SELECTIVE AMNESIA

Rashed Aurakzai

Meer’s legendary verse of ‘Na Huq hum majbooron pay …….’ (Unjust is the blame that we, the helpless; are free, All doings are his and us maligned in vain.) best explains our de-facto Vs de-jure relationship.  Khwaja Nazimuddin’s cabinet was  dismissed only to swear the same ministers again, except him and two. Populists have since been our Establishment’s bane particularly  the  PPP. Take for example the 1988 rigging,  when ISI, through Mehran Bank financing, manufactured IJI only to counter PPP’s clean sweep because its tormentors ‘feared’ repercussions for their 11 wild years of hunting in Zia’s darkness. It’s no more a secret or a conspiracy theory but an admitted crime by its perpetrators and our ‘living-legends’ Baig and Gul. Despite the PPP’s singular victory,  BB was invited  after 40 long days of deliberations of  the bureaucratically  cold GIK with Rawalpindi.  All that was transferred in the name of ‘power’, to the debuting elected PM,  was an office, chair, table and pen in a lawn while  affairs still being run by ‘them’ via Presidency. She and her ministers knew they would not survive their term. She was haunted and bugged by military spies and dictated by the Babu-President through frequently sent, hand written short messages until dismissed for charges yet to be proved.

Fast-forward and 19 years later, the PPP leadership has miserably failed to learn from its past. It’s myopic  frontrunners are pleasing the bull instead of domesticating it, forgetting how Tamgha-e-Jamhooriat  was repaid. Smoke is being provided for speculators to cry fire.  Perhaps, in both cases transition was not an outcome of mass movement, as in 1970, but by either boredom of Imperialists with their Satraps, or ‘deals’ or both and hence guarantors, interlocutors and compromises. Party is controlled by opportunists having no ideological bonds, vision, and determination to subdue the organised, disciplined, armed, resourceful and paid enemy of democracy. It has no clue to the spoiled national broth and that too without BB.  Despite hundreds of inflammable issues, they had to rely on their clichés to drag their own vote bank to polls. They failed to fully encash the sympathy vote in 2008. They may have lost public support but let them pay on the next polls only after completion of their term. Let’s grow up, not cry change whether constitutional or extra, and let democracy, learn its walk. The governments in waiting aren’t any better.

Revolutions aren’t on their way nor can we pray for ‘divine’ autocracy.  And why should we expect revolutionaries among a multi-species herd that prides in licking the boots that kicks them and awaits miracles. Yes, inflation, corruption, joblessness, economy, law and order, if you are thinking;  are at its worst,  but when were they satisfactory? Are they really infections or just the symptoms?  Was inflation any better, under Musharraf, than under Amir ul Momineen? Every successive government in Pakistan has been worst than its predecessor, as predicted by Jinnah. With all the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men, the General furthered our chaos, frustration, confusion and problems. It’s like the law of entropy.  Poverty going up by 10% as he prided in the number of cell-phones imported.  35% lived with less than a dollar per day. Prices rocketed, flour and sugar disappeared.

Foreign Reserves touched $17bn without trickling down a single effect to the commons. And then, what is 17bn, to a country where one Mansha can make it upto Forbes. Pakistan received more than $ 78 bn in foreign remittances, aid, grants, privatization, coalition support fund etc under him. Where did it go? Is it the first time we’re being threatened by ‘bankruptcy’?  More than 50% of budget goes in debt serving, 26% to defence and the left over to our health, education, administration etc. We see corruption of the less-than-24% but don’t realise why a hungry, sick and ignorant 170 millions should waste 26% on their watchmen who haven’t won them an inch of land or war.  Amid this fear mongering, the Khakis silently  sliced another chunk of Rs.110bn to make their share more than Rs. 700 bn for this year.  Imagine the output, if half of this is spent on our human resource for a decade.

Stocks bubbled and busted, micro-dams, built and swept, roads laid and a-washed, bridges built and collapsed.  All were brushed under the carpet. Who could or can ask?  Military Inc, swelled, ex-servicemen, kiths and kins along with Opportunist League and pro-military corporate thugs  raped the motherland resources. Corruption was as usual but exclusively for the club. Not a single mega project was undertaken when even KBD could’ve been realised. National corporations, hospitals, ministries, regulatory authorities, universities, developmental agencies, donor aided projects, commissions, foundation, rehabilitation works and hence everything were headed by brainless Generals, oblivious of corporate management, foolishly prided in forged statistics made by their coward civil bureaucracy.  Nepotism was no less widespread than it is now except that we know our minister’s cronies but not of a General.  Ayub made them feudals, Zia made them Transit-Traders and Musharaf made them land grabbers, Chief-Executives, businessmen and industrialists.

Earthquake, unlike floods was not as countywide, but it received more foreign attention and donations. Check out if former’s victims are any better than latter’s.  Infrastructure is still to be built  with billions pocketed and spent on establishing  new, redundant  and parallel institutions. Musharraf;  with all his Corps-commanders, Air-force, Navy, ISI, MI, FIUs, Police, DMG, Local Governments, hung and NAB-bed parliament, Q-League Cabinet and PCO judiciary, could’ve proved our Chairman Mao. Who would’ve shed tears if Zardari and Sharif were hanged instead of deals? If Bugti could be hit without damaging his watch and spectacles, how come Fazlullahs, Baitullahs, Hakeemullahs, Haqqanis, Bittanis played havoc on both side of Durand Line.   As far as sovereignty is concerned, Ayub courted imperialists, Zia fought their proxies and Musharaf brought them home.  Hats off to our strategic wisdom and national honour.

Democracy in Pakistan has been rooted out almost every day to show ‘the nation’ that it hasn’t and shall never take roots in this soil but the up-rooter hasn’t any better alternative either. Every time it invades us, it is clueless and visionless having no definite goals or strategy.  Hiring a few technocrats along with corrupt and opportunist leaguers under a newly suffixed (and now prefixed ) PML, to run their own model of democracy is the only script of the much repeated drama. Why in the least do they need a tailored democracy? Would people take to streets if they rule us like S. Korean Kim but give us results of Castro.

Point is, Generals are not at all interested in changing our circumstance. The poor and middle-class have been programmed to adore them and denounce Politicians and Democracy.  They misguide and mislead ‘the nation’. It is this malady, which ails the country and needs treatment.

Zardari-less or PPP-less Pakistan will not, but reducing defence by 50% will surely solve our financial problems. Before accountability, political governments must be given full freedom and authority with no swords hanging over their heads. We cannot blame PPP for economy if it has no control to establishing their writ and hence improve law and order, a first prerogative for any development. Do Zardari & Gillani have a say in strategic-depth policy? Can the cabinet or our ‘sovereign’ parliament, replace security with economy as a paradigm of our foreign policy? Or isn’t it that a stage is being set for another coupe. And there is no dearth of official-pens and mouths in media to befool ‘the nation’.

Whom are the Judiciary or media serving if not the Establishment? Judiciary if institutionalised as one of the pillar, is enough to ensure our bright future. “Rule of Kufr (infidelity) can go on but not of injustice.”   Let’s finish ours’ before staring at another’s plate.  A place for everything but everything too, has to be in its place in democracy. Democracy doubtlessly needs vigilant, reactionary and participatory citizenry but not subversion.

PPP has its share of corrupt goons but then they haven’t been transferred the de-facto control of the affairs. We are naive to assume their say-in Defence, Interior and Foreign policies may their ministers sit or stand in their offices.   The yet-to-be three years old democratic coalition of at least three nationalists parties lead by PPP, in four provinces and centre and supporting the fifth and largest province Punjab too. It’s not what we need but we have to understand PPP’s precarious position as we are not brave enough to leave our spectators’ seat if bull is challenged in the arena. Till then,

“Sayyad ne Qafas main bechhayen hain chund phool,

Humain  ye Hookum hay issay Ashiaan  Kahen.”

(The hunter has laid a few straws in the cage and we are bound to call it a home.)

This Caged-Democracy still has on its  CV:

  • National consensus on NFC award, the serving Four-Star-President could not in a decade, with all his sticks and carrots.
  • A constitutional amendment which Nawaz Sharif could not have done more amicably than this with his too third majority. It might have taken years to annul Musharaf poisonous accretion to the sacred document.
  • Giving up of Presidential powers that have always wielded by usurpers.
  • Turning around public opinion about Taliban in whom divinity the whole nation swore.
  • Appeasing small provinces by at least decentralising some of the subjects of federal-list contrary to Military’s belief of strong centre.

Our money-doubling media must stop keeping minds busy with non-issues.  Had it (dominant media) been really concerned about the country, public opinion on many important debates would’ve been decided by now. Our Rupert Murdochs (The Mirs’ and the Nizamis’ have confused masses like never before. Their empires are built on the stories of our national turmoil, rubbles and debris.  Who will waste their penny or a second to read or watch their substandard and copied products other than Pakistanis?  They owe this nation and as a service  they must educate masses for informed public opinion on our infectious issues for a progressive, democratic, sovereign and respectable Pakistan.

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4 responses to “SELECTIVE AMNESIA

  1. Ali K.Chishti

    amazingly well researched piece…good one!

  2. The author has tried his best to remain unbiased and I am happy to admit he succeeded to a great extent. Kudos to him.

    Yes, what is called a true democratic set up has never been and is not in this point in time in Pakistan. Half the sixty plus years of Pakistan, it was ruled by generals, the rest period so called democratic period, the generals remained behind the curtain and puppets on the stage – a controlled democracy. Like boss is always right, those khakis with guns are always right, after all, who Quaid-e-Azam gifted Pakistan for? Generals Inc. of Aisha Siddiqa is a reality.

    Who says media is awakening the people’s rights? Many talk shows predicted rolling back of democratic set up and take over by military – with shining faces of the participants as if job done well. Do they know the meaning of military take over? “Praise us or face the consequence. First deep cut on judiciary and media, politicians are next. Only those politicians are good that are our puppets, rest are the villaneous creatures on earth. Freedom of speech, yes there is (who says No), you can condemn and criticize the predecessors as much as you can, true or false does not matter.” Has media gone mad?