Thursday, January 17, 2013

The People Want A Fair Deal; This System Is Rotten

“Yet, for all this, say not that Percy's dead.
I see a strange confession in thine eye.
Thou shakest thy head, and holdest it fear or sin
To speak a truth. If he be slain –
The tongue offends not that reports his death;
And he doth sin that doth belie the dead,
Not he which says the dead is not alive.
Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell
Remembered tolling a departing friend.”
- William  Shakespeare, Henry IV, part 2, I.i.93-103.

Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri at a MQM public rally in Karachi
Notwithstanding the differences of opinions and controversies around Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s past/present, his wide and varied transnational and transgovernmental connections and ambitions, questions around how and why he suddenly parachuted into the Pakistani political scene and orchestrated huge demonstrations of public dissent, how he raised large funds for his protest rallies, why he chose this particular moment in the international calendar, what his original motivations were/are, who did/does he represent, who gained from his call for a revolution and the final outcome of his sit-in, and how he used his charisma to mesmerize his followers and dupe others –

The fact is that there was no revolution in the making and it was a sham and rhetoric from beginning till end;

Nonetheless –

The fact is that the protesters on the streets of Islamabad were ordinary Pakistanis, mortal souls, hitherto voiceless women, children, youth and elderly camping out under the open skies for four days before the callous citadels of power, demanding a share of the pie and hoping for a better future;

Dr. Qadri dialogues with a govt delegation at the sit-in
The fact is that this theatre has indisputably exposed how rotten Pakistani political system has become, exploitative, manipulative and usurping behind the mask of democracy, a wolf in sheep’s clothing;

The fact is that this theatre has rather strengthened the clutches of vested interest groups on a political dispensation that preserves and protects systemic injustices behind the smokescreen of ‘democracy’ rather than a genuine change and empowerment of the masses;

The fact is that Dr. Qadri symbolically articulated the long simmering demands of people for a Fair Deal: a system that is responsible, accountable and humble, a system that delivers welfare and services to its people, a clarion call to the political elite to change their mindsets and practices, share the dividends of self-rule, uplift the condition of masses, facilitate inclusive and participatory democracy and thereby genuinely empower the people;

The fact is that this message resonated with ordinary masses, that he brought the news but had not made the moth that has gone into the womb of this body-politic, and that it was left for a cleric-professor from abroad to hammer this message;

The fact is that although an overseas Pakistani articulated the message, yet they were ordinary people, many of whom under clerical serfdom, who protested that the political system is rotten and needs to be fixed, if Pakistan as a country were to develop and prosper and not just the tiny elite;

In a way, the people said: ‘We Want a Fair Deal.’

In another way, the people must now stop waiting for a Messiah and help themselves. The problem is you/us and y/our mindsets. You are not helpless or powerless, once you realize your position, interests, rights and obligations in a democratic dispensation. So, be the change that you want to see! There is No Messiah coming; the Messiah is already here and it’s you.

Opposition parties stand united to protect ‘democracy’
The fact is that ‘no man delights in the bearer of bad news’ (Sophocles). And this should be a moment of collective shame and self-introspection for the political elite, lost in hedonism, opportunism, dereism and playing foolhardy games with the masses, who have given mere empty slogans and have shown little empathy for this unfortunate nation during the past six decades.

The Pakistani politicians and political system must come of age now. If you waited until you have satisfied your egos and pockets, if you don’t step up now, it may be too late next time.

So – let it be true – Pakistani politics should not be the same again!

1 comment:

  1. Dear M. A. , good analysis. I believe that whatever is happening is the logical evolutionary process of Pakistani politics. Every stage is good news, and the maturity of the electorate and the awareness of political issues is welcome. Keep up the good work.