Too many to ail

By Nasira Jabeen “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the age of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…,”  so ran the series of paradoxes in Dickens’ most memorable and historical novel, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’  when in the middle of 18th century England and France, under King George III and King Louis XVI respectively, were seething in discontent; with injustice, dishonesty and other ominous practices stalking the lands. Pakistan’s contemporary situation presents no less dismal and bleak picture. Too many to ail here too today — from poverty to feudalism, hereditary politics to nepotism, merit throttling to bribery, insecurity to in effective counterterrorism policies — and a lot more for the cup of patience to overflow and to resort to an upsurge; to a semblance of revolution. And too much to anguish from the revolutionary activists’ front too as earnestness of their leadership and their cause of the vindication of the dignity of common man, wanes. The two leaders, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri, with their respective Azadi and Inqilab marches and dharnas have embarked on altering the existing system and order of things so as to bring new system and arrangements. Where will their struggle lead them ultimately, against such fluctuating situations as Pakistan’s, the answers have always fallen short of certainty. But the thousands of devoted acolytes, they have gleaned, deserve our acknowledgement as for their spirit for such stretched sit-in which lasts peacefully for the last several weeks till the violent acts of Saturday night. These two sets of cohorts exhausted themselves along the ways and through the days, not just anyway. They are the weather-beaten of the prevalent political landscape; they have witnessed the ruling elites’ indifference and pro-upper class attitude; they have over the years marveled at the sacrifice of public interests at the altar of vested personal interests on the part of the erstwhile fair governance claimants; they have wondered at the wondrous world of their politics. Nothing less has ailed them, otherwise who would bear feeling their time wasted and their necessary schedule disturbed? Why, they have no homes, work, offices, and jobs? They won’t want hours of quiet and content with their families; hours of respite in the scorching noon? They are so like us, the citizens of the same country. They only mirrored George Bernard Shaw, when he says in his play,’ Arms and the Man’ ‘Sleep or no sleep, hunger or no hunger, tired or not tired, you can always do a thing when you know it must be done.’ And the brawl of late between them and the police has claimed the lives of few and many were left injured. What was their sin, or crime? Raised voice, lost their lives… what must their families have endured, no one seems to care as if they were creatures of barnyard. It is of the nature in fact to bring tears even to all those soft eyes which have never known the tears of real grief. Before realizing their unexpected eternal sleep these devotees went through intoxication of excitement and enthusiasm in the happy hope of being part of the history in the making for the new and true democratic Pakistan. Perceiving in the person of the philanthropist a leader, Imran Khan, the spark of a true leader, with sincerity and selfless motives trickling from his speeches and body language, a portion of these disgruntled section have tugged the thread of their fate to Khan’s lap. A larger portion of the lots yet have linked brighter hopes with Qadri’s oration and conviction. The two after sailing on the voyage to overthrow a cruel monarch with ocean of crew with them, have landed ashore. Come hell or high water now they stubbornly resist to any kind of change in their position. Their demand and protests that the PM and chief minister Punjab must step down in the wake of allegations of rigged election and the inefficient regime and the Model town tragedy, are legal in themselves, given the constitutional right of freedom of speech and the waving flag of democracy. Their political speeches, however criticized, are the rightful means to achieve one’s political aims; to forthrightly voice the moaning of so many against the status quo. Now they are playing the demagogues or charlatans, or being instrumentally used, it is as foggy as cloud to tell. But in the name of revolution both have not failed to inflict pain and anxiety upon their supporters, the media and the public in general. They have not remained true revolutionary leaders, often turned away from their words and promises. If they are the bastion of a true revolution forged for the nation’s liberation, with steely determination and sublime purposes, they should remain with their supporters through thick and thin, never leave them in the lurch, should walk among them on foot and lead them courageously. If claiming of selflessness what if to embrace glorious death for noble cause? A detailed study of French, American, Russian and Chinese successful revolutions will require if transforming the state through this mode is their sole objective and if Imran and Qadri are to remain diehard, to the consternation and perilous condition of the country. The pangs, the trouble and the alarm the current crisis has conferred on the nation is surpassing the ones molested the followers of the two leaders into the siege of the capital for twenty days. If true revolution with Pakistani mind sets is not possible, if the state’s institutions, majority of the parliamentarians support the PM; for the sake of maintaining order and peace in the country plus to save it from plunging deep into economic crisis, Imran and Qadri should retreat as a good gesture and deem negotiations the only panacea out of the present quagmire.]]>

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