Imran Khan and Qadri Rewind the Reel?

What guarantee can Imran Khan give that PML-N and other parties will not struggle to dethrone PTI after a year or so?

imran-khan-qadriPakistan is once again at a disastrous crossroads.

The leeway to the ship of democracy in Pakistan has hardly taken the track that a number of disparagers are once again planning to divert it towards the iceberg, which is always there in the “deep sea” in Pakistan. The shipmaster is in a dilemma whereas the shipmates have no clue what to do. However, it is not for the first time vis-à-vis democracy in Pakistan.

It is as if rewinding the reel to a point in late 80’s. When, in 1988, after the demise of the most cunning of dictators, General Zia-ul-Haq, democracy was restored in Pakistan under the leadership of late Benazir Bhutto the “deep sea” in Pakistan prepared its treacherous monsters to detract it using the strange narrative first; and afterwards the dharnas (sit-ins) and marches.

The narrative then used was “woman leadership is damned in Islam.” The detractors then had found a certain hadith and were trying to fashion the public opinion as per the agenda of the forces behind the scenes. They succeeded in toppling the civilian government and throned the then “blue-eyed boy”—Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif—by forming a joint front under the name of Ialmi Jamhuri Itihad (Islamic Democratic Alliance) or IJI.

But hardly did the blue-eyed boy complete a couple of years that he was replaced with Benazir Bhutto with a weak government soon to dismiss again. Mian Nawaz Sharif again replaced her but was soon sent on a forced exile by a coup d’état in 1999.

During this tumultuous decade the Jamaát-i-Islami or Party of Islam (JI) was the most boisterous under its rowdy ameer (head), the late Qazi Hussain Ahmad. He was the man, and his party the force, to be used against the civilian governments. I remember how Qazi Sahib loathed Benazir Bhutto or the democratic government. He and his party was the real legacy of their guru, Zia-ul-Haq. His love and complicity with the military dictators is well evident from his being remained loath to any dharna during the long rule of General Musharraf. He and his party were with Musharraf under the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA, an alliance of the religious parties.

The call for the paradoxical Azadi (freedom) march by the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, Pakistan Movement for Justice or (PTI) on August 14, Independence Day of Pakistan, and the consequent decision by a Canadian-Pakistani cleric Dr. Tahir-ul-Haq to join Imran Khan in the Azadi march on the same day amid the uproar of a murky revolution expediency by the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT); and the dubious signs by Mutahida Qaumi Movment (MQM) are actually acts to rewind the reel of “Pakistani Politics” back, at least, to the episodes of 90s.

These calls are the culmination of a long deliberately drawn strategy. It was started at the beginning of this year when the civilian government was of lees than a year. The conflict between the biggest media group (Jang Media Group) of Pakistan and the Pakistan powerful spy agency Inter Services Intelligence or ISI; the consequent anger by Imran Khan with both the media house—which was instrumental in making Khan a hero—and the judiciary; the comeback of Tahirul Qadri to Pakistan were but acts in the script.

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The concerned media house was the largest and a bit more powerful in Pakistan. Uncompromising standing with the judiciary, though a bit prejudicial, and a consistent uproar for the missing persons were the apparent contentions of the powerful “institutions” and protégés had/have with the media house, which was a major opinion leader in the society. The idea was to muzzle the raising voices first and then to make a way for the damaging narrative wrapped in the euphemism of “change,” “evolution” or “end of despotism” for dismantling democracy.

Many among us take the stances upheld by both the fiery Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and by the stubborn Imran Khan as panacea for all our ills and making of a “real Pakistan.” They think it as a real time change for Pakistan.

One tends to join the Azadi march and the constant agitations if they were really meant what they are spoken of.

The Azadi march and the fiery agitations are actually playing the devil with the stumbling democracy in the country. Protest marches are undoubtedly the beauty of democracy if done for a just cause. Done merely for one’s turn to be ruler these marches ravage the nations and the end result is more chaos and anarchy.

The marchers and protesters might be well aware of the impatient social mindset of the Muslim social fabrics. Perhaps the Muslim mindset and societies have yet to get that patience for continuity. Suppose Imran Khan succeeds in ending the Mian Nawaz Sharif government and wins the elections, if any, held afterwards, what guarantee he can give that PML-N and other parties will not struggle to dethrone PTI after a year or so?

This will drag the country once again to the 90s when PPP and PML-N were continuously at loggerheads pulling each other’s leg. We had the Arab Spring lately. Its outcome is before us. It has created more anarchy in Libya, in Syria and in Egypt. Many parts of Syria and Iraq are under the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. It makes no difference whether we admit or not but the stark reality is that the body politic in the Muslim world is at war with itself. We have many divisions and sects in us; and Pakistan is no exception. It has been the victim of a worst kind of terrorism. The society is starkly polarized. And additionally, Pakistan has lately launched a needed operation against the terrorists in North Waziristan.

In such circumstances Pakistan needs stability and building of its institutions. True, the current government has many shortcomings but let the devil take its share. Let the government complete its term as it is democratically elected.

The marches and dharnas are sure to further destabilize Pakistan and in return we will get nothing but more terrorism, poverty, chaos and conundrum.

Zubair Torwali is a researcher, linguist and human rights activist. Born and raised in Bahrain Swat, Pakistan, he heads the Institute for Education and Development, a civil society organization working for the conservation of cultural, lingual and natural heritage among the linguistic communities in north Pakistan. Zubair was recently awarded the Prof. Anita Ghulam Ali Award of Teachers and Education in Emergencies. Read other articles by Zubair.