Revolution has been the talk of the town with regular slogans that a Tsunami is going to sweep the country in the coming years. The general election is around the corner and the political parties are all gearing up for general elections, once again the ground is being prepared for the traditional onslaught of ‘Pakistani Politics’.
“Tsunami or no Tsunami”, we are still decades away from a revolution that will revitalize a nation that has fallen into decline over the last 65 years. Today Pakistan stands at the crossroads of international diplomacy and internal political strife with no capable leadership and no sense of direction. From the power outages to the crippling economic structure, the situation does not only look hopeless but also pathetic. Baluchistan is riddled by a civil war which neither the military establishment has been able to quell nor it is ready to accept the gravity of the problem. On the other hand the political leaders do not have the will to stand up to the might of the military and at the same time lack the political will to solve the Baloch crisis.
Gwadar’s future is uncertain, FATA has become a hotspot of insurgency, and trade through the silk route is almost non-existence due to the condition of the road and the pathetic security situation along the Karakoram Highway. The two traditionally calm provinces of Sindh and Punjab are also being pushed to the brink of political uncertainty. Karachi which is undoubtedly the backbone of Pakistan’s already fragile economy has become the epicenter of ethnic and criminal activities. Today, armed political parties are playing out their agendas through hired thugs, gangsters and criminals who at times start function against the will of their handlers. Punjab has been struck with a severe power crisis that crippled lives of the population, with businesses suffering losses and the people taking matters into the streets as a last resort.
Mr. Zardari, truly you are right “Democracy is the best revenge”! Asif Ali Zardari has played one of the cleanest hands with Pakistani politics since 1947 and has used all the political entities as pawns on his master chess board at the presidency in Islamabad. The recent ousting of Gilani and replacement by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is proof of Mr.Zardari’s shrewd antics.
In such circumstances revolution and change are music to ears and coolness to the eyes. Sweet and optimistic as the talk may be but revolutions are not brought by a single stroke of general election victories or jalsas at the Minar-e-Pakistan. Many Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf fans would disagree and object with these views. They need to realize the Mr.Khan’s dream of ending corruption in 90 days is not only impractical but utopian as well. Corruption has been ingrained into natures of the top military and bureaucratic circles.
Mr.Khan is talking of a war with the system, a system on which he is himself going to rely to run the county. If he already has a plan to replace the entire bureaucracy and general staff of the armed forces overnight with PTI men then well and good but if that is not the case, then PTI fans are for sure in for a big surprise. Imran Khan could not dare talk about Pakistan Army’s heavy handed policies that led to collapse of writ in Baluchistan and FATA, and yet he speaks of change that would cleanse Pakistan of all ills including corruption and load shedding.
On top of utopian promises, PTI has welcomed amongst its ranks people like Shah Mehmood Quereshi, Javed Hashmi, Legharis and other political stalwarts from PPP, PML-Q and PML-N. The problem here is clear to any logical and sane individual. Most of these men are not only feudal lords but also established politicians belonging to the elite of Pakistan. The same elite that have crippled the Pakistani economy, supported corrupt politicians, welcomed dictators and stashed cash in numbered Swiss accounts. The same elite who travel in Range Rovers, whose children study at elite US colleges and whose families spend vacations in the Bahamas. The same elite that have used Pakistani soil for its vested business interests and have built sprawling business empires for their offspring. Where is the common man? The average Pakistani! The simple public servant whose son studies at a Public school, who uses the public transport and whose entire life has been spent hearing empty promises from politicians. Change will not be brought about by the same elite under a new name. That is what Mr.Khan has to realize before time runs out for him.
The traditional political bosses of Pakistan are the PPP and PML-N, who are not much different. They are made up of a mixture of feudal lords, rich retired bureaucrats, industrialists and land owners. They are true pictures of what elitist parties are and how they function. Secretly working in coordination with the establishment of the country these political bigwigs have plundered the nation in the name of Democracy. We have seen what the Zardari led PPP coalition has done to the country and at the same instance we are also aware of the Nawaz led PML N which is no different. Both of them have robbed billions out of the coffers of this poor nation, while giving the common man false promises of bread and employment.
Many of people across the nation would call me a critic and a pessimistic soul in light of my bleak perspective and thin hope of the political situation. On the contrary, there is light at the end of the tunnel for Pakistan’s people. History shows us that all major revolutions including the brutal French Revolution and the Russian Revolution of 1917 were brought through blood and sacrifice. In view of these historical trends many political pundits claim that revolution can only be brought in Pakistan on the lines of these
But the common denominator in all revolutions brought through violence is that they bring no significant change. French Revolution paved way for Napoleon Bonaparte who plunged Europe into a continental war and the Russian Revolution placed Soviets in strict totalitarian control of Russia. Both the revolutionaries pathetically failed in changing the political, economic and social condition of their people. Contrastingly revolutions that brought change were those that were slow but sure. Britain changed the conditions of its people without spilling blood and violence. Gradual changes in society are the most effective tool at revolutionizing and changing the fortunes of any nation.
Change will only be brought in Pakistan when the educated middle class not only steps out and votes but also starts actively standing up for seats in the general elections. Such a change can only be witnessed when the level of electoral awareness and education in this country reach sufficient standards. Today poor and uneducated people who form the bulk majority of the electoral system select our leaders. And thus we end up with people like Zardari running the affairs of a nuclear power. In simple words it means that your maali, driver, cook, maid and domestic laborer chooses who rules your country for the next five years. No doubt that these poor and uneducated people make the wrong choices and we all suffer.
The future looks bright, as levels of awareness rise and basic education becomes more common and media starts producing a politically aware populace the nation will start its journey on the road to real change. Today, the intelligentsia needs to make sure that they vote every time for the best possible candidate and at the same time start daring to step into politics themselves. Over passage of time like all other established democracies we will have reached as nation a level of political awareness needed to make responsible decisions. The process will be cumbersome and slow, but it’s our only hope for a brighter Pakistan with capable leadership. It is the only way we can isolate the self centered elite, zamindars, waderas, feudals and monolithic dictators from our political system.