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The myriad voices of Pakistan

Raza Rumi at Global Voices

Pakistan’s growing blogosphere presents a kaleidoscope of the complex, contradictory developments within the country. The country is in the grip of a major movement for upholding the rule of law. Some say it is the finest moment in our history while others term it as yet another agent of instability. Thousands of lawyers and political activists have commenced a long march to Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to pressurize the parliament and the government to restore the judges dismissed by now ubiquitous and beleaguered President Musharraf. We take our great neighbour China’s history and Chairman Mao, quite seriously.

Pak Spectator  welcomes the long march with these words:

Gallant lawyers from all over the Pakistan have started their Long March towards the Islamabad where a dictator lives who tried to demolish the country’s justice system to appease his vested interest to stick to the power forever. These lawyers are upholding the flags of supremacy of law and the upper hand of constitution with full liberty to the judges of higher and lower judiciary.

In a similar vein, moans the skepticism about the lawyers’ long march:

What a wretched country this is. The march should have given goose bumps to every person with an iota of romance. Instead, it has raised the hairs on the back of the neck for the many who fear what confrontation will bring. Not for decades have ugly reality and dreaminess collided so forcefully. The sceptics believe they are on the right side of history. But there is no joy in parting with the lawyers. Unfortunately, there are no Hollywood endings in Pakistan, only bitter truths.

An alternative view, again at Pak Spectator urges that legal matters cannot be brought to the streets:

Court business is conducted in Courts only. Staging of a protest or arranging a Long March on any pretext by a bunch of lawyers out side of the courts, in order to pressurise and influence the Parliament to give a favourable verdict is sure absurdity because; Munsib ka Mut-manni khaiz hota hey! If at all there is a need to do some March; that is an inward cleansing March; a March toward lower and High courts system; where Justice is a far cry and common man experience; corruption, corruption and corruption of Judges only. Long March; it is more of a Leisure Ride.

Putting the recent stage in the lawyers’ movement in a political economy context by arguing that the real agenda of the Long March appears to be frustrating the newly elected government of the slain Bhutto’s party. This is what Haq’s Musings has to say:

So why are the judges and the lawyers being elevated to such high stature by the “civil society” … and their media and politician cheerleaders? The answer probably lies in their obsessive need for vengeance against Musharraf by the PML(N), the lawyers and the journalists. Continue reading


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