• In the case of Imran Khan, an established political force, too the approach of the incumbency has not been different at all. Instead of taking a lead to reform the electoral process in the first place after getting into power, the PML (N) left this festering issue wide open to its die-hard PTI . A pro-active approach by the former could have changed the course of entire discourse on this issue, besides removing the cobwebs around the commitment of it to electoral reforms.
Now the government stands badly exposed on this issue and is faced with a daunting task to salvage its credibility and honor. Like People’s Party which, despite restoring judiciary in the face of all odds, can hardy claim any credit to this effect, the present government too is caught by the wrong foot: if it reforms the electoral process, the credit would go to PTI in the real sense and its approval ratings would plunge further deep if it tries to hush up the clamors.
Lastly, the Sharifs are literally reaping the whirlwind of what they sew in the Zardari regime. Morally speaking, their case is absolutely indefensible. Take this for example. They under took a well orchestrated and “designed” long march against the PPP government for the restoration of judiciary.
They always refer to it quite proudly. But the PTI’s long march for electoral reforms appears to them a part of a “foreign conspiracy” to dislodge their government. Contradictions thy name is PML (N), read Sharifs!
Similarly, the Shahbaz Sharif -led government in fact facilitated the Qadri’s people in Punjab to storm
Islamabad to humiliate the PPP government just before the general elections. This was all moral and justifiable. But today the Qadri is presented with bullet riddled bodies in the same Punjab by the same people for merely threatening to throw the Sharif senior’s government out of window. A classic example of self-contradiction and deceit!
On top of that, when today Imran and Qadri warn of turning to street justice to correct the historical wrong done to them, it is dubbed as a mockery of established universal principals and norms. Again the ruling clique is dumbfound when reminded of Shahbaz Sharif’s assurances to his people to drag Asif Zardari – the elected president – one day on the streets of the country and hang him publicly.
Undoubtedly, the mills of God grind slowly but surely!